Suboxone is the brand name for an FDA-approved combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. It works by binding to the same brain receptors as opioids to prevent or reduce cravings for drugs such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl. This is why it’s used widely to treat opioid use disorders (OUD). Suboxone is highly effective alongside counseling and other forms of support for opioid abuse. However, fatigue and drowsiness are common side effects of suboxone use.
In this article, we’ll explore why suboxone makes you tired and how to overcome its effects.
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Does Suboxone Make You Feel Tired Or Drowsy?
In short, yes, suboxone can make you feel tired or drowsy, even when used as prescribed.
Suboxone contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is the active drug in suboxone. It’s a partial opioid agonist, producing similar effects as full opioid agonists such as heroin. However, these effects are weaker than those of full opioid agonists.
Naloxone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist or “blocker.” Opioid blockers block opioid receptors in our nervous system, preventing opioid effects.
The reason suboxone may make you feel sleepy, tired, or drowsy is because of buprenorphine.
The opioid-like effects of buprenorphine are weaker than those of heroin or fentanyl, but they still occur. Like any other opioid agonist, partial or full, buprenorphine has a chance of making you feel sleepy.
Buprenorphine effects tend to “top” at some point, however. Even if you increase the dose, the effects will not intensify accordingly. This reduces the risk of dependency, overdose, and side effects.
Buprenorphine abuse may lead to an overdose, especially when combined with other opioids, benzodiazepines, or alcohol. Overdosing on buprenorphine alone is very rare.
How To Reduce Suboxone-Induced Tiredness Or Drowsiness?
Suboxone side effects, like tiredness, will be more intense in the first days or weeks of use. It will naturally take time for your body to become used to suboxone and for its effects to weaken. You’ll likely no longer suffer from suboxone-induced tiredness in a few days or weeks.
To help overcome suboxone-induced drowsiness or tiredness, you can try the following:
- Exercise: you can reduce fatigue by exercising. A Harvard study found that 10 minutes of stair-climbing boosts self-reported energy levels more than a moderate dose of caffeine (50mg). You don’t need to climb stairs. You can go for a walk, which helps clear your mind.
- Focus on nutrition: a nutrient-rich diet will support every aspect of your body’s functions as you recover from opioid abuse.
- Sleep well: according to a Penn State study, sleep disturbances are an important risk factor in drug addiction recovery. Getting a good night’s sleep will provide positive moods and minimize cravings.
- Meditate or practice yoga: according to the University of Waterloo, brief Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation sessions may significantly improve brain function and energy levels. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
- Fulfill emotional needs: substance abuse may numb emotions and feelings. People in recovery often feel overwhelmed by all the feelings and sensations coming back once they start getting sober. Seeking counseling will be important to address their new emotional needs and build long-term healthy habits.
- Be patient: your body will need time to adjust to the effects of suboxone. If you take a long-term, deliberate approach to suboxone use and combine this mindset with the other recommendations, you’ll be in a better position to overcome suboxone-induced fatigue.
Other Common Side Effects Of Suboxone
In addition to fatigue, drowsiness, and sleepiness, suboxone may cause other side effects. The most common ones include the following:
- Blurry vision
- Abdominal pain and constipation
- Nausea, dizziness, fainting, headaches, and vomiting
- Low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
- Chronic pain
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms
- Numb mouth and painful tongue
- Problems with concentration
- Irregular heartbeat
- Back pain
Different people may suffer other side effects to various degrees. Discuss side effects with your doctor if necessary.
Suboxone Is A Life-Saving Drug That May Cause Tiredness Or Drowsiness
Suboxone, combined with counseling, therapy, and other addiction recovery support, can save the lives of people with opioid abuse disorder.
It binds to your nervous system’s opioid receptors to block the effects of stronger opioids like heroin and reduces cravings. However, it may cause mild opioid-like effects, including tiredness, drowsiness, or sleepiness.
The degree to which you will feel its side effects changes individually. Over days and weeks, the tiredness will subside as your body gets used to having suboxone in the system. You can exercise, practice yoga, and receive behavioral therapy to reduce its effects.
Nonetheless, do not dismiss suboxone treatment for addressing an opioid use disorder. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist to learn more about this and other treatments.