Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

How do get off Suboxone?

Hi, I have been on 16mg of Suboxone for over 5 years after abusing Oxycontin for less than 2 years.  My mood is content, but I am a shell of a person.  I do not work and I never leave my home.  I get up in the afternoon and go on my laptop until I go to bed around 4am, and then I repeat the same thing the next day.  I am extremely constipated and have no energy.  I know I need to get off Suboxone, but I don't feel strong enough to and the more time that goes by, the weaker I get.  There was only 1 time that I was ready to ween myself off Suboxone.  It was after being on it for 6 months and a psychiatrist had put me on an anti-depressant.  I mentioned to my doctor, that was prescribing the Subs, that I was ready to ween down and he said I shouldn't think about that now.  So here I am, 5 years later.  I get frustrated to why Suboxone affects me so much because I know plenty of other people who take it who can work and function properly.  I used to be a very hard-working, family oriented person and now I don't work, hardly every see my family, and lost touch with most of my friends.  But still, none of this motivates me enough to even go one day without Suboxone.  I've called a few rehab centers, but they only offer like a 5 day detoxification, which makes no sense for the long term nature of Suboxone.  Does anybody have any suggestions or is anyone in a similar situation?

I'd like to make a note, though.  I am not condemning Suboxone.  It stopped my life from spiraling out of control and I know I wouldn't be in this situation if I got some kind of co-therapy when I initially started taking Suboxone.  I am blaming myself and the doctor who only cared about my urine samples every month I saw him.  (Sometimes, I would have to stay in his office bathroom all day until I could produce a sample because the Suboxone also causes extreme urinary retention for me, even though the doctor didn't think that was possible.)  I have a new doctor now who prescribes the Suboxone and thinks everything in my life is going great because I don't know what to tell him.
137 Responses
Avatar universal
I never took sub. I know the wds  are rough no matter what the opiate. But sub wds are not a pinic.  I hope you get your life back.  I was getting more and more isolated in my addiction , even though I continued to work.  It was like getting to know myself all over again when I let opiates go.  Come on cowboy up and join us !!!  You can do this!!
1169983 tn?1263304173
I have the perfect person to help you get your life back just hold on I will get him on here..his name is Robert 325...
Talk to you soon, Melinda
222369 tn?1274474635
I have a couple of suggestions. First of all, your dose is really high for a long term user. The way Sub works makes doses over 4-6mg a real waste for people who have been on Sub a while. My guess is that part of your problems may come from the large dose. Ask your doctor about possibly lowering your dose. Suboxone doesn't work in the way that normal opiates do..so more isn't "better" in this case. I suspect that a lower dose will alleviate many of your problems. Secondly, getting off of the Sub is a great idea. But, keep in mind that the Suboxone has merely kept your addiction in remission for the last few years. It's still there. Work on getting to the core of why you used now while you're still on the Sub. That way you have a much better chance of long term clean time when you finally taper off the Sub. An addiction counselor, AA or NA meetings, or group therapy would be great choices.
Avatar universal
I can help you with the subs. It's a matter of tapering properly.  Let me know if you want to talk more.  I've done this with people who had been using for 10 years.or more. God bless.
Avatar universal
If you never took Suboxone ,how do you know what the withdrawal is like.,to say it is no picnic.
I was put on Suboxone 5 months ago after doing a 800mg a day oxy habit.I started out on 18 mgs,and tapered down to 6 mgs with no problem and no withdrawal,I had surgery in Nov and was going back on opiates,so had to get off the Suboxone.The surgery date was sooner then expected so I had to be off it in a week.Went from 6mgs to 0 in a week,again with no withdrawal.
people who have not been on a drug should not comment about its effects.
Avatar universal
why have you been on such a high dose for 5 yrs.?You should have been tapering off a long time ago.
What do you mean you dont know what to tell your Dr.Tell him you want to get off the Suboxone,you are better off asking him how to get off it then us.
I tapered off of mine ,has that ever been an option for you in 5 years.
Also if I was having urinary retention from it,i would be off it real fast,and telling my new Dr all about it.
You sound like you need heavy duty Anti depressants,not Suboxone
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the suggestions, I didn't expect so much feedback so fast.  I was just checking to see if I had any responses before I went to bed and now I'm mad I didn't check back earlier.  Tomorrow, I will be able to give more info.

