Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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696149 tn?1314324559

Please Help! Sick from Subutex?

First of all I'm not sure I'm posting in the right area but here goes anyway. Ok, so I'm taking Subutex for depression.  I know it's used for getting people off drugs like Heroin or Oxy's but it can work for depression in some people.  At any rate, I take 2mg (one tablet) a day.  I don't abuse it.  Well to go back a bit, I was first taking Suboxone.  I originally took 4mg a day (two tablets) and I started having weird breathing problems..... especially at night.  So I went down to one tab a day.  It was fine for a month or two and the same thing started happening.  So I went down to a half a tab.  Eventually after another month or so the same thing happened and then something really weird happened.  I took it as I always do and I got sick....I mean really sick!  I got VERY nauseous and it lasted all day and I finally threw up.  I thought it was something else so the next day I took it and it was worse....much worse.  I felt like I was going to die.  So I stopped and even then it took about 3 days before I started feeling better again.

Ok, I thought maybe it's the Naloxone or whatever it's called that's doing this.  So I asked for Subutex instead.  Keep in mind, I haven't been abusing it at all!  So I've been taking Subutex for about 3 to 4 weeks now and last night I had the weird breathing problems.  The breathing problem feels like my body just stops breathing and I have to manually take a breath myself.  This lasts all night and sometimes in the day if I try to sleep.  I just start gasping for air all of sudden.  It's very frightening and I don't understand why.  At any rate if I don't take it, I can breath Ok after the first or second day being off of it.  So, now, back to last night....had the breathing problem again and then I took it today and I went to the gym and when I left I started feeling slightly nauseous.....nothing major, but by the time I was going home, I thought I was going to hurl.  I took Omeprazole, it's used for lowering the acid in your stomach and it generally makes your stomach feel better.

So, back to my question.....can Subutex make you sick like this.  I mean I know Suboxone does and I don't understand either but I don't get this?  I did have a bad addiction to Vicodin about 3 years ago.  At one point I was taking 100 of the lowest dosage....5 something a day.  So last year I had a kidney stone and I was prescribed Vicodin.  Of course I started abusing it but something weird happened.  I started having trouble breathing...during the day and the night.  Anyway I stopped and then after a few months started with the Suboxone.

Has my body just changed and won't stand ANY opiod based drug.  Even though Suboxone or Subutex doesn't make you high (I've heard that if you shoot it or snort it it will, but I don't do that) but it makes me feel good.....feel normal.  I so much don't want to stop taking it.  It's easy for me to stop taking it.  The withdrawal symptoms from stopping aren't that bad at all and only seem to last a couple days....very light...just light sweats for a day or two and that's it.  So it's not like I'm addicted.  Because of the problems I've experienced with both I've started and stopped a few times and I don't worry about the w/d's.

Is there anyone out there that can tell me WHY I'm getting sick like this.  I mean, I'm not taking any other opiods and I'm also taking Welbutrin XL and Lamictal.  These are new.  Even when I was taking the Suboxone, I wasn't taking anything at all except that to make sure it was nothing else.  I just don't understand it.  If I'm allergic to Suboxone and Subutex, then why doesn't it make me feel like right away?

I'm just scared to go off because I don't want to be depressed.  I should note that when taking it, I still get a little depressed, but it's totally manageable.  Please Help!
38 Responses
Avatar universal
If the attempt is being made to treat your depression with opiate therapy, I'm not sure Subutex or Subpxone is the right opiate...You're getting this from a doctor right?  What does the doctor say about this side effect?  That's who you need to be talking with. Breathing difficulties are nothing to mess with,as you know!  It isn't anxiety is it?  

Call the doctor and good luck with this!
1235186 tn?1549261219
hey my friend it has been a couple months since you have posted. sorry that you are still experiencing these breathing problems. is the chest tightening better or is that still an issue? have you been to a respiratory doctor? as vicki said the breathing and also the chest tightening can be related to panic attacks or anxiety.
you can develop an allergic reaction to a medication even after you have taken it for awhile. the reaction doesnt always happen right away.
do you also see a therapist to talk about your depression/ anxiety. many times these two go hand in hand.
you just started the wellbutrin the breathing problem/anxiety/depression can also be a side effect of the medication
1331115 tn?1536365740
Hmmmm Subs for depression? As Vicki asked are your getting the subs from a doctor or self medicating? If you are self medicating STOP!!!
569676 tn?1315644758
Hey there,

Opiate therapy for the treatment of chronic depression is quite the up an coming topic.

One thing that I can reccomend to you is lowering your dosage drastically.

Buprenorphine is a highly potent drug... when used for chronic pain management, the drug is titrated in micorgrams, not milligrams!  A typical dose of Temgesic which is Buprenorphine in Europe is around 0.3-0.5mgs!  

