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Subutex Side Effects

Generic Name: buprenorphine

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug buprenorphine. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Subutex.

For the Consumer

Applies to buprenorphine: film, tablet

As well as its needed effects, buprenorphine (the active ingredient contained in Subutex) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking buprenorphine, check with your doctor immediately:

Incidence not known:
  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • difficult or troubled breathing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • pinpoint pupils
  • relaxed and calm feeling
  • sleepiness
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Minor Side Effects

Some buprenorphine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Back pain
  • cough or hoarseness
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea
  • painful or difficult urination
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • stomach pain
  • stuffy nose
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting
Less common:
  • Diarrhea
  • feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • lack or loss of strength
  • sweating

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to buprenorphine: buccal film, compounding powder, injectable solution, subcutaneous implant, sublingual tablet, transdermal film extended release


The most common adverse reactions were headache, insomnia, pain, signs and symptoms of withdrawal, nausea, constipation, application site pruritus, application site erythema, vomiting, hyperhidrosis, dizziness, somnolence, dry mouth, and application site rash.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Insomnia (up to 28%), withdrawal syndrome (up to 24%), anxiety (up to 14%), depression (up to 13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hostility, agitation, paranoid reaction, thinking abnormal, confusion
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Affect lability, depersonalization, libido decreased, nightmare, euphoric mood, psychosis, hallucination, euphoria
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Dependence, mood swings
Frequency not reported: Dreaming
Postmarketing reports: Neonatal withdrawal syndrome[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Rhinitis (up to 15%)
Common (1% to 10%): Cough increased, pharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infection, influenza, sinusitis, bronchitis, dyspnea, pharyngolaryngeal pain, hypoventilation, yawning
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Asthma aggravated, hiccups, hyperventilation, hypoxia, wheezing, apnea
Rare (less than 0.1%): Respiratory depression, respiratory failure
Postmarketing reports: Asphyxia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 23%), constipation (up to 14%), abdominal pain (11.7%), diarrhea (up to 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Vomiting, dyspepsia, dry mouth, stomach discomfort, upper abdominal pain, flatulence
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Diverticulitis, dysphagia, ileus, heartburn
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Retching[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Application site pruritus (up to 15%), sweating (up to 13%), application site erythema (up to 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Application site rash, application site irritation, hyperhidrosis, pruritus, rash, generalized pruritus
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Contact dermatitis, application site dermatitis, dry skin, facial edema, urticaria, pallor
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Pustules, vesicles
Frequency not reported: Injection site reaction, angioedema, application site edema[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Back pain (up to 16%)
Common (1% to 10%): Arthralgia, pain in extremity, muscle spasm, musculoskeletal pain, joint swelling, neck pain, myalgia, chest pain, leg cramps, bone pain, general spasm, muscle weakness
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Muscle cramps, rigors, muscle spasm
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Muscle fasciculation, ear pain[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pain (up to 26%), asthenia (up to 16%)
Common (1% to 10%): Chills, fever, accidental injury, fatigue, pyrexia, fall, malaise, tiredness, lethargy
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Edema
Frequency not reported: Death[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Infection (up to 22%), flu syndrome (up to 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abscess[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 34%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness/vertigo, nervousness, somnolence, hypoesthesia, tremor, migraine, paresthesia, syncope, hypertonia, dysgeusia, exanthema
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Tinnitus, concentration impairment, coordination abnormal, dysarthria, memory impairment, restlessness, sedation, sleep disorder, slurred speech, coma
Rare (less than 0.1%): Disequilibrium, numbness
Frequency not reported: Convulsions
Postmarketing reports: Neonatal tremor, serotonin syndrome[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Vasodilation, hypotension, peripheral edema, hypertension, palpitations
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Orthostatic hypotension, tachycardia, angina pectoris, flushing, bradycardia, cyanosis
Frequency not reported: Wenckebach block[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Runny eyes, miosis, mydriasis, lacrimation disorder
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dry eye, vision blurred, conjunctivitis
Rare (less than 0.1%): Eyelid edema, visual disturbance
Frequency not reported: Diplopia, visual abnormalities, amblyopia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection, dysmenorrhea
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urinary incontinence, urinary retention
Rare (less than 0.1%): Urinary hesitation, decreased erection, sexual dysfunction[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anorexia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dehydration, loss of appetite, weight decreased
Postmarketing reports: Neonatal feeding disorder[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Lymphadenopathy


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Allergic reaction
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Anaphylactic responses
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Serious allergic reactions[Ref]

Anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in the implant.[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Biliary colic
Frequency not reported: Hepatitis, jaundice, hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis, hepatorenal syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, transaminases increased[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Implant site pain (13%), implant site pruritus (12%), implant site erythema (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): implant site hematoma, implant site hemorrhage, implant site edema[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Adrenal insufficiency, androgen deficiency[Ref]

Cases of androgen deficiency have been reported with chronic use of opioids. Adrenal insufficiency has been reported with opioid use, especially with use of 1 month or longer.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Butrans (buprenorphine)." Purdue Pharma LP, Stamford, CT.

2. "Product Information. Subutex (buprenorphine)." Reckitt and Colman Pharmaceuticals Inc, Richmond, VA.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

4. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

5. "Product Information. Buprenex (buprenorphine)." Reckitt and Colman Pharmaceutical, Richmond, VA.

6. "Product Information. Probuphine (buprenorphine)." Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Princeton, NJ.

It is possible that some side effects of Subutex may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.