The use of Suboxone for opioid medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has helped countless people overcome opioid use disorder (OUD). However, this beneficial medication also has its own side effects, some of which can interfere with your sexual health and satisfaction. If you have any questions or concerns about your Suboxone medication, always be sure to consult with your provider.

Do you have to give up your enjoyment of physical intimacy to maintain your recovery from OUD? Not necessarily. Although Suboxone may present adverse sexual side effects in men and women, there are ways you can manage them to minimize their impact on your sex life.

If you are concerned about the sexual side effects of Suboxone, reach out to the caring clinicians at Confidant Health’s online Suboxone clinic for support. 

Does Suboxone Have Side Effects Sexually?

Suboxone is a medication used to help minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings in people recovering from opioid use disorder. It consists of buprenorphine and naloxone. Often, buprenorphine is the main culprit in Suboxone side effects

Although sexual dysfunction may be a side effect for people on a Suboxone regimen, there is not much research on this subject.  Many people experiencing issues with their sexual health may feel embarrassed speaking about it with their provider or may not realize the connection between the side effects and Suboxone.

Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone for Men

Most studies on Suboxone's sexual side effects have focused on the medication's impact on men's sexual function. Researchers at the University of Health Sciences in Istanbul, Turkey, reviewing these studies found that the rate of overall sexual dysfunction tends to range between 16% to 83.6% of men receiving Suboxone treatment. As noted in a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, some of the sexual side effects in men using Suboxone are:

1. Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual side effect for men using Suboxone for OUD. The study showed that 77.5% of men experienced erectile dysfunction while on Suboxone, with many reporting that the medication interfered with their ability to remain sexually active.

2. Low testosterone levels

Suboxone disrupts hormonal balance, which can result in lower testosterone levels. You may feel tired, depressed, and irritable when testosterone levels drop. It can also slow hair growth and reduce your interest in sex. And if you are trying to start a family with your partner, it is important to note that low testosterone is equated with low sperm count, making it more challenging to conceive.

3. Low libido

Many men receiving Suboxone treatment find that their sexual desire declines significantly, which is likely linked to lower testosterone levels. 

4. Difficulty with ejaculation

Some men find it more challenging to ejaculate while on Suboxone, while others experience issues with premature ejaculation.

While the above sexual side effects can correlate with Suboxone usage, there are other causes of sexual dysfunction that may be unrelated to your opioid medication-assisted treatment. If you've noticed a disruption in your sexual function after starting a Suboxone regimen, reach out to your provider for advice. They can help determine if they need to adjust your dosage or if another factor may be at play.

Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone for Women

Despite the limited studies on sexual dysfunction in women undergoing opioid maintenance treatment, evidence has shown that a considerable number of women experience sexual side effects from Suboxone. One multicenter study in Italy found that 56.6% of women receiving methadone or buprenorphine treatment encountered issues with sexual dysfunction. As found by this Italian study, some of the most common sexual side effects of Suboxone for opioid medication-assisted treatment are:

1. Low sex drive

Suboxone interferes with the normal production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), disrupting estrogen, progesterone, and androgen levels. Women can struggle with low libido when these hormones are out of balance.  

2. Lack of sexual pleasure

Women using Suboxone for OUD may feel less satisfied with their sex life overall due to decreased lubrication, increased discomfort, and more difficulty achieving orgasm.

3. Menstrual irregularities 

As mentioned above, Suboxone disrupts the production of LH and FSH, two hormones responsible for a healthy menstrual cycle. Women on Suboxone may notice that their periods are shorter, lighter, and even stop temporarily.

4.Infertility 

The hormonal imbalance caused by Suboxone can also make it more difficult to get pregnant. 

These sexual side effects occur whether you use methadone or buprenorphine, although they tend to be more common in women using methadone. If you experience any of the above Suboxone side effects, reach out to your provider to determine your next steps. 

FAQs for Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone

Do opioids make it harder to orgasm?

Opioids can make it harder to achieve orgasm, a condition known as anorgasmia. They can also affect the intensity of orgasms. Since Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, it may actually have slightly less of an impact on your ability to orgasm than opioids or methadone, which is a full opioid agonist. 

Can you take Viagra with Suboxone?

You can continue to take Viagra with Suboxone, although a small percentage of men experience prolonged erections when combining the two medications. Those affected may have erections lasting two to five hours. This side effect is rare, but if you do have prolonged erections when using Viagra and Suboxone, reach out to your provider. They may modify your dose of either drug or suggest an alternative medication. It is always recommended you speak to your provider before taking Viagra while on Suboxone. 

How to Deal with The Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone

The sexual side effects of Suboxone may tempt some people to stop taking their medication. Of course, this is not recommended. Instead, consider the following tips for dealing with the sexual side effects of Suboxone so you can enjoy sexual intimacy and a life free from opioid dependence.

1. Schedule a consultation with your provider.

Although Suboxone may cause sexual side effects, various other factors can contribute to sexual dysfunction. It is best to schedule an appointment with your provider for a thorough assessment to determine the root cause. Physical and mental health conditions can interfere with healthy sexual function, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis before undergoing treatment.

3. Talk to your provider about hormone replacement therapy.

A Danish study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology of men receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for opioid-induced sexual dysfunction showed notable improvements in sexual desire and erectile function. TRT is a much more common treatment for men, but it is starting to be used more often with women experiencing sexual side effects from Suboxone. 

3. Ask your provider about alternative treatments for sexual dysfunction.

Research is limited when it comes to reliable treatment for the sexual side effects of Suboxone. However, several recent studies demonstrated relief from sexual dysfunction using alternative methods, such as antidepressants and herbal remedies. These studies covered the use of bupropion, trazodone, Rosa damascena, and ginseng to alleviate symptoms of sexual dysfunction. Rosa damascena, ginseng, trazodone, and bupropion helped improve erectile function and sexual desire in men. Women in the studies experienced greater arousal and orgasm when using ginseng or Rosa damascena. 

Worried About the Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone? Get Expert Advice from Confidant Health’s Online Suboxone Clinic

Don't let the sexual side effects of Suboxone stop you from getting the help you need to maintain your recovery from OUD. The highly qualified clinicians at Confidant Health’s Online Suboxone Clinic understand that sexual dysfunction can sometimes be frustrating, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing. We can help you learn how to manage the sexual side effects of Suboxone without having to derail your recovery. Reach out to us today with any questions about Suboxone treatment and your sexual health.