As Suboxone users relied on Buprenorphine-Naloxone sublingual films to treat their opioid addiction, they were not warned that they were inadvertently putting themselves at an increased risk of tooth decay. This has led to a flurry of product liability lawsuits against the drug's manufacturer, Indivior. It can be helpful to have an overview of the common issues Suboxone lawsuit plaintiffs are facing but keep in mind that Suboxone tooth decay claims can vary significantly based on the severity of plaintiffs’ dental injuries and the impact of those injuries.
At Lawsuit Legal News, our seasoned team is available to provide additional context for this information, including the implications for your specific Suboxone tooth decay claim. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with one of our product liability attorneys to discuss what you should expect from the personal injury claims process, how you can benefit from our legal services, and what your rights are as the injured party.
Why is Indivior being sued over Suboxone?
Suboxone plaintiffs have leveled accusations of negligence at the pharmaceutical manufacturer based on the company’s failure to warn users about the increased risk of tooth decay associated with their sublingual films. Plaintiffs in the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits say that Indivior should have been aware that the Buprenorphine in Suboxone would have a harsher effect on teeth when administered sublingually.
As a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Indivior has focused on producing Buprenorphine-based drugs for decades, which lends credibility to the plaintiff’s argument. The Suboxone plaintiffs believe that Indivior should be held liable for their damages, as their financial and emotional losses are the result of dental injuries that could have been avoided if Indivior had provided an accurate warning label for Suboxone.
What is a Suboxone tooth decay settlement worth?
Many Suboxone plaintiffs are understandably interested in how much they could receive for their damages in a product liability lawsuit. We are still early on in the personal injury claims process, so we can only provide a rough estimate. Based on the most current information, Suboxone settlements could range from $50,000 to $100,000. This range is subject to change, and an individual plaintiff’s compensation can be influenced by a number of factors.
For example, a Suboxone user with only a cavity would likely receive less compensation than a Suboxone user who lost multiple teeth and required dental implants. Individual circumstances do play a role in how a product liability claim’s value is determined, so Suboxone users who experienced more significant or ongoing disruptions to their careers, lifestyles, and well-being may secure larger settlements.
Who can file a Suboxone lawsuit?
To qualify as a plaintiff in a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit, the following conditions must apply:
- You were using Suboxone sublingual film as prescribed to reduce opioid dependence or stay in recovery
- You experienced subsequent tooth decay beyond a normal level of decline
- Your dental injuries resulted in damages like medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages
The FDA issued an updated warning label for Suboxone in January 2022, so using units purchased after this date would likely be considered ineligible grounds for a Suboxone claim. For clarification on whether your Suboxone tooth decay claim would qualify for compensation, you should speak with a product liability attorney about the details of your Suboxone lawsuit.
What kind of injuries has Suboxone caused?
Thus far, the sublingual film version of Suboxone has been linked to various forms of dental injuries, even in patients with no previous history of dental problems. Plaintiffs allege that one of the drug’s active ingredients leads to the erosion of tooth enamel, causing injuries like:
- Oral infections
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
Treatment for these injuries may require fillings, crowns, root canals, and surgical intervention. To restore function and cosmetic appearance, a Suboxone user may receive dental implants or some form of dentures. The experience of losing teeth can be emotionally distressing, and some plaintiffs may also develop mental injuries such as anxiety or depression as a result.
How is Suboxone causing dental injuries like cavities?
The Buprenorphine in Suboxone has been identified as the most likely culprit responsible for the tooth decay we are seeing in a growing number of Suboxone users. More specifically, the amount of time that Suboxone sublingual film remains in a user’s mouth allows the Buprenorphine to have a harmful impact. Sublingual strips take about ten minutes to dissolve under the tongue, as opposed to the minimal amount of exposure associated with oral ingestion. Over time, the effects of Buprenorphine take a toll on a Suboxone user’s teeth.
