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Does Suboxone cause weight gain or loss?

Suboxone is an opioid man-made synthetic drugs used in the treatment of opiate addiction and occasionally prescribed for pain relief (more on Suboxone for pain). However, any effects of buprenorphine on weight gain/loss are consistent with the effects of all opioid pain pills. So how does Suboxone affect weight? We review here. Then, we answer your general questions about Suboxone, Suboxone injections, or its use at the end.

Suboxone and weight gain

Opioids are not directly related to weight gain, but the people who abuse opioids, or abuse buprenorphine, often have other aspects of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as lack of exercise and poor food choices.

Suboxone and weight loss

Weight loss is common during active opioid dependence. Opioid intoxication often causes nausea and anorexia. Opioid withdrawal is almost always associated with loss of appetite and weight loss. Additionally, active opioid addiction causes weight loss, but is NOT a healthy way to stay thin!

Normalizing weight on Suboxone

After stabilization on buprenorphine, some people gain weight from the return to a normal appetite. They find that they are the same as people without opioid dependence in needing exercise and dietary changes in order to avoid weight gain.

Suboxone weight questions

Do you will have questions about weight gain or weight loss while taking Suboxone? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Photo credit: Allan Foster

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37 Responses to “Does Suboxone cause weight gain or loss?
betsey
4:00 pm August 26th, 2014

Yes I’ve been onn soboxin for 8 yrs now.when i started i weighted 120lbs and now weigh 190lbs I’ve never have been this weight in my life !Even when i was pregnant. 5 times i still never got thhis big the most I’ve ever weighted was 140lbs that was during. pregnancy and YES it does make u gain weight i have a friend since she started treatment has lost weight she’s down to 90lbss before startinng she weighted 140 lbs so i believe itt varys fromm per

Dominic
9:01 pm September 23rd, 2014

I’ve been taking suboxone almost 5 yyears almost 3 straight when I got out of jail 3 years ago obviously stopped cigs suboxone all toxic drugs back smoking also and prescribed xanax daily I own my own business and work from home so not active anymore. . And don’t have interest in going to gym not my thing. . But when I got out of jail was working out barely smoking always always had a fast metoblism always been skinny but when was working out was taking protein shakes daily hit top weight 6ft 175pds then stopped. Not acting at all again been in house literally over 1 yr working playing video games don’t really have a appetite. But I eat a good 2 meals a day a lot liquid but I’m down to 150 pds and dropping still. . Very depressed I have anxiety and ALWAYS am and ALWAYS will be stressed out I’m a worry wart mind never stops and past year I’ve gotten more colds and sick then ever in my life. . I stopped using hard drugs trying and been trying to do the right thing. Anybodys advice would really be appreciated. Getting scared im a 26 yr old guy and feel like I’m 50 years old drained no energy. I don’t know what’s wrong with me .. And most importantly I have the love of my life my 1st child she’s almost 2 yrs old and I keep thinking I’m gonna end up dropping dead. . I had a severe drug problem couple years ago .. then my life changed fincally a 360 when my daughter came my business started. What’s wrong with me???

melissa
4:35 pm November 10th, 2014

To Dominic,
unfortunately, due to a car accident I stayed using pain meds which led to an addiction. I wound up on methadone and other treatment programs trying to kick the addiction. I’ve also done a lot of research in regards to opiate use and addiction. First off our brains naturally create endorphins which gives us that natural high I’m feeling good similar to how a person feels after a good work out. When a person starts using opiate medication our brain gets an overflow of endorphins from the drug causing that euphoria effect, therefore causing our brain to stop making endorphins on its own. Overtime our brains completely stop making natural endorphins, eventually we become chemically dependent on whatever opiate drug we are using to replace the lack of endorphin our brains can no longer make on its own. overtime our bodies need more and moreof these drugs just to feel normal. when we go on programs like methadone or suboxone they still are a form of an opiate. Studies have shown that long term opiate use of any kind can cause depression. Basically our brain chemistry it’s all screwed up. Many people think it only takes 2 weeks to detox off of opiates when it actually takes 6 months to a year to start feeling normal again and for brains to start learning how to make those endorphins again… until our brains are able to make those natural endorphins again it is an uphill battle unfortunately causing many people to relapse. In my opinion programs like methadone and suboxone put a bandaid on an addiction and should be used as a temporary method to get off of hardcore drugs but shouldn’t become a long term plan of treatment. eventually if we want our lives back to where we were before our addiction we have to put in the hard work of slowly detoxing from suboxone or methadone programs. Also working with professionals and doctors trying to balance out our chemical imbalances is very important. each of us may require different medications or treatments along the way to help us feel a little better while our brains try to recover and get back to normal again. After 6 months to a year has passed you will finally start to feel your old self again but it is a very long road to recovery. Lack of sleep is definitely a struggle and it’s usually

