Suboxone Films Background With Text - Do Suboxone Films Contain Sugar?


Suboxone films (buprenorphine; naloxone) do not contain sugar but they do contain sweeteners. In fact, the films contain two sweeteners:

  • Maltitol (sugar alcohol)
  • Acesulfame potassium (artificial sweetener)

The complete list of ingredients in Suboxone films is as follows:[1]

  • Polyethylene oxide
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (also known as hypromellose)
  • Maltitol
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Lime flavor
  • Citric acid
  • Sodium citrate
  • FD&C yellow #6
  • White ink

Maltitol, a sugar alcohol, has minimal effects on blood sugar and contains fewer calories than sucrose (i.e. sugar) per gram (2 to 3 calories for maltitol compared to around 4 for sucrose). [2]

Acesulfame potassium, an artificial sweeter, is considered to be calorie free and has no effect on blood sugar, at least in the short-term.[3] I discuss each of these sweeteners and their use in Suboxone in more detail below.

Maltitol In Suboxone Films

As stated above, maltitol is a sugar alcohol and is used in Suboxone as a sweetener.

The prescribing information for Suboxone doesn't state how much maltitol is contained in each film but is low enough to be considered having a negligible number of calories.

Additionally, although maltitol can slightly raise blood sugar levels, it doesn't to the same extent as sucrose. Since there is such a small amount of maltitol in Suboxone, you shouldn't expect to see any changes in blood sugar. [4]

One of the most commonly reported side effects of sugar alcohols, in general, is diarrhea, as large doses can have a laxative effect. However, this isn't much of a concern with Suboxone due to the low doses that would be consumed when taken as recommended.[5]

Acesulfame potassium In Suboxone Films

Acesulfame potassium is not a sugar alcohol, but an artificial sweetener. It is around 200 times sweeter than sugar, contains no calories and has no effect on blood sugar (although the effects of long-term consumption are somewhat controversial).[6]

Like maltitol, the prescribing information doesn't state how much acesulfame potassium is contained in one film of Suboxone, but it likely is minimal based on the small size of the films.

Acesulfame potassium is not associated with the gastrointestinal issues of sugar alcohols and is classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA.[7]


Suboxone films do not contain sugar (sucrose). They do contain two other sweeteners however, maltitol and acesulfame potassium.

  1. ^ Suboxone Prescribing Information. Suboxone Manufacturer Website
  2. ^ Artificial sweeteners – a review. PubMed
  3. ^ Evidence-based nutrition principles and recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diabetes and related complications. PubMed
  4. ^ Effects of oral administration of maltitol on plasma glucose, plasma sorbitol, and serum insulin levels in man. PubMed
  5. ^ Maltitol Compound Summary. PubChem
  6. ^ Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. PubMed
  7. ^ Low‐calorie Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes: A Review of the Safety Issues. Wiley Online Library