This article has been edited and fact-checked by Michael Rose. Michael is a licensed attorney who has been handling catastrophic injury cases and product liability claims for twenty-five (25) years.
Countless individuals have used Suboxone to overcome opioid addiction. Unfortunately, it appears the manufacturer of Suboxone (Indivior Inc.) did not disclose the potential risk of dental injuries such as severe tooth decay, broken teeth, gum disease, infections, and other side effects caused by the sublingual prescription drug.
New evidence shows that people who take Suboxone may have a higher risk of severe tooth decay and other dental problems. Now, Suboxone users nationwide are taking legal action to hold Indivior Inc. accountable for causing personal injuries, negligence, and a failure to warn.
The Suboxone tooth decay attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to protect your rights and help you recover fair compensation for your injuries.
In nearly 25 years in business, our defective product lawyers have recovered more than a billion dollars for our clients and earned numerous honors for their services. We can handle all the legal issues in your case while you focus on healing and other matters.
Suboxone Lawsuit Updates
Below you can find Suboxone lawsuit news and updates on the Suboxone MDL. As the judge, court, or parties make decisions, we will let you know with some extra perspective added in.
February 18, 2024 – Hearing set on March 7th to Determine Leadership in the Suboxone Dental Decay Lawsuit
Judge Calabrese has set a hearing for March 7, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio. While this is considered an early status conference, Judge Calabrese will begin determining and assigning leadership positions for both the plaintiffs and defendants.
February 12, 2024 – Will There be a Settlement in the Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit in 2024?
While we believe the Suboxone teeth lawsuits will be a fast-moving mass tort, a settlement is unlikely this year. We now have over 20 federal Suboxone lawsuits in the MDL but we are likely eighteen months away from bellwether trials at the earliest. Our Suboxone lawyers project this lawsuit will take two to three years to reach the state of a settlement which still makes this a speedy mass tort.
We believe the science is relatively clear and the plaintiffs will get past Daubert (Daubert hearing is where the Court determines the admissibility of both plaintiff’s and defense’s experts and the methodology behind their scientific conclusions. The sheer number of adverse event reports filed by Suboxone users resulted in the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) unilaterally changing the warning label on Suboxone sublingual films in 2022.
Keep checking this page for updates on the project which should be coming weekly.
February 6, 2024 – JPML Creates an MDL for Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated 16 Suboxone lawsuits that had been previously filed in various U.S. Federal Courts. The Suboxone lawsuit will now be consolidated before Judge Philip Calabrese in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The lawsuits allege that Indivior Inc., (Manufacturer of Suboxone) failed to warn users that the sublingual form of this prescription medication for opioid use disorder is tremendously acidic to the teeth. In turn, there are numerous adverse event reports of severe dental decay and other dental injuries including broken teeth, tooth loss, tooth erosion, tooth fractures, and permanent tooth damage.
We already know the defendant manufacturer is a bad actor that rushed prescription Suboxone film to market when the patent on Suboxone tablets was close to expiring. In turn, what was considered the gold standard for opioid addiction treatment has become in the case of many of our clients, the cause for tooth extractions.
January 18, 2024 – Helpful Information While We Wait on January 25th
While we wait for the Suboxone lawsuit JPML hearing on the 25th, we have put together some helpful information for people who are actively taking Suboxone or were taking Suboxone and are worried about their dental hygiene. Scroll below to the section “How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay from Suboxone?”
January 9, 2024 – Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit Appears Headed to Louisiana
It’s almost a surety that the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will consolidate the Suboxone cases into an MDL which will move the cases to a single Federal Court, with a single judge, and in a single jurisdiction to manage pretrial proceedings, discovery, and motions, for all the cases involved.
January 4, 2024 – Suboxone Lawsuit Appears to be Gaining Traction
As more and more Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits are filed against the makers of a drug that has become the gold standard in opioid addiction treatment, hopes are high that the Suboxone lawsuit MDL will move forward at the end of this month. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received a significant number of adverse event reports of oral health issues concerning the sublingual film version of Suboxone.
The opioid crisis led to the growth in popularity of Suboxone. However, the original patent on Suboxone tablets was set to expire when the sublingual film version was introduced without much testing on the long-term use and overall dental outcomes. Indivior Inc. was likely preoccupied with the thought of tamping generic competition, as a later felony conviction and violation of monopoly laws might show.
Adverse event reports of tooth loss, advanced tooth decay, and oral infections have been received by the FDA. There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that Indivior Inc. (originally a subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser) knew the sublingual film form of Suboxone has a damaging effect on dental health including severe tooth decay.