Daniel
9:14 pm December 22nd, 2014

Since taking suboxin strips I’ve been loosing a lot of weight. is tht normal??

12:41 pm December 23rd, 2014

Hi Daniel. Usually people gain weight while on Suboxone. However, a study found that some people do lose weight, but it’s one of the rarest side effects. Weight loss has been reported by people with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety. The study found this symptom was found in patients within the first month of taking the medication, they were mostly females and aged 30-39. I’d suggest seeing a doctor and discussing this side effect for a better diagnosis of the problem.

nick
6:47 pm April 29th, 2015

I have been taking suboxone for over a year. And I lost 45 pounds and I cant gain any weight. I eat about 5-6 meals a day. And nothing. What can I do to gain some weight. I tried just eating high protein meals and lots of sugar and carbs. What am I doing Wrong. I usually take 4 pills a day . 5.7 each.

1:52 pm May 8th, 2015

Hi Nick. I believe that if you speak to a nutritionist they will be able to help your problem. There are several super foods and supplements that are used for gaining weight, but you also need to do it in a healthy way.

chris
10:16 pm May 19th, 2015

Was wondering if my diet will still work if I am on suboxone. I am doing the beach body diet. I started 11 days ago and don’t want suboxone to interfere.

Ryan g
3:22 am May 21st, 2015

I have been on sub for about 2 years…when I began I weighed 185-190. Now I weigh about 265…is it the suboxone that’s causing this weight gain?. Or is it just now I’m eating normally?
Thanks for your time;
Ryan g

11:36 am May 21st, 2015

Hi Rian. If you are keeping healthy eating and exercise habits, you should be fine. If you’d like to know more specific information about your particular case, you can talk to a doctor and get some tests done.

1:07 pm May 22nd, 2015

Hi Chris. Talk to your doctor to find out if your eating regimen can interfere with suboxone therapy and vice versa.

AJ
9:58 am May 23rd, 2015

my husband has hypothyroidism and is on suboxone. He had lost a great amounting weigh where now ppl think he’s on drugs..,, what do we do???

cj
8:14 pm May 23rd, 2015

I don’t eat unhealthy and exercise regularly. Can suboxone cause weight gain by simply taking it? Thank you.

3:58 pm June 5th, 2015

Hi AJ. Hyperthyroidism causes weight changes on it’s own, plus the suboxone…I can understand why he’s lost weight. But, as long as he’s healthy, taking his medication, eating regular meals and staying committed to recovery – you should be happy too. People are gonna think what they want to think.

Mary
10:12 pm June 18th, 2015

i was on six to eight 10/325 hydros per day. I’m now in a private clinic on 4mg of dissolve suboxzone how long does it take to make me feel better

Eve
1:45 am July 7th, 2015

I’ve been taking suboxone for almost 3years, I’ve had 5 children the youngest 13 years old and never weighed more than 140 in my 38 years of life I’ve gained over than 100 lbs just in the past 2 years on suboxone I’m at 240 lbs now. I walk every day I get plenty of exercise and have not changed my diet or eating habits, how do I stop or reduce the weight gain.

