Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

An Oxy User's Exerience with Suboxone
A discussion I found interesting.  The discussion begins with an oxy user who got on sub...I found it very informative as he added a lesson learned after each attempt:
Other posts follow with comments with accounts of their experience on SUB or detoxing from Suboxone/Subutex.

No one said it would be easy; they just promised it would be worth it!


Here's some of what it was like for me to quit Suboxone.

1. The first time I tried to get off Suboxone, I failed. I tapered from 4mg for about a month, then 2mg for 10 days. I went through some serious withdrawals (Christmas Day 2006...a massacre). I went back to the doctor and we decided to stretch it out on 2 mg for a longer period.

Lesson: You might not make it the first time. You can always go back if you have to.

2. After the Christmas mess, I stayed on 2mg throughout February 2007. I would experiment with skipping days. It worked. When I got down to 2mg I would occasionally skip a day. It was o.k. I made it. I also chopped the 2mg tablets in half. I would try it for a day or so, and if I started feeling bad, I would take 2mg and then get on with trying the halves the next day.

Lesson: Keep trying to go lower. Give yourself room to go back up if you need it.

3. I watched my bottle of Suboxone halves begin to dwindle. I was amazed that a chunk of a pill smaller than a breadcrumb was necessary to keep me normal. However, at some point I realized I couldn't just keep taking breadcrumbs. On March 9th, 2007 I ran out.

Lesson: Eventually you're going to have to quit taking it. If you really want off, you got to prepare.

4. Amazingly, when I ran out, I felt fine for two and a half days. The withdrawals kicked in at 36 hours, but (and this is important) it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been when I tried to quit during Christmas when I was at 2mg. I felt really tired, weak, and had all the typical symptoms, however, it was nothing compared to a full-blown withdrawal from what you might experience with Oxy or heroin. I took Clonidine for the first three days and it helped. It made it easier to sleep and easier to get up. This took place on a weekend, so I tried to take it easy.

Lesson: It's not as bad as you might think. Clonidine helps. Take it easy.

5.After seven days, I still felt weak. The withdrawal from Suboxone is long and tedious, but it isn't so bad that I felt like I needed to go back on it again. Frankly, it took a couple of months before I really felt completely better, and to be sure, I think that there are still some after effects that I am experiencing four months later (occasional sleep disruption, occasional digestive issues, low energy).

Lesson: Be patient. You'll get better a little bit each day.

6. Now for the good part. When I was actively using and I'd try to quit Oxy, I'd go through withdrawals for maybe three or four days, and the whole time, all I could think about was that I wanted some damned Oxy. When I quit Suboxone, I didn't realize it at first, but one day it hit me: "Even though I don't feel 100% better, what's weird is that I don't crave Oxy." If you've taken Suboxone, you know that you don't get high on it, and the fact of the matter is not only that I didn't crave Oxy, I didn't crave Suboxone either.

Lesson: There's a reward at the end of all of this. Your craving probably won't be there.

Once I got off the Suboxone, the seriously weirdest part was that I didn't want to go out and get drugs. I hadn't taken any opiates the entire 18 months I was on Suboxone, so I was completely removed from that whole scene.

I'm feeling a lot better now, but there's still more for me to do. Most of it has to do with realizing that I am no longer hooked and that now I need to find things to do that make my life worthwhile. If you've used opiates, you know that when you are high, there isn't anything that can bother you. Unfortunately, it is those things that we're avoiding when were high that will still be there when we're not. Here's what I am searching for: finding the contentment I felt when I was high, without being high. Ultimately, I guess that is what humans have been searching for since the beginning of time.

Anonymous said...

To whom it may concern,

I just happened to stumble across this page and thought I might provide my experience, and what has helped for me.
After reading the initial posting I was astonished at the similarities with my situation.

I was on oxys for about two years before seeking help,not a real long time relatively speaking, but I was up to 7(yes, seven) 80's daily, at that point, even that amount wasn't satisfying the addiction, i was doing all of that just to keep from getting sick. When it got to that point, thats how i knew it was time to get help. I researched a number of doctors and was Rx'd suboxone as well as the clonidine/catapres. I never had any problems sleeping while on suboxone,(only the first couple nights getting on it, and the couple of nights in between dosage reduction...) in fact, i actually got very minor, but still a rather pleasurable buzz from the suboxone...even as I tapered down.

