Difference Between Subutex And Suboxone

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between Suboxone and Subutex and issues with filling both.

Question

I wanted to know if Subutex and Suboxone are considered the same drug at pharmacies? If your doctor changes you from Subutex to Suboxone, can you fill your valid script 25 days after filing a Subutex 28 day supply?

Asked by Tim On Jul 19, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 20, 2018

Although they share a similar name, Suboxone and Subutex are not the same. They both contain buprenorphine, an opiate agonist-antagonist, but Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opiate antagonist.


Suboxone Active Ingredients

  • Buprenorphine
  • Naloxone


Subutex Active Ingredient

  • Buprenorphine


Naloxone is added to Suboxone for the sole reason of deterring abuse. When Suboxone is taken by mouth as indicated, the naloxone component is not absorbed in a significant amount and therefore does not produce any effects.


However, if an individual injects Suboxone intravenously, the naloxone component will bind to, and block, opioid receptors in the body. This will block other opioid medications from binding to receptors, and therefore, will not produce a "high". In fact, it is important to note that injecting Suboxone could very well precipitate withdrawal in those dependent on opioids (because naloxone blocks other opioids from binding).


How Pharmacies Classify Subutex And Suboxone

Since Subutex and Suboxone are different drugs, your pharmacy will treat them differently. If you were previously taking Subutex, and your doctor switched you to Suboxone, you shouldn't have any trouble filling it. Your pharmacy may check with your doctor to confirm that you are switching, but it shouldn't cause any issues past that.


If you are consistently trying to fill both together, or fill both close to each other, your pharmacy will most likely contact your doctor just to confirm how you should be using the medications or if one is being discontinued.


In your situation, filling Suboxone 25 days after Subutex, that most likely will not cause any problems at the pharmacy. You are most likely just switching from one to the other, so be sure to tell the pharmacy that so they can make note of it.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor Of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in several publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any questions or want to connect! [email protected]; Office: 716-389-3076

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