Buprenorphine and naloxone (oral/sublingual)
Medically reviewed on February 5, 2018
What is buprenorphine and naloxone?
Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse.
Buprenorphine and naloxone is a combination medicine used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction. Buprenorphine and naloxone is not for use as a pain medication.
Buprenorphine and naloxone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Buprenorphine and naloxone is not for use as a pain medication.
This medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Taking this medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use this medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone (Narcan).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
any type of breathing problem or lung disease;
enlarged prostate, urination problems;
liver or kidney disease;
abnormal curvature of the spine that affects breathing;
problems with your gallbladder, adrenal gland, or thyroid;
Some medicines can interact with buprenorphine and naloxone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take stimulant medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
If you use this medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Buprenorphine and naloxone can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness or breathing problems in the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I take buprenorphine and naloxone?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Never use buprenorphine and naloxone in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
This medicine may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away buprenorphine and naloxone is against the law.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
Use dry hands when handling this medicine. Place the sublingual tablet or film under your tongue. Place the buccal film against the inside of your cheek. Allow the medicine to dissolve slowly. Do not chew or swallow it whole.
If you switch between medicines containing buprenorphine, you may not use the same dose for each one. Follow all directions carefully.
Do not stop using buprenorphine and naloxone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function.
All your medical care providers should know that you are being treated for opioid addiction, and that you take buprenorphine and naloxone. Make sure your family members know how to provide this information in case they need to speak for you during an emergency.
Never crush or break a buprenorphine and naloxone pill to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death.
Store this medicine in the foil pouch at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Discard an empty pouch in a place children and pets cannot get to.
Keep track of your medicine. This medicine is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using it improperly.
Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, remove any unused films from the foil pack and flush the films down the toilet. Throw the empty foil pack into the trash.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using this medicine without a prescription.
Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, cold or clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, fainting, slow heart rate, very slow breathing, or coma.
What should I avoid while taking buprenorphine and naloxone?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Buprenorphine and naloxone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Like other narcotic medicines, buprenorphine and naloxone can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Call your doctor at once or seek emergency medical attention if you have:
weak or shallow breathing, feeling like you might pass out;
confusion, loss of coordination, extreme weakness;
blurred vision, slurred speech;
liver problems--upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.
Common side effects may include:
dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, feeling drunk, trouble concentrating;
tongue pain, redness or numbness inside your mouth;
nausea, vomiting, constipation;
fast or pounding heartbeats, increased sweating; or
sleep problems (insomnia).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect buprenorphine and naloxone?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Narcotic (opioid) medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:
other narcotic medications--opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing--a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, tranquilizer, antidepressant, or antipsychotic medicine.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect buprenorphine and naloxone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.03.
More about buprenorphine/naloxone
- Buprenorphine/naloxone Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 674 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: narcotic analgesic combinations
- Buprenorphine and Naloxone Buccal Film
- Buprenorphine and Naloxone Sublingual Tablets
- Buprenorphine and Naloxone Sublingual Film
- Buprenorphine/naloxone Oromucosal, Sublingual (Advanced Reading)