After a year and three months of suboxone treatment, I had worked my way down to 1/4 of 8mg daily.
I was still telling my doctor that I was using 4mg(half) daily... this was just to provide me extra... reserves...just incase.

***let me just acknowledge though, that I do not advise anything less than total honesty with your doctor, especially in addiction treatment..***
I started treatment on 3 full, 8mg daily, quickly moved down to two daily, then one daily(1/2 pill twice daily), each in 3-4 month increments.
My doctor was administering these amounts, after we got me down to 1/2 daily (4mg), that is when i began to slowly work my own way down...
within a couple months, there came a day when I was down to 1/4(2mg) daily.. One day I totally forgot to take my dosage, and slept through the whole night!
Even felt great next day!
Then it hit me, There is no way I would have previously been able to miss a day and not even notice, let alone not NEED it...
That is when i decided it might be time to try and work my way off entirely.
I always would sit in class, or at work and see those around me and think about how I couldn't wait to feel what it is like to just be normal again... To have that happiness and energy again, without needing to use first... to live freely and independently of that desperation.. It was motivation enough.

Of course the day i skipped dosage was quickly followed with the need to continue dosage. But I only visited my doctor for one more refill. I was provided enough for a 30 day supply at 4mg (1/2 daily)... Of course I planned to make this last twice as long. Used the trusty pill cutter and split each 8mg into fourths, and marked on my calendar the day I would be done based on the amount there was left.
Two months may not be long enough for everyone at this point, and in hindsight it may not have been for me either.
I made the decision that it was going to be my last refill even if it killed me. Any pain I could feel at this point would pale in comparison to that of oxy withdrawals...
once I got down to my last two weeks worth, I decided to begin experimenting with days on/days off, and even taking as little as 1/8 per day.. As Gus mentioned above, it truly astounded me how even the smallest dosages made such a difference. My guess is due to the sublingual application, the absorption of the medication provides for much higher bioavailability. however, I certainly am no expert.

Anyways, I stretched that last 30 day scrip to nearly two and a half months. Then the moment of truth comes and I feel fine for the initial two days and nights following my final dose.
Then it began.
the wacky, (often lack of) appetite, restlessness, NO energy (how you feel like you can't get out of bed, but can't do anything at all even if you manage to) cold sweats accompanied with excessive sweating, the restless legs/jonesing was the worst. But still not even 1/100th of that which experienced in opiate/oxy withdrawls, but since that was the worst part of withdrawals when i WAS on oxys, it managed to be the worst for me again.. still painless by comparison.

To combat this, i would take a couple of vicodin 7.5/750 daily, once when i get up, and once before bed to help with sleep. sometimes one mid-day if it was a long day.
OBVIOUSLY it is not wise to do this, specifically for a recovering opiate addict, it just happened that this is just what was available to me, costing just a couple bucks a piece, it was practical in its application (meaning using them for pain management, never more than one at a time - i never got high off them, just minor stomach aches from the Acetaminophen)...Ultrams may have been more desirable in this circumstance for their similar pain management effects, while being non-narcotic.

My doctor had also always provided me with a scrip for the Clonidine along with the suboxone, Like i said, i usually slept just fine once on Suboxone, so I just had several extra unfilled scrips laying around for them. I filled two of them and began to take two of those daily, in place of the vicodins. one in the morning and one in the evening.
These really helped with sleep during the days the restlessness was horrible.
The restless legs/jones'ing feeling got better with each day, and diminished after a couple weeks. Advil Flu&Body Ache helped with the legs a little, but i soon found it's actually easier to just have to tough it out rather than over medicate. I also found that getting back on a work-out routine helped significantly. heat pads/hot showers help too. Running for me was particularly helpful, the higher impact workout (as opposed to stationary bikes, etc) seemed to replace that restless feeling in my legs with that more familiar burn, typical of a good work out. Physical workouts helped me to fall asleep, and reduce that restlessness that can keep you up all night.
If you try the workouts, stay consistent - every day (twice daily for me) otherwise it may not be quite as effective.

Now, Today, I have been off EVERYTHING for only a few months, almost 3 i think. I still sweat more than normal, with cold sweats at night. That may or not be the last symptom to go for others, you tell me..
It is definitely very annoying, i usually bring a couple extra undershirts or wife-beaters to change throughout the day.. annoying yes, but grateful that my worst symptoms at this point are annoying rather than painful and inhibiting.

