Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Switching from methadone to suboxone ***NEED ADVICE***

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!
Need methadone switching to suboxone advice!!
I have been going to a methadone clinic for a little over a year now. I have been on 55mg daily for that long. I took my last 55mg dose of methadone this past Saturday. (3 days ago) I've talked to a few different friends that have walked off the methadone clinic all of them on at least 60mg daily for 9-18months, from everyone of them I have heard nothing but horrifying stories of not being able to sleep, having bad anxiety & depression, and just an overall horrible withdrawal.
    Today I think I'm really starting to feel the early stages of the methadone withdrawal. I have an appointment with a suboxone counselor (@ a local hospital, using medical insurance/ not a clinic) tomorrow morning, although I won’t be able to see the doctor for the actually suboxone prescription until the following week. Therefore, I will at least be at Day 8, ((if Mon Dr. appt.)) possibly even Day 9 or 10, ((depending on how early in the week I get in with the doc)) without taking my normal 55mg methadone dose, or any methadone at all period....NONE! I just completely stopped coming to the clinic without taking the medical advice of the clinic, of doing a slow progressive tamper to come off the methadone, or even doing a rapid 7 days methadone detox.
   Until this morning/today I haven't really had any seriously bad withdrawal symptoms (possible b/c I’m only @ about 65 hours without anything besides smoking a little pot). The passed 2 nights however I haven’t been able to get much sleep at all, even though my body is exhausted, I've only slept a few hours each night (& I’ve always been a gReAt sleeper!! L0L) & haven’t been able to eat much at all either.  After getting out of bed early this morning I started feeling anxious, like I couldn’t sit down, couldn't concentrate or focus long enough to get anything done. When I sit down my heart starts racing, almost feeling like it's going to jump out of my chest. I described it to my husband as "having ants in my pants" and not being able to sit still. I tried doing several different simple task today like straightening up my house, unload/ load my dishwasher, do homework, shower, take a short walk or drive, all different things and every time I attempt to do thing I'm just really shaky, my heart races and the weird way I've been feeling intensifies so much I can't complete anything I start, not even something as simple as vacuuming my floors.
I feel like I am just having a lot of severe anxiety and I don't really understand why. Is this normal for just coming off of methadone after one year?? Is this maybe just the beginning of the methadone withdrawal? What do I have to come, and is there anything I can do to help make this weird feeling go away??
My reason for quitting the methadone clinic is to switch over to suboxone to hopefully soon be free of any type of withdrawal medication. I thought going to the methadone clinic was just what I needed to stop using Oxy's (opiates period) but the addiction to the methadone was 100X's worse! I’m now hoping that suboxone will be my answer because I HATE living with the addiction, and the withdrawal of having to go without.

Has anyone been through a similar situation?? If so, can someone PLEASE give me some advice on what I should do about quitting the methadone and starting on suboxone, or anything I can do to help the methadone withdrawal??
*** I'm worried about how soon I should begin taking the suboxone after taking methadone. I've heard taking them while you have the other still in your system can cause you to feel worse and bring on withdrawal. Anyone know how many days after taking methadone would be safe to take suboxone?

Thanks a lot!!

32 Responses
Avatar universal
I am sorry I have no experience with Methadone or Subs, but do you have a regular Dr. that you can go to for anti-anxiety meds? It sounds like you are having panic attacks.
Avatar universal
I don't agree with buying sub off the street...

But,the above poster has a point. If you've been off the methadone 10 days..you're pretty much on your way and you just don't need the sub.  55mg is a pretty hefty dose of meth to come off of...Do what you can to treat the withdrawals:
Drink a lot of water and juices
Start some vitamins...see The Thomas Recipe
Drink protein drinks
Hylands Restfull Legs for RLS
Immodium if you need it
Hot baths

Keep posting...Gnarly will be around later and he'll post to you.  He's the expert.

