How much does Suboxone cost?

When you are considering the cost of Suboxone treatment program you have to include various costs associated with it. Medication cost is just one component, and will depend on how much you are prescribed per day. In the begining the cost is higher and decreases as you taper your dose down and need less medications.

The following table lists approximate cost of Suboxone and other drugs used in opioid addiction treatment.

 

Description Cost
SUBOXONE Sublingual Film 8mg (Brand RB) $8-$10 per film
Suboxone 8mg generic tablet $7-$9 per tablet
Zubsolv 5.7mg tablet $8-$10 per tablet
Bunavail 4.2/0.7mg buccal film $8-$10 per film
Buprenorphine 8mg tablet (Restricted Prescription) $3-$5 per tablet
Buprenorphine 2mg tablet (Restricted Prescription) $1.50-$3 per tablet
Naltrexone 50mg tablet $1.50-$3 per tablet
Vivitrol (Naltrexone extended release) Injection $900-$1100 per injection (one per month)

 


What would be my prescription cost per month?

It will depend on how much has been prescribed to you. It can vary from $300 to $600 per month, that is $10 to $20 per day.

On the average people will start with two 8mg tablets or films, per day, and gradually taper the dose as tolerated. The goal is to prevent significant withdrawal and allow you to function normally, … hold a job, attend school, satisfy court ordered programs, etc.

Your approximate medication costs are as follows:
(Compare this to the money you spend buying illegal drugs/day … you will always save money by getting treated)

 

Medication Cost/day Cost/month
SUBOXONE® 8mg/day $10 per day $300 per month
SUBOXONE® 16mg/day $20 per day $600 per month
Suboxone Generic Tablet 8mg/day $8 per day $240 per month
Suboxone Generic Tablet 16mg/day $16 per day $480 per month

 


Prescription Coverage by Insurance

It varies and is unpredictable. Some prescription plans cover it without any additional paperwork. Many require preauthorization. If it is covered then only a certain brand may be covered. There is also limitation on quantity, that is how much per month, and on duration, that is for how long it will be covered.

If preauthorization is required then it is best to download or obtain the form from your insurance, complete the information and take it to your doctor so that it can be completed at the time of your visit. It has to be faxed to your insurance and you will be able to get prescription only after it is authorized, which will take a few days … you will not be able to start your treatment till that happens.

Partial Prescription

Most pharmacies will allow you to get a partial prescription. You can purchase just a few tablets or films at a time. Please ask the pharmacy about this policy. Some may require that you get it dispensed within five times, … some may charge you more for partial dispensing.

Medication Assistance Programs

Most manufacturers offer a medication assistance program to low income individuals, … you have to jump through many hoops, provide your income statement, tax return etc. The doctors who participate in such programs are always full, so it will be very difficult to find an empty slot. Most doctors do not participate in these programs because of cumbersome paperwork.

You can search for medications cost at www.goodrx.com. I have not found the prices to be accurate.


What is the difference between Suboxone and Subutex?

Suboxone and Subutex are brand names that have become popular, … and even though now generic equivalents are available these names continue to be used.

Suboxone film is a formulation of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It is a brand name for the product manufactured and marketed by Reckitt Benckiser as a film.

Suboxone 8mg film contains Buprenorphine 8mg and Naloxone 2mg.
Suboxone 2mg film contains Buprenorphine 2mg and Naloxone 0.5mg.

A generic version of Suboxone has now been approved for marketing. It is only available as a tablet and is about a dollar cheaper than Suboxone film. There are several manufacturers who market this tablet, the cost varies considerably from pharmacy to pharmacy. With Suboxone coupon from the manufacturer, the film may come out cheaper.

Subutex contains Buprenorphine alone. Subutex is no longer manufactured and marketed by Reckitt Benckiser, but the name has become popular and now it is understood to represent generic Buprenorphine tablets. This is not the recommended formulation for opioid addiction treatment so most doctors will not prescribe it.

Buprenorphine without Naloxone (Subutex) is only recommended for:

use in induction at the beginning of treatment. Ongoing prescriptions are only provided to:

  • women who are pregnant (however, Methadone* is still the current recommendation).
  • patients who are allergic to Naloxone.

Methadone in addiction treatment

*In USA:

  • Methadone can not be prescribed by physicians for addiction treatment. Only government approved treatment programs called “Methadone Clinics” are allowed to dispense Methadone.
  • Methadone can be prescribed by physicians for treatment of chronic pain.
  • Suboxone can not be prescribed for treatment of chronic pain. There is a formulation of Buprenorphine available as a skin patch, … called Butrans ($120/patch, lasts for 7 days) that can be prescribed for chronic pain.

Ask your pharmacist for the generic Suboxone, and shop area pharmacies to see who has it at what cost.

Suboxone film now comes in 2mg, 4mg, 6mg, 8 mg, and 12 mg. There are varying discounts for each. Check the manufacturer’s site for coupons. Do the calculation and ask your doctor for the appropriate strength.