I also found taking a GOOD multivitamin also helps. since eating patterns and physical activity are typically impaired by the withdrawal symptoms, you should find some way to not malnourish your body. afterall the ultimate hope is to GET HEALTHY again, right? It also helps you feel better in general too.

A lot of this is probably not new advice for most, but this is just what worked for me.. in conjunction with WILL and DETERMINATION, anyone can do this. I felt helpless and hopeless after I blew through much of my savings, a long time relationship, and a great job. Clearly those aren't always enough to deter some of us, but as long as you can trust that from the bottom, things always look up. It will get better, each day is a little better than the last.

I am not trying to represent and bias views, or provide and medical advice, as I have no credentials to do so, I just hope that what has worked for me, might be able to help someone else as well.

Good Luck, God Bless, and Godspeed.

Always remember, "This too shall pass"

 -7:35 PM

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info...I have been on Suboxone for 9 months after developing a heavy OC habit. I have been taking 1/4 of an 8mg tablet for several months now and know I need to stop this.
My personal experience so far is that I have no cravings for OC or any opiates for that matter...but I continue taking this Sub.

Perhaps tomorrow I will try to skip a day...

Anonymous said...

I was addicting to snorting 80mg of oxycontin a day and stopped my habit by getting on suboxone. went to a local doctor that provided it and told him my addiction and was given one and a half 8mg suboxone a day. I had no withdrawels and DID get high from it the first week of using it. I would get massive euphoria from it just as I would from blowing oc's but the nasty taste starts to get to you and also after that first week you dont get high from it anymore it seems.

6 months later now I am down to 1 a day but didnt tell my doctor that I was widdling myself down personally. I found that the taste was so disgusting that I tried snorting lines of it instead. let me tell you, if you have a good method of not getting a drip from it there is definately a big difference with not tasting it this way. I found that snorting even a portion of a 1/4 of the pill would give me the same effect as well as some euphoria throughout the day. This is a REALLY good way to conserve the medicine also. What I was doing with the remainder of my prescriptions is not to be discussed but I am now down to snorting an 1/8 of the pill a day and I dont think about opiates whatsoever. Soon I will be clean off everything. I definately recommend using suboxone to get off heroin or opiates as opposed to the methadone **** holes or anything of that nature. I was able to quit opiates with the medicine alone and no counseling. Granted this may be an individual strength and not possible for some but all it takes is a little self control.(haha hard to hear from an addict I know) but it's the truth.

I know the evils of opiate addiction and what it can spin your life into at such a fast rate. For this, i wish you all the best of luck in gaining back control of your lives.

One thing which might help you guys coming from a veteran is that the biggest reason for the addiction has nothing to do with the drug itself. The abuse stems from a problem lying within yourself before you even let the drug enter your body. You have to dig up that underlying problem and admit to yourself that you have it and then do something about it. Its a simple thing that we as humans find trouble doing and its hard. I used to think that opiates made me a "happier and funner" person to be around and couldnt imagine being so open and free without being high on them. I slowly realized i was using this pill to create a fake person that i WANTED to be but was too lazy to get up and work towards it myself. I had to EARN that happiness and basically what pills did was give it to me for the price of a dollar. I was BUYING my happiness instead of realizing that it's FREE. How you find it is something I cannot tell you as it is again an individual situation. The only thing I can say is that happiness is there waiting for all of us and it's just a matter of discovering it.

I send my blessings to those who are caught within this realm of destruction. Its all i can do...good luck

Anonymous said...

