Mental Health Home > Sublingual Buprenorphine Dosage

Before prescribing sublingual buprenorphine, your healthcare provider will consider how you respond to the drug and other medical conditions you have, among other things. The initial dosage of this medicine will vary for each person. However, the initial dose of sublingual buprenorphine is typically 8 mg on the first day and 16 mg on the second day.

An Introduction to Your Dosage of Sublingual Buprenorphine

The dose of sublingual buprenorphine (Subutex®) your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
 
  • The type and dose of opioids you have been taking
  • How you respond to the medication
  • Other medications you are taking
  • Other medical conditions you may have.
 
As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
 

Sublingual Buprenorphine Dosing Guidelines for Treating Opioid Dependence

Your healthcare provider will individualize your dose, based largely on how you respond to the medication. Typically, buprenorphine is started at least four hours after your last dose of other opioids, preferably after withdrawal symptoms start to appear; if you start it too soon, it might actually make withdrawal symptoms worse.
 
One typical way to dose sublingual buprenorphine is to start with 8 mg on the first day and 16 mg (the full dosage) on the second day. Often, by the third day you can be switched to Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone). This is a similar medication to sublingual buprenorphine, but has less potential for abuse and is a preferred option for use outside of a treatment center (see What Is Sublingual Buprenorphine Used For? for more information about Suboxone versus sublingual buprenorphine).
 
Your healthcare provider can start you on a lower dose and gradually increase the amount, but this is more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than a fast, two-day start. He or she should adjust your dosing regimen until you find an amount that adequately reduces your withdrawal symptoms. For most people, this ends up being between 4 mg and 24 mg per day.
 
Sublingual buprenorphine lasts long enough that you can use it just once a day.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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