What Pain Meds Can You Take if on Suboxone?


Suboxone is a narcotic painkiller approved for the treatment of opiate addiction by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002. By its nature, Suboxone relieves some types of pain, but at times, additional relief may be necessary. Depending on your level of pain, the medications you can take while on Suboxone may be limited.

Pain Medications and Suboxone

  • Taking Suboxone creates a dilemma if you're looking for pain relief. The active ingredient of Suboxone is buprenorphine, a potent opiate-type painkiller. The longer you're on Suboxone, though, the more tolerant you become to the drug---and the less effective it is for pain.

    Suboxone also contains naloxone, a compound that blocks the effects of prescription opiate painkillers such as hydrocodone or morphine. These medications will not work while you're on Suboxone, as they're the type of addictive opiate drugs Suboxone is designed to treat. Also, doctors will more than likely not prescribe them to you, although that depends on the nature of your pain and the physician's analysis.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

  • There are still options for pain medications while you're on Suboxone. The manufacturers of Suboxone claim that the drug has no negative interactions with over-the-counter pain relievers. It is highly likely that non-prescription drugs like these are going to be the main choices available while you're on Suboxone.

    You can take pain-relieving medications like aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) safely with Suboxone, following the proper doses listed on the product. Excedrin, which also contains a small amount of caffeine, may ease mild pain.

    Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) can also help mitigate pain, particularly if it is felt in your muscles and joints.

    Take these medications only as directed, and if they're not working to control your pain, notify your doctor.

Prescription Pain Medications

  • Talking to your doctor about your pain may result in a prescription pain medication. However, it's unlikely that she will prescribe anything narcotic if you're honest with her about being on Suboxone.

    The doctor will determine what you need, and may prescribe a prescription-strength form of ibuprofen, for example, or another anti-inflammatory drug such as ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol).

    If the pain is severe and the doctor deems it appropriate, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that opiate narcotic painkillers may be given, although your Suboxone dose will be temporarily stopped during the duration of treatment using these drugs.


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