Does Suboxone Affect Male Fertility?

People who are recovering from opioid addictions often undergo medication-assisted treatment. Suboxone, or its generic, buprenorphine, is an alternative that is often prescribed instead of methadone to people who are recovering from heroin addiction or addiction to other opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and others. While Suboxone can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and facilitate recovery from opioid addiction, some people worry that it could interfere with fertility in males. Here’s some information about Suboxone and its potential impact on male fertility.

Male Fertility

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone combines buprenorphine and naloxone. These two drugs work together to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and an individual’s long-term opioid dependence. Suboxone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it works in the opposite way as heroin and other opioids. When people ingest heroin or other opioids, they bind to pain-blocking receptors and cause the brain to release endorphins that make them experience a pleasurable sensation. As an opioid antagonist, Suboxone prevents opioids from activating these receptors and negates the effects of opioids. This effect can help people by reducing withdrawal symptoms and helping them manage their cravings. Suboxone also has a lower risk of drug dependency than methadone, and its side effects tend to be less severe.

Suboxone Side Effects

While Suboxone is effective in the treatment of opioid dependence by preventing and reducing withdrawal symptoms, it can also cause side effects, especially during the beginning of treatment. The following side effects are common:

  • Pain or numbness of the mouth
  • Redness of the mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Numbness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach pain

Rarely, some people might experience more severe side effects of Suboxone, including the following:

  • Arrythmia
  • Fainting
  • Trouble waking up
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

There have been anecdotal reports of fertility problems in both men and women who take Suboxone. Here is some information from research on the effects of Suboxone on male fertility.

Suboxone and Male Fertility

Overall, the evidence that Suboxone might affect male fertility is limited, and researchers currently don’t believe that the medication has a large impact. By contrast, long-term abuse of opioids can affect fertility, although the mechanisms for this effect are unclear. Taking Suboxone is less likely to impact fertility than being dependent on opioids such as heroin, methadone, oxycodone, or others.

Limited studies into the relationship between Suboxone and male fertility have been conducted. In one study, researchers found that buprenorphine can suppress the production of testosterone in mice, which could impact fertility. However, since this study was conducted on mice, it is unclear whether the results would also be the same in men. In a few rare cases, Suboxone has been associated with male erectile dysfunction and loss of libido, however.

Researchers are also unsure whether Suboxone has an impact on hormones. More research needs to be completed before scientists can determine whether this medication might affect fertility, but it is not generally believed to have a significant impact.

While a few small studies have indicated that buprenorphine might cause a reduction in sperm count, this effect has not been definitively proven. Since the known side effects are relatively mild, most doctors recommend that men continue following their Suboxone regimen when they are trying to conceive children with their partners.

If you are prescribed Suboxone to help with recovering from opioid addiction, you should continue taking it even if you are hoping to have children. Your doctor can help you understand the potential side effects. While there might be a small effect on fertility, it has not been proven. Since Suboxone might help to prevent a relapse, the benefits of this drug are much more significant than any potential drawbacks. Relapsing on opioids could cause an even greater impact on your fertility than Suboxone.





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