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Precautions and Warnings With Buprenorphine and Naloxone

Specific Buprenorphine and Naloxone Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this opioid medicine include the following:
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone can cause potentially life-threatening slow and irregular breathing, termed respiratory depression. Certain people have an increased risk for respiratory depression with buprenorphine and naloxone, including older adults, people who already have breathing problems, and people who are taking certain other medications. Signs of respiratory depression include:


    • Extreme drowsiness
    • Unresponsiveness
    • Infrequent, deep sighing breaths
    • Unusual snoring.
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone is designed to treat opioid dependence. If you use buprenorphine and naloxone while you are still taking opioids, withdrawal symptoms may occur. This is because this medication contains naloxone, a drug that binds to and blocks opioid receptors in the body. If you abuse buprenorphine and naloxone by injection and you are still taking other opioids, intense withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur (see Can You Shoot Up Suboxone?).
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone is a narcotic medication with a significant potential for abuse. Do not take the drug more frequently or at a higher dose than prescribed. If you feel you may be developing a problem with buprenorphine and naloxone abuse, please seek help from a healthcare provider.
  • There have been reports of liver damage in people taking buprenorphine and naloxone. To monitor for this problem, your healthcare provider should check your liver enzymes using a simple blood test before you start this medication and periodically thereafter.
  • This drug can cause problems in people with head injuries or high intracranial pressure. It should only be used with extreme caution in such circumstances.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how buprenorphine and naloxone affects you. This drug can make you drowsy. Your reflexes and reaction times may be significantly affected, even if you feel fine.
  • This medicine should be used with caution in people with low blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, gallbladder problems, or pancreatic disease. Check with your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you have any of these conditions.
  • Do not drink alcohol while using this medication. Consuming alcohol while using buprenorphine and naloxone could increase your risk for serious side effects, including extreme drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, or difficulty breathing.
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Suboxone and Breastfeeding).
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Suboxone and Pregnancy).
8 Frequent Pain Syndromes

Buprenorphine and Naloxone Drug Information

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