Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit

February 2, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Suboxone is a medication commonly prescribed to individuals with opioid addiction. The medicine works by providing a way to end addiction to opioids, curb opioid withdrawal symptoms, and reduce the effects and potency of opioids taken in relapse. However, the sublingual film version of Suboxone has recently been shown to cause tooth decay and other dental injuries due to it containing buprenorphine.  The Suboxone sublingual film has proven to be acidic and causes the degradation of the protective outer layer of teeth and tooth enamel.

If you or a loved one have experienced dental problems while taking Suboxone before 2022, you may be able to recover compensation. The Suboxone class action lawsuit is beginning to gain traction.

Dolman Law Group is here to help you understand your rights and take the necessary steps to get you the money you need to pay your medical bills and rebuild your life. If you have experienced tooth decay or other dental issues, contact us online or by calling 727-451-6900.

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Recent Rise in Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuits

Suboxone Box on Shelf - Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit - Dolman Law Group

There has recently been a significant increase in the number of Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits. In November 2023, 14 new product liability lawsuits were filed in federal courts against Indivior, the maker of Suboxone. 

This brings the total number of Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits filed to over 100. This number is only expected to rise as the hundreds of thousands of people who took Suboxone and are suffering from tooth issues come forward.

The rise in Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits is likely due to a number of factors. But the most common reasons are likely:

  • Increased awareness that Suboxone can cause tooth decay as the word spreads
  • The popularity of Suboxone to treat opioid addiction is increasing
  • More people are starting to experience tooth decay and are finding out about the link when they visit their dentist for dental health issues.
  • Pharmaceutical companies (such as Invidior PLC - manufacturer of Suboxone) responsible for the opioid crisis have created products designed to overcome opioid dependence which includes Suboxone. Opioid addiction treatment has become a cottage industry itself.  Suboxone is considered best in class for the treatment of Opioid use.

Updates on the Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit - February 2024

Here are some of the latest developments in the Suboxone tooth decay litigation:

February 2, 2024 - It's Official, Suboxone Lawsuits Are Now an MDL

It’s official, the Suboxone lawsuits have been consolidated into an MDL. No oral arguments were heard at the JPML hearing since it wasn’t necessary. Both parties were in agreement with consolidating the cases into an MDL before the hearing. Judge Calabrese from the Northern District of Ohio was appointed to oversee the litigation that will now handle all the claims against Suboxone for tooth decay and other serious oral health issues.

