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Suboxone Side Effects

Updated on July 8, 2010

Induction Side Effects


The induction phase is the period from when you first begin Suboxone, to when you become adjusted and comfortable. There is no set timeframe for the induction phase; instead, it ends when you reach a therapeutic level, as determined by both you and your prescribing physician.

During the induction phase, you may experience side effects that are similar to, though not nearly as severe, the symptoms of withdrawal. This may continue for up to a week or so while your body transitions from opiates to Suboxone. Taking more Suboxone than prescribed will not alleviate these symptoms and in fact, taking more can actually increase the severity and longevity of these side effects.

Side effects of Suboxone during the induction phase include:

  • Nausea (mild-to-moderate)
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Mild fever
  • Uncomfortable feeling
  • Muscle cramps and pains
  • Depression (mild)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (mild)
  • Cravings

Common Side Effects of Suboxone

At least one of the most common side effects of Suboxone appears in almost 80% of patients who take 8mg or more on a daily basis. The severity of these side effects peak at around the first month of taking Suboxone, and begins to decrease thereafter. Within a few months of stabilization at a therapeutic level, most symptoms will completely dissipate.

  • Nausea (mild)
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia (mild-to-moderate)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression (mild-to-moderate)
  • Slowed breathing

Less Common Side Effects of Suboxone


Less common side effects of Suboxone present in less than 30% of all patients. While these side effects are not life threatening, they can impede your ability to function normally throughout the day. If you experience two or more of these side effects, and the severity of your symptoms does not decrease after the first month or so of regular use after stabilization, talk to your prescribing physician about decreasing your dosage or switching to an alternative medication, such as Subutex or Methadone.

  • Nausea (moderate-to-severe)
  • Vomiting
  • Migraine-like headache
  • Insomnia (severe)
  • Dull overall pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms and twitching
  • Myoclonic jerks (muscle and/or brain “zaps”)
  • Irritability
  • Chest tightness
  • Yellowing eyes
  • Anxiety (severe)
  • Depression (severe)
  • Cravings
  • Sweating
  • Respiratory depression
  • Lucid or vivid dreams and nightmares

Life-Threatening Side Effects of Suboxone

In less than 2% of patients, Suboxone can induce very severe side effects that can cause serious injury or even death. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking Suboxone immediately and contact your prescribing physician as soon as possible. If you experience trouble breathing, lose consciousness or slip into a coma, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Severe muscle weakness
  • Severe muscle spasms and twitching
  • Dilated (pinpoint) pupils
  • Hives
  • Allergic reaction
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe chest tightness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Yellow skin
  • Severe respiratory depression
  • Fainting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma


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      subsaved2 3 years ago

      To robertsjr 's old post :

      Let me begin with saying I'm sure every person and every pregnancy is different. I'm very sorry for you, your family and the baby you referred to. I started taking Suboxone about three years ago and I have a very happy and healthy 18 month old son. Now granted, I've never been able to take more than a half of a strip each day since starting this medication. And to be honest I'm not too sure what the normal dosage would be for another person. But regardless, when I found out I was pregnant, the Suboxone was the first issue I talked to both my OB and sub doctors about. And they both did some research and then both came to the same conclusion. Each individual needs to realize if the possible side effects of the med outweigh the possible effects of being without the med. And if you have seen anyone withdrawing from opiates and or Suboxone, then you already know the effects that it could have on the mother and baby. And that's just the withdrawals. I know that if I would have quit Suboxone that I would have been right back to taking 15-25 pain pills each day. And I know that would have had a devastating effect on my baby. Since there has not been too much research done with this med and pregnancy, I did constantly worry that it was hurting my baby. But at the end of each day I knew that I was doing the right thing for the both of us and I held on to my faith in knowing that. So that is my story. Suboxone has been such a life saver for me. I truly believe that if I had not been taking Suboxone that I would not have had my beautiful baby boy at all.

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      mcg. 4 years ago

      Great info!

      To clydes old post:

      I really hope you were able to get your issues under control but I think you're putting unfair statements out there that may discourage ppl who need help.

      The fact is: suboxone does not have the tolerance issues standard opiates have. If you are craving more than you're prescribed, it's more likely a psychological effect of your existing addiction disorder than anything caused my suboxone. This is hard science having to do with receptors in the brain. BUT it's so important that you have the right medical team, monitoring your dosages, making certain that you get the most therapeutic benefit possible. There are so many docs administering the medication half-assed, simply writing prescriptions. Under the care of knowledgeable med pros, SUBOXONE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

      You will NO LONGER spend your days thinking, worrying, looking for the next Buzz, fighting that ever worsening tolerance that marks opiate dependency. Those worries simply dissolve because your receptors LOVE suboxone, they are tricked into believing they've satisfied the craving. Best of all, it's a long acting medicine so there's no up & down! Those highs and lows are gone, you feel as peaceful at 5am as at 5pm, if you are taking this DAILY, as prescribed.

      This medication has given me back my life, my family, and MYSELF. And it did so IMMEDIATELY. One day into treatment I knew this was NOT a situation of TRADING one addiction for ANOTHER. This is trading addiction for a REAL LIFE.

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      robertsjr 6 years ago

      What ever you do Do NOT take Suboxone while pregnant. We have a G'child that was born and immediately had complications directly related to this drug. That innocent child is currently going through severe withdrawal issues. The Doctor that delivered my G'child said that Suboxone was directly related to the medical issues my G'child was currently suffering from. The Doctor said when you find out you are pregnant you can "SLOWLY WEEN" yourself from Suboxone without harm to the fetus then after you give birth go back on it if you can't control your habit. This will protect your innocent child from being born addicted to a drug.

      We are finding out the hard way that this drug is NOT safe for pregnant Mother's. More research needs to be done before ANY Physician allows a pregnant woman to continue using this medication!

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      Joe 6 years ago

      I started a journal/blog about suboxone. Check it out:

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      Billybob 6 years ago

      Super useful thank you hub.

      I'm twitching but no big deal

    • saif113sb profile image

      saif113sb 6 years ago

      Very nice and great information hub. thank you so much.

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      clydecross 6 years ago

      I've been on subs for 4 years now it did change my life but if you get the chance quit as soon as you see you can because now I find myself using more and more everyday and buying it on the street Even use it if you can but remember you really are trading one addiction for another the best of luck to all

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Well written hub on the suboxone side affects.