Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a prescription oral film that’s used in adults to treat dependence on opioid drugs. There are risks and benefits to consider before taking Suboxone during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

If you can become pregnant, it’s important to consider whether Suboxone is a safe option for you. However, there’s limited information available about the drug’s use and safety during pregnancy.

Taking Suboxone during pregnancy may cause a newborn to have neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). This means the newborn is dependent on an opioid. NOWS is a treatable condition.

If your doctor prescribes Suboxone for you while you’re pregnant, your child will be monitored for NOWS after birth. If they have this condition, they’ll receive treatment for it. Symptoms of NOWS include:

  • excessive crying
  • difficulty sleeping
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty gaining weight

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking Suboxone, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking the drug during pregnancy.

Opioid dependence and pregnancy

It’s important to note that untreated opioid dependence can pose risks during pregnancy. These include the risk of:

  • low birth weight
  • preterm birth
  • pregnancy loss

Suboxone and fertility

Suboxone contains the active ingredients* buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid.

Studies have shown that long-term use of opioids can lower testosterone levels. This can cause infertility in both males† and females.†

It’s important to note that buprenorphine is used to treat dependence on opioid drugs. This means that infertility due to long-term opioid use may have developed before you started Suboxone treatment.

If you’re concerned about infertility with Suboxone, talk with your doctor.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.
† In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, it’s important to understand the effects that Suboxone could have on you or your child.

Buprenorphine (one of the active ingredients* in Suboxone) passes into breast milk. Before taking Suboxone while breastfeeding, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of doing so.

If you do take Suboxone while breastfeeding, you should monitor your child closely for serious side effects during your treatment. Examples of these side effects include:

If your child has trouble breathing or they experience side effects that seem life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

If you take Suboxone while breastfeeding, it’s important that you do not stop breastfeeding or suddenly stop taking Suboxone. Doing so could cause withdrawal symptoms in a breastfed child exposed to Suboxone. (Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur if you stop a drug that your body has become dependent on.) Examples of withdrawal symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and irritability.

If you want to stop breastfeeding or stop taking Suboxone, talk with your doctor first.

* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.

The sections above describe the reproductive health information provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor prescribes Suboxone for you, they can provide more details.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor include:

  • What should I do if I become pregnant while taking Suboxone?
  • Can you prescribe others drugs for my condition that may be safer for someone who’s pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • How will we decide whether the benefits of taking Suboxone while pregnant or breastfeeding outweigh the risk of negative effects?

To learn more about Suboxone, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.