Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) is the brand name for many drugs used to treat those with opioid use disorder includes two main ingredients: Buprenorphine and Naloxone, which act to block opioid receptors, decrease cravings, and reverse the effect opioids have on the body. When combined to create Buprenorphine (Suboxone®), these drugs work together to prevent withdrawal symptoms while a person is detoxing from opioids. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) comes in two main forms: pills and strips. Both options are highly effective at minimizing withdrawal symptoms and treating opioid use disorders, making choosing between them difficult. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one, give you informed autonomy over your care, and make treatment more comfortable.
Which Is Better Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Pills Vs. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Strips
Choosing whether you want to take Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) by pill or strip is a choice you might make when entering a Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatment program. While it may seem inconsequential, many people do have a preference between the two once they try both options. Knowing more about your options before getting care can help start your recovery on the right foot.
Table of Contents
The Common Differences Between Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Pills and Strips
As alluded to by the names, one of the main differences between Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills and strips is the form they come in. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills typically come in a small, non-gel-coated tablet. These tablets look like most other pills, except for their unique identification information stamped on the top. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) strips are small, yellow, or orange tape-like strips with the medication identification information printed onto them. The strips are typically about the size of a dime.
Because both types of Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) must be held under the tongue and allowed to melt completely, the size, texture, and appearance of Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can be important to some people. While the pill is smaller than the strip, some people find it harder to hold the pill under their tongue until it is dissolved. Many people find the strip more comfortable, but its appearance is more noticeable than a small pill.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills are the cheaper of the two options. While 2 mg tablets of Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) range between $25 and $45 for 14 tablets, strips can be anywhere from $40 to $80 for the same dosage and count. While this is not a dramatic difference, when added up over time, Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills are much more cost-effective than the strips.
In terms of absorption, studies have found that the Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) strips absorb faster and more effectively than the pills. While both options are effective, many claim that the strips make them feel better faster and that the strips do not have to be held under the tongue for as long as the pill.
In terms of discretion, there are several factors to consider. Some people find the pill more discreet when taking Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) daily because many people take pills. Taking a pill does not tip people off to any underlying substance use issues and can save people from awkward conversations they may not be ready to have.
On the other hand, the strips dissolve quickly and without much residue. In contrast, dissolvable pills can leave a slight residue that you can wash down with water after the appropriate time for dissolving has elapsed. In terms of discretion, choosing between pills or strips is entirely up to the user and whatever fits into their lifestyle best.
While the ingredients in Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) give it a bitter and bad aftertaste, there are anecdotal reports that the pills taste better than the strips. Why this might be the case and what exactly makes them better tasting is unknown, only that the strips may leave a stronger and worse aftertaste in your mouth.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills and strips are equally effective when taken correctly. They offer the same effects of withdrawal relief and the chance of successfully tapering off opioids.
Tips For Taking Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Pills and Strips
Do Not Crush Buprenorphine (Suboxone®): While crushing Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills or breaking down the strips may seem like a safe way to make it more effective; this not only damages the effectiveness of the drug but can also lead you to feel withdrawal symptoms because the drug’s effect has decreased.
Sometimes doctors will recommend cutting the pills or strips to taper off Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) towards the end of a treatment cycle. This is fine; you should follow the instructions according to your care provider’s recommendation. You should not tamper with your medications or taper off Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) on your own.
Drink Water Before AND After: When taking Buprenorphine (Suboxone®), the goal is for the medication to melt completely under your tongue, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. This is extremely hard to do with a dry mouth. Drinking water before taking Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can help it melt faster. Once it has completely melted and the recommended time for absorption has elapsed, taking a drink of water can be good to wash any residue or aftertaste out of your mouth.
Try Both Types and Find What Works for You: As with most things, you will not know if you like it until you try it, and the same goes for both forms of Buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Going into treatment is a huge step toward recovery, and when asked what type of Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) you would like to take it can seem overwhelming with everything else going on. If you cannot decide, discuss the pros and cons with your care provider and ask whether you can try both options to see what you might prefer.
Getting Treatment with Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Strips or Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Pills
Taking the first steps toward being opioid-free is a huge decision for anyone to make and is certainly one that will have hard days ahead. Knowing what kind of medication, you should be taking and in what form should not be one of those worries. Therefore, our team at ReVIDA Recovery® is waiting to walk beside you, explain the best options you have for treatment, and help you make those choices without judgment and with as much information as we can provide. With our Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatment program, you can begin your path towards recovering from your opioid use disorder and take control of your care and your future.
We have trained professionals on standby to take your call at 423-631-0432.
FAQs About Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Pills Vs. Strips
What works better, Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) strips or pills?
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills and strips are equally effective but have different pros and cons when choosing between the two.
Which is stronger, Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) strips or Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills?
The relative strength of a medication is based on the dosage; Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) strips absorb better and are preferred because they make people feel better faster.
Are Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills cheaper than the film?
Yes. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) pills are cheaper than film.
How long does it take for the Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) to kick in?
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®)’s effects are typically felt at about 20-60 minutes after taking it, peak at 2-3 hours in, and last for about 24 hours.