Suboxone is useful in the treatment of opioid addiction, because it contains the active medication buprenorphine, which reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. While Suboxone is a beneficial medication, it can come with some side effects, as is the case with most prescription medications. Before taking Suboxone, it is common for people to wonder about side effects and ask questions like, “Does Suboxone make you gain weight?” Learn some answers, as well as what else to expect when you take Suboxone, below. 

Does Suboxone Cause Weight Gain? 

So, is weight gain a side effect of buprenorphine? People commonly ask about weight gain when starting new medications, including Suboxone. The topic of Suboxone and weight gain is quite common, because it is not unusual for people to gain some weight when they start treatment for opioid addiction.

Researchers have conducted studies to determine if Suboxone weight gain is prevalent. One recent study found  that patients taking Suboxone gained an average of nearly 5 kilograms (about 10 pounds) over a 4-month period, because of an increase in appetite. 

While patients in the study did gain weight, other studies with patients taking Suboxone have not shown an increase in weight. It is possible that weight gain occurs not because of Suboxone but because people develop healthier eating habits, and gain needed weight, when in recovery from opioid addiction.

Some studies have shown that patients taking medications like Suboxone while recovering from opioid addiction are more likely to crave sweets and fast foods. While this can contribute to increases in weight, working with a nutritionist and developing healthy eating habits can prevent Suboxone weight gain. Again, it is likely not the Suboxone itself that contributes to weight gain, but rather the changes in eating habits that occur when people enter treatment. 

Can Suboxone Cause Fluid Retention?

Weight gain during Suboxone treatment is likely a result of improved eating habits and not the medication itself, but there may be a possibility of fluid retention with Suboxone. Peripheral edema (swelling caused by fluid retention in the legs, feet, and hands) is listed as a potential adverse reaction to Suboxone.

Fluid retention is possible with Suboxone, but this side effect is rare. If you experience Suboxone weight gain, it might be due to temporary fluid retention from edema. It is important to discuss this and any other side effects with your Suboxone doctor. 

In most cases, the answer to the question, “Can Suboxone make you gain weight?” is no. It may lead to fluid retention in rare cases, but most of the time, weight gain while taking Suboxone is a result of improved eating habits while in treatment, which is beneficial for many patients. Increases in fast food intake during addiction treatment may lead to unhealthy weight gain, but this behavior can be corrected and is not a direct side effect of Suboxone.

Does Suboxone Make You Lose Weight?

Weight gain may not be a common side effect of Suboxone, but some people may wonder if Suboxone and weight loss is a possibility. Weight loss is not a commonly-reported side effect of Subxone treatment, so if you experience weight loss while using this medication, it is likely a result of some other factor. 

List of Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone and weight gain is not a commonly listed side effect of this medication, nor is Suboxone weight loss a known side effect of the drug. 

Some common side effects when taking Suboxone include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Fever and sweating 

  • Attention problems

  • Tremor

  • Muscle pain

  • Dizziness

  • Sleepiness

  • Headache

  • Blurry vision

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Constipation 

The above list includes common Suboxone side effects. For more detailed information about the side effects of this medication, see our comprehensive guide here. 

Do Opioids Cause Weight Gain?

According to addiction research, opioids themselves do not cause weight gain. In fact, patients addicted to opioids like heroin are often underweight, as they will sacrifice their nutritional needs in favor of obtaining opioids. 

Weight gain is common during opioid addiction treatment and may be a side effect of opioid withdrawal, but opioids themselves do not cause weight gain. People may have a preference for sugary foods when taking opioids or undergoing withdrawal, but dietary habits can be improved to promote optimal health and nutrition. 

Does Methadone Make You Gain Weight?

Methadone is another medication used in opioid addiction treatment, and people often wonder about weight gain with this medication. Studies have shown that patients do tend to gain weight when they take methadone, but as with Suboxone, weight gain is not a direct result of methadone treatment.

Instead, weight gain on methadone occurs when patients consume an excess of sugary foods and follow a poor diet. Nutrition education can prevent unhealthy weight gain with methadone.  

Other Myths About Suboxone

In general, the belief that Suboxone and weight gain go hand-in-hand is a myth. This medication has not been found to directly cause weight gain, but people may gain weight in opioid addiction treatment. In some cases, the weight gain is needed because of malnutrition during the active phases of addiction. In other cases, patients may gain weight because of poor nutrition, but this can be corrected with education.

Beyond the belief that Suboxone weight gain is common, there are some additional myths associated with this medication.

It’s A Dangerous Drug

People may mistakenly believe that Suboxone is a dangerous drug. As with any prescription medication, people may abuse Suboxone, but it is safe when used under the direction of a doctor. 

It Just Replaces One Addiction With Another 

Opponents of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may argue that drugs like Suboxone simply replace one addiction with another, but this is not the case. People who participate in MAT are more likely to stay in treatment, and they reduce their use of illegal drugs. People who take Suboxone are able to overcome negative consequences of opioid addiction.

You Shouldn’t Be On Suboxone Long-Term 

The length of time that a patient stays on Suboxone depends upon their unique needs, but this medication has been found to be safe to use for months, or even years. Some people may stay on Suboxone for a lifetime, because receiving this medication while under the care of a doctor is much safer than relapsing to opioid addiction. 

Consult With An Online Suboxone Doctor Today

If you’re looking for convenient, private opioid addiction treatment, Confidant Health is here to help. Consult with our online Suboxone doctors from home to learn about treatment options and discuss any concerns you have about medication side effects. The Confidant Health app is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Download it today to begin virtual opioid addiction treatment.