Notes from the Pharmacists: Suboxone® Tablets

Released: 11/19/2012   By: Mike Partridge, RPh

Suboxone® (buprenorphine /naloxone) tablets were developed to prevent abuse. The naloxone in the Suboxone® tablet is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When a Suboxone® Tablet is placed under the tongue, as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so the patient feels the effects of the buprenorphine. If naloxone is injected, it can cause a person dependent on a full opioid agonist to quickly go into withdrawal. However, an abuser can still reach a fast onset and bypass most of the effect of the naloxone by crushing and snorting it. Signs of abuse/potential abuse can be frequent refill requests and multiple prescribing physicians. Suboxone® films are a safer alternative to tablets, as the films cannot be snorted.
**Note: Suboxone® tablets will no longer be on the market once the current supply has been exhausted due to significantly higher rates of accidental pediatric exposure with Suboxone® tablets than with Suboxone® film. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. notified the FDA that the company is voluntarily discontinuing the supply of Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual tablets) within the next 6 months.