What To Know About The Suboxone Lawsuit Scandal

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Published on May 21, 2024, 3:45 pm
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The opiate-addicted-treating drug known as Suboxone has become a significant one in recent years, and it is not hard to see why. Treating opioid addiction as a whole is a complicated and often difficult process, and an oral medicine that allows for easier recovery could make all the difference to a patient’s recovery.

However, Suboxone has not been a miracle cure. While doctors have prescribed it to their patients with good intentions, the company behind Suboxone – Indivior, Inc. – has not been open about the risks involved in using it.

But what does this lawsuit actually mean, and how might it impact Suboxone going forward? Whether you have used it in the past or only heard of it in passing, it is important to understand the circumstances behind what is happening with the numerous lawsuits involved.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medicine made of opioid antagonists – chemicals and drugs that combat opioid addiction by satisfying the brain’s need for opioids without activating the opioid receptors. This effectively satisfies a drug craving without requiring you to take the drugs you are craving.

The ingredients in Suboxone are already used in other opioid abuse treatments to a certain extent and seem like a logical way to break an addiction. Not only does the mixture make sense as a way to combat opioid cravings, but it is also taken orally as a film placed against the inner cheek or beneath the tongue.

The mixture used in Suboxone is a simple four-to-one ratio of buprenorphine and naloxone, scaled up or down to suit 2mg, 4mg, 8mg, and 12 mg doses. Patients take these doses regularly to stave off opioid cravings, allowing them to recover in greater comfort.

Like any medication, Suboxone can have side effects. This includes a lot of common side effects like nausea and headaches, as well as difficulty sleeping, and vomiting, as well as more severe side effects like elevated heart rates and difficulty swallowing at very high doses.

Even so, Suboxone has been prescribed to many opioid addiction patients since these side effects are manageable at a reasonable dosage. This has made it a common choice for treating patients with various severities of addiction.

Suboxone is manufactured by Indivior Inc, which originally splintered off from Reckitt Benckiser in the UK. Its primary products are all meant to help with treating opioid addiction, and its success mostly came about due to the opioid crisis demanding a way to easily treat an influx of new patients.

What Are The Lawsuits About?

Before we get into the specifics of the lawsuits, it is important to understand how Suboxone was sold and prescribed to patients.

When the sublingual film version of Suboxone was developed, Indivior was able to exclusively produce and sell it. However, since other companies could still produce similar products in tablet form, Indivior pushed their film on doctors quite forcefully, making claims that were not inherently true.

Some lawsuits have also arisen due to a lack of information about potential side effects, including long-term tooth decay. In this instance, the issue is also due to there not being enough warning given to doctors, who then prescribed Suboxone to patients who later suffered major tooth issues.

The False Statement Lawsuits

A large part of Suboxone’s success in getting its new film into such a prime position on the market came from pressure on doctors. The company made baseless claims about the film’s safety, followed by discontinuing the tablet version of its product entirely so that doctors were forced to use the film.

While the film itself is not inherently more dangerous than the tablets, these statements were made without proof (and without any research into whether or not it was true), making them false claims. This means that they were given to doctors – and prescribed to patients – under the false pretense of being a safer method.

The Tooth Decay

Perhaps the more significant lawsuits are based around the fact that Suboxone has been clearly linked to serious tooth decay and other dental problems, often beginning out of seemingly nowhere and causing enough damage to require root canals and other expensive dental work to correct.

Patients who have taken their recommended doses of Suboxone for treatment have developed unexpected dental issues, possibly due to the way that Suboxone is taken orally and how it interacts with the body’s dentistry. There have been studies done on many patients using Suboxone regularly, with most developing major dental issues.

It is important to know that the FDA approved Suboxone a decade before these studies. On paper, this makes it seem like a reasonable accident. Still, there is evidence to suggest that Subxone’s acidic nature and the way that it dissolves in the mouths of people with acidic saliva is responsible.

This information would be readily available to any pharmaceutical company that did basic pH tests and was aware of the acidity of its own product. Suboxone is below the 5.5 pH level where tooth enamel begins to dissolve, something that should have been tested for at many points throughout the product’s development.

If these tests were done and this information was known to the company, then it should have been included on a warning label on Suboxone itself. Instead, this information was hidden until 2022, when the FDA responded to the 300+ cases of major dental problems stemming from Suboxone use.

This is another red flag since this change was forced upon Indivior by the FDA rather than being done by the company itself. If there was no legal requirement to have this information on a warning label, the company may simply have refused to include it.

Where to Learn More

If you are curious about the other lawsuits (medical expenses, lost income, damages) and the ongoing statute of limitations for people affected by Suboxone, then you can find more Suboxone lawsuit details here.

If you have suffered negative side effects through using Suboxone, or know somebody who has, then it is important to act and file a lawsuit of your own. Even small amounts of financial loss or physical damage to your body can be grounds for compensation.

While the Suboxone drug was an effective tool for treating opioid addiction, the storm of Suboxone lawsuit cases makes its future uncertain. The details above can break down the specifics behind what might happen, no matter the outcome of the overall case.

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Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | Bronx.com - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.