Difference Between Suboxone Strips and Suboxone Pills

April 8, 2024

Unveiling the difference between Suboxone strips and pills: effectiveness, cost, taste, and more. Choose the right form for your treatment journey.

Understanding Suboxone Forms

When it comes to addressing opioid addiction, Suboxone is a commonly prescribed medication. It is available in two forms: sublingual films (strips) and pills. Both forms contain the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone, which work together to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioids. Understanding the differences between suboxone strips and suboxone pills can help individuals make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Suboxone Pills Overview

Suboxone pills are taken orally and swallowed. They are designed to dissolve slowly in the gastrointestinal tract, allowing the medication to be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream. The pills are available in different dosages, providing flexibility in tailoring the treatment to individual needs.

Suboxone Strips Overview

Suboxone strips, on the other hand, are sublingual films that are placed under the tongue or inside the cheek. They are designed to dissolve rapidly, allowing the medication to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. The strips are available in various strengths, offering options for different dosage requirements.

Both suboxone strips and pills have been found to be equally effective in treating opioid cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and preventing relapse. Numerous studies have demonstrated their ability to support successful outcomes in addiction recovery.

One notable difference between the two forms is the rate of absorption. Suboxone strips are absorbed faster and more effectively than pills. While both options are effective, many individuals report feeling the effects of the strips more quickly and claim that the strips do not need to be held under the tongue for as long as the pills.

In terms of cost, suboxone pills are generally more cost-effective than strips. The price of medication can vary depending on the dosage and location, but generally, suboxone pills are more affordable compared to strips. It's important to consider the cost factor when making a decision, as it can affect long-term affordability and accessibility of the treatment.

Another factor to consider is the taste. Anecdotal reports suggest that suboxone pills have a better taste than the strips, which may have a stronger and worse aftertaste in the mouth. While taste preference is subjective, it can be a significant consideration for individuals who are sensitive to the taste of medications.

Ultimately, the choice between suboxone strips and pills should be based on a variety of factors, including personal preference, cost, ease of use, and the advice of a healthcare professional. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable form of Suboxone for individual needs and treatment goals.

Effectiveness and Absorption

When comparing the effectiveness and absorption of Suboxone strips and pills, it's important to consider various factors such as clinical efficacy, absorption rates, and treatment outcomes.

Comparative Effectiveness

Limited evidence is available regarding the clinical effectiveness of Suboxone strips versus pills for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). However, in head-to-head studies of Suboxone tablets and films, researchers found no differences in clinical efficacy or treatment outcomes. Both forms of medication have been shown to offer the same effects of withdrawal relief and the chance of successfully tapering off opioids. Therefore, when taken correctly, both Suboxone strips and pills are equally effective.

Absorption Rates

Studies have indicated that Suboxone strips absorb faster and more effectively than pills [2]. Many individuals have reported that the strips make them feel better faster and do not require being held under the tongue for as long as the pills. The faster absorption of the strips may be attributed to their thin and dissolvable nature, providing quicker access to the bloodstream.

However, it's important to note that both forms of Suboxone, whether strips or pills, are designed to be taken sublingually (under the tongue) to maximize absorption. This route of administration allows the medication to bypass the digestive system and enter the bloodstream directly.

To summarize, while there may be differences in the absorption rates between Suboxone strips and pills, both forms are equally effective when taken correctly. The choice between strips and pills may depend on individual preferences, cost considerations, and overall treatment plan. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable option based on individual needs and circumstances.

Cost and Convenience

When comparing Suboxone pills and Suboxone strips, cost and convenience are important factors to consider. Let's delve into the cost analysis and the level of discretion and ease of use associated with each form.

Cost Analysis

In terms of cost, Suboxone pills tend to be more cost-effective compared to the strips. A range of 14 tablets of 2 mg Buprenorphine (Suboxone) pills typically costs between $25 and $45, whereas strips of the same dosage and count can cost anywhere from $40 to $80. It's important to note that actual prices may vary depending on location and other factors, so it's advisable to consult with healthcare providers or pharmacies for specific pricing information.

Discretion and Ease of Use

In terms of discretion and ease of use, both Suboxone pills and strips have their advantages. Suboxone pills offer the advantage of being small and easily concealable. They can be taken discreetly, allowing individuals to maintain their privacy while undergoing treatment. The pills are typically taken orally and can be swallowed with water.

On the other hand, Suboxone strips offer a different level of convenience. The strips are thin, flexible films that are placed under the tongue, where they dissolve and are absorbed into the bloodstream. This method of administration can be more convenient for individuals who may have difficulty swallowing pills or prefer a different method of ingestion.

It's worth noting that both forms of Suboxone require a prescription and should only be taken as directed by a healthcare professional. It's important to follow the prescribed dosage and administration instructions to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the medication.

When choosing between Suboxone pills and strips, considering cost, personal preference, and individual needs is essential. Discussing these factors with a healthcare provider can help determine the most suitable form for an individual's treatment plan.

In summary, while Suboxone pills are generally more cost-effective, Suboxone strips offer a convenient and discreet method of administration. The decision between pills and strips should be based on personal preferences, cost considerations, and discussions with healthcare professionals.

