Resource Center: Patient education materials

This web page provides information for the patient on pronunciation, brand names, common uses, how to use, missed doses, precautions, side effects, drug interactions, proper storage, and more.
Kaiser Permanente
La buprenorfina sublingual, y la buprenorfina y naloxona. This patient education resource addresses common questions about buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence.
Medline Plus
This document from NIDA discusses how heroin is abused, how it affects the brain, and adverse affects it has on health. Treatment options are also discussed, with information on methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
This website from the makers of Suboxone® provides many helpful support tools and resources for patients taking buprenorphine for opioid dependence. It includes psychosocial tools (motivational quizzes, goal-setting tools) and medical information. This website is one component of Reckitt Benckiser's Here to Help campaign; it also includes care coordinators and care coaches who will help patients in the early stages of treatment to find and stay in treatment.
Reckitt Benckiser
Buprenorphine tablets are approved for the treatment of opiate dependence. Buprenorphine treats opiate addiction by preventing symptoms of withdrawal from heroin and other opiates.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Commonly Used Forms: 
Patient Handouts: 

Efectos secundarios comunes del Suboxone (Common Side Effects of Suboxone® (en Español))

Describes the common side effects of Suboxone®.

Suboxone es seguro usar para la mayoría de pacientes. Algunas personas experimentan efectos
secundarios, pero la mayoría de los efectos secundarios no son peligrosos – simplemente son

Efectos secundarios menores incluyen:

La náusea
Dolor de la cabeza
La somnolencia
El estreñimiento
La depresión
El sueño agitado

Si usted experimenta uno de los efectos antedichos, hable con su médico. Es posible que su médico le
recete medicamentos para tratar los efectos secundarios, o que baje la dosis de Suboxone. En
cualquier caso, la mayoría de los efectos secundarios menores pasarán a medida que usted le
acostumbre a la droga o se pueden tratar con cambios menores a su estilo de vida.

Algunas personas con ciertas condiciones médicas tienen un riesgo más grande de
experimentar efectos secundarios serios:

Interacciones con otras drogas: Algunas personas que toman ambos los sedantes y Suboxone han
tomado una sobredosis de uno o ambos drogas. Si usted tiene medicamentos recetados, asegure que
su médico sepa. Es posible que él/ella cambie la dosis de cada medicamento. También, mientras
usted toma Suboxone, ¡nunca tome sedantes o otros medicamentos salvo los que su médico se los

Reacciones alérgicas: Si le salen urticaria o sarpullido mientras usted toma Suboxone, puede que
usted sea alérgico al medicamento. Si esto pasa, llame a su médico o váyase a la sala de urgencias
inmediatamente. También, diga a su médico si usted sabe que es alérgico a medicamentos que se
llaman buprenorfina o naloxona.

La depresión respiratorio: Igual que narcóticos recetados y la heroína, Suboxone afecta a los reflejos
que mantienen la respiración. En la mayoría de los pacientes, este efecto es mínimo, pero puede ser
serio en pacientes que ya tienen los pulmones dañados o enfermos. Si usted tiene una condición que
afecta a su respiración, avise a su médico antes de empezar a tomar Suboxone.

Problemas del hígado (la hepatitis): Algunas personas han desarrollado problemas con sus hígados
mientras tomando Suboxone. La mayoría de estas personas ya tuvieron problemas del hígado, tales
como la cirrosis o la hepatitis B o C, debido al abuso del alcohol. Si usted ha tiendo problemas del
hígado en el pasado, asegure que su médico sepa. Él/ella observará su hígado durante su tratamiento.
Si usted desarrolla el dolor del estomago severo, la náusea severa, o la ictericia (la piel y/o los ojos
parecen amarillos), váyase al hospital tan pronto como sea posible. La probabilidad de un recuperación
completa es más alta si usted recibe tratamiento rápidamente.