  • January 17, 2024 - Apparently, Indivior, the company that manufactures Suboxone, knew about the potential risk that users could experience tooth decay since it is mentioned in the prescribing information provided to doctors. However, it appears they didn't think it was important enough to include in the medication guide, which warns patients about the potential side effects of a specific drug. We expect to learn more about the MDL decision after January 25th.
  • January 16, 2024 - A new Suboxone tooth decay plaintiff, Lindsay Haddad has emerged as one of the thousands of Americans who suffered profound dental injuries after using the medication to reduce her dependence on opioids. Her product liability lawsuit claims that Indivior effectively deprived the medical community of the information they needed to properly care for their patients, relied on insufficient testing to vet their medication, did not accurately inform consumers about the risks of using Suboxone, and manufactured the medication based on a defective design. 
  • January 4, 2024 - A Cuyahoga County woman has become the most recent plaintiff to file a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit alleging the drug manufacturer Indivior concealed the risks of the medication from patients and providers. Her complaint describes the significant tooth decay she experienced as a result of using Suboxone, which includes an active ingredient known to create the conditions for enamel erosion.
    Including this claim, over 15 plaintiffs have taken legal action against Indivior in federal court, although there could be hundreds more eligible plaintiffs across the country.  Given the similarity of the Suboxone tooth decay claims and the potential for expansion, the parties have asked to consolidate the cases into multidistrict litigation (MDL). The defendants have suggested centralizing the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits in the Northern District of Ohio, where Cuyahoga County is located.
  • January 3, 2024 - More lawsuits are expected as the number of Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits continues to rise, with hundreds of potential cases being investigated by lawyers nationwide. This trend suggests that the issue of Suboxone-related dental problems is not likely to go away any time soon. As of January 3, 2024, there have been no announced settlements in any Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits.
  • January 2, 2024 - More studies are emerging that support a link between Suboxone use and an increased risk of tooth decay. These studies seem to show that the drug changes the oral bacteria balance and decreases saliva production in the user's mouth, both of which can contribute to dental problems. Although the link between Suboxone and tooth decay is becoming more clear, it's still not exactly known the specific ways in which Suboxone affects the teeth and gums. Further research is being done to understand the long-term effects and how dosage variations and oral hygiene techniques might curb these negative side effects.
  • December 26, 2023 - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has scheduled their next hearing for January 25, 2024, in Santa Barbara, California, where they will hear arguments from both plaintiff and defense lawyers on whether all pending Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits pending in Federal Courts throughout the United States, should be consolidated in one jurisdiction as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL). We believe the JPML will consolidate the Suboxone class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Ohio.
  • December 4, 2023 - Lawyers representing plaintiffs in several federal districts who used Suboxone and suffered dental problems have filed a motion to bring all federal Suboxone cases into one multi-district litigation (MDL) to create a more efficient legal procedure. The majority of pending cases have been filed in the Northern District of Ohio, so that is the district suggested for the MDL.
    • The MDL motion alleges all of the claims filed against the drug manufacturer Indivior related to Suboxone injuries have similar facts and legal arguments, including the reason Suboxone is prescribed - for people struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). How Suboxone's film is acidic and connected to tooth erosion and dental decay that Indivior should be liable for manufacturing and selling Suboxone when it knew or should have known about these potentially dangerous side effects and harming users
    • Plaintiffs also assert that since 2007, patients have been reporting dental issues, and research starting in 2012 has shown a potential connection between taking Suboxone sublingually (under the tongue) as prescribed and severe tooth decay. Also, even though it knew about these potential risks, Indivior failed to change the drug or warn about the risks.
  • November 17, 2023 - Plaintiffs' lawyers petitioned the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate all Suboxone lawsuits that have been filed in Federal Courts throughout the country into one jurisdiction. The plaintiffs have asked the JPML to consolidate Suboxone lawsuits into the Northern District of Ohio.
  • November 1, 2023 - 14 new Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits were filed against Indivior in federal courts.
  • October 30, 2023 - Indivior now faces multiple avenues of litigation that they must now fight off. On one hand, Indivior must defend a False Claims Act lawsuit accusing the company of an illegal kickback scheme. At the same time, there is an ever-growing number of lawsuits alleging the use of Suboxone (film form) led to advanced tooth decay.

It is important to know that Indivior has denied any wrongdoing and is fighting these lawsuits in court. However, the sheer number of people with tooth decay who took Suboxone, along with scientific evidence, means there's a significant risk that Indivior will be found liable for their negligence.

Can I Sue Suboxone for Tooth Decay?

yes. If you used Suboxone film before the manufacturers updated their warning label in June of 2022, and you suffered severe tooth decay then we would be honored to pursue a claim on your behalf. The general allegation is the manufacturer of Suboxone failed to warn users of a known danger or defect associated with using their product.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medicine used to help people who are struggling with opioid addiction and dependency. The medication is administered as a thin strip of film that is taken sublingually (placed under the tongue), where it dissolves and is then absorbed by the body. This prescription drug is used solely for opioid addiction.

Patients prescribed Suboxone typically are struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). Suboxone does provide real relief for people who are trying to fight this medical condition. Still, it is a medication intended to be used as part of a greater program of detoxification and treatment utilizing other forms of help.

Some people may experience side effects when taking Suboxone, like nausea, headache, and constipation. However, it's crucial to talk to a doctor about anything that is concerning you, especially if it involves tooth decay.

How Suboxone Works

By utilizing the two main ingredients, buprenorphine, and naloxone, Suboxone can deliver its useful effects that help treat opioid use disorder. Suboxone contains one part naloxone to four parts buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine in Suboxone

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that provides a limited version of opioid effects and can curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings without delivering the same potency as opioids like heroin and certain pain prescriptions.

Opioid agonists such as heroin, morphine, and pain prescriptions activate nerve cells in the brain by attaching to proteins known as opioid receptors that block pain and release endorphins that cause sensations of pleasure and euphoria in what is known as the "opioid effect."

Buprenorphine is only a partial opioid agonist, which means that it does attach to opioid receptors like other opioids, but it only partially activates the receptors. As a result, it does not create the same potency as the "opioid high". So buprenorphine gives those with OUD an alternative to their desire for opioids that tricks the brain into thinking it is getting the opioids it desires to curb withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine also has the added benefit of adhering to opioid receptors, so if a user relapses, the buprenorphine will interfere with the other opioids with what is called a "ceiling effect." The full opioid agonists in the other drugs taken in relapse will not have the same potency since the buprenorphine bonded to the opioid receptors will interfere with their activation.