Your hydrocodone addiction was over three years ago so there is no way that you could benefit from the Mu antagonistic properties of Bupe...  

The problem is, if you are in the US, Temgesic is not available, so you are looking at personalized compounds or lowering your dose using the water taper method.   Google search "Suboxone water taper"  This will give you a guide to lowering your dosage...

As the others have posted, if You are not under the care of an MD, you really should rethink what you are doing!

Best of luck to you!

684067 tn?1314296386
     That's just wrong!!!!Sub is strong,wow????I think i just lost faith in medicine.For depression???
495284 tn?1333897642
Have you tried the non narcotic AD meds?  Please see your doctor about the problems you are having.
696149 tn?1314324559
Firstly I AM getting this from a psychiatrist.  It is being legally prescribed to me.  I'm feeling better now, but then allot of it has gone out of my system.  I'll try half a normal dose tomorrow, which would be 1mg.

Now, say the same thing happens with the one...it happened with the Suboxone when I went down to one.  Here's the problem....if I'm allergic to this stuff too, then how I am going to taper off?  If it does to me tomorrow what it did today, then I'm gonna be feeling pretty bad tomorrow!  So, if I have to stop it and I'm betting I'll have to...I'll just have to go CT.  Maybe I'm lucky or something, but I don't have a problem going off this.  I've heard it's strong but seriously....I only feel crappy for a couple days and it's not that bad...really!  Of course I'll be going off basically 2mg dose vs. the 1mg dose I stopped.  Still, it shouldn't be that bad.

As far as my breathing is concerned...no tightness in chest...it's just as I said.  I'll almost fall asleep and then all of sudden I wake up for a half sleep half awake mode and gasp for a breath.  This can continue for about 12 hours or so if I'm sleeping.  If I'm awake, it's fine.  What can I do about the breathing problems.  Oh and I'm sure it's not anxiety.  I was getting sleepy last night, so I went to bed about 3AM (about normal for me) and I was fine and then I had the smallest amount of trouble breathing after about an hour (it takes me a long time to go to sleep) and then it gradually got worse until there's no point in sleeping because you just sit there and almost fall asleep and then gasp for air like your coming up from holding your breath underwater.
1235186 tn?1549261219
pulmonology doctor. sounds like  sleep apnea.
1235186 tn?1549261219
do you snore? with sleep apnea, you are breathing and then gasp for air because there is an obstruction, the tissue in your mouth and throat relax and causes obstruction. i know this because my husband "had it". when he stopped using opiods,benzos and lost weight sleep apnea is gone.
Avatar universal
It sounds like sleep apnea to me,as well...

Sithtiger:  I consider HenryS354 the guru of anything subutex/suboxone...

Opiate therapy is becoming all the rage for depression these days and I'm not used to it yet!   So much of what you say is a concern. Playing with your dosages on your own is a concern to me.  I think you need to bring all of this up to your prescribing physician so he can work it out with you. It is a large dose...

Now,here's what inquiring minds want to know:  Has it helped the depression?
1235186 tn?1549261219
your doctor could recommend a respiratory or pulmonary doctor. you should go for a sleep study. you will be monitored through the nite at a sleep center.
Avatar universal
when i first started taking opiates i remember thinking "omg why arent they using this to treat depression?!"  a few years later it is obvious why.  sub's are very potent, if your dose is too high you can have alot of strange mental effects, odd dreaming, hallucinations, respiratory depression is a given with high doses of any opiate.  if your dr is giving you this, then maybe its time to see a new dr.  if your getting it off the street, you have got to stop.
Avatar universal
The short answer is YES!

Adverse events commonly observed with the Buprenorphine  are oral hypoesthesia,(numbness of the tongue, droolling) glossodynia,(swollen discolored tongue) oral mucosal erythema,(redness and round lesions) headache, nausea, vomiting, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), constipation, signs and symptoms of withdrawal, insomnia, pain, and peripheral edema.(swelling, especially around the lower limbs)

Buprenorphine, in combination with benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants (including alcohol), has been associated with significant respiratory depression and death.

you may have a hypersensitivity to this stuff, or all opiates considering you've had this problem with vicodin as well.

I'd quit taking it and see a Doc immediately.

Buprenorphine  isn't  recommended for treating depression anyway, nor is it recommended for treating pain. I wouldn't take ANY opiate for depression, because one way or another, it will  cause  it eventually.

If you thought getting of vicodin was uncomfortable, it's nothing compared to Sub withdrawal. This is a strong opiate, much stronger than vicodin. It's not just the withdrawals when you first stop it, it's the PAWS afterwards, which can last for many months, even a year. The longer you take it, the more you guarantee that you will have to go through PAWS.

