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Old 04-16-2009, 08:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Addicted to Subutex....

Upon the suggestion of a very dear friend, I have decided to start a new thread. I didn't want to put it in the allocated place, as maybe this could be a source of help to other substance users.

I am an addict, and I am addicted to Subutex. After having gone through the withdrawals, I am back on it again. I needed to get some more 'stable' months under my belt, and am in great pain with a back problem. Subutex deals with all that, and THAT is what is worrying me. When am I going to cut this cr*p!

Any advice from anyone else that was/is addicted? I feel that it is dangerous drug, as the withdrawals from it are perilous, despite some opinions who thoroughly condone this treatment.

Thanks for reading. Love to you all,

Just some strange French chick x
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I dont know Tish Im on 18th day off my suboxone and still dont feel great but it could be worse I wish you all the best .
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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During withdrawal, your going to feel much pain, as the nerve endings are very sensitive.

We addicts think that we have to be on this and that for the pain, but the pain is natural
or out of proportion, in most cases.

I felt pain in a lot of places whilst detoxing......... after a month or so, it when away.

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Old 04-16-2009, 09:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The cravings are what eat me up.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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To be totally honest, I don't feel or act much differently now then I did whilst I was on subutex. If I needed it for a legitimate reason, bad chronic back pain or the like, or if I'd tried (like you did) to quit at too high a dose and couldn't handle the withdrawals, I'd probably go back on it, too.

Sure, it's addictive. Sure it produces some bad withdrawals. It's an OPIOID. You aren't addicted to 'subs', my dear, you are addicted to opioids!

Fortunately, I don't think it's all that *destructive* of a drug, when taken properly under a doctors care, personally. Its a heck of a lot cheaper and safer than being strung out on oxys or heroin, and it's far easier to have a 'normal life' on.

If you back and read your original thread, I did warn you that trying to get off of it at 8mg/day was going to be a nightmare. You must wean down to a much lower dose than that, otherwise, getting off of subs totally sucks.

And it is NOT just the acute, short-term withdrawal effects, it's the fact that they LAST seemingly forever when you try to quit off of a high dose. Gotta remember, this drug has a 60 hour half-life. When you stop at 8mg/day, it literally takes the better part of a month before the drug is completely out of your system!

So, now, you know. Don't worry about it too much, just ... do it 'right' this time, okay Tish?

You have made yourself a living example of the 'sub horror stories' that some people come on here and talk about, and like I always say ... the horror comes in when you don't properly wean off the stuff. It's that simple.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Tish,
I'm curious - how long were you on the subutex last time, and how long were you abusing your DOC? When you say that you are 'addicted' to the subutex - do you mean you're concerned about the physical dependence and w/d when you're not taking it? Or are you abusing the medication? Have you been taking it as rx'ed?

As I think you know, I am taking subutex as well...currently tapering, but definitely having some issues with that. I honestly feel w/d symtpoms, even when tapering a small amount off a relatively high dose. I've heard theories that it's 'all in my head' - and I admit, alot of it could be - but any way you put it - I'm having physical manifestations of w/d pain - and it stinks. However, Subutex has been very helpful for me, allowing me to stay far away from my DOC -- unfortunately I have abused the medication in the past. When i say abuse, I mean over use --- and no, it doesn't make me high or honestly make me physically feel any better to take more --- this is a mental thing. I'm now taking it as rx'ed, but the subutex def has played on my abusive/addict tendencies. I want to take more when I'm feeling 5hitty - I know that it won't help the symptoms, but this is what my addict mind has been trained to do. As I work a program of recovery, this behavior has ceased, but the thought is still there. So I understand what you mean when you say you are 'addicted' to this medication.

Have you talked to the doctor about your thoughts on the subject? I think it is a tricky thing - the medication can be very helpful, but it can also prolong addictive behaviors - which it is designed to break. You say you went back on it to get more 'stable time' under your belt. I won't go into my opinion on whether taking opiate replacement meds is being 'clean or stable' - but how do you feel about it? I'm not saying you have to talk about it here, but think about it -- how does that thought effect your actions and your desire to be free from the subutex? IMO - for me personally that is - being on the subutex right now, is better than taking a handful of pills. Alot of people wouldn't agree with this, but it's what's right for me at this point. My intention and goal is to be free of all opiate medications and mind altering substances, but subutex is part of my road to a complete recovery. I think it's a mind over matter issue. I have to be honest though, I've abused subutex before and I am an addict - so it stands to reason if I'm not careful, it could happen again. As someone put it in another post, it's sort of like 'harm reduction' for me - the lesser of 2 evils in some ways.