To Wolverine819, after reading your post, I realized I didn't give enough information.  It's just hard to put everything into words but I wanted to get to the point.  Anyways, I've talked to my doctor plus a psychiatrist and a therapist about my situation.  It's not like I'm telling everybody I'm fine and then coming home to go online and ask other people for help.  I've also been to a few specialists for my constipation and urinary retention and have been in treatment for it.  The problem with that is, nobody knows if the Suboxone caused my condition with my pelvic floor muscles or if the Suboxone only enhanced it.  Up until a few months ago, I wanted to fix all my underlying issues before I attempted to get off Suboxone, both physical and psychological.  But because it is so hard to tell what is caused by the Suboxone and what isn't, I recently finally admitted to my family that I think it would be best if I got off Suboxone first.
So here I am.  I am so scared and I wanted to just find some advice from other people who have gone through it.  It is so hard to find help, locally, about getting off Suboxone because it is used, itself, as an addiction recovery aide.  My parents tell me I should go to a rehab, but I keep trying to explain to them that a 4 day rehab wont do anything because I will just be starting to get my withdrawals as it will be time to leave.
To sum it all up, I know I should have had some co-therapy or should have gone to meetings when I started taking Suboxone.  When I was trying to get clean, before I got on Suboxone, I had the motivation to go to meetings and be motivated because all the recent pain was fresh in my head.  The problem was I would eventually relapse.  So that's when I found a doctor who would prescribe me Suboxone.  I was so happy at how much it took my cravings away.  My doctor never encouraged me to get other help and even when I did tell him I think I was ready to start weening down, he told me to not think about that just yet.  So I continued on with my 16mg dose of Suboxone a day and I was still maintaining a job.  Eventually, when I started getting worse constipation and urinary retention, I told my doctor and he thought I was just trying to cop out of giving him a urine sample, which didn't make sense because I would always give him a sample even if I stayed for a few hours to be able to give it to him.  Then all he would say is, "the only thing I can do is stop giving you these," as he would point to my prescription.  Of course I didn't want him to take those away from me cold turkey, so I stopped talking to him about it.

Everything, eventually, got so bad that I couldn't work anymore.  Then, the day before one of my appointments, the doctor's office called me saying that the doctor no longer prescribes Suboxone and that I need to find another doctor.  That is when I found the doctor I have now.  This new doctor also helped me to find a Gastronologist, because the stomach cramps that went along with the constipation, was more bothersome than the urinary retention.
I eventually got diagnosed with "Pelvic Floor Dysfunction", but the GI still didn't know if the Suboxone had anything to do with the cause.  My treatment was supposed to consist of bio-feedback therapy, but there did not seem to be any place in my area that offered this treatment for men.  I was very discouraged.
I have since discovered a method that greatly reduces the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, but I still am nowhere near normal.
Then it hit me that this is probably another reason to get off Suboxone.

Avatar universal
Sorry about all that.  This is my predicament.  I want to get off Suboxone, but I don't have the same strength, fire, and determination that I had when I was trying to come clean before Suboxone.  I feel the main reason is the Suboxone itself and I know the longer I wait, the harder it's going to be.
So I was wondering if anybody had any advice on how I should approach this.  Should I try and ween down by myself?  Is it really hard?  And, most of all, I would like to know if there is anyone out there that has been on Suboxone for as long as I have and what they're experiences were like if/when they tried coming off of it.  
Thanks, again, for everybody that already left feedback and thank you in advance for anyone that will.
Avatar universal
I would really love to get some advice from you.  You said you helped someone that was on Subs for 10 years?  That alone, makes me feel so much better.  I will take any info you can give me.  Thanks.
Avatar universal
Are you a doctor? If not you should not be giving medical advice,and have this dude screwing around with his meds.He is under a Drs care he should be going to him for medical advice about tapering off his suboxone.This guy has a lot of issues and you shouldnt be screwing around with a med he has been on at high doses for 5 years.
There are so many experts on here when it comes to Suboxone and they have never even been on it.
You are telling someone you dont know,never met,know nothing about him,how to take his medication,that is crazy,and he is crazy for listening
Avatar universal
I just wanted to say I was on opiates for over 25 yrs.Last March I was put on 16 mgs of Suboxone only to find out that it was to high of a does not to mention I couldn't take Naloxone.So I got my doctor to switch me to Subutex and immediatly began to lower my dose.Robert_325 was the guy that actually realized my problem.He also was the guy that helped taper me off the sub's.I had taken my last sub back in June 2009 and have been clean every since.This guy may not be a doctor but without his advice I honestly have no idea where I would be today.
This is the first time in over 25 yrs that I have been opiate free for over six months.I haven't even had a single craving.
I wish you the best,
1169983 tn?1263304173
sometimes one addict to another is the a lot of help...a lot of doctors have know Idea about the drugs they are giving us...don't you think...I dont think a lot of us would be here if they did...we all can share are experiences that helped us finally break the chains of addiction...

Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I thought that is what we are here for...
talk to you later, Melinda
1110177 tn?1268461548
Wolverine...please take a step back and think about things before you trash the intentions of someone else.  I have been following Robert's posts...and he seems 100% legitimate.   I truly believe he is just trying to help...given his years of experience on the subjects at hand.

