I just found this site yesterday as I was looking for info on suboxone. I was addicted to pain meds (any I could get, but mostly tramadol) for about three years, then went to herion. I was on methadone for about three months and with my addiction clinics' urging switched to suboxone. When I switched I had to go three days with nothing but some methadone was still in my body and the suboxone precipitated harsh withdrawal (so anyone who wants to switch, watchout for the narcon in the suboxone). Anyway, the addiction specialist told me about how much easier it is to get of suboxone so I made the switch. Now I read on here that it is actually pretty difficult. I am really worried because I want to get of everything asap so I can join the Air Force. I have been on 12mgs for about two weeks and after reading the threads I went down to 8mgs today (we will see what happens). Does any know if it will be easier if I do it faster or am I just in for a tough time no matter what? Also anyone who has been through this, how long of a withdrawal timeline am I looking at? What is a good taper schedule? My addiction clinic does not seem to know much about suboxone as I have had to learn most of what I know from the internet (they are a new clinic and I am one of the first patients to switch to suboxone). I am really just looking for some help and support. Thanks for any help you can give me.
Yes I did Suboxone treatment, both a short treatment then a long 3 year treatment. What you need to understand is "addiction" changes the brain, the sub only stops the addictive behavior and suppresses the symptoms of withdrawal. When you stop the sub you will have withdrawal because the brain changes are still there. The longer you are not engaging in addictive behavior your brain will be adapting back to normal, how long that takes depends on how addicted you have become. For me it took 3 years but I was doing 15-20 bags of H a day.
The only way to tell is to attempt a slow taper. If you begin to feel withdrawal that means your taper out-paced your brain's ability to heal. Getting down to 2mgs is easy but you may need to slow down at that point.
One more thing it is the buprenorphine itself that caused your precipitated withdrawal, the naloxone component remains inactive unless injected.
So explain something to me that I can't seem to grasp about suboxone, please.
If it's only supressing the w/d's, what's the difference in taking it or any other narcotic? "Supressing the w/d's", isnt' that the same as being addicted? Aren't you still 'dependent' on a drug which is PART of addiction? Just a different drug? I just don't get the point to all of this.
I'd love to think I could just go get on Suboxe and all addiction issues would be over. But I'm having a hard time 'buying' this.
What's the difference in Suboxone w/d and any other w/d?
Suboxone is to treat “addiction”. Addiction is an uncontrollable compulsion to take drugs despite harm. Addiction ruins lives. People favor drugs and drug seeking over family, some rob, and commit other crimes because they can’t stop taking the drug, even if it doesn’t feel good and not to just stop withdrawal, it is an uncontrollable compulsion that eventually consumes their lives. This is dangerous life threatening behavior and requires treatment. That’s “addiction” The goal of addiction treatment is to stop this dangerous all encompassing compulsion before it kills the person.
“Physical dependence” means if a person stops taking the substance they will have withdrawal. People who are addicted to opioids are both physically dependent and addicted, but it’s the addicted part that is bad and ruins lives, the physical dependence part isn’t all that important and is manageable medically.
Suboxone can help put an end to the addictive behavior. Once treatment begins the addictive behavior ends the patient is no longer seeking drugs despite harm, no longer favoring drug seeking over family. The patient becomes stable and the compulsion fades. The life-threatening symptoms are gone and the patient is left with the physical dependence part. This does not ruin lives, but is an inconvenience, it is experienced by anyone who needed to take painkillers or sleep aids or some anti depressants for a long period of time. A slow taper off of the medication can allow most people a fairly comfortable transition off.
The main point is there is a difference between “physical dependence” and “addiction” one ruins lives and need treatment and one is manageable normal physiology.
Surely you see the difference between someone risking their lives to obtain heroin and dangerously injecting god knows what into their veins, stealing money to get it, lying to and neglecting their family, loosing their job, spending money they don’t have, suffering with the depression of withdrawal between doses vs. someone who takes an FDA approved medication as directed once a day under a doctor's care, doesn’t require more and more, and is allowed to function normally without cravings and withdrawal. This allows them to work on counseling and all of the other things they need to change in their life so when they end treatment they have the best chance of being able to deal with cravings and other triggers. That’s not trading one addiction for another.
Actually, Kuk, it is the narcon that precipitates the withdrawal as subutex does not have this ingrediant and does not precipitate. It is the reason Suboxone is put under the tongue to be dissolved, the narcon does not dissolve under the mucus membrane of the tongue, the other does. But you are right in the fact that if suboxone is crushed and injected it will cause serious wd as the narcon was added to subutex later just for stopping abuse of the drug.
On the other note, I don't know what to do. I am so ready to be off everything and get on with my life, but I am soooo scared of harsh wd as I have faced those many times. I just wish there was some concrete knowledge out there as to what I should do. I am tapering now and have been on 12mg for two weeks. I have read like no more than 17 days or a month but I guess it differs for everyone. I just hope I don't have to deal with too much harshness, but it is what it is.
