The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the centralization of more than a dozen Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits into multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio.

According to Suboxone lawsuits, the drug’s sublingual formula is highly acidic and can cause dental problems such as tooth decay, tooth erosion and tooth loss. Defendant drugmakers failed to properly warn patients and medical providers about this risk, plaintiffs said in their complaints. 

Plaintiffs’ lawyers filed the original motion to centralize in November 2023. The move to centralize originally affected 15 cases in five districts. 

The federal panel assigned the litigation to Judge J. Phillip Calabrese. Though the panel said Calabrese has not handled an MDL before, plaintiffs’ lawyers are happy with the choice. 

“Judge Calabrese is a well-respected and capable jurist. I am happy to see the panel agreed with our recommendation for consolidation and transfer to his court in the Northern District of Ohio,” said Trent B. Miracle, partner and head of the mass torts division at the law firm of Flint Cooper. 

Miracle was one of the first attorneys to file Suboxone lawsuits and has extensive experience handling opioid lawsuits on behalf of people affected by the opioid crisis. 

Since the order was issued on Feb. 2, 2024, there are now 26 cases in the new MDL.

Suboxone Lawsuits: Plaintiffs Were Not Properly Warned About Tooth Decay Risk

The FDA first approved Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) in 2002 to help recovering opioid addicts avoid withdrawal symptoms while undergoing addiction therapy. It was originally sold as a tablet, but drug makers eventually introduced the Suboxone sublingual film formulation, which dissolves under the tongue.

“These actions share complex factual questions arising from the alleged propensity of Suboxone film, which is used for the treatment of opiate addiction, to cause dental erosion and decay. Plaintiffs in all actions allege that defendants designed Suboxone film to be acidic, which they claim leads to dental erosion and decay when the film is dissolved in the mouth (Suboxone previously was available only as an ingestible tablet),” according to the panel’s order. “Plaintiffs allege that defendants knew, but failed to warn, that Suboxone film causes damage to teeth.”

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Suboxone Tooth Loss Affects Physical and Mental Health

Some Suboxone users are facing tens of thousands of dollars in dental costs. 

Many former addicts feel they worked hard to conquer addiction, only to have the devastating side effect of tooth loss affect their physical and mental health. 

“The way that they get people is when you are at that point in your addiction that you are worried about living and dying — they market this drug to you like it’s a miracle medication,” one Suboxone user, being identified as D.S. to protect her privacy, told Drugwatch. 

D.S. said she has used Suboxone for years, and if she had known that she would lose her teeth, she would have tried alternatives. She had always been proud of her teeth and taken care of them, she said. Now, she says, her “whole mouth is a cavity,” and she’s lost several teeth. 

She has developed depression and doesn’t go out anymore, D.S. said. She described being terrified of losing what few teeth she has because her job involves working with people, and she can’t face anyone without teeth. 

Many Suboxone users like D.S. are hoping to file Suboxone lawsuits against the drug’s makers to help pay for their skyrocketing dental costs. 

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are still investigating claims, and the cases are in the initial stages. Though, because of the statutes of limitations, anyone affected by Suboxone should seek an attorney right away.

“I look forward to litigating this case before him and getting justice for all the Suboxone claimants who will inevitably have cases before him,” Miracle said.