I found this site informal and appreciate everyone's honesty. As I write this I'm starting day one without suboxone. I've been addicted for about 8 years. It started with oxycontin. I actually managed to quit oxycontin cold turkey when I was eighteen. It took 10 days of hell on earth until I was free. Unfortunatly I hung out with my same friends who also were users. They were able to talk me into a relapse. I thought I could do it once in awile and get away with it. BIG MISTAKE. I ended up in a methadone clinic for 3 years. Then I ended up switching to suboxone from methadone and stayed on it for 8 months. I reached a point thinking I could just stop suboxone and it would be easy. Unfortunatly that didn't work either. I felt good for the first five days and then Mr. Jones came knocking at my door. I persuaded my doc to prescribe methadone 30mg pills so I wouldn't have to go to a clinic. I stayed on them and took no extra for about a year. No extra turned into extra and ultimatly back to the clinic. The failure after failure weighed on my mind. Even though I felt souless, I kept working towards sobriety. This time I went back on Suboxone, but only for 2 1/2 months. It seems to me the longer your on it, the harder it gets. I figure the methadone is out of my system by now. I went from three 8mg pills, to a quarter in 2 1/2 months. What really helped me was Klonapin. My doc prescribed 4 1mg pills per day. It definatly helps with the withdrawls and restless leg. Suboxone is a farely new drug and there is a lot that patients don't know. I feel that you should only use it as a plan to get off opiods as fast as possible. I'm no doctor though. I wouldn't recommend suboxone maintanence for longer than 3-4 months. Everybody has different circumstances and some people will need it for the rest of their lives. But if you want to get sober and decide to use suboxone, get off of it ASAP. I will comment again after I know where I stand. I've mentally prepared myself the best I can. I feel confident and will share my upcoming battle. Win or lose, I will give all the details. If you belive in a higher power, use that to your advantage along with treatment. You'll be suprised how much you learn about life and yourself. God bless you all and never stop fighting.

Anonymous said...

I used Suboxone for about 22 months. I had no problems winging down to 2mg. I went to fast at first and when I quit taking it I was not fully blown sick I just didn't feel right. It has a half life so no matter what mg you are taking it will take 3 days to get out of your system and like Gus my bad feeling started after about 36 hours. So my wife talked me into going back on in Nov. 2008 and I quit taking it on March 25 2009. I winged down to what the Dr. was guessing around 1/8 mg and I took that for 8 weeks. So patience is a must!

1:10 PM

Anonymous said...

Thank you to everyone on this sight not being babies and crying about how suboxone is hard to come off of. I thank God for Reck & Col and the invention of this drug + my Doctor I have started a business bought a house and actually have money in the bank now yes I am still on Suboxone 2 mg\day and may be for awhile but let me remind everyone. Do you remember spending 1000$- 6000$ per month on your heroin oxy habit? if your price on a graham of heroin went from 80$ to 300$ the fact that you would pay oh yes you would not to mention the fact that if you get caught you go to prison, if your man was not home\vacation/arrested you get sick oh and being sick we all know that feeling. I can now travel with my legal script and not worry about getting arrested for carrying it lets all remember these times before I hear anyone blogging about how Suboxone ***** and be Super thank full for the Doctors and the company that made it possible for us junkies to lead normal lives suboxone allows us to live without feeling high and have that human personality we all lost on dope it's a miracle that someone actually put in the time to create a drug to save all us junkies I will try to come off it myself but if I have to be on this for life it is still 100% better then the alternative so please everyone give suboxone the respect it deserves and be thank full we have it as an option too much negative feedback could in fact shut it down which would be a shame it saved the life of my wife and myself. There is no miracle cure for opiate addiction but Suboxone is pretty damn close so please lets here more positive stories online and not a bunch of crybabies who are not fully committed to getting clean.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the helpful info. I was just looking for how to get off suboxone when I found the site. My husband has been on it for over 3 years. Though Suboxone IS a miracle drug, I think it is time. I couldn't find long term health risks but I'm sure it screws up the liver. I want him to see this site but am afraid for him to see anything about oxy and mainly the picture. Don't think he will go back to it but I admit it terrifies me! I couldn't go through it again. Glad to see so many success stories. That is awesome! Addiction is such a long, painful, frustrating, and self-searching journey - Suboxone has helped so many see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just got done reading all the comments and I really respect everyone for being real!I also agree about suboxone being like a miracle cure for people addicted to opiates.I wanted to know if anyone could help me out with a problem Im having.Ive been on 2mg of suboxone for about six months and Im having surgery on my knee and I know Im going to need something for pain and Iv been trying to replace suboxone with hydros 5/500 mg and I dont If this is good. I dont have a desire to be high but I know I cant take the pain.My surgery is in a a day and I not sure what to do.If anyone can tell me or offer some kind of advice would be great.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the most ridiculous advice I have ever heard in regards to staying clean. I have been involved in NA for 3 years now and have seen the destruction that not only Oxy but Suboxone can take on not only the individual but their relationships as well. Suboxone is NOT a miracle drug. There is no miracle drug. That is pure addict speak right there. Suboxone is NOT safe to take on and off, in combination with others, or for extended periods of time. Suboxone IS still an opiate and is extremely addictive. I have seen people first hand who steal, lie and cheat to buy black market Subs from dealers. It has become like every other drug out there. If there is a substance to abuse, it will be abused. I just sent someone off to inpatient for their addiction to Suboxone after an eight year addiction to OxyContin. This will be his second time in treatment, one for the Oxy, now for the Subs. His behavior when he does not have the Suboxone is erratic, very high highs and very low lows, he gets angry, frantic and cannot relax until he can find some Suboxone. The instant he has Suboxone, he is happy, joyful a completely different person. Sound familiar Oxy addicts? Sure does to me. Bottom line. A drug is a drug is a drug. You cannot switch one addiction for another and expect to call yourselves "clean." You're not.

