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Top-Rated Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawyer

Altman & Altman’s experienced Suboxone lawyers are taking on the medication’s manufacturer for failing to warn patients about severe tooth decay side effects

Drug manufacturers owe consumers a specific duty of care. This duty requires that they provide adequate warnings of potential risks. In the case of Suboxone, the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about the risks of dental injuries associated with their sublingual film strips.

If you used Suboxone before June 2022 and you suffered from severe dental health problems, you may be entitled to compensation. These dental issues may include serious tooth decay and cavities, gum and tooth infections, fractured or lost teeth, and total tooth loss.

To learn more about the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit and how we can help you fight for justice and the money you need to rebuild your life, contact Altman & Altman, LLP online or at 800-481-6199.

Dentist examines a person's mouth, representing tooth decay caused by Suboxone and the need for dental procedures

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a sublingual film medication that is used to treat opioid dependence. Suboxone contains two main ingredients—buprenorphine and naloxone—that have proven critical in opioid addiction treatment.

Buprenorphine is a pharmaceutical chemical known as a partial opioid agonist, which works by activating the opioid receptors in the brain so that they are full. Since the opioid receptor is filled, the patient does not experience withdrawal effects, and equally as important, other opiates cannot fill those receptors.

A doctor who is Board-certified in Addiction Medicine described buprenorphine as an imperfect fit for the opioid receptor—or, to think of it another way, as a cap for the receptor. This means that when patients take Suboxone, their receptors are satiated but not “perfectly” or “completely.” This means the patient does not experience anywhere near the typical high or euphoria that other opiates like heroin or oxycodone cause.

And because the opiate receptors are filled or capped, a user can take street or pharmaceutical opiates, and they will just pass right over the already filled receptors and be processed out of the body.

Additionally, this property gives the user's brain the sense that they have full opiates in their system and, therefore, prevents the patient from craving them.

Naloxone plays a much smaller role in the medication but is still important. It helps block the effects of opioids too, but it’s mainly added to Suboxone to discourage misuse of the medication; if Suboxone is injected, the naloxone will induce immediate withdrawal symptoms, ensuring that they and anyone who hears about it will not attempt to misuse the drug again.

Suboxone is Not the Problem, Failing to Warn User is the Problem

Buprenorphine (whether in tablet form or film version) has helped people millions of people with opiate dependence by reducing their cravings, stopping withdrawal symptoms, and preventing more dangerous drugs from attaching to the brain.

When a Suboxone strip is taken as prescribed (in this case, sublingually, meaning under the tongue or in the cheek area), it has revolutionized the treatment of addiction.

Suboxone treatment is part of a new approach to addiction treatment known as MAT or Medication Assisted Treatment. MAT is important because it immediately stops the user from having to continue to seek other types of opiates and, in some cases, from partaking in dangerous behaviors.

When it is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, it's an effective tool in the treatment of opioid dependence.

Unfortunately, while this medication is tremendous at helping people dependent on opiates to break the habit, Suboxone has some adverse side effects that users weren’t warned about. Specifically, Suboxone has been linked to severe dental problems such as tooth decay, oral infections, dental caries (cavities), gum infections, tooth loss, and a lot more.

Not only is this a particularly egregious side effect, but it was also allegedly hidden from patients and prescribers for 20 years.

Why Are People Suing the Makers of Suboxone?

The Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit primarily targets Indivior PLC (formerly Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals), the manufacturer of Suboxone. Plaintiffs have filed Suboxone tooth decay cases because they claim that they were not warned that the medication could cause severe tooth decay.

Lawyers helping injured clients file a Suboxone lawsuit are seeking compensation and justice in these federal Suboxone lawsuits for several reasons, primarily focusing on allegations related to anti-competitive practices that turned out to be dangerous and issues related to safety and the harmful side effects of the drug.

These legal actions claim that the plaintiffs should have been warned about the risks related to the film version of Suboxone and that Indivior participated in anti-competitive practices that put their patients at risk.

The case filed against Indivior by law firms and lawyers nationwide is known as Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone) Film Marketing, Sales Practices, And Products Liability Litigation.