We are seeing more Suboxone lawsuits filed in Federal Courts throughout the U.S. Thus, it is more likely than not the JPML will consolidate these lawsuits for a consistent and streamlined discovery.
December 15, 2023 – JPML Will Determine Fate of Suboxone Class Action in January
The Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has announced that there will be a hearing session on January 25th, 2024 where they will hear oral arguments regarding the formation of a Suboxone tooth decay MDL. The hearing will take place in Santa Barbara, California.
After this hearing, it’s expected that an MDL for the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits will be formed which, if approved, will mark a significant win for the plaintiffs and simplify pretrial proceedings.
December 6, 2023 – Suboxone Lawsuit Defendants Support Plaintiffs’ Calls to Establish a Suboxone MDL
The defendants in the Suboxone lawsuits (Indivior Solutions, Indivior Inc., and Aquestive Therapeutics who jointly developed Suboxone) have responded to the plaintiffs’ motion to form an MDL lawsuit for Suboxone.
This move is a bit surprising, but if the defendants saw the writing on the wall, it does make sense for them to agree to the motion so that all the Suboxone similar lawsuits can be brought together under one judge in one court to make things more efficient and consistent which will save everyone time and money.
November 14, 2023 – Plaintiffs in Suboxone Lawsuit Petition for Multidistrict Litigation
Several plaintiffs have begun the process to request the formation of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits. Lawyers representing these plaintiffs filed a motion to transfer with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The motion calls for the establishment of an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to better handle the many lawsuits filed in different districts regarding Suboxone’s link to tooth decay.
November 1, 2023 – Suboxone Lawsuit Continues to Grow
Indivior now faces an additional 14 Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits with more expected in the coming months.
October 30, 2023 – Was Indivior Engaged in a Kickback Scheme?
In addition to the many lawsuits filed against Indivior regarding the link between Suboxone use and tooth decay, there are also ongoing lawsuits against the makers of Suboxone which allege they were involved in an illegal kickback scheme and that they illegally tried to suppress competition by blocking generic versions of Suboxone. These separate lawsuits help put pressure on the defense in the growing number of Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits.
September 25, 2023 – First Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit Filed
The first lawsuit against Indivior and Reckitt Benckiser alleging a link between the drug and tooth decay is filed in the United States District Court for The Northern District of Ohio by plaintiff David Sorensen. We saw this lawsuit as inevitable. There have been far too many reports of adverse events related to dental injuries associated with sublingual Suboxone.
January 12, 2022 – FDA Changes Warning Label of Suboxone
The FDA officially announced that drugs like Suboxone can cause tooth decay, requiring new warning labels on the medicines. Numerous reports of dental damage including broken teeth, severe tooth decay, and gum infections prompted the FDA to at least list tooth decay for now as a potential health risk, There are a growing number of reports illustrating a link between Suboxone (sublingual form) and tooth decay along with other dental health issues.
What Is Suboxone?
According to SAMHSA, Suboxone is the brand name for buprenorphine, a prescription medication meant to help people treat their addiction to opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Doctors can prescribe buprenorphine as part of a patient’s treatment plan, and the drug comes in many forms. Most medicines containing buprenorphine also contain naloxone, a drug used to mitigate the effects of an opioid overdose.
Suboxone refers specifically to a type of buprenorphine. Patients place a thin strip of medication under their tongue or on the inside of their cheek. When the strip dissolves, the patient receives a small dose of a medication that mimics the effects of opioids, but the effect isn’t as strong and, consequently, not as addictive.
Does Suboxone Cause Tooth Decay and Dental Problems?
It’s worth noting that even before patients began filing lawsuits related to tooth decay, federal regulators listed a broad range of Suboxone side effects. The documented side effects include respiratory problems, dependency, and more. The Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits, however, focus on a side effect that the drug’s manufacturer may have hidden or downplayed.
Suboxone Acidity and Tooth Decay
One explanation is that Suboxone film strips are acidic which can disrupt the pH inside of the mouth and increase the risk of tooth decay. Suboxone film strips have a pH of 3.4 when dissolved in water which is comparable to vinegar or orange juice. It is not especially acidic but the recurrent use of strips, their prolonged contact with the teeth, and other factors could contribute to dental issues.
Dry Mouth Side Effects Could Contribute to Suboxone Tooth Decay
Suboxone is known to cause dry mouth which may play a role in the observed increased risk of tooth decay. Saliva production is essential for maintaining healthy gums and teeth since it helps regulate acid and bacteria in the mouth. Buprenorphine-related dry mouth, in conjunction with the acidity of Suboxone film strips therefore are prime suspects when it comes to the cause of increased tooth decay risk.
Streptococcus Mutans Bacteria
Another theory regarding buprenorphine and tooth decay proposes that Suboxone could influence the growth of a bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans that produce lactic acids that can help cause tooth decay.
