The use of Suboxone for opioid medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has helped countless people overcome opioid use disorder (OUD). However, this beneficial medication also has its own side effects, some of which can interfere with your sexual health and satisfaction. If you have any questions or concerns about your Suboxone medication, always be sure to consult with your provider.
Do you have to give up your enjoyment of physical intimacy to maintain your recovery from OUD? Not necessarily. Although Suboxone may present adverse sexual side effects in men and women, there are ways you can manage them to minimize their impact on your sex life.
If you are concerned about the sexual side effects of Suboxone, reach out to the caring clinicians at Confidant Health’s online Suboxone clinic for support.
Does Suboxone Have Side Effects Sexually?
Suboxone is a medication used to help minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings in people recovering from opioid use disorder. It consists of buprenorphine and naloxone. Often, buprenorphine is the main culprit in Suboxone side effects.
Although sexual dysfunction may be a side effect for people on a Suboxone regimen, there is not much research on this subject. Many people experiencing issues with their sexual health may feel embarrassed speaking about it with their provider or may not realize the connection between the side effects and Suboxone.
Sexual Side Effects of Suboxone for Men
Most studies on Suboxone's sexual side effects have focused on the medication's impact on men's sexual function. Researchers at the University of Health Sciences in Istanbul, Turkey, reviewing these studies found that the rate of overall sexual dysfunction tends to range between 16% to 83.6% of men receiving Suboxone treatment. As noted in a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, some of the sexual side effects in men using Suboxone are:
1. Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual side effect for men using Suboxone for OUD. The study showed that 77.5% of men experienced erectile dysfunction while on Suboxone, with many reporting that the medication interfered with their ability to remain sexually active.
2. Low testosterone levels
Suboxone disrupts hormonal balance, which can result in lower testosterone levels. You may feel tired, depressed, and irritable when testosterone levels drop. It can also slow hair growth and reduce your interest in sex. And if you are trying to start a family with your partner, it is important to note that low testosterone is equated with low sperm count, making it more challenging to conceive.
3. Low libido
Many men receiving Suboxone treatment find that their sexual desire declines significantly, which is likely linked to lower testosterone levels.
4. Difficulty with ejaculation
Some men find it more challenging to ejaculate while on Suboxone, while others experience issues with premature ejaculation.
While the above sexual side effects can correlate with Suboxone usage, there are other causes of sexual dysfunction that may be unrelated to your opioid medication-assisted treatment. If you've noticed a disruption in your sexual function after starting a Suboxone regimen, reach out to your provider for advice. They can help determine if they need to adjust your dosage or if another factor may be at play.