As far as your back pain - have you tried non-opiate medications like Lyrica or Neurontin which have a good reputation of helping w/nerve related pain? Have you tried alternative non-medicinal treatment like massage, yoga, meditation, strengthening exercise? It becomes a problem when we rely on opiate medication for our pain b/c though not inherently bad, tolerance is going to inevitably rise, leading to the need for higher dosages. Having addictive tendencies is going to naturally lead to a problem w/opiate therapy, period. As Emmer mentioned, once you're habituated to opiates, your tolerance to natural pain is going to be dramtically lowered - so it will take time to be able to handle even daily aches and pains w/o medication. As far as subutex goes, I don't believe there is any clinical proof to show that it's any good for chronic pain - however, as bval said, it's not as destructive as other opiates. Whether you want to continue taking it as pain therapy, as opposed to opiate w/d maintenance is obviously up to you and your doctor.

If I recall correctly, you went c/t off a higher dose of subutex, is that correct? (I'm sorry if that's not accurate - please correct me) If this is the case, that may have sabotaged your plan. The medication is designed to be gradually tapered, leading to a less harsh and painful w/d. Yes, you will still feel pain when you come off the medication...but if you're using it for long-term purposes, the idea is to get your mind on track w/recovery. Once you have a stable platform to work with, the w/d shouldn't be as difficult...see what I mean? The only way to lessen w/d is to taper down slowly. if you come off the subutex from the highest dose, it's bound to be as bad as w/d off your DOC (if not worse than, since the sub is long-acting.) Maybe trying another round of sub isn't a bad idea? If you make a solid plan w/your doctor, scheduling a taper w/a specific amount of time between each drop in dosage, and working your recovery whilst doing so - you might have more success this time? Of course, that is all up to you...but you should definitely talk to your doctor about it!
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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(((((((((((((((((((Big Tish-shaped hug))))))))))))))))

I know you really want to make this happen.

This is going to be an obvious question, but have you spoken with your doctor about the pain?

If the situation were different, I might say to reduce the sub when you can, but I don't want to do that if there's an underlying issue.

I don't know what kind of back issue you're dealing with either, and if it's been a chronic problem for you in the past. All I can say is that I think that when you start going off of pain killers, it can feel like your problem is getting worse before it gets better. I think our pain sensitivity can go way up. I don't have back problems, but my back was aching for weeks, first when I stopped the H and then even worse for a week or two after I stopped taking methadone. It was so strong and unexpected that I started worrying if I had been hiding a serious problem under the drugs for a long time without knowing it. In time, it has gotten so much better, and I realized that I don't have a back problem...I had a withdrawal problem. I have a feeling that your situation is really different, but I thought I'd share that with you just in case any of it might apply.

If you need moral support on any of this, just lead the way in whatever direction positive direction we can go.

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Old 04-16-2009, 11:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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x abagillion on what steppingup said. When I've come off opiates in the past, before trying the sub route...and most notably coming off Effexor, which also can help w/pain and depression-related pain but has nasty w/d syndrome...I actually thought I had a uti which I wasn't aware of that had developed into a kidney infection. My back hurt THAT much - it was excruciating - but the pain did subside over time.

I assumed it was a chronic problem you were talking about, and it may very well be, but just wanted to add that.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Tish,

I know that this was not easy to post. I congratulate you for doing so. I know that, like me, you have very few to whom you must hold yourself accountable when it comes to your addiction. And, I DO think that it is very possible to be addicted to Subutex in the same way that someone will say that they are addicted to percs or vics or codeine or heroin. Just as I think that the same can be said of methadone. Addiction has to do with our relationship with the drug. Do you find yourself receiving comfort from the Subutex. When you are anxious or upset, do you look to see if it's time for your dose? Or do you have a set schedule for dosing and you stick to it?

I want to elaborate on my experience with Suboxone and fearing that I was addicted, but first I want to touch on the pain control issue. If you taper from the Subutex, you should actually find that you have better pain control. From what I've been reading, the whole LESS IS MORE comes from bupe's ability to control pain. Therefore, 8mg of Subutex actually offers less pain control than 4mg. So, honey, as much as you want to get OFF Subutex, if you find that you are experiecing relief from pain at 2mg... don't beat yourself up over staying on the medication because that would be a GOOD thing.

Now to the purpose of your post.

I started to fear that I was developing an addiction to Suboxone because of my behaviors. They were:

Behavior one: Ummm.... I abused the medication the second week that I was on it. Flat-out, no excuses, addict behavior. It was the only time that I abused it. Why never again? Because I got so friggin' sick, that's why!