david
7:50 am August 7th, 2015

Ive been taking suboxone for two years now. Ive always been pretty healthy and active with a fast metabalism. Before I started taking suboxone, when I was on pain meds , my weight dropped a little from around 160 down to about 142. Im about 5’10”, before I was ever addicted to anything , I actually got all the way up to 185 andn175 with a lot of eating and working out at least five days a week. So I do know how to gain weight, done it a few times and worked every time I set my mind to it. Since I started taking suboxone however, I have dropped all the way down to 130 which is crazy for me, I have always been a thin/tone guy but I have not weighed this little since I was in highschool, like the ninth or tenth grade. I know for a fact that it is the suboxone which is keeping my weight down , since my weight dropped so dramatically within maybe a month of starting it. Not to mention , i can just feel it when I take it , like my stomach is just sucking in and drawing up. For a long time I guess I was just in denial (trying all my old tricks and eating like a horse to try and get my weight back up, in vain), because it was a lot better than an addiction where I was always running the roads and spending $50-$150/day. I am only taking 3/4 – 1 full strip per day just depending on the day I guess, but am prescribed 1 1/2 per day. When I first began I was taking two-2 1/2 per day , which made me feel just really drained and heavy, a lot of anxiety, and even blurred/double vision for a few days. I looked around everywhere and even asked drs if this drug caused weight loss, (which since it feels like your on an upper when you take it would make since), but the Drs all said “well it shouldn’t, you may have hyper thyroid”, yeah, all of a sudden since I started taking suboxone, ok. Got checked, perfectly fine. Now it seems like more and more ppl are having trouble with loosing a massive , unhealthy amount of weight on suboxone and being stuck there, with Drs and anyone affiliated with suboxone , not saying that it does cause weight loss when it absolutely does. Its the equivalent of popping min-ithins or diet pills every day. Anyone who says that it does not get them high to a certain extent or give you energy is just not being honest about it, I’ve been taking them too long, I know. So for me , right now , I will keep taking them until I can wing all the way down to 0 and get some real energy back. For others who may be having problems with this drug and wandering if something is wrong with them, or is it this drug your taking causing all of these problems, just think about how you have felt since you started taking it and the effects it has caused. Usually its not a mystery and is the most obvious thing , use your instincts. Godbless!

David
12:54 am August 29th, 2015

So does suboxone make you lose weight?

David
1:25 am August 29th, 2015

iv been taking subs for 2 1/2 years now and iv tried to quit about 6 times and its taking a toll on my relationship, i want to leave it alone for good but need some pointers on how to do it without having a bad withdraw and feeling like crap all day and yawning all day long too. My nose gets stuffy also like i have a cold. I just want to feel normal and have my natural high back and put my weight back on. Please any advice would help.

Mel
9:52 am September 26th, 2015

I started Suboxone about 3 weeks ago after being on methadone for about 6 years.I have always been very athletic,swimming 1 Km five days a week, biking about 10 – 15 Km each day, skiing double black diamonds, etc, etc. Since the age of 12 I have followed a strict but sensible diet and always know nutrients and energy (calories) of EVERYTHING I consume EVERY DAY!!!! I also calculate the energy I expend each day,(which, ofcourse fluctuates due to what I do that day) I been doing this for almost 40 years.
Nothing in my daily routine, diet and exercise regime has changed since beginning Suboxone yet I have gained 4.3 Kilos, (9.6 pounds) I do not have a thyroid condition and have never been depressed. I consume zero processed sugar and know exactly the types and quantities of sugars in my food. The ONLY processed food I eat is canned chick peas and ALWAYS look closely at ingredients and “hidden ingredients” such as fats and salts and sugars disguised as fructose, corn sugars, etc, etc. The reason I am going into so much detail here is that, quite obviously, the first comment one could use to counteract the correlations of suboxone and weight gain is to tell me I am probably consuming all kinds of ingredients which I did know about and are the reason for my weight gain.
About 3 days ago I started having pitting edema in my lower extremities and an enormous pot belly, both of which are the same symptoms others have reported while on Suboxone. Fortunately, I don’t have any food cravings and my appetite hasn’t changed.
If suboxone is not the reason for my weight gain, I’d LOVE to know what is and I truly do hope to hear your response.

Thanks

john
2:45 pm September 27th, 2015

Reading through while doing research about suboxone was a little helpful. I’ve been in a low dose for about two years and with in the past year I have really seen a weight loose in my face, almost like I was getting high. Many people do the opposite on this medication but me having a fast metabolism before creates the same if not more when I’m using suboxone. I’m will be off of it soon and I should gain my weight back. To get off hard drugs the suboxone is a great way to do it as long as you don’t get caught up on the suboxone permanently. On the other hand my father is take this also and has been for about five years plus and he feels like he is falling apart, from his urine changing colors weight gain everywhere but his face, and most of all the battle of needing the suboxone bc if not he is a yawning , miserable, non – energetic, and agitated s.o.b as if he was on hard drugs. So we all have some kinda story and talk y’all story helped me and will do so to others. The night I prayed to jesus (asking if he was real and if he was, to give me the strength to get back to a normal life) is when it all actually came to an end ! Hope the best for y’all and if this road gets weary don’t forget to fall on your knees and give my man Jesus a shout and everything will change on some real sh#t concrete-jungle-conquered. Bless y’all with your journeys!