Avatar universal
I once was on Methadone. My wife was on Suboxone for a short period of time. I don't care what the docs OR the counselors say, they are one and the same. I quit Methadone CT. I was sick for a few days, but I got over it. The Suboxone almost ended our marriage. I left her for about a week b/c I couldn't take the zombee that once was my wife. The doctors and counselors will all tell you that suboxone is a "cleaner" drug than methadone, and how much safer it is. The fact of the matter is, when methadone came out it was the new "wonder drug" to help addicts stop being addicts. There just isn't enough research to make such a claim about suboxone. Do your own research. Just walk into a suboxone clinic and sit in the waiting room for a while. Strike up a conversation or two with someone on sub. Sure, through their slurred speach and glazed eyes, they will tell you how wonderful it is. The fact of the matter is, you won't ever come off of it once you are on it.  
Avatar universal
He is right man I am a father of three and have a great wife always been positive and I started doing it to get off everything now I have HEP C and cannot get off of it. It has turned my life upside down but I am staying positive and just trying to make the best of it.
Avatar universal
I got on my soap box about methadone and suboxone and neglected to offer any detox advice. Sounds stupid but buy some goldenseal or some dual action cleanse. Drink a TON of water. I drank about a galon and a half a day. The faster you get all of the drug out of you, the faster your dt's disappear.
Avatar universal
HI and welcome to the forum...so its been 3 days and your starting to feel the beginning of the withdrawals this is fairly typical ....jumping off at 55 is going to bring you a pritty ruff ride
you should go back and do the 7 day detox its brutal in itself but ezer then what your trying now....anyway thats water under the bridge lets work with where your at now...fist off your going to be in acute withdrawal shortly so get yourself prepared mentally what your feeling now is just a tast of whats to come...try and keep a positive attitude it goes a long way in doing this...im not so sure I would go on sub after 9 or 10 days off methadone if you can do that you can make it threw the rest of the withdrawal as for your question at 55 ml they dont recommend jumping on sub at that high of dose at all the guide says to taper down to 20ml or so then switch however if you are at higher doses it can be done by waiting an extended period of time you will be fine at 9 to 10 days out
I just hope your ready for what your in for for those next few days...right now get comfortable with the saying you just got to be ok without being ok for a wile...you will see what im talking about as this progresses about the only thing you can do is take long hot baths to ez the withdrawals...there is a good 3 in one vitamin that i found that helps you can pick it up at walmart for 6 bucks it calcium/magnesium/zinc take 4 in the morning and 4 at dinner time in a couple of days you will notice a difference methadone withdrawals are long and drawn out...but so is sub usually...there is a member here ang_811 that successfully went from methadone to sub but she tapered down and did it right she only stayed on sub a short wile and has successfully weened off the sub...there are a few others also but if your willing to go 10 days why not just get it over with rather then changing one addiction for another any way I wish you lots of luck you have choose a tuff road but it can be done keep posting with your progress and for support also I thought I would mention this most sub doctors dont take insurance I wold be clear on that aspect really soon here sub is typicaly an expensive program...good luck and God bless......Gnarly            
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone for all the helpful advice. I went to see the suboxone counselor today; as I was leaving a doctor had a patient cancel an appointment & had an opening in just a half an hour. I stayed to see the suboxone doctor.
After explaining EVERYTHING I've ever done, my drug history, ect. He told me that I wouldn’t be able to switch over from methadone to suboxone while being on 55mg's of methadone daily for a year. I explained to him that I hadn't taken any methadone in 5 days and was starting to feel withdrawal. After what seemed forever he decided he would let me try the suboxone program.
The doctor prescribed me 2, 8mg suboxone a day. He gave me enough suboxone for 3 days (6 pills) and wants me to come in to see him again Friday morning.
I got the suboxone filled but was really scarred of starting the suboxone with fear it reacting to the methadone and making my withdrawal worse, also wondering if maybe I could just stop the methadone on my own without ANY drugs at all. It's been about 12 hours since my appointment and I've only taken 3/4 of one suboxone. I do feel a little better than I did this morning but I now have had a horrible headache ALL DAY (probably from not eating) and still have the "weird" anxiety feeling, not as bad as yesterday but still enough to really bother me.
Should I take the last 1/4 of the suboxone I had or maybe even other half? After reading some comments & others experience I'm now not sure I want to do the suboxone. My worse fear is being on another “treatment” drug for another year and have it solve nothing!
Also I've heard the suboxone can make u very sleepy, and have no energy throughout the day. Is this true for everyone. I have a 2yr old u keeps me VERY busy and I'm a full time student, I def. CANNOT be sleeping all day!!
Thanks again to everyone for ur advice!!! =)
Avatar universal
From the research I've done, Methadone and Sub's are the same thing basically. You have to taper off both of them, you experience WD if you quit CT.. In my opinion you should have just stayed on the methodone OR quit it CT and took something for the anxiety. You didn't have anything for 5 days; the worst of your WD was over or coming to an end... I'd stop the Sub's now, go to a General Dr. and ask for some anti depresents/anxiety meds to get you through the next month or so.  
That is if you think you can do that. Best of luck to you. keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak of my experiences with both of these drugs. They are pretty much the same drug. Or at least they make you behave the same. The only difference in the two is that Suboxone wd's are MUCH WORSE. Sub binds with pain receptors in your body giving a false sense of no pain. When the receptors are uncovered, you feel (as my wife describes it) even the hairs on your arms hurt. They say that heroine is a monkey on your back and that methadone is a gorilla. With Suboxone, you can make that a 10,000 pound gorilla. It took my wife two weeks just to be able to function when she quit.  Look I went through methadone wd's and thought they we're bad. I haven't seen ANYBODY go through what she went through when coming off that junk. It hasn't been in your system long. You won't have wd's from it. I mentioned this to my wife and she said to ask you "please don't go down the suboxone route".
401095 tn?1351395370
I have taken both drugs but never went thru wds from either as I never took them long enuf to wd from them.  I do know alot about these 2 drugs tho as I am in the medical profession and have worked in the addiction arena.