First of all, I was monkeying with the dose from the get go and it was not effectively controlling my cravings. That prompted the abuse. I held off for the first week+ but had screwed with the levels in my system so much that I started noticing a slight little buzz. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get its claws into me. It was so imperceptible that I had to take my dose and do nothing for an hour so that I could remain aware to feel anything, it was so subtle. But, it was SOMETHING! Of course, once I started to take them for the buzz, the compulsion to continue was impossible to resist. I will assure anyone who wants to abuse Sub, forget it. After 24mg there wasn't even the slightest buzz and I spent the next eighteen or so hours so sick that I couldn't turn my head without wanting to vomit.

Behavior two: I stated to reach for the Suboxone in my purse (as I would for my oxys) when I would start feeling anxious. For a period of about a month, I would start to feel anxious between seven and eight hours from my last dose of Sub. Because I have awakened in withdrawal after missing my evening dose, I've been told that I metabolize the bupe unusually fast. It may be an excuse, but I believe that the way in which I metabolize it may have something to do with encouraging addictive behaviors in me.

Behavior three: Although an attitude and not a behavior, I believe that is the basis for all the other problems. For me, the Suboxone is probably more of an escape from the disease of addiction than it is a tool for recovery. It keeps the physical symptoms at bay, but I'm not getting any closer to being able to accept the fact that I'm an addict. Due to articles that I have read, I'm afraid to stay on the Suboxone for a long period, but I'm afraid to live without it.

Nevertheless, I'm currently tapering from the Suboxone. I've gone from 12mg-8mg in a little over two weeks. The fatigue with each taper is nothing less that debilitating at times!

Over the past couple weeks, my concern with being addicted to the Suboxone has decreased because I was never able to taper from oxys for more than a few days (I may have gone four days at one time). I have been tapering for two weeks and, although I find myself struggling with wanting to supplement the decreased dose with oxys, I'm not tempted to increase the Suboxone. I am not concerned at this point because I can resist temptation (I'm not talking cravings here) and I would never supplement (it's just addict thinking and I recognize it).

All this to say...?

1) You asked for experiences and that's mine.

2) Although I differ some with BV with insisting that you aren't addicted to Subutex but to opioids (I would say that you might be addicted to Subutex which is an opioid, however, you have a definite history of being addicted to opioids), I think that he has a valid point regarding your previous jump from 8mg. Tish... the bupe stays with you for a long time. It very well could have had a lot to do with you starting it again.

3) Talk to your doctor and see about getting on a tapering schedule. (I think that buddy systems can work well .) Although it wouldn't conclude definitively that you are addicted, I would be more convinced that you are addicted to the Subutex (and not merely dependent) if after the many years that you have been on it you have significant emotional difficulty with tapering.

Remember... addiction is the relationship that we have with the drug and that's why, ultimitately, only we can label ourselves an addict.

I hope that I've added something helpful here.
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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AWESOME great honest post Christin - I absolutely agree. Everyone's got an opinion - mine is an addict is an addict -- and those addictive behaviors can be geared towards any abusable substance. I also think any substance can be abusable (in addition to opiates INCLUDING Subutex for me? caffeine, nicotine, sugar and carbs, excedrin, tv, SR, picking at stuff, being perpetually 15 mins late to life - shall i go on?? )

An effective sub regime is one where you take your dose all at the same time and don't take it again until 24hrs later - this is how the medicine is designed to work. My doctor says that he allows the 'pill people' (meaning those addicted to pills as opposed to IV, etc) to split their dose btw 2or3x a day to begin with and then get down to one -- if not they freak out --- I know I did! Just as Christin said....I would swear up and down 5 to 7 hrs after taking my 8mg pill I was in w/d again! My dr said impossible, in your head! then changed it to 'maybe your more sensitive than others' --- I'm still trying to get down to once a day from twice a day--- but I'll tell you --- whether it's in my head or not?? It's hard!! i've trained myself to pop a pill every time I feel the slightest twinge, pain or anxious moment - getting out of that routine I swear is the most difficult part of breaking the cycle of addiction for me. Sure, I could go nibbling on a subutex every time my blood pressure rose or a difficult case slid across my desk...but what would be the point of me taking it then? I may as well go back to keeping a handful of percs on hand. The one aspect of my addiction I obsessed more (okay, as much) about as the high and numb part, was my routine --- until that changes I'm still the same old pill head.
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oh man, I just re-read your post Christin - if you don't mind I think I'll print it out and keep it in my wallet to read -- pull it out everytime I feel the urge to pull out an extra sub or worse. Our tendency towards addictive thinking on this subject is eerily similar...
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Most important thing we have to ask ourselves is -
" Am I pointed toward recovery, or slavery? "