Avatar universal
Good point.  When you first become aware of it, sleep apnea presents itself the same way, I have it. I didn't notice it most of the time, but my wife says I stopped breathing completely for a minute or so.
I'd wake up sometimes with that heavy chest feeling, like the fat cat of mine was curled up on my chest and I would feel short of air for the first few mins.

I have a CPAP machine now, and after all the sleep study tests and whatnot getting it tuned for my needs,  when I sleep it's actually a restful sleep. No more waking up more tired than I was before going to sleep, even if I do only get 4-5 hours sleep.
Avatar universal
But that doesn't explain his vomiting and nausea.  He is taking Lamictal and welbutrin as well, so CNS depression is a good possibility as well.
Avatar universal
Buprenorphine is indeed administered for pain relief in a controlled environment. In it's transdermal form it is prescribed under the name BuTrans.

Also,there is a group of medical professionals who are embracing the use of opiates in depression and this is well documented in the literature.
Avatar universal
Yea I heard that.  Guess they are trying to be like lawyers,  Getting a habitual crimminal off so they can defend them again, except it's treating there patients in a way that they will have to treat them again.

I should have said Suboxone or subtex, that was the Buprenorphine formulation and strength  literature I was referring to.
Avatar universal
Subutex is used quite often for pain...I can't make this stuff up...!    HaHa!
Avatar universal
  BuTrans patches come in  35, 52.5 and 70 mcg.  Big difference from a 2mg suboxone or subtex pill.

And it will still lead to the same end.

Avatar universal
It may well be, But it wasn't meant to be. I can't make that up either.

Read the literature from Reckitt &Benckiser Pharmacuticals inc. Prescription use of this product is limited under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act.

It was never intended for use as a painkiller.  And at first it could not be used for anything else. Things change however, don't they.
1235186 tn?1549261219
the subutex can cause nausea
1416133 tn?1351126817
Do you work in the medical field?  Please know I mean no harm in asking - just curious.
1416133 tn?1351126817
And also curious - how long have you been clean?
Avatar universal
He's taking too much, that's what I know to be true...hope he checks in with some good news!!
Avatar universal
Used to before my accident
1235186 tn?1549261219
hey how are you feeling?
696149 tn?1314324559
I'm doing so so right now.  Lowered the dosage to 1mg a day.  I'm sure that won't be enough and the same thing will happen again.....sigh.  For those of you who missed it.....a certified psychiatrist it prescribing it to me.

I don't think I'm taking a large dose of it.   I have lots of experience with Vicodin and a little with Benzo's.  I haven't had that many Benzo's though...it's just the w/d's with that one was worst than Vics IMO.
Avatar universal
Same thing is happening to me! Long story but after much thought I decided to go on a Subutex maintenance program for my vicodin relapse issues.
I just have too much going on right now (aging ,dying parents to name a few) and the Sub helps. Except......I was on a short detox w/ Suboxone but switched to Subutex because it is cheaper.
I have had plenty of time for withdrawal so I don't know why it is making me barf so much! I can't keep anything down. This is not want I wanted. My doc told me to take more, but like you, I think I am taking too much. This morning I took 2 mgs and the same thing happened. I'm going to just drop to 1mg tomorrow which is where I wanted to stay anyway. Hope you feel better.
Avatar universal
Ya know what? I just called the pharmacy and the Suboxone is 25 bucks more but worth it to me. He said there may be an inactive ingredient in the crumby generic subutex that is making me sick. I didn't have anywhere near this problem with the suboxone. We'll see.
Only thing is, now I am stuck with $111.00 worth of Subutex. Yikes!
696149 tn?1314324559
No, I didn't mention it the first time, but that's not how it went.  When I was taking Suboxone the first time and got sick, I wasn't taking any Vicodin at all...it just started making me sick and I was taking it exactly as prescribed.  I even went down on it and it still made me sick.  Eventually, I couldn't take it all.....it was like I overdosed on it or something, but nothing changed.  I got so sick for days....I mean like I thought I was gonna have to go to the ER.....no Vicodin.  Then I started taking Subutex, thinking it would help without the other ingredient.  It just started giving me breathing problems and Vicodin wasn't involved.  So, then I took Vicodin for a few days and then I got sick.  Yeah, the Vicodin sped up the process I think but I know it's out of my system....haven't taken it in like 13 days or something.

Yesterday, I felt the best I have in about a week.  Today I increased the dosage a little.....I'm still taking only about 0.5mg and it made me fairly sick today....guess I'm gonna go back down to what I taking.