Taste and Preference

When it comes to choosing between suboxone strips and suboxone pills, taste and preference play an important role in the decision-making process. While taste can be subjective and vary from person to person, there are some general observations regarding the taste comparison between the two forms.

Taste Comparison

Anecdotal reports suggest that suboxone pills may have a better taste compared to the strips. Some individuals find that the pills have a more favorable taste, while the strips may have a stronger and potentially worse aftertaste in the mouth [2]. However, it's important to note that taste perception can be subjective, and each person's experience may vary.

Personal Preference Factors

Personal preference factors also come into play when considering the taste of suboxone strips and pills. Some individuals may be more sensitive to taste and find the taste of the medication to be a significant factor in their overall experience and adherence to treatment [1]. Others may find that the taste is less of a concern compared to other factors, such as the convenience of administration or the cost of the medication.

It's worth mentioning that advancements have been made in developing sublingual tablet formulations that aim to improve taste and dissolve time. For example, OX219 (Zubsolv®) is a novel sublingual tablet formulation of buprenorphine/naloxone that received significantly higher ratings for taste and overall acceptability compared to Suboxone tablets and films in a study. This highlights the ongoing efforts to enhance the taste experience for individuals undergoing suboxone treatment.

In addition to taste, personal preferences may also be influenced by the appearance of the medication. The pills come in small tablet form, while the strips are small, yellow, or orange tape-like strips. The texture, size, and appearance of the medication can be important to some individuals, potentially affecting their preference for pills or strips.

When deciding between suboxone strips and pills, it's crucial to consider your personal preferences and consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide valuable insights and guidance based on your individual needs and circumstances. Ultimately, finding the right form of suboxone that aligns with your taste preferences and overall treatment goals can contribute to a more positive treatment experience.

Clinical Considerations

When considering the use of Suboxone for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD), it is important to assess the clinical efficacy, side effects, and safety of both Suboxone strips and Suboxone pills.

Clinical Efficacy

Multiple studies have shown that both Suboxone strips and pills are equally effective in treating opioid cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and preventing relapse. These medications, when taken correctly, offer the same effects of withdrawal relief and the chance of successfully tapering off opioids [2]. Head-to-head studies comparing Suboxone tablets and films have found no differences in clinical efficacy or treatment outcomes. People using both forms of Suboxone had similar experiences in recovery, and there were no differences in side effects or blood plasma levels. The medications seem to be interchangeable in terms of results [4].

Side Effects and Safety

Both Suboxone strips and pills are considered safe and have been extensively studied for their safety profile. The most common side effects associated with Suboxone include constipation, nausea, headache, and insomnia. These side effects are generally mild and well-tolerated. It is important to note that Suboxone, like any medication, can have more serious side effects in rare cases. These may include allergic reactions, respiratory depression, and liver problems. However, when used as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, the risk of serious side effects is low.

It is crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and administration instructions for Suboxone to ensure safety. Suboxone should only be taken as directed by a healthcare provider and should not be combined with other opioids or sedatives without medical supervision.

In summary, both Suboxone strips and pills have been found to be equally effective in treating OUD and have similar clinical efficacy and safety profiles. The choice between the two forms may depend on individual preference, ease of use, and other factors discussed in the previous sections. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate form of Suboxone for an individual's specific needs.

Choosing Between Pills and Strips

When it comes to choosing between Suboxone pills and strips, several factors can influence an individual's decision. Personal preference, experience, and insurance coverage often play a significant role in determining the choice between these two formulations of Suboxone.

Factors Influencing Choice

The decision may be influenced by several factors, including:

  1. Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies often determine which formulation of Suboxone they will cover for a patient. It is important to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage options.
  2. Personal Preference: Some individuals may have a personal preference based on taste, texture, or appearance. The taste of Suboxone pills may be more favorable for individuals sensitive to taste, while others may prefer the texture of the strips.
  3. Experience: Previous experience with either Suboxone pills or strips can also influence the choice. If an individual has had positive experiences with one formulation, they may be more inclined to continue with that option.

Personalized Treatment Decision

Ultimately, the decision between Suboxone pills and strips should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. Both formulations are considered evidence-based and scientifically proven first-line Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder.

The relative strength and absorption rates of Suboxone pills and strips differ slightly. Strips are known to absorb better, potentially making individuals feel better faster [2]. However, the choice should be based on what works best for each individual, taking into account their specific needs, preferences, and medical history.

It is important to remember that Suboxone pills and strips are both highly effective forms of medication for opioid addiction treatment. The goal is to find the form that suits the individual's needs, ensuring adherence to the prescribed treatment plan. Regular communication with a healthcare provider is essential to monitor progress, address concerns, and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment regimen.


[1]: https://www.newhorizonscenterspa.org/blog/difference-between-suboxone-strips-and-suboxone-pills

[2]: https://www.revidarecovery.com/news/suboxone-pills-vs-strips/

[3]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK599974/

[4]: https://www.bicyclehealth.com/suboxone-faq/should-i-take-suboxone-pills-or-suboxone-strips

[5]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364559/