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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:12 am 
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Happy first day of Fall to everyone.

Glad to be here, glad this exists as I have many questions, and hope to be able to contribute.

I am 29, Married, have two kids ages 5 and 3. I am fortunate to have a wife and kids in the wake of destruction. I have been addicted to opiates of any pharmaceutical variety for 6 years, Have been on suboxone for the past 7 months, am currently taking 16mg daily, and looking for some answers as to how I am reacting to it. This thread is for introduction purposes, and I will create a thread of questions in the proper sub-forum.

9 months ago I attended an in-patient facility for 30 days, and continued with an intensive out-patient for the next 5 months, and upon graduation I am still attending their aftercare weekly. The in-patient gave me Suboxone for a week, to taper off the short acting opiates, but DO NOT encourage Suboxone for maintenance. The out-patient is the exact opposite, they have a specific Doctor they refer to, and virtually all their out-patient clients are on Suboxone maintenance. Both rehabs taught me a lot about myself, and about addiction, but I feel shorted still. I need more answers. Is this it? Orange goo forever? we will find out I guess.

Glad to be here!

Rationale


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:54 pm 
Hi Rationale! Glad you posted. I replied to one of your posts on another thread as well. If you read some of my other posts, you'll see that I also went through an intensive outpatient program and aftercare. Suboxone was not suggested or encouraged to me because I was also participating in a 'peer assistance program' for medical professionals at that time. That program was complete-abstinence based. After I voluntarily withdrew from that program, I started Suboxone and what a difference it has made in my recovery! I, like you, felt very shortchanged in my program. I feel and know that I learned a great deal through those modalities, but I was "circling the drain" in terms of relapse the entire time I participated in treatment until I started Suboxone. I could not get a grasp on what they meant by "triggers" and found it impossible to come up with a solid "relapse prevention plan" and things like that, because I was never able to go any length of time without very strong cravings and I suffered from profoundly low motivation in all areas of my life.
These were issues I just couldn't get a grasp on until Suboxone gave me that extra something I needed to make some real progress in my recovery.

What do you mean when you say you feel "shorted"? What type of questions do you need answered?
As far as "orange goo forever", I wonder the same thing. My Sub doc is great - super nice, empathetic and understanding and seems quite knowledgeable, but he has never mentioned long-term goals, tapering timelines or anything like that. If it weren't for the internet, this forum specifically, I'd have a lot more questions!
For now, I've had to just work on getting comfortable with not knowing how long I'll be on Sub, and truly learn to take things a day at a time. Like you, I have much to be grateful for in terms of a wonderful family and a good support system.
I find it helpful, although difficult, to focus on what I have instead of what I've lost due to my addiction.
Glad you're here!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:16 pm 
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You're exactly right, it is extremely diffcult to remember what I have gained and to see the positives of this treatment. My questions really revolve around the idea of Suboxone Maintenance. Life long? Is it a few years? I know that I am going to have some withdrawals (which I do not deal well will, but who does) and fear that at the point of stopping suboxone, I will not be any better off than when I started, even though I have much more education about the matter. Education doesn't matter when you are talking about the anxiety and hell of withdrawals and your mind telling you to USE or DIE.

My Sub Dr. doesn't take much time to visit with you, and has your scripts already written when he walks in the room. If you can get his attention and as questions to address issues, such as length of treatment and side effects, he does this speech which is the same every time. It does myself no good.

I have some extremely frightening side effects:

1. I have developed what appears to be sleep apnea of some kind (it started when my tolerace to oxycodone went from 5-15mg per use to 40-80mg per use, always dosing twice a day.) My wife says it sounds like I am struggling to breath, in addition to snoring (something I have not done before).

2. Body Spasms. The next side effect that worries me most, is these CRAZY muscle/whole body spasms. If I sit to rest, and relax even a bit (usually in the evening or at night) say when I am reading or watching TV, I will without warning kick my leg out very hard. Or I have had ones where my whole body flails. It is REALLY disturbing. I can't seem to predict it, or circumvent it. I did not do it previous to starting suboxone, even during years of addiction and large use of oxycodone.

3. Memory loss. I had at one point a photographic memory, which began to fade as my oxycodone tolerance went up, but became just non-existant when I started suboxone, and after 7 months isn't getting any better either. It is short term and my memorization skills that have faded. Previously I could evision a page I had read, and read it back to you, and now I can't remember what I went to the grocery store to get, when I get there. Its awful.

4. Sweating, this isn't bothering me as much, but I get really sweaty, particularly on my forehead, and face more so than the rest of my body. It doesn't lend well for social engagements, but it can be managed by not exerting much energy in walking etc. or keeping the room temperature fairly cool.

