Generic Suboxone: Uses, Forms and More
Generic Suboxone Names
Buprenorphine and naloxone are the compounding chemicals in Suboxone. Suboxone is an addiction medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). The medication is manufactured by Indivior. Generic versions of the Suboxone film first appeared in 2018. Some of these generics include Dr.Reddy’s, Alvogen, Sandoz, and Mylan. While generic sublingual formulations of buprenorphine/naloxone are relatively new, generic buprenorphine/naloxone tablets have been on the market since the early 2000s.
The chemical formula for buprenorphine is C29H41NO4, and the chemical formula for naloxone is C19H21NO4. These formulations are indicated on the back of all generic Suboxone products. While patients may feel more comfortable with the Suboxone packaging and branding they are familiar with, so long as the sublingual film contains the C29H41NO4/C19H21NO4 formulation of buprenorphine and naloxone at a 4:1 ratio, there is no difference in the effectiveness of the medication. See A Guide on Suboxone Dosages to validate and compare the formulation of Suboxone with generic Suboxone. While some generics will dissolve faster than others, the potency and effectiveness of generic Suboxone are very much on a par with brand name Suboxone.
Generic Suboxone Film
Imprinted on the orange Suboxone strip are letters and numbers that indicate the dosage, i.e., N2, N4, N8, N12 refers to a 2mg, 4mg, 8mg, and 12mg dose, respectively. The dosage embossed on generic Suboxone films differs. For example, Alvogen brandishes an A on their buprenorphine/naloxone strip in place of an N, i.e., A2, A4, A8, A12 refers to a 2mg, 4mg, 8mg, and 12mg dose, respectively. While Mylan engraves B2/N, B4/N, B8/N, and B12/N tags to differentiate strengths and doses.
In terms of packaging, the Sandoz packaging is very similar to that of Suboxone, i.e., blue and white. In fact, Sandoz and Suboxone are manufactured in the same facility. While Mylan’s packaging is also blue and white, it looks a little more like a nicotine patch as opposed to the elongated rectangular package patients are used to. Alvogen is fluorescent yellow (you can’t miss it!), and Dr. Reddy’s is predominately white. Dr. Reddy’s is a pharmaceutical company based in India. Alvogen and Mylan are US-based, while Sandoz also manufactures in the US.
When generic Suboxone came on the market, many insurance companies capitalized on this and adjusted the coverage they awarded. The cost of brand name Suboxone is much higher than generic Suboxone; therefore, only some companies will bear the cost of brand name Suboxone. Most OUD patients in the US have had to transition to generic Suboxone. The FDA’s approval of the production of generic Suboxone was part of an effort to address the opioid crisis in the US and make the medication assisted treatment (MAT) of OUD more affordable and accessible.
Opioids deploy their pharmacology on the delta, kappa, and mu opioid receptors. When activated by endorphins or endogenous peptides, as they are also known, opioid receptors in the brain release dopamine and create an accelerated feeling of euphoria in the body. Buprenorphine is a very powerful partial opioid used to treat OUD effectively. The force of buprenorphine’s grip on the mu, delta, and kappa receptors in the brain is explained in detail in Can You Overdose on Suboxone? Buprenorphine’s efficacy trumps that of full opioid agonists such as heroin and fentanyl. If you take Suboxone and heroin at the same time, which is never advisable as it can cause severe side effects and precipitated withdrawal, overdose, or death, the buprenorphine will overtake the effects of heroin and expend full occupancy of the opioid receptors. Buprenorphine is a much more aggressive drug in this regard.
The naloxone in the drug is a silent safeguard that only activates if the buprenorphine is exploited, i.e., injected intravenously or snorted. For every four measures of buprenorphine, there is just one measure of naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that completely blocks stimulation at the receptor site.
Is Generic Suboxone the Same as Regular Suboxone?
Suboxone and generic Suboxone are both orange in color, albeit generic Suboxone is less fragrant than brand name Suboxone. The citrus taste of the soluble film is less potent than that of Suboxone. The formulation of Suboxone and generic Suboxone is identical. While the rate of absorption and taste may vary slightly, generic Suboxone acts comparably with Suboxone. The differences between the products are seen across the branding and packaging, not in their efficacy.
Generic Suboxone Side Effects
The side effects associated with generic Suboxone are comparable to those associated with brand name Suboxone. As with Suboxone, patients must be in withdrawal before treating substance use disorder with generic Suboxone. As outlined in the example citing heroin use above, if Suboxone or generic Suboxone interacts with a full opioid agonist already residing at the receptor site, precipitated withdrawal will be induced.
If you are experiencing any side effects from taking Suboxone, contact your provider for further assistance. They can help guide your recovery and ensure you are engaged in a safe treatment plan designed specifically for you.