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What Is the Suboxone Spit Trick?

The Suboxone spit trick allows the active ingredients in Suboxone to be absorbed, and the rest to be spit out. It can be used once the medication has completely dissolved under the tongue, and the person wishes to spit out the extra residue in an effort to reduce side effects. 

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Why Do People Use the Suboxone Spit Trick?

Suboxone is a highly effective medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). It comes in the form of a sublingual tablet or film, meaning it is placed under the tongue and absorbed. It works by significantly reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for opioids. [1]

Once placed under the tongue, the Suboxone film or tablet begins to dissolve. The medication is absorbed into the bloodstream, and a slight residue is left behind. The residue does not contain any further medication and can be spit out. There is no point in swallowing the residue, as it no longer contains any Suboxone. 

A reason people may choose to use the Suboxone spit trick is to reduce the likelihood of developing unpleasant side effects. Common side effects of Suboxone include the following:[2]

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Aches and pains throughout the body

The residue of a Suboxone film is essentially a waste product of the medication. By spitting it out rather than swallowing it, the risk of the above side effects may be reduced. The spit trick allows maximum benefit of the Suboxone while reducing the likelihood of negative side effects. 

Is One Method Safer Than The Other?

The Suboxone spit trick can be used with both strips and tablets.

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for the treatment of opioid addiction. The same combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is also available as a sublingual tablet. Both methods of treatment are considered safe to take for the long-term management of OUD.[3]

The spit trick can be used with both sublingual tablets and films in an effort to reduce side effects while still achieving the maximum treatment benefits. Swallowing the spit residue does not increase the effectiveness of the medications, though you should be entirely sure all of the medication has dissolved under your tongue before you spit out the residue. This ensures you won’t miss any of the positive benefits of Suboxone.

Part of a Comprehensive Treatment Program

To make Suboxone the most beneficial, it should be used while participating in behavioral and psychological counseling. Suboxone has been approved as a component of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), meaning it is meant to be taken in conjunction with participation in therapy. Suboxone use alone is unlikely to produce long-lasting behavioral changes that will encourage sustained recovery.[1] 

Both sublingual films and tablets that contain buprenorphine and naloxone are safe when taken as directed by a healthcare provider as part of an MAT program. Engaging in therapy increases their efficacy and reduces the likelihood of complications, such as relapse or dependence on the medications. 

If you’re uncertain if you are doing the Suboxone spit trick correctly or about any aspect of your MAT program, talk to your prescribing doctor or another member of your treatment team.

Updated April 2, 2024
  1. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Published January 2016. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  2. Buprenorphine. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Published March 8, 2024. Accessed March 18, 2024.
  3. Poliwoda, S., Noor, N., Jenkins, J., Stark, C., Steib, M., Hasoon, J., Varrassi, G., Uritus, I., Viswanath, O., Kaye, A., and Kaye, A. Buprenorphine and its formulations: a comprehensive review. Health Psychology Research. 2022;10(3).
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