Suboxone vs. Zubsolv: What are the Differences?

Suboxone and Zubsolv are two brand-name medications that contain buprenorphine and naloxone and are approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). While they contain the same medications and are used for the same purposes, there are several key differences between these medications.

Understanding Buprenorphine and Naloxone: The Active Ingredients in Suboxone and Zubsolv

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that functions by attaching to the same receptors in the brain that opioids bind to, effectively easing withdrawal symptoms without causing the same intense high as opioids like oxycodone or heroin. Buprenorphine’s role is to control cravings and alleviate discomfort during opioid withdrawal.

Buprenorphine has a ceiling effect, which means that in higher doses, it loses its ability to activate opioid receptors. This mechanism prevents people from abusing buprenorphine, resulting in a lower potential for abuse than other medications like methadone.

Naloxone, on the other hand, serves as an antagonist, blocking the effects of opioids. When combined with buprenorphine, it discourages misuse by triggering withdrawal symptoms if the medication is tampered with and taken in ways other than prescribed. This is thought to deter people from misusing buprenorphine medications or mixing them with other opioids. However, when taken as directed, naloxone remains ineffective.

Products that contain buprenorphine and naloxone can be taken during detoxification, with the first dose being consumed at least 12-24 hours after the last dose of opioids. Taking buprenorphine/naloxone too early while opioids are still in the system can result in precipitated withdrawal.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a brand-name medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It was approved by the FDA in October 2002 and is one of the most popular medications used to treat opioid addiction.

Suboxone comes in the form of a sublingual film or a tablet. They are placed under the tongue and left to dissolve for at least 5 minutes.

Suboxone is available in four different strengths, each of which has a buprenorphine-to-naloxone ratio of 4:1. Suboxone strengths are:

  • 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone
  • 4 mg buprenorphine/1 mg naloxone
  • 8 mg buprenorphine/2 mg naloxone
  • 12 mg buprenorphine/3 mg naloxone

Side Effects of Suboxone

Suboxone can cause side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Sleeping problems
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Poor taste in the mouth
  • Mouth/tongue numbness

What is Zubsolv?

Zubsolv is another brand-name prescription medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. It was approved by the FDA in July 2013, more than 10 years after Suboxone’s approval.

Zubsolv comes in the form of a sublingual pill that dissolves when it is placed under the tongue. Similar to Suboxone, it is available in several different strengths with a 4:1 buprenorphine-to-naloxone ratio.

Zubsolv is available in six different strengths. The different strengths have unique tablet shapes:

  • 0.7 mg buprenorphine/0.18 mg naloxone (oval)
  • 1.4 mg buprenorphine/0.36 mg naloxone (triangle)
  • 2.9 mg buprenorphine/0.71 mg naloxone (D-shape)
  • 5.7 mg buprenorphine/1.4 mg naloxone (round)
  • 8.6 mg buprenorphine/2.1 mg naloxone (diamond)
  • 11.4 mg buprenorphine/2.9 mg naloxone (capsule)

Side Effects of Zubsolv

Zubsolv causes many of the same side effects as Suboxone, such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth, tongue, or throat pain
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth

Comparing Zubsolv vs Suboxone

In terms of effectiveness, both medications have similar success rates with minimal abuse risk. However, people often report that Suboxone tastes worse than Zubsolv, producing more side effects in the mouth. With a milder taste and lower potential for oral side effects, some people tolerate Zubsolv better than Suboxone.

Although Suboxone and Zubsolv contain the same medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, Zubsolv is available in more doses. Since it is available in different strengths with more options, Zubsolv allows doctors to tailor treatment plans for the individual’s needs more so than they can with limited Suboxone strengths.

When it comes to formulation, Suboxone comes in a film or tablet while Zubsolv only comes in tablet form. Suboxone can also be sold as a generic, offering a more cost-effective option than brand-name drugs.

Both medications are taken on a daily basis and are used to treat opioid addiction. Individuals must wait 12-24 hours before starting Suboxone or Zubsolv. When taken for extended periods of time, the buprenorphine in these drugs can be habit-forming, so healthcare professionals usually advise gradually reducing the dose rather than stopping altogether.

Key Differences Between Suboxone and Zubsolv

Suboxone and Zubsolv are two very similar medications. Key differences include:

  • Many patients report that Zubsolv has a more tolerable taste
  • The two medications come in different strengths
  • Suboxone comes as a film or tablet, while Zubsolv only comes in tablet form
  • Suboxone is available in generic form, but Zubsolv is not
  • Suboxone is prescribed more often due to provider preference and reputation

Find Help Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, it’s important to know that there are effective treatments available. You don’t have to fear withdrawal when you partner with a trusted detox center as medical professionals can prescribe medications like Suboxone or Zubsolv to alleviate your discomfort.

At Cobb Outpatient Detox, we provide safe and effective detox services at our modern outpatient detox facility. With medications, medical guidance, and therapeutic support, you can detox with comfort and ease.

To learn more about our detox programs or to get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.

References:

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): What is Buprenorphine? Retrieved December 2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/buprenorphine
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): What is Naloxone? Retrieved December 2023 from https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders/medications-counseling-related-conditions/naloxone
  3. National Library of Medicine: Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions, Retrieved December 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/
  4. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Zubsolv Prescribing Information, Retrieved December 2023 from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/204242s009lbl.pdf

Ready to begin?

Take the first step toward recovery by speaking with one of our dedicated admissions counselors.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We Accept All Major Insurance