Subutex, also known by its generic name buprenorphine, is an opioid used to treat narcotic dependence. The medication works by binding to the receptors in the brain and nervous system to help prevent withdrawal symptoms in individuals who have stopped taking opiate-based narcotics such as heroin, morphine and codeine.
Before using Subutex, it is important to share a complete medical history with your physician, especially if you have any known allergies to medication or any of the following disorders: asthma, sleep apnea, liver or kidney disease, a history of alcoholism or IV drug use, a history of seizures or head injury and/or mental illness. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should inform their physician as Subutex may cause harm to a fetus or child.
Subutex should be used directly as prescribed and should not be swallowed, chewed or crushed, but placed under the tongue and left to dissolve. Do not eat, drink or smoke while the tablet is dissolving. Avoid alcohol while taking Subutex.
Side effects of Subutex can include dizziness, headache, nausea, constipation, sweating, vomiting, sleeplessness and diarrhea. Severe side effects can include difficulty breathing, anxiety or nervousness, mood changes (depression), severe stomach pain, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue and require immediate medical attention.
Some long-term users of Subutex experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop taking the medication.