Suboxone is Being Sued for Anticompetitive Practices

Most of the tooth decay lawsuits have included some type of reference to the makers of Suboxone engaging in anticompetitive practices, causing the plaintiffs to be put at unnecessary risk of dental issues.

Indivior, the maker of Suboxone, held the patent on the medication for the allotted 20 years. During that time, they made a massive amount of money. When the patent was about to expire, meaning generics would be available from other companies, Indivior scrambled to find some way to extend their patent protection and maintain a monopoly on the market.

Mass tort lawyers allege that they quickly came up with or released a new product to do this.

Instead of Suboxone being delivered through a sublingual tablet like it was before, they would sell sublingual films and market them as more effective and efficient. This is a tactic known as "product hopping," where a drug company slightly modifies its product (such as changing from a tablet form to a film form) to extend the life of its patent and block generic competitors from entering the market.

The reason this is relevant to the suboxone dental lawsuit is that since the new version of the drug needed to hit the market before the patent ended, Suboxone tooth decay lawyers allege they rushed the product to market without proper testing to make sure it did not have any dangerous side effects. But this would have required long-term testing, and Indivior didn't have the time; their patent was expiring soon.

Suboxone is Being Sued for Dangerous Side Effects

Most of the suboxone lawsuits also focus on the allegation that the medication causes severe side effects, specifically related to oral health and serious dental problems.

Because of its acidic nature, Suboxone weakens tooth enamel and puts users at a higher risk for infections, tooth decay, and gum injuries. These injuries often require dental care, such as implants, crowns, fillings, and extractions.

Had Indivior, the drug manufacturer, done their due diligence and warned users about these risks, this could have been avoided. Therefore, they should be held accountable for their actions.

A single packet of an 8mg Suboxone film strip as well as a single film cut in half lay on a white background, intending to give the reader a visual of the medication that is at the center of the Suboxone lawsuit

Timeline in the Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit – as of March 2024

We will update this page as more information becomes available about the Suboxone multidistrict litigation (MDL).

March 2024 - Status Conference Held for Suboxone MDL

The first Suboxone status conference was held, and the impression from the hearing was that Judge Calabrese is eager to push the litigation forward, which is positive news for all involved. The defendants have proposed a gradual approach to the pretrial discovery process, focusing initially on establishing general causation. However, the plaintiffs are against splitting the discovery process into phases, especially regarding general causation, arguing that it slows down the path to getting trial dates and, subsequently, to settlement.

On March 5, a federal judge in the US District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved a $385 million settlement between a group of direct purchasers and Indivior Inc., the maker of Suboxone. This settlement resolved claims that Indivior abused its monopoly over Suboxone. This settlement is not part of the tooth decay MDL lawsuit over personal injuries, but it does show Indivior's willingness to settle.

Finally, the initial status conference in the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit was held on March 7th, and eighteen members were appointed to the Plaintiff's Steering Committee by Judge Calabrese.

We expect that the MDL is going to see a rush of new cases over the next three months or so.

February 2024 - Suboxone MDL Update

On Friday, February 4th, 2024, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled to create an MDL Suboxone class action lawsuit. All federal lawsuits against Indivior regarding their failure to warn consumers about the risks associated with using the drug were consolidated into a single case for the purposes of pretrial proceedings. This streamlines everything and prevents countering rulings in state courts across the country. Once the pretrial elements are done, the cases will be tried separately on their own merits.

January 2024 - Suboxone Litigation MDL

On January 25, a hearing was held to determine whether or not to convert the Suboxone lawsuit into an MDL class action lawsuit. The results of that hearing should be coming out any day now.

December 2023 - Update on Suboxone Lawsuits

While only 15 Suboxone lawsuits are pending with the US District Court at this time, hundreds or more likely thousands are being investigated by defective drug lawyers nationwide, which they will then add to the potential MDL if the case is eligible.

There are also worries about the statute of limitations, which in many states is two years for defective drug cases. Since Suboxone added a warning label about tooth decay side effects in January 2022, this deadline is fast approaching. It’s important to file your lawsuit as soon as possible.

