Suboxone’s Dual Nature: Healing Addiction, Causing Dental Woes

Suboxone is a medication commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction. It combines buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. While suboxone has proven effective in reducing cravings, it is important to be aware of its potential limitations and side effects. 

One notable concern associated with suboxone use is its potential to contribute to tooth decay and oral health issues. This limitation arises from the medication’s formulation, which includes sugar as an ingredient.

Individuals undergoing suboxone treatment should be vigilant about maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking appropriate dental care. Understanding this aspect of suboxone treatment is crucial for healthcare professionals and patients alike.

However, there are many more aspects of the medication which should be understood before opting it. Hence, this article looks at some of the important points associated with suboxone to help mitigate the risks.

Withdrawal Effects of Suboxone

The use of suboxone happens in the form of either a film or a tablet. This means people need to dissolve it under their tongues or against their cheeks. 

Many people who are prescribed the medicine take both the forms depending on their usage. The average time for suboxone to get dissolved is 15-30 minutes. This time is the real cause of the side effects that are to be faced by the people using it. 

The acid exposure that the mouth gets, results in tooth loss, decay or rot. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also released a warning that patients using medications containing buprenorphine have reported dental issues. 

Although, not everyone who uses suboxone faces dental health risks. However, the numbers are still large as more than 2 million people use suboxone in the U.S. yearly.

According to TruLaw, a large number of people have filed lawsuits claiming compensation for the dental problems faced by them. As of June 2024, a total of 258 lawsuits have been consolidated into product liability litigation.

An average settlement amount for suboxone lawsuit for teeth decay may range between $10,000 to $1,50,000. The parent company Indivior Inc. has paid $385 million as of October 2023 as settlements against the lawsuits.

Well, suboxone has other potential side effects as well. Drowsiness, headache, constipation, nausea, numbness, increased sweating, and back pain are some of them.

The Ceiling Effect

Despite its risk of short term and long term side effects, people still use it in large numbers to treat disorders. It is because, compared to other opiates, suboxone has a built-in ‘ceiling’ effect. This effect makes it significantly harder to overdose because it only partially agonists the opiate receptor. 

In contrast to opiates like heroin or morphine, suboxone has a limited ability to activate the opioid receptors. This, in turn, reduces the chance of respiratory problems.

There are myths which propose that it is easy to get an addiction and overdose of suboxone as other opiates. However, it is nearly often the result of a combination with benzodiazepines or other sedatives that decrease respiration resulting in overdose.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does Suboxone work?

Suboxone works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids bind to, but it produces less euphoria and milder withdrawal symptoms. This allows individuals to gradually taper off opioids without experiencing severe withdrawal effects.

Is Suboxone addictive?

Suboxone is considered to have a lower risk of addiction compared to full agonist opioids. However, it is still possible to develop dependence on Suboxone, especially if not used as directed. It is crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and work closely with a healthcare professional during the treatment process.

Can Suboxone be used during pregnancy?

The use of Suboxone during pregnancy should be discussed with a healthcare provider. Generally, Suboxone is considered safer than continuing illicit opioid use during pregnancy. However, it is important to carefully weigh the risks and benefits and work closely with a healthcare professional to ensure the best course of action.

How long should Suboxone treatment last?

The duration of Suboxone treatment can vary depending on individual circumstances. It is typically recommended as a long-term treatment, with the goal of providing stability and support for individuals in recovery. The duration of treatment should be determined by a healthcare professional based on the individual’s needs and progress.

It is highly possible that suboxone causes tooth decay despite its healing nature from overdose. This is due to the fact that some Suboxone formulations include sugar as a component. 

The risk of tooth decay can be raised by Suboxone use on a regular basis in conjunction with poor dental hygiene. To reduce this risk, practice proper oral hygiene and seek dental care.

It is better to seek professional help in identifying the cause behind any side effects that occur after using any kind of medication. Once confirmed, you may then proceed to take legal action against it.

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