Studies Connecting Suboxone to Tooth Decay
Buprenorphine has been the subject of numerous studies examining the relationship between drugs containing the ingredient and the onset of tooth decay among patients. So far, several studies have shown that there is reason for concern since the drug shows a high correlation between dental problems and sublingual buprenorphine usage.
These studies of Suboxone and similar drugs have helped to create a clear relationship that is the basis for these Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits and affirms many plaintiffs’ allegations.
2013 Suboxone Study of Buprenorphine Users
A study published in The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders in 2013 investigated patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts undergoing treatment for opioid dependence and reported tooth decay and dental side effects associated with their usage of buprenorphine.
The study found that over 90% of the patients they examined had low to moderate salivary buffering. Of the general population, less than 50% of people are thought to have low to moderate salivary buffering. This correlation between lower salivary buffering and buprenorphine users reporting tooth decay is believed to indicate a relationship between the effects of the drug and increased tooth decay risk
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Suboxone Study
In December 2022, a research letter published by the medical journal JAMA found that compared with other forms of buprenorphine or naloxone, patients who took the sublingual film form of Suboxone were much more likely to develop dental problems.
Researchers are still investigating why this tooth decay happens, but the problem may be with how Suboxone blocks the production of saliva. Saliva helps keep teeth clean and reduce acidity in the mouth, but if the body can’t produce saliva, acidity and bacteria levels increase, making dental problems more likely to occur.
2023 Study of Suboxone AERs
A 2023 study analyzed adverse event reports filed through the United States Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) between 2015 and 2022. The data allowed researchers to determine that sublingual Suboxone was responsible for a much higher rate of adverse events involving dental disorders compared to buccal and orally administered buprenorphine.
What Dental Problems Does Suboxone Cause?
It’s now known that Suboxone—a medication prescribed to treat opioid addiction that is administered by dissolving in the cheek or under the tongue—can cause serious dental problems. These issues range in severity and can include one or multiple symptoms.
This list of dental health problems is taken for the FDA report on Suboxone causing dental decay.
- Cavities or tooth decay
- Enamel erosion
- Tooth fracture
- Fillings falling out
- Gum disease
- Dental abscesses (infection)
- Tooth loss
- Bone loss in the jaw
- Rampant caries (severe and multiple cavities, more than 10)
Cavities—the most commonly reported injury caused by Suboxone—are irreversible tooth decay where the hard covering of the tooth breaks down from acids in the mouth. When sugar, soda, juice, and food are left in the mouth for too long the natural bacteria in your mouth break them down into an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Cavities can be treated with fillings, composites, and crowns.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Decay from Suboxone?
The above health issues, some of which are very serious, have been reported in all kinds of Suboxone patients including those with no history of dental issues. Despite this, the medical community’s opinion is that the benefits of Suboxone (like keeping you off drugs and alive) outweigh the risks.
Obviously, whether you are taking Suboxone or not, proper dental care is important, and even more so if you are taking acidic Suboxone.
Here are some tips from respected sources on proper dental hygiene.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. And if you eat or take your medicine after your last brushing, then do it again.
- Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth.
- Brush properly for at least two minutes, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. If you can, use a sonic toothbrush which does a great job giving your teeth an extra good scrubbing.
- Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months AND after recovering from being sick to prevent spreading the bacteria or virus again.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue which will prevent bad breath and other oral health problems. Consider a tongue scraper which is much easier to use and has been proven to be even more effective than brushing your tongue.
- Use fluoride toothpaste which is scientifically proven to fight germs that can lead to decay and protect your teeth’s enamel.
- Floss every single day. It’s important. It stimulates the gums, reduces plaque, and helps reduce inflammation. There are lots of flossing tools out there that can make the task easier and less likely to be skipped.
- Use mouthwash every night since it reduces the amount of acid in your mouth and re-mineralizes the teeth, both of which are especially important for someone taking Suboxone.
- Drink a lot of water which can help wash out some of the sugar, acid, and other harmful leftovers between brushing.
- Limit sugary and acidic foods, like desserts, candy, fruits, tea, and coffee which can erode the enamel of your teeth,
- See your dentist at least every 6 months for cleanings and checkups.
Here are some additional tips that are specific to Suboxone to prevent dental health problems:
If you are just starting Suboxone
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can customize a prevention plan specifically to address the risks caused by Suboxone. Tell them if you have a history of cavities or other dental problems. This is actually one of the FDA guidelines for doctors to tell new Suboxone patients, so it’s important.
- Visit the dentist for regular checkups while taking Suboxone.
- Follow the tips below.