ryan
1:45 am October 8th, 2015

I have been on suboxine for about 8 months. I take about half of a 8 mlg strip. Sometimes a little more. I have bad back issues but a bad history with pills so no doctor every wants to help. They think im just a junky trying to get drugs. I abused pain killers for a long time and then I found suboxine and I feel like with the strips, I can control my addiction and moderate myself more than with pills. It also perks me up for work and takes away my pain for alot longer then pills. Anyways since Ive taking suboxine, I have lost alot of weight. Ive always been skinny but somewhat athletic with some muscles but now I just look scrawny and skin and bone. Im workimg on finding a non physical job so that I can get off suboxine and clean up entirely but in the mean time Im wondering how can I gain some weight and get myself to a healthy size that I used to be while still taking suboxine. I have a healthy appetite and eat regularly but I cant gain any weight

Heidi
4:25 am November 20th, 2015

My son swears he is no longer doing heroin, using suboxone daily to stay “clean” he is severely thin although I do see him eat. Can this come from suboxone ?
And Praise God John ! My heart lept when I read your message. Jesus IS real and He loves you more than you can imagine. He is NOT ashamed of you or any of the choices you have made – He passionately loves you and is so excited that you are turning to Him. I will be praying for you.

11:52 am November 20th, 2015

Hello Heidi. Thank you for sharing your concerns and encouragements. Suboxone treatment has been observed to cause rapid and drastic weight loss in some people. Statistics show that both, male and female patients may drop 20, 30 or 40 pounds in a short time period after initiation of treatment. So, I guess this may also be the case with your son.

jjj
11:27 pm November 26th, 2015

I’ve recently started on suboxone, don’t drink, am eating much less and don’t take drugs but I have gained 35lbs (nearly 20%) in 5 weeks. I am as active as I was before starting on it but am tired all the time. Any advice gratefully received. Thank you.

ed
4:20 pm December 19th, 2015

Hi, I am on suboxone And I want to start working out again. I am fully regulated on suboxone and my appetite is coming back rapidly. My question is Can I workout everyday while regulated on suboxone and will the suboxone prevent me from getting results?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:02 pm December 21st, 2015

Hello, Ed. Yes, you may work out while taking suboxone, and you might get the wanted results.

MethadoneDiet
10:55 pm January 6th, 2016

Is this article a joke…? I mean how egotistical, disrespectful and “simple” minded do you have to be to make statements like “they find that they are the same as people without opioid dependence in needing exercise and dietary changes in order to avoid weight gain.” I can’t believe with all of the information out there that any website trying to look legitimate would write something so… silly?

Do a google search, talk to a doctor that is familiar with methadone, talk to some methadone patients and see if it makes sense to you that people taking a drug like that would have the same metabolism as “everyone else”. What does everyone else even mean?

12:11 pm February 9th, 2016

Hi MethadoneDiet. I am sorry this article sounds egotistical and disrespectful to you. I am sure the author did not have any intention to offend readers. As for the quoted sentence, it means that without dietary changes and exercise no one can just loose weight, regardless of whether they are on suboxone or not.

amy b
9:01 pm March 19th, 2016

ive been taking subs for about a year. about 6 or 7 months ago I weighed 240 something lbs, and started gradually losing weight ( 10 or so lbs a month) and was super excited because ive been big my whole life. but in the past 2 ? months, ive gone done extremely fast to 186 right now… I think? I lost about 8 lbs last week so who knows what its at now. everyone always praises me on my huge weight loss and tell me how great I look. but inside I feel like everyone thinks I’m doing harsh drugs to lose it. I don’t know if the subs have to do with it but I’m just worried. and that’s really the only reason I can think of. my diet hasn’t really changed, I hardly ever eat during the day, unless I get some weird craving and I eat tons of sweets. but I drinks lots of water and have a kind of active job. and when I do eat, its at night ,late , so… I just don’t know whats wrong with me.