I also agree that Dr.'s are best second guessed.  Many of you are here because of the mismanagement of prescriptions that these docs have helped you fill perpetually.  I don't think it is wise to blindly trust Dr. just because they have a title and a plaque on the wall.  My ex-girlfriend kept her mother alive, 5x longer than she would have, if she just took Dr.'s advice.  Her mother had cancer and she got educated...and found, that docs made many mistakes, were quick to make decisions and sometimes did not have her moms best interests in mind.

Of course this is probably the minority...but I think you understand where we are coming from.  Cut this guy a little slack...he seems to be a caring individual looking to help, without any other motives.

1174405 tn?1265276401
I have been on Sub for 5 years and am starting to taper. I believe I am ready and don't fear falling back into my addiction (hydrocodone, I was am a pain pill addict) I know I can do this! I am ready. Can anyone help me with a proper taper? My Dr is only interested only the money. !50 dollars to take 5 minutes to write an RX and another 75 dollars for the urine screen! Not to mention the cost of Sub...! Can't afford this every month and insurance will not cover.
I have just tapered to 4 mg a day. I will start that tomorrow. I need help with a reasonable taper tho..please ? anyone?
1110177 tn?1268461548
Runnermom...first, awesome choice to get your life back.

May I suggest that you start a new thread with your question.  Sometimes posting to an existing one makes it tough for folks to follow up properly.

Good fighting...keep posting!!
Avatar universal
I agree with you ,sometimes one addict to another is a lot of help,and you are right again when you say we can all share our experiences to help each other break the chain of addiction.Thats what they do at NA meetings,share experiences and one addict to another.But they dont talk about adjusting someones medication,or telling them to stop taking it.,which Robert is doing.i am on Suboxone and I have tapered down an
off from 16 mgs without any problems.I would not tell that dude how to do what I did,not everybody handles drugs the same way.He says the Suboxone makes him lethargic and cant pee.I had neither of those effects.He also is constipated,I go like clockwork.There is so much anti Suboxone crap on here by people who were never on it.Calamity 2 up at the top,saidI have never used it but the withdrawal is no picnic.How can she say that if she never used it.So somebody lurking and thinking of going on Suboxone to get off oxys,will be scared off by somebody who never used it.Maybe she was told by somebody that it sucked,that doesnt make it the norm.I had no withdrawal at all,so you cant bunch everybody together,each suboxone user is different.Telling somebody this is how you taper because it worked for him is saying that we all handle the drug the same,Its not true.He has been on it for 5 years at a very high dose,he will react differently coming off it then somebody who has been on the same dose for 6 months.The 5 yr dude is going to feel a lot different and might go into withdrawal,and need to be tapered down slower then 6 month guy.Is Robert going to supervise his tapering and move in with him to be there in case he goes into withdrawal.You should not tell somebody you dont know  or even somebody you do not to take their medication,
or to tell thm how to use it different then prescribed.Robert is not a Dr,so should not  
be playing one on here.telling others what might have worked for him is the way to go for them.Im sure he means well and is only trying to help,but read the guidelines,you are not supposed to discuss or tell anybody how to take their medication.I didnt write it,but agree with it.
Avatar universal
I am taking methadone and was taking perocets and vicodin
I had the same problems ,as far as a hard time going to the bathroom and having depression from being on this situation with no fast or easy way out. I was maintaining on methadone for a year and a half at 30-35 mil and was ok then over time it got worse I started to feel out of it and had a hard time using the bathroom.  I think it definatly HAS something to do with the drug!
I find my self needing some help as well
Avatar universal
I was on Suboxone for 2 years.  I was going to a Sub Dr. who professed to know what he was doing.  Well long story short he took the classes in order to perscribe Sub and he was awful.  He had me going for so long taking my money monthly.  When I told him I was going CT he recommended that I might need to be on it for ever as maintenance.  This is not the first story of Sub Dr.s out there who have no idea what they are doing that I have heard about.  Perscribing Sub is a very lucrative service.  That being said, I am sure there are some great Dr's out there who perscribe Sub.  But with anything in life let the buyer beware.  Wolverine probably has more knowledge and experience with Sub than many of the Drs out there who perscribe it
Avatar universal
Thank you again very much.
To Wolverine819:  you seem a little harsh.  Anything I do, I will talk it over with my doctor.  I'm not stupid and I'm not "crazy".  I came here for some advice from people who share my same experience.  I have talked to many Doctors and I've learned that a lot of the patients out there, know more than the doctors about Suboxone.  It is too new of a drug that doesn't act like most opioids.(I know Buprenorphine is not new, but in the context of treating opioid addicts in the U.S., Suboxone is a relatively new treatment.)  I also have access to a psychiatrist who says it is very smart that I do a lot of research on my medications and get advice from people in similar situations.  