You misunderstood me. I was saying the narcan didn't precipitate YOUR withdrawal as you said, you did let it dissolve under your tongue, and as you've said it doesn't enter the blood unless injected, so it obviously wasn't responsible for your withdrawal. Buprenorphine, whether in suboxone or subutex, will cause precipitated withdrawal if you take it too soon. So there is no need to tell people to "watch out for the narcan in Subooxne" because if taken correctly the narcan won't have any effect, but the buprenorphine will.
As far as your taper, I would try 8mgs for 3 days and see what happens you can always go back up. When I tapered I was able to get to 2mgs without any trouble but I had to slow down and spend another 2 months to get from 2mgs to zero, but everyone is different. The brain can only heel so fast. The fastest way is to just stop everything but you'll have withdrawal. The sub will spread out the withdrawal and make it easier. The first thing is to find the ,lowest dose that still works for you now so you are not taking more than you need. hope that helps.
Welcome to the Addiction and Recovery Board. It is good to read that you feel ready to begin detox and get on the road to recovery and sober thinking. The buprinorphine in subutex of suboxone is is a semi-synthetic narcotic. Semi-synthetic, natural or whatever, you are going to go through withdrawal. Withdrawal is tough no matter how we look at it or what plan (coldturkey, long taper, quick taper, etc) we decide on as individuals. Initially, the sub was developed to be used very short term as a way to help detox from drugs, particularly opiates. The opiate ingredient in it, the buprinorphine, has long ago been used to help alcoholics through alcohol withdrawal. Along the way, also, sub has begun to be used as a methafdone treatment in that the user remains on a drug to try and gain sober thinking and then go through the process of detox.
However the sub is used, you are going to experience withdrawl. There is just no way around it, Friend. None. The best plan for coming off it must be up to you. Learn what you can here on this board and get back to that addiction specialist who advised you to go on it in the first place and talk with him some more. Here on this board, you will find that some used it for one week only and then came off of it. Others have used it longer and are still on it. Others yet are using it for 'maintainence' the way methadone is used. I can not preach at you about how to use it or how to come off of it. I can only share how I came off opiates (and then benzos) and hope that my experience will help you come to a decisive conclusion about what you deem is the best plan of action for your recovery. My truth is that detox is big time physical and mental torment, but well worth the price to gain recovery. This is a truth for me because recovery and sober thinking is the valuable goal we seek... our method of detox is just a crummy step on a bigger journey.
I did sloooow, slooooow tapers. It took 8+ months for my detox. However, I must be upfront and tell that a slow taper is just as torturous as a qucik one. It takes huge amounts of discipline and we are in a constant state of withdrawal during the taper. An absolute rule of thumb in any opiate taper is that once we lower a dose, it does not go up again. We may have to stay at a reduced dose a bit longer at certain points, but if we make the decision to up a dose once lowered, we defeat the whole purpose of an opiate taper. (Benzos are different). I believe in deciding on whether to do a long, slow taper or a quick short one involves an honest, really honest, evaluation of our own strengths and weaknesses. Do we have enough discipline to stick it out with a long taper? Do we have a partner who will hold on to the med and dole it out according to schedule? Are we prone to relapsing if we stretch a taper out? How strong is our committment to honestly and truly stopping all opiate use? Have we done all we can to prepare ourselves for a life without heroin, oxycodone, suboxone? We have to have a 'full disclosure' discussion with ourselves about these things. Jumping into a detox not truly prepared will not get us into recovery and sober thinking, which IS the ultimate goal.
Please read The Sample Home detox which is the very first thread on this board. It is a great aid in suggesting things to use to prepare physically for a detox no matter how we choose to detox. Then read lots and lots of posts here and learn, learn, learn what detox from any opiate is like. Learn the pitfalls, learn the successes. Then ask all the questions you want of all the board members. We can share our combined experiences with you and wlk beside you as you begin your journey.
Whatever plan of action that you choose, know that time will have other dimensions to it along the journey as you embark. Many times it will be time in minutes only. It will graduate eventually to hours and then days. And finally, when we realize we are back in what was once normal time frames again, we can begin to claim our lives once again. My life is reclaimed and restored at this point. Time is normal for me again. I hope the same for you.
Reach, you had withdrawal during your sub taper because you tapered too fast. Your taper schedule outpaced your brain's ability to heal. I did the same thing until my doctor explained it and I slowed down. I had NO withdrawal ZERO through the whiole taper until I got to 2mgs and then when I slowed down again I had NO withdrawal until after I stopped completely and it wasn't that severe. I never missed a day of work ,but fro about two weeks I felt tired achey and had insomnia. It can be done if the taper is matched to your brains ability to heal. Most people go too fast and have withdrawal.
I didn't taper from sub! I tapered from oxycodone. However, tapers from opiates all share similarites. The brain needs to heal. Absolutley agree. However, eight months, which is what I took to taper, is not a fast taper! Actually, the opiate taper was about 4-5 months and was follwed by a benzo taper.