Now, your attitude really needs working on.  You don't have to be an @ss about things.  No, I didn't know the pharmacology about Sub that well, but after my experiences, I do.  That still doesn't explain why the Suboxone did that to me.  The Subutex seems to be doing the same thing now.  I think even if I hadn't taking any Vicodin and then took the Subutex, the same thing would have happened...just slower.  For your info, I've hid nothing from my p-doc.  You are right about one thing though....I don't think he knows what he's doing because I'm having to try to figure out what to take.....his ideas when he gives them, aren't very helpful.  So, from now on stay away from my threads you troll!
696149 tn?1314324559
Elaine, so you think the generic Subutex might not be that great?  Well, the thing is, Suboxone did the same thing to me, so something about both drugs looks to be doing the same thing.  It looks like I may have to stop taking the Subutex too.  That REALLY stinks because, when it doesn't make me sick, I feel much better and motivated and I don't crave it like I did the Vicodin.  My experiences with Vicodin have actually helped me.  Since it made me so sick, I don't want to look at the stuff.

What I don't understand about both the Suboxone and the Subutex, is why when I taking really low doses, it still causes me breathing problems!?!  If that was the only side effect, I might be able to handle it, but if it gets worse or the nausea continues, I'll probably have to stop it completely.

I hope it works out for you though, but I can tell you personally that the Vicodin withdrawals aren't as bad as when the Sub was making me that sick.  If you have to, just stop taking it altogether.  It won't be pleasant, but you'll feel much better in the end.  That is, if it continues to make you sick and the breathing problems persist or get worse.

How you feel getting off Vicodin (or anything actually for that matter) really depends on your outlook.  Before I finally got off of it....yeah I've had some slip ups, but I'm not craving it now in the least...yuck.  Anyway before I got off of it completely, I tried to stop, but I didn't really want to and when I was off or ran out....it was hell!  When I decided to stop and decided that even if I feel bad, I'm not gonna let it take me down.  I may feel like crap, but I'm not gonna give up.  That made sooo much difference and getting off it that last time, while it wasn't pleasant....it was by far the best w/d I've ever had.  After a month I felt 100 times better.

My old p-doc told me that the brain is more powerful than any drug.  Obviously the trick is, to make yourself believe that and it really works.  I was a skeptic when she said that, but after that last detox, I believe it now because I believed I'd make it and I believed I'd be at least as happy as 'normal' people.  That high is awesome and it does feel great, but the price is way to high....not even close to worth it.  Hey, this may not be the last time I slip up, but even the slip ups I've had....only two since stopping the Vicodin almost 3 years ago.  Anyway, I've only taken the Vicodin for about a week the first time I did and for some reason...the Vicodin doesn't work for me anymore thank God.  Even when I wasn't taking Sub, the Vics didn't work and I'm glad!  

I hope you can kick it with the Sub, but I did it without the Sub and I was fine.  If I have to stop the Sub, I know I'll go through some w/d's but I know it's not gonna be like Vics because I don't crave the stuff.  I think you'll be fine Elaine!

Hey, let me know if anything changes with the Sub situation!
1993057 tn?1326994036
i just left the subutext clinic and i got sick on the side of the road might be because i'm pregnant don't know but i got sick the dirst time today and beentaking it for a week and a half so don't know but best wishes to yo girl
Avatar universal
Hi I started taking the Subutex yesterday to help me come of Codeine and it had exactly the same side effects,, really bad nausea,sweat and shortness of breath. Someone also mentions sleep apnea in one of their responses and strangely enough was one of the things that went through my mind when thinking of how to describe the feeling. I am sure it does not help the anxiety but I felt fine until I started to nod of off and suddenly found myself gasping for breath. I think the dose is just to high for me, started off on 2 x 2mg tablets but going to reduce to 1 x 2mg twice a day. No drug comes without a downside, it is going to be a balancing act to get the right dose for me.  
Avatar universal
i take 1 and a half suboxones and i dont get sick u may want to make sure u dnt have anxiety u know? i take 12 mg a day so it doesnt make me sick never did and i have been on it for over a year but try talkin to ur docter to see what he says i hope this was helpful to you
Avatar universal
I have trouble breathing as well!!! I wake up gasping for air! Last night this happend and I seriously thought I was taking my last breath!!!! It scares me!!!!
Avatar universal
In 24 Hour.
Feel sick as a Dog!
5671419 tn?1372092105
I am on a treatment program taking 4 mil of subutex per day I have been on and off subutex over the course of a year and a half where I have tried and failed but after a period of say 2 months on H, the last week I have been re-introduced to subutex and I genrally don't feel well quite nauseous if I had the money I would have not bothered taking subutex this morning and gone out and scored. I feel kinda ****** overall perhaps I should drop it gradually 3 mil then 2 mil then 1 mil and .05. The danger of this is will I go out and score if £ is there ...... I guess it all comes down to will power in the cold stark reality of it all but I guess I would rather take subbys than methadone not as a preference thing but more connected to going through bad WD. It's Nauseous sub feeling V Methadone and it's drawbacks  
480448 tn?1426952138
I see you have posted on two older threads.  You would be better starting your own thread, as often the older ones get passed by.

Luck to you!
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495284 tn?1333897642
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