Suboxone is beneficial in opioid addiction treatment, but new and expecting mothers may wonder if this medication is safe to take, since some drugs can be harmful for a baby or developing fetus. Below, learn about the safety of Suboxone and breastfeeding, as well as general information about the safety of taking Suboxone while pregnant.
Is It Safe To Take Suboxone While Pregnant?
Expecting mothers who are in recovery may wonder if they can take Suboxone when pregnant. Fortunately, research has found that the drug is safe for use during pregnancy. Numerous studies conducted with pregnant women have found that there were no serious negative outcomes to mother or baby when mothers used Suboxone or other medications for opioid addiction treatment during pregnancy.
Research further suggests that babies exposed to Suboxone in utero are less likely to require treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) when compared to babies exposed to other drugs, such as methadone, used in medication-assisted treatment.
NAS is a condition that can occur in newborns exposed to opioids during a mother’s pregnancy. Babies can become dependent upon the drugs in utero and then undergo withdrawal symptoms after birth, when they are no longer exposed to the drugs while in the mother’s womb.
Studies do suggest that taking Suboxone while pregnant can be safe, and babies born on Suboxone are less likely to experience withdrawal when compared to those exposed to other opioids. If you have additional questions about whether it is safe for you to continue taking your medication while pregnant, consult with your Suboxone doctor to determine the best option for your unique needs.
Can You Take Suboxone While Breastfeeding?
It is common for people to ask, “Is it safe for breastfeeding mothers to take drugs like Suboxone or buprenorphine?” Very low levels of buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, are transferred to the infant when breastfeeding. Based upon this fact, Suboxone while breastfeeding is generally regarded as safe.
That being said, each baby is different, and it is important to monitor your baby for adverse reactions, such as sleepiness, breathing problems, and inadequate weight gain, if you are using Suboxone and breastfeeding.
Can Suboxone Hurt My Baby?
The biggest concern among mothers who are taking Suboxone and breastfeeding, or who are taking Suboxone while pregnant, is whether the medication can harm the baby. Studies have shown that an infant whose mother takes Suboxone while breastfeeding receives under 1% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of buprenorphine, which suggests that small amounts of the drug are transferred to the baby, and harm to the baby is unlikely.
In some cases, babies may experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms after birth when no longer exposed to the drug via the mother. Other babies may undergo withdrawal symptoms if they have been breastfed while the mother takes Suboxone and the mother stops breastfeeding. In these cases, a baby can be treated medically to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
While there is a risk that babies will experience withdrawal after birth or following the cessation of breastfeeding while on Suboxone, it is important to recognize the harmful effects of breastfeeding and substance use. If taking Suboxone while breastfeeding prevents a mother from abusing illicit opioids like heroin, the risk of harm to the baby is reduced.