November 2023 - Suboxone Lawsuit Update

After 14 new Suboxone cases were filed in November, the plaintiff’s lawyers filed a motion to consolidate the Suboxone cases into multidistrict litigation (MDL).

October 2023 - Update on Suboxone Lawsuits

A man from Ohio’s lawsuit was filed in federal court after he was prescribed Suboxone to treat his opioid use disorder. He took the sublingual film for over a year before he started to suffer from severe tooth decay. This eventually led to a permanent loss of multiple teeth.

Later that month, Indivior agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against them by drug wholesalers. The wholesalers alleged that Indivior unlawfully restricted manufacturers from making generic versions of the medication. They paid $385 million to resolve claims that stated Suboxone was created to suppress generic alternatives.

At the same time, Indivior also faced claims alleging that they were defrauding the government with a kick-back scheme. The scheme involved using a company called Express Scripts, which gave Indivior additional financial benefits for promoting Suboxone.

January 2022 - Suboxone Update From FDA

In January 2022, the FDA announced that they received reports of sublingual buprenorphine causing dental problems. Because of this, they forced Indivior to add a warning to the prescription and patient medication guide.

While Suboxone is a valuable medication for treating opioid use disorder, it can indeed increase the risk of tooth decay and dental problems. Here are the key reasons why:

How Does Suboxone Cause Tooth Decay?

Suboxone causes dental injuries because of mechanisms related to the medication. Here is what we know so far.

Acidity: Suboxone has an acidic pH of around 3.4 when dissolved in water. This acidity, similar to citrus, can wear away tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to bacteria and decay. Since Suboxone films have to sit in the mouth and make contact with your teeth for 30 minutes, it makes the problems much worse.

Dry Mouth: A common side effect of Suboxone is dry mouth which is a decrease in saliva production. Saliva is crucial in protecting your teeth and neutralizing harmful acids in the mouth. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria can thrive and cause tooth decay.

Prolonged Contact: As we mentioned, Suboxone strips or films are dissolved under the tongue or in the cheek, meaning they stay in contact with your teeth for an extended period of time. This continuous exposure makes the acidity and dry mouth much worse than if you swallowed a pill.

Other Contributing Factors: There is no doubt that for some people, neglectful oral hygiene due to addiction and the struggles that come with it can cause tooth decay, making the impact of Suboxone on dental health even worse. But not everyone who is dependent on opiates is a “junkie.” Lots of people are legitimately injured or were victims of the opiate epidemic and got to the point where they could not function without opiates. In an attempt to get off the dangerous "full" opiates, they turned to MAT and Suboxone.

Evidence for Suboxone Causing Tooth Damage

Evidence in the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit comes from various sources, including patient reports and medical studies. Here are the main reports that have connected Suboxone to tooth decay so far.

  • A study in 2016 found that people who take Suboxone are more likely to experience tooth decay than those who do not.
  • Another study states that Suboxone users have more cavities and issues with tooth erosion than those who do not use buprenorphine-containing drugs.
  • In 2022, a JAMA study found that Suboxone users have a much greater risk of dental issues than people who used other drugs for opioid addiction. They also found that users who already had dental problems were at an increased risk for further issues.
Who Can File a Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuit?

In 2022, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned potential users about the risk of dental problems associated with the use of buprenorphine. This warning was added to patients’ medication guides in order to properly educate those who use Suboxone and other buprenorphine-containing drugs, albeit 20 years late.

To qualify for compensation from the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been prescribed Suboxone for opioid addiction or pain management
  • Have used Suboxone sublingual film for at least six months
  • Suffered a dental injury or dental health problem after the use of Suboxone, such as tooth decay, tooth loss, tooth fracture, cavities, gum disease, or gum injuries
  • You must have had routine dental care before the use of Suboxone
  • You must have used Suboxone before the FDA released warnings in June 2022
Injuries in Suboxone Lawsuits

Dental injuries may not seem like a big deal, but they can cause severe pain, stress, the need for painful surgery, and financial hardship. Like other facial injuries, damage to the teeth can also cause trouble with self-confidence and image, resulting in mental health decline.