Cheryl
2:44 pm August 5th, 2016

I’ve been on subsiding for almost 2years I was addicted to Percocet that I was taking for back pain I lost 40 pounds about 8months ago but now I’m slowly getting it back I went from 140lbs to 101pounds I’m now 118lbs I wish I could lose the weight again. Lately the anxiety and depression have been awful but I just lost my mom in March I beginning to gag from the taste of the films is there anyway to disguise the taste? Any suggestions would help. My PvP is driving me nuts she keeps saying people are oh on that for 6 months your just replacing one drug for another I told her I’m doing what my sublime tells me to do they are going to taper me down but didn’t want to do it while I was grieving for my mom is my primary care doctor right she gets me so mad

david
6:31 pm August 10th, 2016

To David: asked “so does suboxone cause weight loss? well obviously from the comment I made, it does cause weight loss, but I guess it depends on who you are and your body type…I’ve seen ppl who were on meth everyday and not loose a lick of weight, maybe even gained some, for the most part that should cause tremendous weight loss. If you have a fast metabolism and introduce a drug like suboxone in your body, especially if you work a physically demanding job everyday (like I do, painting and construction) you’re going to loose more weight. Here is a guy I watch on youtube, THE SUBOXONE DIARIES (C-SQUARED) Has a lot of good info, taper plan, and filmed himself going through the taper plan and ultimately completely stopping suboxone and day after day of the experience. He’s helped a lot of ppl get off…check it out.

Sabrina
7:05 am August 17th, 2016

Hi i have been on suboxone got over a year now i was on bubanorphine for a while going too the gym and eating healthy and losing weight then i went back on suboxone sence my insurance well pay for that and i just feel bloated and i been having cravings for sweets.i don’t know if i should stay on suboxone if it is already making me feel like that or see if i can switch back?

Debra
12:54 am August 26th, 2016

When I started Suboxone in May, my weight was 118lbs. I now weigh 110lbs. Also amphetamines has been showing up in my urine testing. I don’t take any kind of amphetamines. Is my weight loss from Suboxone? Can it cause amphetamines to show up in my urine? I am on 12 mil. Once a day. I would really appreciate an answer. Thank you

Tiffany
7:33 am August 30th, 2016

I’ve been taking suboxone for 1 full year now and when I started I weighed 152lbs over the course of the 1 year I have dramatically lost 40lbs I am not currently 112lbs and I continue to decrease any particular reason my weight is becoming a health concern

Nick
2:07 pm September 9th, 2016

I I’ve noticed that it makes you dehydrated and not retain any water . I can’t eat a really big meals. Have to eat a lot of small meals. But the subs definely make you loose wieght. And whatever I do. Can’t gain it back while on them. I’ve tried everything. Omy option is to get off them. Which is hard also. The longer you been on them the harder it is. Some people can taper or just stop . There are a rare few who tapering don’t work. Your just as sick tapering as stopping completly. . .

Kate
5:50 am September 13th, 2016

To answer all of these questions in one, I was on suboxone for a little over 2.5 years. I’m not naturally a skinny person. I’m curvy, about 5’5″ and 165 pounds normally. Well, when I started taking suboxone, I was actually around 180. Within a year, I was down to 165, maybe a little less. Mind you.. the whole entire time I was on this, I never exercised once and ate like shit the whole time (fast food everyday, tons of pop and juice,etc.) So, from my experience, it does make you lose weight. I’m not sure how even when I was eating the way that I was but it does somehow. I’ve never heard of it making anyone gain weight but everyone is different. I know some people that used to smoke Crack and gain weight and get sober and get skinny. But, anyways, you can do any diet while taking this – it won’t effect it at all. If anything, it’ll help you lose more weight. I ended up making the decision to get off of it for a few reasons but it was the best decision I ever made. I’m not saying anyone shouldn’t be taking it though! It helped me for a long time. I’m just saying that if your freaking out about losing all this weight and being stressed out on it, maybe consider getting off. I never thought I’d see the day I’d be off it but it’s been a little over a year now. I feel like suboxone actually made me way more depressed and anxious and tired all at the same time. Hope that helps someone!

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About Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD

Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD is a psychiatrist practicing in northeast Wisconsin, in recovery from opioid dependence. He is Board Certified in both Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and holds a PhD in Neuroscience. He writes about buprenorphine at Suboxone Talk Zone, and manages a forum for patients taking buprenorphine called SuboxForum.

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