However, … mg for mg, lower strength films and tablets are poor value. You are better off splitting the 8mg film into smaller units. Make sure you keep them in a secure place.

Zubsolv tablet, is also a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone and is being marketed by Orexo. It has a lower dose 5.7mg/1.4mg, that the manufacturer claims to be equivalent to 8mg/2mg of Suboxone, along with the claim that it tastes better. It does not offer any price advantage.

Bunavail film, is also a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone and is being marketed by BioDelivery Sciences. It has a lower dose 4.2mg/0.7mg, that the manufacturer claims to be equivalent to 8mg/2mg of Suboxone. It does not offer any price advantage. This film is not to be used under the tongue … this is supposed to be applied to the inside of the cheek.


Discount coupons can be downloaded from manufacturer’s web sites:

Suboxone , Zubsolv, and Bunavail.

Some pharmacy discount cards offered by pharmacies, downloaded from the web, or found in doctor’s offices also may offer discounts. Some coupons are available on www.goodrx.com

The expiration dates of the coupon are continuously being renewed. Print your own coupon and ask your pharmacist for the rebate. Your pharmacist should enter the information once and not have to ask for your discount card every time.

  • Most physicians prescribe Suboxone, or Zubsolv, or Bunavail, as these contain Naloxone, which deters IV misuse of the medication. This is the recommended formulation for use under DATA 2000, the act which authorized outpatient treatment of opioid addiction.
  • Patients who are pregnant are only prescribed Buprenorphine mono preparation. Most prescribers will not accept pregnant patients … instead they are asked to seek care through high risk pregnancy units.
  • Buprenorphine mono preparations are prescribed to patients who have documented allergy to Naloxone. Most prescribers do not accept patients who have allergy to Naloxone. Allergy to Naloxone is very rare. Naloxone is the only medication available to reverse opioid overdose.
  • IV drug users are not prescribed generic Buprenorphine. Most office based programs do not accept IV drug users … because these patients need a more intensive program.

Getting it from the pharmacy

All pharmacies do not stock this medication, … but most will obtain it for you within 24hrs.

Some will only give you enough to start with if they do not have the entire quantity that is prescribed, and ask you to pick up the rest later.

Most pharmacies allow you to obtain a partial fill of your prescription. For example you may obtain three to seven days supply at a time, thus reduce your upfront treatment cost. Pharmacies may charge higher per tablet/film, or add dispensing costs … if you fill the prescription over several days.

If you are getting it through your prescription plan then you are required to get the entire 30 days prescription at one time.

Getting the prescription from out of state may be a problem. This is a controlled substance and many pharmacies will not dispense out of state prescriptions. If you are traveling out of state then it is better to collect your prescription before travel and always carry it in its original container which has prescribing doctor’s and pharmacy name imprinted on it.

There may be plans available through the manufacturer or other agencies to subsidize your costs, … check their websites.


Starting dose

If you have never had Suboxone before then you will have to go through the induction process. It requires that you abstain from all opioids for 24 to 72 hours. You will generally be prescribed Benzodiazepine and Clonidine to attenuate the effects of withdrawal. You will receive the first dose of Buprenorphine in the clinic, and will be observed. Your withdrawal symptoms will start resolving within 10 to 20 minutes, … and you will feel almost normal within an hour.

You will receive a prescription for 8mg to 24mg/day with instructions to taper dose as tolerated. You should take the lowest dose that prevents withdrawal effects, and make an effort to progressively taper the dose to get off Suboxone.

I prescribe a maximum of two tablets a day, and expect patients to come down to one tablet a day within three to six months.

On the average patients spend $40 to $100/per day on illicit drugs. Under treatment you will spend $10 to $20 per day on Suboxone.


How long does the treatment last?

That depends on the patient. The amount you take is within your control … you can take as little as you need. The goal is to prevent significant withdrawal, so that patients can continue to work or study without uncomfortable symptoms.

Well motivated patients have done this in as little as three months, … however, most have taken much longer. Generally the longer you have had the drug problem, … and higher the amount of drugs used … the longer you would need Suboxone. Some patients have been on this for several years.

I do not prescribe more than 8mg/day beyond six months. I have some patients who are unable to come off completely. They are on a low dose of 4mg/day or less. One patient, in his fourth year of treatment, is taking 2mg/week.

Well motivated patients have completed this treatment in as little as three months, … however, most have taken much longer. Generally, the longer you have had the drug problem, and higher the quantity used … the longer you would need Suboxone.

 

Get help … treat your addiction … Suboxone completely stops the withdrawal from opioids.
Even though treatment is expensive … it is cheaper than buying illicit drugs. Court ordered addiction treatment programs and probation programs do not pose a problem with prescription Suboxone if you have the proper documentation.


This page was last modified on: October 7, 2016