This also helps to reduce the likelihood of overdose deaths, although some who relapse may attempt to use larger doses to overcome the ceiling effect, which is extremely dangerous.

Naloxone in Suboxone

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the activation of opioid receptors and blocks any euphoric effects. When Suboxone is taken sublingually as intended, the naloxone in it does not activate. However, if patients attempt to abuse Suboxone by injecting it intravenously since buprenorphine has more potent effects taking it that way, the naloxone activates and blocks opioid receptors, leading to a lack of opioid effect while the patient still suffers withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone and Tooth Decay

Tooth decay has become a concern for people who are prescribed Suboxone sublingual film. Many users have reported (following long-term use) experiencing severe dental injuries and dental issues, including:

  • Severe Tooth Decay: One of the most significant issues reported is severe tooth decay, which can result in cavities and damage to the tooth structure. This damage may require:
    • Tooth extraction
    • Root canal treatment
    • Crown or crown replacement
  • Tooth Erosion: Suboxone use has been linked to erosion of tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. The following are some injuries caused by Suboxone related tooth erosion
  • Dry Mouth: Some individuals on Suboxone experience dry mouth as a side effect, reducing saliva production. Saliva helps protect teeth from decay, so reduced saliva flow can contribute to dental problems including tooth loss.
  • Gum Problems: Suboxone may also lead to gum issues, including gum inflammation and periodontal disease.
  • Infections: The damage done to the teeth and gums by Suboxone can potentially lead to infections. These infections are typically treated with medication and/or certain procedures, but complications are possible.

What Evidence Is There That Suboxone Causes Tooth Decay?

The potential link between the sublingual film version of Suboxone use and tooth decay is based on anecdotal evidence and studies that have observed concerning relationships between Suboxone and rates of tooth decay. However, it's important to know that more research is needed to establish a direct relationship between taking Suboxone and tooth problems. We will require dental records from before your use of Suboxone to illustrate the damage caused by the sublingual film.

Many individuals have reported experiencing dental problems, including tooth decay while using Suboxone. Suboxone films have an acidic makeup that was not adequately tested for potentially causing dental erosion. These reports have been a significant factor in raising awareness about the issue. If you have suffered from dental and oral health issues after using Suboxone, then do not hesitate to report your injuries. You will be asked to provide your lawyer with records of your Suboxone usage, dental care, and evidence of dental injuries and/or gum disease.

Suboxone's Acidic Nature Causes Dental Damage

Suboxone strips have an acidic pH, which can potentially contribute to enamel erosion and decay over time if good dental hygiene is not followed. Suboxone has a pH of 3.4 on the pH scale, which is used to determine the basicity or acidity of substances ranging from 0 to 14, with 0 being highly acidic and 14 being highly basic.

Either extreme on this scale is dangerous, but to give some perspective, 0 on the pH scale is acidic on the level of battery acid, and 14 is drain cleaner. Both extremes are highly corrosive and dangerous, with 7 at the middle of the scale being the most neutral, like water.

Suboxone strips have a pH of 3.4, which is similar to vinegar. Your mouth maintains a slightly acidic pH level, between 6.2 and 7. Regular use of acidic Suboxone strips can lower the pH of the mouth and cause the steady erosion of the enamel of the teeth

Dry Mouth Side Effect of Suboxone

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a known side effect of Suboxone. Since the medicine is taken sublingually, (under the tongue) it reduces saliva production which can contribute to tooth decay since saliva plays a vital role in protecting our teeth by neutralizing acids and preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria.

When those taking Suboxone experience dry mouth symptoms then that can exacerbate the already acidic effects of the medicine and further lower mouth pH, leading to tooth decay.

Medical Studies of Suboxone Conclude It Increases Risk of Dental Injuries

Some preliminary studies have suggested a possible association between opioid medications like Suboxone and dental problems, but further research is needed to establish a clear causal link.

One study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics in 2016 found that people taking Suboxone were more likely to experience tooth decay than people not taking the medication[1]. The study also found that Suboxone was associated with an increased risk of xerostomia, or dry mouth, which is a known risk factor for tooth decay.

Another study, published in the peer-reviewed Prim Care Companion CNS Disord, found that people taking Suboxone had a higher prevalence of dental caries or cavities than people not taking the medication. The study also found that Suboxone was associated with an increased risk of tooth erosion, which is a condition that can weaken tooth enamel and make it more susceptible to decay.

