A panel of federal judges will hear oral arguments to consolidate 15 Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) when it convenes in California on Jan. 25, 2024.

The move follows a joint motion by plaintiffs’ lawyers and the drug’s manufacturer, Indivior, seeking coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Tooth Decay Led to Suboxone Lawsuits

Some users have experienced dental side effects like tooth decay and loss after using the product, leading to lawsuits that claim Indivior failed to warn users of the risks adequately. These injuries have led to Suboxone lawsuits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone in 2002 for treating opioid addiction. Initially, it was available only in tablet form. Subsequently, the manufacturer introduced Suboxone film, designed to dissolve beneath the tongue, making it easier to use.

The film is acidic, and prolonged use may cause dental injuries. 

The company added Suboxone tooth decay warnings in early 2022 after the FDA identified more than 300 reports of dental problems associated with the drug. 

“The dental problems, including tooth decay, cavities, oral infections, and loss of teeth, can be serious and have been reported even in patients with no history of dental issues,” according to the FDA’s Drug Safety Communication.

The FDA advises both prescribers and users of Suboxone to work on oral health strategies when using the film version of Suboxone.

“These strategies will include recommending that prescribers refer patients to dental care services and encourage them to have regular checkups while taking these products,” the FDA said.

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Crucial Decision Days for Suboxone Lawsuits

On Nov. 14, 2023, plaintiffs’ attorneys proposed centralizing all Suboxone lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Indivior voiced its support on Dec. 6. The company said consolidation would be helpful as it faced a steadily increasing number of lawsuits.

As Suboxone tooth decay lawyers continue to file claims, hundreds more are anticipated to emerge throughout the federal court system.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a notice on Dec. 15, confirming that it would hear oral arguments on Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit consolidation during its Jan. 25, 2024, hearing in Santa Barbara, California. Currently, there are 15 claims across five district courts, with the majority concentrated in the Northern District of Ohio.

After the Jan. 25 hearing, the panel will determine whether to transfer the cases to a single court and appoint a judge. If a Suboxone multidistrict litigation is established, coordinated discovery and potential bellwether trials will occur. These trials could result in verdicts or a global settlement over time. Unresolved claims will return to their original district courts for individual trials.