Both Suboxone pills and strips are used to treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This medication is meant to be placed under the tongue or in the cheek until fully dissolved.
There are pros and cons to both pills and strips, with the most popular choice being Suboxone strips. For the most part, choosing between the two comes down to preference.
The Differences Between Suboxone Pills And Strips
While Suboxone pills and strips both serve the same purpose, there are differences between the two that may influence the decision for someone just starting on Suboxone.
Price: Pills Are Cheaper
Suboxone strips can cost between $40 and $60 for 14 of the 2 mg (milligrams)/0.5 mg strips, and closer to $220 for the 12 mg/3 mg strips.
Suboxone pills are cheaper and cost between $25 to $45 for 14 of the 2 mg (milligrams)/0.5 mg tablets, and between $40 to $100 for the 8 mg/2 mg tablets.
Absorption: Strips Absorb Better
Suboxone pills take longer to dissolve under the tongue than the strips do. Many patients who use Suboxone prefer strips because they absorb better.
Strips are thinner and dissolve faster, so it’s generally more comfortable to use strips versus holding a pill in place for a longer period of time.
Stigma: Pills Are More Discreet
Treating opioid addiction with Suboxone is a good and important step toward recovery. However, some may still struggle with letting others know about their recovery.
In this sense, pills are more discreet than strips and carry less stigma. A person just starting Suboxone treatment may feel more comfortable using a pill than a strip.
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Taste: Some Prefer Pills
Both of the active ingredients in Suboxone have a bitter taste and bad aftertaste.
And while both tablets and strips have this taste, researchers have found many people prefer the taste of the pills over strips.
However, the drawback is that tablets take longer to dissolve, so the bitter taste will rest in the mouth for longer.
Is One More Effective Than The Other?
Both Suboxone pills and strips are effective methods of treating the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. They are equally as effective but differ slightly in the exposure of naloxone.
Suboxone strips tend to absorb better into the mouth, which can lead to more exposure to the naloxone in Suboxone.
Some doctors may recommend the pill version in order to decrease the level at which the patient is being exposed to naloxone.
Tips For Taking Suboxone Pills And Strips
Here are a few tips for using Suboxone pills and strips.
Do Not Crush Or Cut The Medication
Suboxone pills and strips need to be fully dissolved in the mouth or they won’t be as effective.
Some people crush Suboxone pills or cut the strips in order to decrease the dose and taper off the drug, but this should never be done unless directed to do so by the prescribing doctor.
Use the medication as prescribed and allow it to dissolve completely before moving it, eating, drinking, or doing anything else that may change the effectiveness of the drug.
Drink Water First
When taking Suboxone tablets and strips, it’s best to take a few sips of water before putting the medication under the tongue or in the cheek.
This will help the Suboxone tablet or strip to dissolve faster and absorb better, maximizing the effectiveness of the medication.
This is especially important when using Suboxone tablets, because they’ll take longer to dissolve and require more moisture.
Find Suboxone Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Suboxone will treat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, but it will not cure the addiction.
In order to reach goals of long-term sobriety, it’s essential that Suboxone be used in combination with other social support, behavioral therapy, vocational development, and other factors.
Here are a few addiction treatment programs that can offer Suboxone:
- standard outpatient program
- intensive outpatient program
- partial hospitalization program
- inpatient rehab
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
If you’d like to learn more about Suboxone treatment, and which programs offer this medication as a part of its recovery plan, call our helpline today.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)—Pharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic characterization of a novel sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone tablet formulation in healthy volunteers
- Suboxone.com—Patient Information for SUBOXONE®