Lesiones cerebrales: Si usted ha sufrido una lesión cerebral severa o si un médico le ha dicho que
usted tiene una lesión intracraneal, avise a su médico antes de empezar a tomar Suboxone. Suboxone
causa un aumento de la presión en el cráneo, y esto puede empeorar la lesión.

Keys to Successful Addiction Treatment

This patient handout sheet offers a list of suggestions and reminders for successful addiction treatment.

Keys to Successful Addiction Treatment

Overcoming an addiction is not easy --it takes courage and commitment. However, as many people have discovered, the rewards of going clean and staying sober are worth the effort. Starting treatment is an important first step toward overcoming drug use. If you follow the guidelines listed below, your treatment will be much more effective, and you will have a better chance of staying drug-free. These keys to successful treatment are based on medical research and the experiences of thousands of patients who successfully stopped using drugs during treatment and remained drug-free afterward.

  • Above all else, stay in treatment! Patients who stay in treatment have a much better chance of staying drug-free than those who drop out.
  • Especially for the first month of treatment, you may feel very unmotivated to continue. This is normal -- most patients who drop out of treatment do so in the first 30 days. You need to be prepared for this feeling so you can better resist the urge to drop out.
  • Obey the program's rules -- they're in place to help you become drug-free. Also, many programs will stop your treatment if you don't follow the rules.
  • Develop a good relationship with your provider or counselor. Many people who have gone on to become drug-free have found that trusting relationships with their counselors were important in helping them complete treatment.
  • Make a commitment to your treatment and to changing your life. Don't just go to all your treatment sessions --take part in them, too.
  • Follow your treatment plan and use the services that your provider or counselor recommends.
  • Don't let a lapse become a relapse. Many people lapse and use drugs once, twice, or even more times during treatment. If this happens to you, it doesn't mean that your treatment has failed --but it does mean that you're having trouble. Talk to your provider or counselor about the lapse, and let them help you stop it from becoming a relapse --a return to drug abuse.
  • Ask for help if you need it! That's what your provider or counselor is there for.
  • Be prepared to make some major life changes. It's very hard to stay sober when the people around you are still using drugs. You will need to stay away from friends who use drugs and, if possible, get out of houses or even neighborhoods where drug use is going on. Follow these keys to treatment and you will be on your way to a drug-free life!

© 2010 Clinical Tools, Inc.

Common Side Effects of Buprenorphine

Patient Handout

These Are The Common Side Effects of buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is safe to use for most patients. Some people do experience side effects, but most of buprenorphine's side effects are not dangerous --they're just unpleasant.

Common minor side effects include:
Nausea Sweating
Constipation Headache
Drowsiness Depression
Disturbed sleep

If you experience any of the above, talk to your provider. Your provider may give you medicine to treat the side effects, or your provider may lower your dose of buprenorphine slightly. Regardless, most minor side effects will either go away as you become used to the drug or can be treated with minor lifestyle changes.

Some people with certain medical conditions are at risk for more serious side effects:

Drug Interactions: Some people who take both sedatives and buprenorphine have overdosed on one or both drugs. If you have been prescribed medications, make certain your provider knows. He or she may change how much of each drug you take. Also, while on buprenorphine, never take sedatives or other drugs except those prescribed by your provider!

Allergic reaction: If you develop hives or a rash while taking buprenorphine, you may be allergic to it. If this happens, call your provider or go to the emergency room immediately. Also, tell your provider if you know that you are allergic to drugs called buprenorphine or naloxone.

Respiratory depression: Like prescription narcotics and heroin, buprenorphine affects the reflexes that keep you breathing. In most patients, this effect is minimal, but it can be serious in patients who already have damaged or diseased lungs. If you have a condition that impairs your breathing, tell your provider before beginning buprenorphine.

Liver problems (hepatitis):
A few people have developed problems with their livers while taking buprenorphine. Most of these people already had liver problems like hepatitis B or C or cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse. If you have had liver problems in the past, make sure that your provider knows. He or she will monitor your liver closely during your treatment. If you develop severe stomach pain, severe nausea, or jaundice (skin and/or whites of the eyes look yellow), get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Your chances of full recovery are very good if you get treatment quickly.