The American Dental Health Association’s Health Policy Institute cost survey found that the total cost for replacing just one lost tooth can range from $3,100 to $5,800, not exactly a sum of money most people have lying around.

However, injuries include more than just the loss of one tooth. Users of Suboxone sublingual film may experience the following:

  • Severe Cavities
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth infections
  • Gum infections
  • Root canal
  • Advanced tooth decay
  • Tooth fractures
  • Tooth loss

These injuries led to the need for painful and expensive procedures like:

  • Multiple Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Tooth extractions
What Compensation Can You Recover for Suboxone Lawsuit?

Compensation for Suboxone tooth decay damages can vary depending on your specific injuries and treatment. However, cases have been settled for five to six figures. Your compensation depends on the damages you’ve incurred due to your injuries.

In a defective drug lawsuit, like a suboxone lawsuit, plaintiffs can be compensated for various damages, like financial losses and suffering.

  1. Medical Bills: This includes compensation for past, present, and future medical expenses related to the dental injuries caused by Suboxone. It covers hospital stays, dental visits, medication costs, dental surgery, and any other healthcare expenses related to the side effects of the drug.
  2. Lost Wages: Plaintiffs can also claim compensation for the income they lost because they were unable to work because of their injuries or because of time they had to take off work for appointments or recovery time.
  3. Pain and Suffering: This is a common type of damage that is usually lumped in as a figure related to the amount of medical bills you have. Pain and suffering compensates you for the physical pain, emotional suffering, and physical discomfort you experienced.
  4. Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are rare in most personal injury cases because the burden of proof is so high. Unlike other damages that compensate you for your losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their harmful behavior and deter similar actions. Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases involving intentional misconduct or gross negligence. In the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits, punitive damages are liely.

Understanding Indivior's Actions and the Need for Punitive Damages

The people at Indivior and the company as a whole knowingly disregarded the safety of potential users and ignored risk factors that showcased how Suboxone could affect dental health. Because they allegedly mislead the community with false information about the drug, they should be required to pay out additional compensation in the form of punitive damages.

Punitive damages will also help to ensure that Indivior and similar companies won’t continue to make these mistakes or behave in a negligent manner. They’re a way of saying, “We will hold you accountable for your actions,” and we hope that eventually, pharmaceutical companies will learn that they cannot intentionally and recklessly put consumers at risk in this way.

Until then, we will continue to help victims of reckless pharmaceutical companies like Indivior receive the compensation they deserve.

Steps to Take if You Used Suboxone Before June 2022

If you used Suboxone sublingual film before June 2022 and experienced tooth decay or other dental injuries, there are a few steps you’ll want to take.

  1. Don’t stop taking your medication until you’ve spoken to your doctor.
  2. If you have noticed issues with your teeth, contact a dentist and schedule an evaluation.
  3. Gather and preserve any related medical records, including prescription information and dental records. You should also keep any bills related to dental costs like surgery, check-ups, further prescriptions, etc.
  4. Contact Altman & Altman for help filing your Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit. Working with an experienced lawyer is the best way to receive full and fair compensation for your damages.
How Can Altman and Altman Lawyers Help You?

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Altman & Altman LLP believe that recovering from an injury shouldn't severely impact your life, especially if that injury could have been prevented. If somebody—whether it’s another person or a huge international corporation—caused your injury, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, medications, and any future treatment.

Our experienced mass tort attorneys will handle your Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit to make sure that you receive compensation for your damages. We have years of experience working on defective drug claims. Whether we are settling high-profile cases and taking them to trial, we do everything it takes to win.

Contact Us Today to Speak With an Experienced Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawyer

When a medication that’s supposed to help you injures you instead, it can be a stressful experience. You shouldn’t have to go through it alone, and you shouldn't have to 'just deal with it. Our team of experienced defective drug attorneys is here to ensure that you receive full, fair compensation and that drug manufacturers are held accountable for their actions.

To learn more about the Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit and how we can help you, contact us online or at 800-481-6199.

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