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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:02 pm 
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I've been on suboxone for over 10 years. Back in 2004, when it was relatively unknown, I found out I was pregnant only a few months into treatment (I was on birth control) and doctors told me unless I could get into the methadone program, I was required to taper. NO suboxone doctor would prescribe me buprenorphine in any form, and baby & I were CLOSELY monitored during my slow taper for approx. 6 months (I was by 32 weeks when I was completely off). My daughter was born in July 2005 with no withdrawal symptoms. I breastfed her for 6 weeks, but at that time, nursing on buprenorphine was NOT known to be safe. I wanted to give my baby the best possible start; but I was also fighting cravings daily! I was dying to use, even after 14 weeks off buprenorphine! So I switched my baby to formula, and went back onto the suboxone treatment program.

After many years of treatment, I've decided that suboxone maintenance for life is what I need. It is the only medication that treats my bipolar symptoms among other things. *I'm treated as a "dual diagnosis patient. My psychiatrist treats my symptoms of bipolar and addiction with suboxone and other medications as needed.* Even though I was only in active addiction for less than a year, I NEVER felt ok for most of my life. Soboxone has given me a normal life and I'm very grateful:) I do have some [significant] side effects, but I'm willing to live with them all.

I always wanted a big family, but after my surprise pregnancy in 2004, I carefully avoided another unplanned pregnancy. I waited 7 years before I was able reach the decision that despite suboxone maintenance, I wanted more children. I prayed, researched, talked to a counselor and over the years, buprenorphine became nearly as widely known and accepted as methadone in treating pregnant women; and reports began emerging that NAS was less common and less severe with buprenorphine; and doctors soon began assuring the safety of breastfeeding while on buprenorphine, which I was super excited about! My prescribing doctor gave offered me support and encouragement that even as a life-long suboxone patient, I had the right to have a family.

Due to being a military wife, I've lived all over the country. I've had docs who were well-educated in buprenorphine treatment, as well as docs who just prescribe it for the extra income and take little interest in their patients lives.

Unfortunately, where I live now, both my prescribing doc and ob aren't very well educated in buprenorphine and pregnancy. Since we've been at this base for 3 years, and will likely be here another 3, we decided we wanted to go ahead and have our 4th and final child (my others are 13, 9, and 2). Both my psychiatrist and ob have given me the ok to taper off, and my taper began BEFORE my pregnancy- when I stopped my birth control pill. I went from 8mg to 6mg before finding out I was pregnant.

During my current pregnancy, I've SLOWLY gone from 6mg to 0.5mg. My baby's vital signs, growth, and ultrasounds have all been normal. My ob has advised that if I went thru any significant withdrawals, I should discontinue the taper. I was comfortably able to get from 0.75mg to 0.66 to 0.5, making each step after 2 weeks of stabilizing; after that couldn't comfortably transition from 0.5mg to 0.25mg, so I've discontinued my taper. I returned to 0.5mgs and feel better, although my dose does partially wear off before the 24hour mark. I may have to go back up to 0.75mg or 1mg.

My story is different from most women who find themselves in this position. I would be happy to share specifics of my birth stories of my daughter born in 2005 (after my successful taper) and my son in 2012 (I was down to 0.5mg when he was born). Both had NO withdrawal symptoms. With my son in 2012, I was able to breastfeed for a YEAR while taking subutex!!! Honestly, it was the best year of my life, it was so fulfilling as a Mom to be able to give that to my child, while having my psychiatric & addiction treated with the subutex! After my son was born, I felt like I finally had it all- my symptoms were managed while I had the family I always wanted!

Any questions, just ask me. I'm no expert, but I've had a lot of experience with buprenorphine, especially during pregnancy. I've recently been trying to find studies from other countries where buprenorphine has been used successfully during pregnancy for many more years than in the US.

I do want to add a few things I posted to another board, as I was really attacked for even suggesting that tapering during pregnancy was ok. I do know tapering during pregnancy is NOT recommended, however its not as black and white as many people believe. From what I understand:
Research does not indicate tapering causes miscarriage or pre-term labor; Quitting cold-turkey and going into severe withdrawal during the first trimester can cause miscarriage; severe withdrawal during the 3rd trimester can cause preterm labor. A slow taper during any trimester minimizes withdrawal symptoms; the main reason why doctors DO NOT recommend tapering while pregnant is due to the risk of relapse of opiate abuse. (The risk is especially high early in recovery- docs would universally recommend a recently sober patient to NOT taper, because relapse would definitely increase risks to Mom & baby!)

***Only you and your doctor can make the decision on whether or not tapering is a safe choice for you!***

Thanks for reading!!!
Jamie B

_________________
There's no such thing as regret; there's what you do and what you don't do.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:26 pm 
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Hi Jamie,

Thanks for posting again to tell us your story. I would think you know best when it comes to Sub use and pregnancy due to your own experiences.

Great post and good information for those who it applies to.

rule

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:10 pm 
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Just wanted to say, "thank you" for sharing your story. Congrats on the big family!


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