Prolonged exposure to Buprenorphine disrupts the environmental equilibrium of the mouth by decreasing saliva production and causing dry mouth. Saliva plays a critical role in preventing tooth decay by neutralizing acids that break down enamel and combatting dangerous bacteria capable of causing infection. Once the protective layer of the enamel has been compromised, harmful bacteria have access to the tooth. From there, the bacteria creates holes known as cavities, which can lead to tooth fractures and expose the root of a tooth to infection. Buprenorphine itself is fairly acidic which contributes to the erosion of tooth enamel as well.
How does Suboxone work to help treat opioid addiction?
Suboxone uses a combination of two main active ingredients to help with withdrawal. The first is Naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist. It attaches to opioid receptors, effectively preventing other opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and heroin from binding to those receptors. Naloxone is the primary component of Narcan, which is used to immediately reverse an opioid overdose. For individuals attempting to withdraw from long-term opioid addiction, it is often not enough to simply block the effects of an opioid.
Instead, those effects must be replaced. The second active ingredient in Suboxone fulfills this role. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it also bonds to opioid receptors, but it produces a similar effect to an opioid but to a reduced degree. The difference between Buprenorphine and an opioid like heroin is that Buprenorphine’s impact is capped, whereas a higher dosage of an opioid would produce a greater effect. This provides Suboxone users a degree of pain relief while reducing the motivation to use larger quantities.
What’s the difference between the tablet and sublingual versions of Suboxone?
The distinction between the original tablet version of Suboxone and the updated sublingual film form of Suboxone can be summarized as the length of time the medication stays in the user’s mouth. The tablets are orally administered, so the corrosive agent in Suboxone is only briefly in contact with a user’s mouth as they swallow the drug. The sublingual films are thin strips that are held under the tongue until they dissolve. When sublingually administered, medication is absorbed into the bloodstream rather than being partially diluted by the liver, allowing the drug to maintain its original level of potency.
If the Suboxone tablet was effective, why did Indivior change it to a sublingual film?
Indivior claimed that sublingual films were safer than tablets because children were less likely to accidentally ingest the drug, thinking it was candy. This claim was later disproven and Indivior pleaded guilty to a felony for making misleading claims about a healthcare matter, costing the pharmaceutical manufacturer hundreds of millions. Indivior’s true motivation for making this change is the desire to maintain record profits. When Suboxone first became available in 2002, it received approval under the FDA’s Orphan Drug policy.
One of the perks of this classification is that Indivior had the exclusive right to sell the naloxone-buprenorphine drug for seven years. Creating a sublingual film version of the same drug was Indivior’s attempt to extend this benefit and shut out competitors from offering generics even after the initial seven-year monopoly had expired. This was rightfully branded an anti-trust scheme, and drug wholesalers recovered $385 million in damages after suing Indivior.
What can I do to protect my teeth while I am taking Suboxone?
Suboxone has proven to be a life-saving treatment for individuals struggling with opioid dependence, so it is understandable that some users may continue to use this medication, despite the risks of tooth decay. To protect your teeth from the potential side effects of Suboxone, speak with your dentist about creating a routine to combat dry mouth and enamel loss.
The FDA also recommends that Suboxone users swish and swallow water after the sublingual strip has been dissolved, but allow an hour to pass before brushing their teeth. While you are taking Suboxone sublingual films, be diligent about maintaining your oral hygiene and let your dentist know as soon as possible if you begin experiencing the signs of tooth decay.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney About Your Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit
At Lawsuit Legal News, we believe that Suboxone users who have been wrongfully injured by Indivior’s negligent failure to warn deserve the opportunity to recover compensation for their damages. Our Suboxone tooth decay attorneys make it a point to treat all of our clients with the same level of respect that we would want to receive, so you can rest assured that we will dedicate ourselves to your case to maximize your compensation.
We have valuable experience sifting through dense medical records for key evidence, recruiting expert witnesses to support arguments, meeting the administrative demands of the personal injury claims process, and negotiating with powerful defendants due to our past work representing plaintiffs in defective drug claims, such as the Tylenol autism lawsuits. You can trust our team to champion your Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit based on our expertise and work ethic. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about how we can help.