If u were looking to make things eay on urself, u may shoulda timed this a bit better.  72 hrs is the time span when most on methadone or sub will feel wds stongly as both drugs.  At day 8 u will be feeling bout as bad as u r gonna feel I would think but we r all different.  Mdone may last a bit tho...up to a mth for acute wd symptoms for some for methadone wd tho most say it gets better as time goes on. ,

Switching over is tricky so be sure u go to a good dr cos if u r not ready, the sub can make u really sick..I do know u have to be in full blown wds and methadone has a long half life so just pick a good dr and listen to him...be safe with the sub as it is powerful...It is no better than methadone in my opinion but the stigma is different.  Sub is a powerhouse of a narcotic and addicting as poop.  Be safe and be sure u have a plan.
569676 tn?1315644758
I was on methadone maintenance for 7 years before switching to suboxone for 2 years.

I can only comment on my own experience with the two meds, as many have different views on each.

While on methadone I was far less productive and healthy than I ever was on sub treatment. I gained well over 100lbs, chronic sweating and fatigue, and damn near debilitating constipation. My cravings were still there despite being on doses well over 250mgs daily for most of the time spent at that clinic.

I had to taper down to 30mgs before starting my suboxone treatment. I waited about 72hrs before my first sub dose, and had no precipitated wd's. With each dose over the first three days I felt the wd's gradually melt away, and a relative glimmer of my old self begin to return, or at least my motivation anyway.

The wd's from each med are truly subjective. My methadone wd's I was sick sick sick. Puking, crapping, could barely get out of bed (Or off the floor in some cases) With the suboxone wd's sure I felt like I had been run over by a truck, but I wasnt sick.  I got up and out of the house every day, worked out, and went about my daily routine. Things I could never do on any of my methadone detoxes.  While the sub wd's were more mild, they lasted much longer, by day 10 I was back at work and working long haul International flights. It was about 34 days before I started to truly fell I was running at 99%.

To the poster that said that they dont know anyone that has ever successfully detoxed off sub, there are plenty of us... me being one of them.  I jumped off suboxone at 3mgs on May 18, and today I am 64 days clean, and feeling great!

I dont regret my decision to use methadone nor suboxone, as without either I may not be alive today.  Just do your research, and make an informed decision for YOU!

I also have to add, that the successful suboxone detox stories you will find that all of those patients participated in some form of recovery care while taking their sub. Counseling or NA/AA, and other options.  These are the key to success combined with the will and desire to get clean, pharmacologic treatment, as well as psychologic/social treatment!

Best of luck!
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