If you are already taking Suboxone
- After your Suboxone medication is fully dissolved, take a large sip of water, swish it around your teeth, gums, and under your tongue, then swallow the water.
- Wait at least one hour after the Suboxone has fully dissolved then brush your teeth.
- Take your Suboxone at least one hour before you plan on brushing your teeth before bed so that you don’t sleep with the acid on your teeth.
- Try to avoid acidic drinks and foods while taking Suboxone so you don’t increase the stress on your teeth.
- Make sure you are visiting the dentist for regular checkups and tell them you’re on Suboxone if they don’t already know.
- Schedule an appointment right away if you notice any problems with your teeth or gums while taking Suboxone.
If you notice any dental problems while you’re taking Suboxone, do not suddenly stop taking it without first making a plan with your doctor.
Abrupt discontinuation of buprenorphine will lead to serious consequences, including withdrawal symptoms (getting “sick”, nausea and vomiting, head and body aches, insomnia, severe anxiety, fever and chills, depression, etc.) and possibly relapse that could result in regression into active addiction, overdose, and death.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for a Suboxone Lawsuit?
To qualify for a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:
- You were taking Suboxone before 2022 (this is when a warning was added to the medication information)
- You were using Suboxone that was prescribed by a doctor to reduce opioid dependence, stay in recovery, or for pain management
- You developed dental issues because of Suboxone (meaning you did not have serious problems before but you did after using Suboxone)
- You have some type of dental records before your use of Suboxone (this will help prove the condition of your teeth before using Suboxone)
- You experienced tooth decay or health problems beyond a normal level of decline. A more detailed list can be found in the above section titled “What Dental Problems Does Suboxone Cause”
- Your dental injuries resulted in damages, like dental bills, medical bills, pain and suffering, or lost wages
Pharmaceutical companies, perhaps more than any other type of corporation, have a moral and legal responsibility to make sure their products are safe. And we intend to hold them accountable!
If you meet these criteria or have questions about your eligibility, talk to a Suboxone lawsuit lawyer to see whether you qualify for a Suboxone injury claim. You can call us anytime at (212) 779-0057 or fill out our online contact form.
Compensation from a Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit
Every personal injury case, including those involving Suboxone tooth decay, is unique. The compensation you could recover depends on the severity of your dental issues, their impact on your daily life, the cost of your medical treatment, and other factors. You can seek compensation for various losses as part of a Suboxone tooth decay claim, including money for:
- Medical Expenses: This includes costs for dental treatments, surgeries, and any ongoing dental care you need. It can also cover future dental expenses related to the condition.
- Pain and Suffering: Suboxone-related tooth decay can cause significant physical pain and emotional distress. Compensation for pain and suffering addresses the non-economic impact of your dental issues.
- Lost Wages: If your dental problems have required you to take time off work, you can pursue compensation for lost wages. This includes compensation for the days you could not work due to dental treatments or recovery.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: In some cases, catastrophic dental issues may impact your ability to work in the long term. If this is the case, you can demand compensation for your loss of earning capacity.
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses: You can include any additional costs you incurred because of the tooth decay, such as travel expenses for dental appointments or special dietary needs, in your claim.
What to Do If You Have Taken Suboxone
If you’ve taken Suboxone and are now experiencing dental issues, it’s crucial to take steps to safeguard your legal rights. After seeking medical treatment, the following steps can help you navigate the situation:
Document Your Dental Issues
Keep detailed records of all dental appointments, treatments, and recommendations. Document the progression of your dental problems with photos and notes.
Track Expenses and Impacts
Keep a record of all expenses related to your dental issues, including bills, receipts, and insurance claims. Also, note any impacts on your daily life, such as missed workdays or activities you can no longer enjoy.
Avoid Discussing Your Case
Be cautious about discussing your case with insurance companies or on social media. Your opponent in a personal injury claim can use your statements against you.
Consult a Lawyer
Contact a law firm with experience handling Suboxone tooth decay cases. An attorney can provide valuable advice on your legal options and the best course of action.
How Our Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawyers Can Help
You have enough to worry about without the hassle of a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit. While you recover from your injuries, our experienced attorneys will gather evidence to support your claim and prove why you should receive compensation for your losses. We’ll take care of all the paperwork in the litigation process and handle all the negotiation and, if necessary, trial prep. We’ll handle your case so you can focus on you and your family.
We know how to best present your case to a judge or jury. We will see compensatory damages and punitive damages in your Suboxone dental lawsuit.
When you receive treatment for opioid dependency, you don’t expect that you’ll be exchanging that problem for severe dental issues. The Suboxone lawsuit attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can be your champion in your fight for fair compensation. Call us today at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online for a complimentary case review.