Suboxone® tablets will be discontinued from September 1st, replaced by the improved design of the sublingual film in equivalent doses.

Suboxone®

Buprenorphine/Naloxone 2mg/0.5mg 8mg/2mg
Aust R PBS Aust R PBS
Tablet 120159 6470M 120160 6471N
Film 163443 9749D 163444 9750E

Suboxone® contains buprenorphine to reduce the craving for, and the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids; where naloxone counteracts the effects of any diverted into intravenous administration.

The tablets offer more flexibility of dose, but may be hidden in the mouth for later recreational or black market use unless the supervisor monitors the patient for up to 10 minutes while they fully dissolve, which can be facilitated by breaking (but not crushing) the tablet.

Suboxone® film is harder to divert as it rapidly adheres to the oral mucosa and dissolves more quickly; although the dose is restricted to no more than two films at the same time.

Patients who are transferred from tablet to film will notice a difference in the taste, and should be observed for changes in clinical effect as the bioavailability of buprenorphine is increased by about 20%.

References:

  1. National Prescribing Service. Buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone Sublingual Film) for opiate dependence. NPS Radar 2011, September.
  2. Lintzeris N, Clark N, Winstock A, Dunlop A, Muhleisen P, Gowing L, et al. National clinical guidelines and procedures for the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid dependence. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2006.

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