Suboxone vs. Subutex: What’s the Difference?

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Opioid misuse is at an all-time high with more than 10 million people misusing these drugs in the past year. Those who choose to get treatment may decide to turn to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

While there are plenty of MAT treatments out there, two popular ones are Suboxone and Subutex. 

If you’re planning to take one of these medications you should know the differences between them. In this guide, let’s take a look at Suboxone vs. Subutex.

What Is Subutex?

Subutex is the brand name for a type of medication that contains buprenorphine. The Food and Drug Administration approved this drug for the purpose of addiction treatment. 

The way that Subutex works is thanks to the fact that it contains buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid made out of thebaine that binds to the body’s opioid receptors. 

The difference between buprenorphine and opioid drugs, however, is that buprenorphine has a maximum effect that can be achieved, even if you increase the dose. 

What’s great about this is that individuals who take buprenorphine at low doses can keep themselves from experiencing withdrawal symptoms. That, in turn, helps reduce the risk of a relapse.  

How to Take Subutex

To take Subutex, you’ll start administering the drug between 12 and 24 hours after stopping opioid misuse. This should be right around the time when withdrawal symptoms kick in. 

After a recovering addict stabilizes and reduces their opioid use, their physician will adjust the dose. 

Finally, after you find the right dose of the medicine, you’ll keep taking the medication to maintain the results. You’ll then get regular check-ups to adjust the dose as necessary. 

What Is Suboxone?

Another brand-name medication that you might use to help with opioid addiction is Suboxone. This medication, like Subutex, contains buprenorphine.

What’s different, however, is that Suboxone also contains naloxone. 

Naloxone is a substance that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose by removing opioids from the brain’s receptors. Most people will recognize this drug by the name Narcan. 

You can find Narcan as a nasal spray as well as injections that go directly into the muscle. 

In Suboxone, naloxone and buprenorphine work together as a full opioid antagonist. What that means is that it doesn’t excite the opioid receptors in the brain but instead shuts them down. 

How to Take Suboxone

You can take Suboxone by keeping the medicine under your tongue and allowing it to dissolve. It will usually take between 15 and 30 minutes for the medicine to fully dissolve. 

Once taking the medicine, you’ll need to wait a half-hour before you can eat food or drink anything. Then, you can continue your day as normal. 

Like with Subutex, you’ll need to get regular check-ups to see how you’re progressing. Some people take this medicine for life while others take it for a limited time.  

Subutex vs. Suboxone: The Differences

Now that you know what both these medicines are, let’s talk about a couple of things that make them different. After all, despite being similar, they’re not one and the same. 


The major difference between these medicines is if a person tries to abuse them. Suboxone will cause immediate withdrawal symptoms if a person attempts to abuse it. 

On the other hand, Subutex cannot be abused because there is a limit to the effects of the medication. 

If you’re worried about abusing the medicine or have had relapses in the past, you may find that Subutex is a better choice. 

Access To Care

Access to care is also a major difference. Because Suboxone can be prescribed online and there are no online providers who prescribe Subutex, it is easier to get a prescription as you can do everything on your phone vs. an in-person clinic.

Can You Substitute Subutex and Suboxone?

Many people think that they can simply switch between Subutex and Suboxone since the two medicines are fairly similar. Now, while this might seem like a great scheme, be careful!

You should always stick to your doctor’s instructions. Never try to alter your dose or switch it out for other medicines. Doing so can cause dangerous and negative side effects. 

If you do want to switch from one medicine to the other, you can speak to your doctor. He or she will be able to advise you as to whether this is a good choice for you or not. 

Similarities Between Subutex and Suboxone

Even though the drugs are different and should be treated as such, there are still similarities between Subutex and Suboxone. Let’s take a look at them. 

The Ceiling Effect

For one thing, both these drugs will produce a high if you take them according to your prescription, and both of these will prevent you from getting too high, even if you take too much of the drug. 

The Role

Another similarity between the drugs is their purpose. Both these drugs can halt opioid withdrawal, support addiction treatment, and eliminate opioid misuse.

The Side Effects

These two drugs also have similar side effects on users. The side effects are usually mild or moderate. 

The side effects you’ll find include:

  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Tongue pain
  • Back pain
  • A numb mouth
  • Sleeping problems
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach pain

Understand The Difference Between Suboxone vs. Subutex

With this guide to the differences between Suboxone vs. Subutex, you’ll know which to pick. That can be the first step towards overcoming addiction and taking control of your life again. 

Are you ready to find Suboxone or Subutex? We’ve got you covered. Browse our products and place an order for yours today.

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