Head injury: If you have suffered a severe head injury or have been told by a provider that you have an intracranial lesion, tell your provider before beginning buprenorphine. Buprenorphine causes a increase in pressure in the skull, and this can make your injury worse.

Talking to Your Provider

This patient handout sheet discusses the importance of honesty from both the patient and the provider when talking about drug use and treatment.

Be Honest With Your Provider

Your provider wants to provide the best possible treatment for you with a treatment plan that meets
your unique needs and circumstances. This can be achieved through a relationship based on
honesty and good communication. Be sure to tell your provider if you:
    Start taking a new prescription or over-the-counter medication
    Use an opioid, such as heroin, methadone, or a prescription narcotic
    Use other illicit drugs
    Crave opioids or think you might be experiencing withdrawal.

These are things that could alter your treatment plan, so be sure to bring them to your provider 's
attention right away. Your provider cares about you and is there to listen, so don't be afraid to speak
up if you have a problem or a concern.

Expect Your Provider to Be Honest With You

Just as your provider expects honesty and communication from you, you should expect the same
from him or her. Your provider should discuss several issues with you before starting a treatment
plan, including:

    Treatment philosophy --What is your provider's approach to treatment?
    Confidentiality --Who will have access to your information?
    Office policy --What is the policy for missed or canceled appointments?
    Prescription procedures --Will you receive take-home doses, or will you get your medication
    from a pharmacy?
    Urine testing procedures --How often will you provide urine samples, and how will the results
    be interpreted? What happens if your urine sample shows that you have been using drugs?

If your provider does not bring up these issues when starting your treatment, be sure to ask about
them. Remember, open communication, trust, and honesty will help make your treatment

Buprenorphine and Pregnancy -- What You Need to Know

This patient handout sheet explains concerns and risks for buprenorphine treatment of patients who are or wish to become pregnant.

Buprenorphine and Pregnancy -- What You Need to Know

Abusing heroin or prescription painkillers while you are pregnant is very dangerous --both for your own health and for the health of the baby you are carrying. The best action you can take is to get into treatment and stop using drugs.

What happens if you are pregnant (or want to become pregnant) and want to start taking buprenorphine?

Methadone maintenance treatment and buprenorphine monotherapy are both appropriate choices for pregnant women with opioid use disorder.

Drug-free treatments, naltrexone treatment, or "detox" are also good choices if you are just planning a pregnancy, but they are a bad idea if you are already pregnant --these treatments will force you to go into withdrawal, which could cause a miscarriage.

Your provider can advise you about other treatments and help you choose one that it right for you.

What happens if you are already using buprenorphine and want to get pregnant?

If you want to get pregnant, the safest thing to do is switch to another treatment that is safe to use during pregnancy -- methadone, naltrexone, or a drug-free treatment.

Let your provider know in advance if you want to become pregnant so you can work together to plan your change in treatment. Also, use birth control to reduce the chance of having an unplanned pregnancy.

But what happens if you are taking buprenorphine and get pregnant unexpectedly?

In this situation, you have 2 things to consider:
 There is a small chance that buprenorphine will hurt your child, but

If you switch from buprenorphine to any other kind of treatment (except for the buprenorphine only form --see below), you will probably go into withdrawal --and withdrawal could cause a miscarriage.

Miscarriage from withdrawal is the greater of these 2 risks. So, if you are already on buprenorphine and you become pregnant, you should not switch to another treatment.

There is only one change you should make --your provider will probably switch you from buprenorphine/naloxone combination to buprenorphine only form (monotherapy). Monotherapy has the same active ingredient as the buprenorphine/naloxone combination formulation and is used in the same way, but it doesn't have another ingredient (naloxone) which could be dangerous to take during pregnancy.

Remember to talk to your provider if you wish to become pregnant or suspect you are pregnant at any time while taking buprenorphine.