Anonymous said...

I am about to enter a custody battle with my .x-wife for my 6 year old boy. Im down to 2 mg of suboxone a day. I started taking subs by accident, not Knowing what they were, & have had a script for them for about 2 years slowly weaning only because I have primary physical custody of my son. I run my own plumbing buisiness as well as having that responsability and have not been able to afford to withdrawl. Now that I'm forced to go for full custody I find out that judges frown apon this drug and even though with the help of a doctor I have weaned from 16mg to 2mg a day and plan to go off it all together I am worried that I can lose my son to an active cocaine user who mentally abuses my boy constantly. I'm going all the way off completly and need help to not experiance physical withdrawl and want to know if there are any suggestions not mentioned like non-narcotic drugs tat can help me get through this.

Anonymous said...

I've been on buprenorphine for just over a week now. I went from shooting about 140-168 mg dilaudid (hydromorphone contin)/1-3g heroin (primarily dilaudid) a day to 20mg suboxone. The first day was absolute hell... Horrible withdrawal lasting until late tuesday night (started monday, stopped using sunday). All the usual symptoms including horrible pain radiating from within my bones outward everywhere. Now I'm feeling pretty good, the buprenorphine has really worked quite nicely. My only concern is how bad the withdrawel from burenorphine is compared to other opioids. Because the half-life of the drug is so long, it should present as a longer but less intense withdrawal, that may be reduced if tapered off. I hope I can stay off this time, this is the longest I've been off dope for over 3 years. The suboxone doesn't make me high, I just feel normal, not sick. I'm starting to get some energy back, and am enjoying the stress-free dope acquisition method. It's a lot less work to go to the pharmacy once a day and have the drug paid for by the government than to have to get hundreds of dollars a day in prescription/street drugs. This is the 5th time I've quit, I hope it's the last. Good luck to every one else who's posted. It's a different ride, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I have been using prescription narcotics and heroin off and on since 1988. I had a successful stretch of staying clean for just over 5 years, from early 2000 until the spring of 2005. Then I made the mistake of thinking I could use once in a while and keep it under control. As most addicts know, I was WRONG and I knew this already from years of past experience.
Outside of many cold turkey attempts, I was on methadone for 5 years, from 1995 until 2000. In 1998 I started to slowly come down from a dual habit of 140mg of methadone and at least 1 gram heroine a day. I had no choice at the time but to quit, since I had lost good job and went through all my savings. Rock bottom was hit!
The long ride ended on February 2nd, 2000 when I stopped using methadone. I was down to 2mg a day at that time. I did not have any bad reactions at that time, but felt tired all the time and did not sleep well. It took almost 6 months until I felt normal.
After, my current relapse and a lot of research I decided to try suboxone. This August 2009, my doctor started me on 16mg of subutex for the first week and then switched me over to suboxone.
I had some withdrawal symptoms the first four days, but then felt fine and slept great. I am already down to 2mg a day and have had no problems sleeping or any withdrawal symptoms since the first four days.
After my experience with methadone, I am trying to get off suboxone as quickly as possible and plan on reducing the suboxone to 1mg a day this week. I know there is no miracle drug and all you can do is take each day as it comes. I am also sure once I stop the suboxone, it will take a good amount of time to feel normal again, but what great goal it is to achieve once I get there again. Addiction is a hard road many of us have traveled. Hang in there everyone; it is well worth it in the end.

After reading this discussion, I realized everyone has a different experience with any narcotic including suboxone.   Who knows the difficulty a person will feel quitting any type of drug after a long time using the drug?  We are all different and found this discussion informative. It does look as if those who were ready to be clean and those who did the work on their inner self that they needed to do, were able to quit and become FREE.

Submitted by worried878 11-25-09

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