Have you experienced any of these?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:03 pm 
Wow. Interesting and disturbing side effects indeed! I've read a lot on this forum about side effects, but I don't recall seeing anything exactly like what you are describing (but maybe I have lost my memory too - attempt at humor!)
Actually I did have some memory loss, or perhaps they were more like blackouts, when I was using opiates my heaviest.
I do have an occasional jerk of my leg or whole body, seems to be more when I'm in that stage between wakefulness and sleep but closer to asleep. It will kind of wake me back up for a second. No sleep apnea or snoring that I'm aware of and my husband hasn't said anything either. My memory seems sharper than it was on opiates and I have not noticed any unusual sweating.
Have you read the full information on the list of side effects from the Sub manufacturer? I just kind of skimmed it initially and never went back and looked over it thoroughly since I hadn't really had any complaints. I wonder if the effects you are having are listed.
I also have to wonder if it's dose related. Did you start at 16mg/day? Have you tried decreasing your dose? Most of what I read suggests that 8mg/day is sufficient for most people. Perhaps that would alleviate your side effects without diminishing the good effects of your medication. I have kind of bounced between 8 and 16mg/day since I started the Sub. I felt like 8/day was going to be good, but I started having some cravings and some leg pain/restless legs at night and got scared so went back up to 12-16mg/day. I don't know!
Yeah, I feel the same as you - what next? Will I ever be able to get off this stuff and do without opiates? One difference maybe for me is that I'm a lot older than you. I'm 45 and until age 40 I never had any substance abuse problems - rarely drank alcohol, never even took pain pills when I probably deserved them. Never liked the way they made me feel. Man, I wish that would've continued. Anyway - point being - I have lived life as an adult without the use of mind or mood altering substances, so I know it can be done! I have had a mostly great life, no big issues. I just got tolerant/dependant and crossed over into addiction and ended up pretty hard core. But, you know, it doesn't matter that much how we got here - we're here and we've gotta dig our way out, right?
I think what I'm gonna do is just flat out plan on being on Sub at 8-16mg/day for a total of 6 months, then drop to 8, then 4 over the course of a couple months (they say you can't even feel those dosage decreases until you get under 2mg/day or so). And then, maybe when I'm at the one year mark, I'll be ready to slowly do the more serious tapering - taking up to 6 months or so to taper from 4 to zip. This is what I've heard works best. I will probably try to follow Diary of a Quitter's water taper method as she reported it to be reasonably painless.
On the other hand - if it comes down to Suboxone versus relapse - Suboxone wins! If I find that I need to be on it for life, I'll be disappointed I guess, but I cannot go back down that road of opiate addiction again. I've lost enough! I know since I started Sub, I can at least picture a future again. For me, it's going to look a lot different than the first half of my life. My addiction cost me my career, so in a lot of ways I am literally starting over. But at least I have hope now! We've got to try not to get too far ahead of ourselves in this recovery thing!
Anyway, discuss with your doc about cutting back to 8 or 12mg/day to see if your side effects diminish. A shot in the dark, but it couldn't hurt anything. If you find you don't feel well, you can always go back up.
Just my thoughts!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:07 pm 
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rationale, I think you should ask your doctor about a sleep study. If you have sleep apnea you might need a cpap machine to make sure you are getting enough oxygen at night as well as enough sleep. My roommate had really bad apnea and started to develop narcolepsy because of it. Once his apnea was treated, he was like a whole new person. It was quite the transformation.

I wonder if your leg/full body jerks happen because you are about to fall asleep. I would think that apnea would effect memory as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 am 
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setmefree wrote:
I also have to wonder if it's dose related. Did you start at 16mg/day? Have you tried decreasing your dose?

if it comes down to Suboxone versus relapse - Suboxone wins!


It is likely does related, or that has been my suspicion for some time now. I did read the info that accompanied it, and as much info I can find on it, including reading through some of the clinical trials. Hence why I am here. I found this site through looking for answers to something else. I am committed to taper, I just need to implement it.

You're right, in the end, if it is using and dying, or suboxone and side effects, I think I will choose to live.


Diary of a Quitter wrote:
rationale, I think you should ask your doctor about a sleep study. If you have sleep apnea you might need a cpap machine to make sure you are getting enough oxygen at night as well as enough sleep. My roommate had really bad apnea and started to develop narcolepsy because of it. Once his apnea was treated, he was like a whole new person. It was quite the transformation.

I wonder if your leg/full body jerks happen because you are about to fall asleep. I would think that apnea would effect memory as well.


The crazy spasms are when I am near sleep, though it can occur during daily routine if I relax enough, and I must say I am always tired enough to fall asleep at will any time or any place. My Dr. gave me a script for a sleep study at the local hospital, but I wrote it off as "unnecessary". I think it may still be valid, if I still have it.

I will look for it tomorrow, cause im "jerkin" right now, and cant keep my eyes open (these spasms are crazy!)

Thanks to both of you,

Rationale


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