We can easily be pointed in the right direction and on subs at the same time

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Old 04-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This is something I don't understand...first off is there a big difference in subutex and suboxone? Cause, I abused pain pills hard core for more than 10 years, really really bad, and I'm taking suboxone and have no desire to abuse it whatsoever. I take one small dose along w/vitamins every morning and I don't as much as think about it for the rest of the day. I also suffer from rheumitoid arthritis, and have a lot of pain. I can't see that the suboxone helps with that. I do sometimes take 800mg of ibuprofen and it helps me...(imagine that).
The suboxone is doing it's job for me, cause I have no cravings and no desire to 'use'.

I'm sorry you're going through this.:sorry

You'll be in my prayers honey,

Penny
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Tish,
Forgive me for hijacking your thread. But, I've met my addict twin

[QUOTE=Shellslove;2195460]
Quote:
As I think you know, I am taking subutex as well...currently tapering, but definitely having some issues with that. I honestly feel w/d symtpoms, even when tapering a small amount off a relatively high dose. I've heard theories that it's 'all in my head' - and I admit, alot of it could be - but any way you put it - I'm having physical manifestations of w/d pain - and it stinks.
Shells... please... please, sweetie, read my blog on tapering, even if you read only the schedule. This is not in your head. I promise you!!

Quote:
IMO - for me personally that is - being on the subutex right now, is better than taking a handful of pills.
We are so alike, it's almost scarey. This was my position... stay on the Suboxone until I got my head together to stay away from my DOC. Then, I read stuff on PAWS and how only a short time on buprenorphine (weeks and months) can subject a person to PAWS. I don't have a doctor who will discuss it, so I've taken my tapering into my own hands.

Quote:
As far as subutex goes, I don't believe there is any clinical proof to show that it's any good for chronic pain
Some do use it for chronic pain at low doses. It has limited success, but some are definitely using it. However, after a few years on it, many speak about it "turning" on them.

As I mentioned above, the prospect of having to deal with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome after weeks or only a few months on buprenorphine treatment, a condition that I learned typically doesn't affect someone unless they've been addicted to for many YEARS, has me quite concerned. I must rely on what I'm learning on my own because my doctor doesn't allow the time to talk about such things at our appointment. Besides, he's under the impression that there is nothing negative about Suboxone (earning $15 a minute for a maximum of 100 patients who meet with him monthly, I suppose that I see why he wouldn't.)

EDIT: I never read through the thread to see all the other posts before I posted this. Ooops! I'll read them now. Hopefully, I've added more. I did quickly read Penny's post. Penny's experience is what the hope is for all Sub patients. Subutex and Suboxone are exactly the same medicine except for the Naloxone, which is merely meant to discourage IVing of the med. The difference, Penny, is not in the medicine but in the addict, which is further complicated by the fact that, apparently, people must metabolize buprenorphine quite differently or else there wouldn't be such differences in experience. I am so glad that it's working well for you. I think that you are the norm -- or at least I hope that you are and the popularity of Suboxone and Subutex is not merely the result of pushy pharmaceutical companies taking advantange of desperate opioid/opiate addicts.
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Wonderful posts from all of you, thank you.
Christin I too am going to print out your reply and keep it for when I have a desire to use. I will definately NOT be taking 24mg, in a hope just to feel a slight buzz and be as sick as he** afterwards!! ( It was tempting though, before you mentioned it!!)

Just wanted to add a couple of things that maybe everyone already knows about already, but I haven't seen it since I've been on S.R.:
_ Subutex does dreadful damage to your teeth and, less importantly as they grow again, your nails.
_ Subutex should NEVER be mixed with benzo's. It can result in respiratory failure, and you know what that could mean.

It always frightened me when I heard of someone taking Xanax or Ambien, for example with Subutex.

The whole reason I started with pills was to deal with chronic back pain. Now I am back on the sub's again for partly that reason.
Better get to bed now, before it's too late in the morning again!

Bonne nuit Mes Amis.x.
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:54 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Shell - I will reply to your questions some time today I hope. Thank you so much for your input and honesty.
I want to be brutally honest too. I'm not abusing my prescription, but I am tempted to, but I promise I won't.
Does anyone, please know about "Tercian"? I can't find anything helpful on it. I take three 0.25mg's per day, 8mg of Subutex and one "Deroxat".
Please reply, I'm hungry for any information I can get!