A more recent study, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in 2022, found that people taking Suboxone had a higher risk of dental problems than people taking other medications for opioid use disorder (OUD). The study also found that the risk of dental problems was highest among people who had a history of dental problems before starting Suboxone.

While these studies suggest that Suboxone may increase the risk of dental problems, it is important to note that more research is needed to confirm these findings. 

Additionally, it is important to weigh the potential risks of dental problems against the risks of being addicted to opiates, like heroin or street pills, and what that can do to your life.

Learn more: Florida Prescription Opioid Crisis Statistics

FDAs Response to Suboxone Tooth Decay

In 2022, the FDA warned about the risk of dental problems linked to buprenorphine (Suboxone). The FDA report on Suboxone stated that some individuals experience significant oral problems such as tooth decay, cavities, infections, and tooth loss. 

Reports show these issues have occurred in people who have never had dental problems in the past and who have great dental hygiene. The FDA has determined that based on a body of medical research and a database of adverse events; there is a link between the sublingual form of Suboxone that dissolves in the mouth and the development of severe tooth decay and other significant dental problems.

As a result, the FDA has required manufacturers to add a warning about these dental risks in the prescribing information and the patient Medication Guide.

These medical issues can be painful and very expensive to fix. That is why you should be to an experienced defective drug lawyer like Dolman Law Group who has taken on some of the biggest drug manufacturers in the world and won.

The link between Suboxone and tooth decay has raised questions about the medication's side effects. Some users have noticed a connection between Suboxone use and dental problems for years but weren't sure if they were linked or what they could do about it. The medical journal JAMA published a research report in December 2022, that sublingual film forms of Suboxone are two times more likely to cause serious dental health issues than regular tablets.

While the exact cause is still under investigation, these reports have led product liability lawyers like Dolman Law Group to look at holding these manufacturers accountable for potential health risks that were not properly conveyed to consumers in warning labeling. We believe it is wise to consult with medical professionals before making any determinations regarding your health.

Allegations Against Indivior in Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit

The victims who are suing Suboxone and their legal team (known as plaintiffs) claim that Indivior, the maker of Suboxone, knew about the medication’s potential for causing tooth decay and other dental problems due to the acidic formulation of Suboxone sublingual tablets and films (the medication is in a thin strip or tablet and is placed on the cheek or under the tongue for 30 minutes) and did not take adequate steps to warn users about this risk or to prevent it from becoming a problem.

Indivior’s failure to warn and protect patients is the main point of the Suboxone lawsuits. 

As early as 2007, adverse event reports were being reported to the FDA, and studies in medical journals were pointing to a possible link between Suboxone tablets and films and severe dental decay. 

Between 2007 and 2021, at least 136 adverse events related to oral health issues associated with the use of Suboxone were reported to the FDA and the manufacturer. Indivior was aware that people being prescribed their medication were experiencing very specific and recurring issues, but chose not to act until much later. 

Around 2010 Suboxone tablets were reaching the end of its patent protection. But manufacturers of Suboxone—at the time Reckitt Benckiser, but later a subsidiary called Indivior broke away and took Suboxone with them—developed the film version of the medication to mitigate competition with generic versions of the tablet. 

To do this, the defendants gradually raised the price of Suboxone tablets and kept the price of films steady, in order to switch patients over to the new films. This later led to antitrust violations and criminal convictions of senior executives.

This is to say that, Reckitt and later Indivior, specifically pushed films, and after they got a final warning by the FDA in January 2022 about serious dental issues being reported because of Suboxone’s sublingual delivery method, they added a warning. But at this point, patients had been suffering for years with tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues. 

So in short, people are suing because they knew or should have known about Suboxone’s potential for tooth decay and failed to warn doctors and the public about it.

The Basis of the Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuits

Tooth decay is only one of many possible negative symptoms that can occur when using Suboxone, with patients also possibly suffering symptoms (potential side effects) such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Numb mouth
  • Permanent tooth decay/dental decay
  • Gum injuries
  • Tooth damage 
  • Constipation
  • Painful tongue
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Problems with concentration
  • Degradation of oral health
  • Chronic pain
  • Dry mouth - decreased salivary flow

The issue is that there was adequate warning of these negative symptoms for patients and doctors considering Suboxone for treatment but no warning of tooth decay that Suboxone can also cause. Indivior did not include warnings about potential tooth decay caused by Suboxone until 2022.

Suboxone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for OUD treatment, meaning that patients were deprived of essential information that they had the right to know about regarding a harmful Suboxone side effect for about 20 years.