I am amazed that you had absolutley no withdrawal symptoms! How very fortunate for you. I am sure many here share my envy. Withdrawal was very hard for me even though on a slow taper. It was a progression of constant withdrawal that became very hard at the end stages. I had both physical symptoms and mental and emotional ones. However, for me, I felt a long, slow taper was the best course. It allowed me to heal physically and additionally allowed me time to become changed in my thinking about use of opiates and benzos fro chronic pain.
I would exchange the whole experience in a heartbeat. While I have learned much through the whole ordeal, I wish the lessons were not ones I had to learn!
I never write on this board as one who has first hand knowledge of sub, only share my opiate withdrawal experience. Sorry if I confused the issue!
I'm sorry I misunderstood, I though you were tapering from sub like me. In that case I'm not surprised that you had withdrawal and congratulate you on being able to do it, very few people can do that and it must have required extreme discipline, that is quite an accomplishment. I had tried many times to taper off opioids and was never successful at least not for very long, until sub. Actually my first experience with sub was only 30 days and I had terrible withdrawal and relapsed within two weeks. It wasn't until I did a long 3 year treatment that I was able to get through it like I did, without withdrawal.
Last edited by kuk07; 07-15-2007 at 12:45 AM.
i am down to 2mg currently and am planning on dropping to one when i get home from my vacation on the 27th.... did you drop from two to one with no problem. or was there a step in between? ive been on two for about a month now and am not having any trouble with it anymore. i am stable at this dose so i feel ready to move on.... what do you think?
Last edited by oh-notagain; 07-15-2007 at 06:17 AM.
I'd suggest just droppin 0.4ml, from 2ml to 1.6ml unless you really think you can manage with 50% less than you are on right now. You want a comfortable ride as possible so take it slowly.
Best of luck with your detox. Jason.
I went a little slower, but you may be able to do it. Since sub has such a long half-life, what I did was skip every 3rd day. If you do that for a couple weeks (or more if needed) it comes out to the equivalent of 1.4mgs./day. Then you could try taking it every other day, and so on. I found I would be tired and feel a little bad for 2-3 days with each decrease, nothing real bad, but noticeable. I always went back up a little fore few days if I felt too bad, then tried again. Staying very busy helps too. Sitting around waiting for withdrawal symptoms will not work, make sure you have plenty of distractions to keep your mind off of every little ache and pain.
I saw a PET scan on another site that shows what happens in the brain at 2mgs but I’m afraid to post it…I got suspended once already for posting educational material. It shows that over 50% of the receptors are occupied at 2mgs, which explains why it is harder at the end. Best of luck to you, I wish you the same success that I had, listen to your body.
jay and kuk,
thanks for your answers. much appreciated. so now let me get this straight. should i cut down a bit (tiny) more and stabilize and then try to take off every third day or should i just take off every third day now? i dont think i can do that b/c when i wait to long in the morning i get sick. ugh..
im sorry to be such a pest, but i have to get this right. im just wanting to be done with needing anything at all ! i had a 5 1/2 year taste of sobriety and went off the deep end in may, for only ten days, chewing up 80mg oxycontin. the suboxone and this taper are the result of that. it kills me to think that my body got so sick again in just 10 days. but what floors me most is that after 5 1/2 years, my tolerance level was just as high as when i got sober the first time..... i was doing 10 - 15 bags heroin every day back then.... just floors me that the first time i took 40mg of oxy i hardly even felt it !!!
thats all over now. i just want to be sober again. i appreciate your help...
oh, two more things.... first of all i want to say that the sub has been a Godsend b/c i dont know how i would have managed without it.. i coulnt stay on those oxy's for long and not get back into that life.
second - how the heck do you measure those tiny little increments? is there some tool or scale i can use to do it?
Last edited by oh-notagain; 07-15-2007 at 05:33 PM.
I tapered off oxycodone. I have never been on sub. However, as both contain opiate, perhaps my experience will help you. As the end of the taper approached, I actually taperd down by 1/8ths of a tablet. I was on a 5 mg oxycodone tab, just one a day towards the end. I was able to brak the tab into quarters and then I would smash the quarter with the back od a spoon. Then I would eyeball half of that, wet my finger and just lick my finger followed by a glass of water.
Many on this board, and even my doctor, asked exactly what you did... HOW do you get a portion othat small??? chuckles... I learned the trick many years ago from a wonderful psychiatrist from whom I got my basics in tapering. I have tried the pill splitters, but they do not work so well trying to get an eighth. So I used this method at 7/8ths, 5/8ths. etc.
I don't know what a sub pill looks like. Whatever size it is, just break it down into the smallest potion you can... even if only in half... and then use the 'smash and lick it' method from there. "Smash and lick it" may sound totally unprofessional, but it is the best way I can describe it and it was very successful for me.