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Subutex vs Suboxone: What's the difference between them?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 27, 2022.

Official answer


Both Subutex and Suboxone contain buprenorphine, a medication that can help people beat opioid addiction by minimizing withdrawal symptoms and easing cravings. Both Subutex and Suboxone are taken once a day and can be either given by a healthcare professional or taken home for at-home use.

But there are differences between them, such as:

  • Subutex contains only buprenorphine but Suboxone contains naloxone in addition to buprenorphine (naloxone helps protect people from an inadvertent opioid overdose)
  • Subutex is a sublingual tablet and Suboxone is a film that you put under your tongue
  • Subutex was approved in 1981 and Suboxone has been available since 2002.
  • Both Subutex and Suboxone can be initiated early by a doctor as part of an opioid treatment program. The brand name Subutex has been discontinued in the U.S. but it is available as generic buprenorphine sublingual tablets.

For more information see our slideshow Opioid Use Disorder: These Treatments Are Available, Now.

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