The product liability lawsuits filed against Indivior are focused on the fact that Suboxone's labeling did not include warnings of tooth decay.  Lawyers are suing the manufacturer for negligence in not providing that info and not simply because suboxone has a negative side effect of tooth decay alone.

Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit Eligibility

Suboxone tooth decay is a harmful symptom that has negatively impacted many, but not all are eligible to file a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit.

Only those who used Suboxone before 2022, when there was no warning of tooth decay in the labeling, will be able to participate in Suboxone litigation.  The new warnings provided on the Suboxone label show that there is real truth to these claims and demonstrate how important regular dental checkups truly are.

Furthermore, prospective plaintiffs need to be able to prove their use of Suboxone and must have suffered tooth decay injury severe enough to warrant filing a lawsuit.

Filing a Suboxone lawsuit is not something to take lightly, and the damages suffered by a plaintiff need to necessitate the investment of time and effort that goes into filing a lawsuit like this.

Who Qualifies for a Suboxone Lawsuit?

To qualify, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You were prescribed Suboxone by a doctor
  • You used Suboxone for at least 6 months before 2022
  • You are suffering from cavities, tooth loss, tooth fractures, tooth decay, tongue injuries, and gum injuries that you did not have before taking Suboxone
  • You had routine dental care before starting Suboxone to prove the prior condition of your teeth

If you are questioning whether or not your injuries entitle you to seek compensation from Indivior in a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit, contact Dolman Law Group for a free consultation where our Suboxone tooth decay lawyers can answer your questions and determine your eligibility.

Damages in a Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit

Patients who have experienced severe tooth decay and other mouth-related problems caused by Suboxone may be able to recover compensation for their losses. The amount they can recover depends on the severity of the dental damage as illustrated by prior dental records, the specific details of the case, and the results of the court proceedings.

The losses caused by Suboxone-inflicted tooth decay are called damages and are what these lawsuits seek to compensate either through a settlement or court awards. These damages may not only involve economic damages with direct dollar values but also encompass non-economic damages such as mental anguish that are abstract and intangible losses that are still considered. 

Potential damages in a Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit might include:

Medical Expenses

Victims may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills for dental treatments like fillings, root canals, extractions, and other necessary procedures. Medical expenses covered by a Suboxone settlement can also include prescriptions, medical devices, and further doctor appointments.

Pain and Suffering

Compensation may also cover physical and emotional pain and suffering endured as a result of dental issues caused by Suboxone.

Lost Wages

If the dental problems resulted in missed work or a loss of income, individuals may be able to recover that money by filing a claim. Lost opportunity for promotion, loss of a job position, or loss of income opportunity in general can also be considered for compensation in a Suboxone settlement as well.

Future Medical Costs

In cases where ongoing dental treatment is needed, compensation can include future medical expenses related to dental care and other issues caused by Suboxone.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, if it can be proven that the manufacturer's actions were especially reckless or negligent, punitive damages may be awarded to both punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.

How Dolman Law Group Can Help Your Tooth Decay Suboxone Case

Dolman Law Group specializes in pharmaceutical litigation and personal injury cases involving dangerous defective drugs. We understand the complexities of Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits and can provide expert legal guidance.

The product liability lawyers of Dolman Law Group are well known for taking on large drug manufacturers.  Pharmaceutical companies involved in past cases were larger than Indivior, Inc. We have filed lawsuits against companies like ZantacTylenolUloricTepezzaOzempic, and more.

Our Suboxone tooth decay lawyers will thoroughly evaluate your case and review your medical records, dental history, and the circumstances of your Suboxone use so we can determine the strength of your case and whether it's worth pursuing. We have compiled substantial research on how Suboxone films impacts your long term dental health.

Contact Dolman Law Group Today To Discuss Your Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit

Seeking a Suboxone tooth decay lawyer is paramount if you have suffered dental and oral damage as a result of Suboxone films use before 2022 when their labeling failed to adequately warn of this symptom. With the help of our Suboxone tooth decay lawyers, your case will be prepared to obtain more than fair compensation for your damages. We will fight for the maximum value available through a Suboxone settlement or court award.

Dolman Law Group is ready to help Suboxone users get the compensation you need for your dental problem caused by this prescription drug. We are handling Suboxone lawsuits on a national basis.  If you believe you have a case, call our Suboxone lawyers at:  727-451-6900 or contact us online


Non-website related resource:

[1] Berkson, L., & Montero, A. M. (2016). Suboxone and dental caries: A case-control study. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 41(11), 938-942.

 

Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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