In the last few months, all I've ever wanted to find, was somebody like Robert_325, who has been on the "patient's" side, but also has some experience in helping other people.  I'm not expecting you, Robert_325, to be a doctor but if you can help me with a regimen that will make it as easy as possible to get myself off Suboxone, I don't think any medical professional would be opposed to it.  So I am going to figure out how to add you as a friend, and then we can talk.

Again, Wolverine819, I appreciate it if you're looking out for my best interest, but you come off pretty condescending in how you word things.
Avatar universal
I read your post again, and I realized I was a little defensive in my last post.  I apologize if I came off a little harsh.  I understand everything you're saying about Robert_325 not being a doctor.  I just think Suboxone detox is a unique situation where there is no clear-cut method accepted in the medical community.  In this unique situation, I think it is ok to find other people in similar situations who can relay their experience and give advice on how they did it.  Forget all the stuff I said about constipation and urinary retention.  Whether it's related or not, I know it's time for me to start weening off Suboxone and the two doctors I've had, had very different philosphy on the treatment of Suboxone and when and how to get off of it.  Because it is such a scary dilemna, for me, I wanted to find people who have been through or have helped other people get through it successfully.

I believe the reason you are a little upset, is the negative insignuation I gave about Suboxone.  But as I noted, I want to make it very clear:  Suboxone was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.  The problem is, the doctors I've had did not have any experience in drug addiction, nevermind a new treatment involving Suboxone.  I just hope as time goes by, all doctors get on the same page and work with drug addiction therapists to find a total treatment plan for people recovering from opioid addiction.  The medication is great, but for most people, it can't be the sole treatment for recovery.  Thats where I messed up, due to uninformed doctors.  But now that I'm in this situation, way over my head on a medication with too high of a dose and on it for way too long of a time.  Like you said, coming off Suboxone would be different for somebody who was on it for a few months compared to somebody who has been on it for years.  Locally, it has been hard to find somebody that has been on Suboxone for as long of a period as me and has successfully weened off.  That is why I came here looking for advice.  And from what I've seen, anybody that has seeked help from Robert_325, has had a positive experience.  There are many people who vouch for him.  He sounds like the best resource I could have found.
So, I want you to know that I will hear what Robert_325 has to say, and I will let my doctor know of any plan I make in changing my medication.
990521 tn?1311906308
Hi Jas,

I was in your shoes back this summer.  I took suboxone for nearly 4 years and I could not taper off of it on my own.  I got down to 2-4mg, but just could not seem to kick it below 2mg without suffering.  I finally checked into some detox options and went through an 8 day detox program.  It was the best thing that I have ever done - I have been 100% clean, including alcohol, for a little over 7 months and have never felt better.  The detox that I did was much better than going CT on my own.  I would be happy to pass on information to you on the detox that I did, just let me know.  Best of luck to you, getting off suboxone can be done, it just take some time and persistence.

I do agree with some of the other comments here on the dose that you are on and I do think that you would feel better, even if you only reduced your dose to 8mg.

I am happy to discuss anything with you that I can share from my own experience.  Take Care,

1169983 tn?1263304173
I guess the guide lines here may restrict you from saying some things I have just personally seen Robert get hundreds of people off subs,so wolv, I will be more careful the what I post on this site...not trying to step on any toes, we all are in this together.
have a great night...
Avatar universal
I am so happy to hear about someone who was just recently in the same shoes as me.  I will take any info you are willing to give to me.

To everybody else, I really appreciate all the feedback.  If nothing else, I now have hope and that hope is turning into confidence.  

I'm going to listen to Robert_325's tapering schedule, and then when I get below 2 mgs and the withdrawals start, I'll check in to a detox.
Avatar universal
I have also personally moderated some pretty active web sites before and I appreciate a moderator's perspective, position and their responsibilities. It's a lot of work to really do it properly understanding liability and all that's involved with a forum like this.  People's lives are at stake.  I also take that responsibility very seriously, just like you do.  Plus I don't want to create a battle here as soon as I arrive.  So WOLVERINE 819.......  please know that I want to get along with you and the others here.  Just please give me a chance before you pre-judge me. I'm really on the same team as you I promise.  No way I want to create any problems EVER.

JAS3 .......  I know that I can't publicly post about the specific doses and such things that I'm talking about as one post I made here to you already was deleted before we ever actually spoke.  And if those are the forum rules then I can live with those regulations. I am a visitor here and I don't establish their policy. I am not one to battle over regulations as a visitor. We will have to adhere to the forum regulations but I'm sure we can have a private conversation..

I will be happy to speak with you in private if that doesn't violate the forum policy. I can't imagine that being a problem.  As I previously mentioned I've only been here a short time so just add me to your friend list and then let me know and contact me. We'll figure something out then that isn't a violation of forum regulations.  God bless.  : )
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