Belbuca and Suboxone are both medications containing buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist acting on the mu-opioid receptor. This gives buprenorphine a ceiling effect, producing fewer effects than full agonists like heroin and morphine. Belbuca and Suboxone have different uses, so it’s important to know the difference. Suboxone is available to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). OUD is one of the world's most pressing public health concerns. The condition is marked by an uncontrollable craving for opioids, eventually leading to addiction. In the most recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during a 12-month period ending April 2021, a 28.5% increase during the same period the previous year.

Here, we will see the uses of these medications, how they work for you, their side effects, and their advantages over each other.


What is Belbuca?

Belbuca, a brand name for buprenorphine, is a prescription medication used to manage moderate to severe chronic pain. It is a part of the opioid class of medications and works by attaching to specific proteins in the body that block pain signals from being sent to the brain. Belbuca comes in the form of a filmstrip placed inside the cheek and dissolves over time, releasing the medication into the system.

Belbuca Side Effects

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Headache

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhea

  • Dry mouth

  • Upper respiratory tract infection

  • Anemia

  • Abdominal pain

  • Swelling of the extremities

  • Fever

  • Urinary tract infection

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Sinus infection

  • Bronchitis

  • Loss of appetite

  • Muscle spasms

  • Back pain

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

  • Sore throat

  • Increased sweating

  • Itching

  • Rash

  • Hot flashes

  • High blood pressure.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication used to help treat opioid addiction and minimize cravings. It is a combination of two medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, which work together to block the effects of opioids and help reduce cravings. Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, and is taken as a strip dissolved under the tongue. It is essential to follow the directions for taking Suboxone precisely as prescribed to get the most benefit from it. 

Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone is a medication that can be used to treat opioid use disorder. However, like many prescription medications, it comes with its fair share of side effects. Listed below are the side effects one might experience when taking Suboxone.

Common Side Effects of Suboxone

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Numbness, redness, or pain in the mouth

  • Insomnia

  • Drowsiness

  • Stomachache

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Back pain

  • Chills 

  • Sweating

  • Depression

  • Increase in heart rate

Serious Side Effects of Suboxone

  • Fainting

  • Hallucinations

  • Confusion/agitation

  • Irregular dizziness

  • Severe allergic reactions

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

  • Abuse 

  • Liver damage

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms

  • Difficulty waking up

Long Term Side-Effects of Suboxone 

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Night sweats

  • Loss of libido

Differences Between Belbuca and Suboxone


Suboxone is a medication that the FDA has approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). Suboxone can be highly beneficial for those struggling with OUD, and it can help improve their quality of life. On the other hand, Belbuca is a prescription opioid medication used to manage pain. The FDA does not approve Belbuca for the treatment of OUD. However, this medication can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings if taken as prescribed by a doctor.


The four different strengths of Suboxone sublingual film are:

  • 2 mg/0.5 mg

  • 4 mg/1 mg

  • 8 mg/2 mg

  • 12 mg/3 mg

Your doctor will determine which strength is best for you based on your individual needs. Meanwhile, Belbuca comes in many dosages:

  • 75 mcg

  • 150 mcg

  • 300 mcg

  • 450 mcg

  • 600 mcg

  • 750 mcg

  • 900 mcg


Both Belbuca and Suboxone are administered sublingually. However, unlike Suboxone that is available as both tablet and film, Belbuca only exists as a film/strip.


Generic versions of Belbuca are not currently available on the market. On the other hand, drug manufacturers such as Sandoz and Alvogen do produce FDA-approved generic versions of Suboxone, which are similar to their branded counterparts in terms of safety, efficacy, strength, dosage form, route of administration, and quality standards. 


The average retail price of Belbuca and Suboxone is $442.38 and $153.77, respectively. The prices will vary depending on your insurance coverage and where you purchase it from. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Belbuca and buprenorphine the same?

Belbuca is the brand name for a buprenorphine buccal film that is used to help relieve moderate to severe chronic pain. 

What is a substitute for Belbuca?

Belbuca is an effective pain medication that has been shown to provide relief for patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. However, several other medications can be prescribed instead of Belbuca. These alternatives include Buprenorphine (Butrans) and Methadone (Methadose).