How to take Suboxone® sublingual film

MAT with Suboxone is the best treatment for opioid addiction. Follow our step-by-step guide to ensure that you are getting the most out of your medication.

Ophelia team
Woman taking Suboxone medication for opioid addiction
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Arthur Robin Williams, MD

Suboxone® is a medication used to treat opioid addiction (important safety information). It contains buprenorphine and naloxone and is available in sublingual tablet or sublingual film form. “Sublingual” means the medication needs to dissolve underneath your tongue, unlike other oral medications which can be swallowed. The sublingual route of administration allows the medication to be absorbed quickly into your bloodstream. In this guide, we'll focus on how to take Suboxone sublingual film. Note: in order to get the best treatment outcomes and to avoid any adverse reactions, it is critical that you stop using other opioids before starting treatment with Suboxone.

Step-by-step guide to taking Suboxone sublingual film

  1. First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water (always a good idea), and dry them. This will help keep you safe by ensuring the medication is not contaminated when you take it.
  2. Drink a little bit of water to moisten your mouth. This will help the film dissolve more easily.
  3. Remove the Suboxone sublingual film from its packaging. Be careful not to break or damage the film.
  4. Place the film under your tongue, as far back as possible and on the right or left side of your mouth. If your dose is two films then place the second film under your tongue on the opposite side of your mouth, making sure that the films do not overlap. Keep the films flat, not folded, and hold in place until they stick.
  5. Keep the film under your tongue until it dissolves completely. This usually takes 5–10 minutes. Do not chew, swallow, or move the film around in your mouth. Swallowing the film will reduce the medication’s effectiveness.
  6. Do not eat, drink, or smoke anything for at least 15–20 minutes after taking the film. This will give the medication enough time to be absorbed into your system. Avoid too much talking during this time since this can affect how well the medicine is absorbed.

Tips for taking Suboxone sublingual film

Suboxone sublingual film takes time to dissolve, so don't rush the process. While waiting for the Suboxone sublingual film to dissolve, it's important to remain patient and avoid engaging in activities that may interfere with the medication's absorption. Here are some recommendations for things to do while waiting for the film to dissolve.

Practice relaxation techniques

Taking deep breaths, practicing meditation, or listening to calming music can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. This can be especially helpful for those in the early stages of treatment. Remember that this is a special  time because you are doing something important to save your life.

Read a book

Reading can be an excellent distraction and a great way to pass the time. Choose a book that interests you and take advantage of the quiet time to immerse yourself in a good story. Leaning forward to read can also help minimize any accidental swallowing while the medication absorbs. 

Watch a TV show

Watching a TV show is a simple  way to distract yourself while waiting for the film to dissolve. Choose something you enjoy to promote positive or relaxed feelings or have been wanting to watch. You could even make a point to find a show with episodes or segments that are  15–20 minutes in length to ensure the Suboxone film has time to dissolve. Just like reading, consider looking at a screen slightly below eye-level. 

Best practices

It's important to remember that Suboxone sublingual film is a very effective medication, but it requires care and attention. By staying patient, following the instructions provided, and engaging in healthy activities while waiting for the film to dissolve, you can increase your chances of successful recovery.

There are a few important practices to keep in mind every time you take a dose:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water before and after taking the film can help it dissolve faster and make the process more comfortable. Dehydration can slow down the absorption of the medication.
  • Avoid acidic drinks: Acidic drinks, such as orange juice, grapefruit juice, or soda, can interfere with the absorption of Suboxone. Stick to water or other non-acidic beverages.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions: Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to take Suboxone. Follow them carefully to ensure you get the most benefit from the medication. If you're unsure about anything, ask your doctor or pharmacist for clarification.
  • Keep track of your doses: Suboxone should be taken regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Taking more or less than prescribed can be dangerous and may lead to adverse effects. If you're experiencing any side effects or have any concerns about taking Suboxone, reach out to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone

Taking Suboxone as part of a well-rounded MAT program is an essential step for those struggling with opioid addiction. By following our step-by-step guide and tips, you'll be able to take Suboxone sublingual film with confidence and ease as part of your daily routine. 

Looking for medication? Ophelia has you covered with online treatment that fits conveniently into your life – get care virtually, on your own time, from the comfort of your home. Schedule a free welcome call today and, if eligible, receive a Suboxone prescription to your local pharmacy.

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