Much, much love to you all,
Some strange French chick.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:28 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Let me just add ... everyone is different, but in my particular case, I was abusing oxys to the tune of 50-80 percs worth of oxycodone a day for well over three years (with years before of off and on vike and perc 'recreational use'.

Once my world crumbled around me completely, I moved to a family house in the mountains, and I switched over to subs (a condition of my residence there). I started at 16mg/day, did that for the first couple weeks, then dropped to 12mg/day for about 4 months. Then I dropped to 8mg/day for about a month. Then I dropped to 4mg/day for another month, then to 2mg/day for the last month.

At no point did I have any real discomfort from the reduced dosages, although at 2mg/day, by the time 20 hours or so rolled around, I started getting 'antsy' for my next dose, I'll admit

I also had my aunt living nearby, who helped me by holding my pills once I got down to 4mg/day. I doubt I would've pulled off the taper on my own, to be totally honest.

I then stepped off at 2mg, after a total of 7 months on Subs. It took about 72hrs before I was in full-blown w/d's. These lasted about 4 days where they were pretty bad. If I hadn't been under mommy's lock and key, with no car, no money, and completely dependent on my mom for financial support, I probably would not have made it through the worst of it. It got pretty bad for awhile, mainly due to the lack of sleep.

On day 6, after not sleeping for 3 nights, I started bawling and told my mom I needed to go to the doc for some comfort meds. She agreed, I went to my sub doc, and he gave me clonidine, neurontin, and ambien to sleep. I used these, over the following 2-3 weeks, exactly as prescribed. I can tell you that pretty much as soon as I started taking these, I felt WAY better. I finally got to sleep on night 6, and woke up on day 7 feeling like a MILLION TIMES better than I had the day before. I was probably at 80% of normal by day 7.

From that point on, no matter what niggling effects hung around, I was pretty much ecstatic that I wasn't feeling like I had been for those four bad days. I can honestly say I've almost never felt 'depressed' again ever since those days, almost 2 years ago. And that's cause I KNOW what really being 'depressed' feels like, and whenever I feel a bit down, I think back on those days, and it makes me feel like 'things ain't that bad' ... pretty quickly.

It did take a solid month to really return to normal, but I really never felt 'bad' again after the first week. It was just that weird combination of fatigue and jitters that comes from too much adrenaline and not enough endorphins, insomnia, the runs, and some mild nagging aches and pains.

I also started on AA and NA meeting on day 3 of my withdrawals, and went nearly every day for the first few months (note: this means, in the WORST of my W/D's, my ass was parked at meetings every one of those days!). This was a HUGE help to me. I read lots of recovery literature, started praying (just cuz I was told to do so, not cause I really believe in fairy tale beings-in-the-sky ... but I do believe in doing what you're told to do by the wise folk at AA/NA!), and really tried to 'walk the recovery walk'. I got a temporary sponsor, a good friend who's been clean via AA/NA since 1/1/2000, and talked to him often.

Bottom-line, despite a long stint abusing large amounts of opioids, and being on subutex for 7 months, I never had anything like what one would call PAWS. Like I say, after about a week, I felt about 80%, and after a month I was at about 95%, and at 100% after about 6 weeks (that's how long the mild insomnia drug out for).

My experience, along with the experiences of many others I've talked to and read about, leads me to conclude that the PAWS is at least partly a function of failing to properly taper down to a low dosage of Subs before quitting them.

Also, PAWS can most definitely happen to people who've never even taken subutex or methadone, but have instead just come off of oxys or heroin directly.

Anyways, as I say, find a way to taper down nice and low before you quit, and I don't think any of you ladies are going to suffer from PAWS. None of you did the kind of abuse I did before I started subs, and I never got 'em, so y'all should be aiight. In your case Tish, I think the tapering is especially important, cause you've been on subs for so long...

Take Care
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:10 AM   #18 (permalink)
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BV -right on spot. I tried to warn you too not to CT. Tish please listen to him. I did and I'm 51 days clean. I did abuse subutex sometimes by snorting it. But I managed somehow to taper easily. I tried to taper down till I was on 1mg . Some can even taper lower but I couldnot. I jumped at 1mg. The first week was pure hell. My doctor put me on xanax and ambien for 30 days. So Tish take your time and try to wean down slowly, real slowly.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I get what your saying but dont you think a Dr should be in on this.

P.S. I miss some of the people on this very old thread
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