Mental Health Home > Sublingual Buprenorphine Side Effects

Commonly reported sublingual buprenorphine side effects include headaches, insomnia, and nausea. Other problems can include sweating, infections, and vomiting. While these problems generally require little or no treatment, potentially serious reactions are possible. If you experience more serious side effects, such as hallucinations, difficulty breathing, or severe constipation, notify your healthcare provider right away.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Sublingual Buprenorphine

Just like any medicine, sublingual buprenorphine (Subutex®) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with sublingual buprenorphine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Sublingual Buprenorphine Side Effects

Some side effects of sublingual buprenorphine are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • The urge to take more sublingual buprenorphine than prescribed
  • Any difficulty breathing, including reduced, shallow, slow, or irregular breathing
  • Confusion or problems thinking, walking, or talking
  • Severe constipation
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Signs of liver damage, such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, or high liver enzymes (found using a blood test)
  • Unusual changes in behavior or mood, including depression, hostility, agitation, or anxiety
  • Dizziness when getting up from a seated or lying-down position, which may be a sign of low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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