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 Post subject: Low Testosterone levels
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:26 pm 
Some months ago I wrote about side effects including breast tenderness and other lymph gland tenderness. I didn't receive any comments, and eventually saw an Endocrinologist. Short version: I had hormone tests and my levels of Prolactin and Estrogen (female hormones men have a little of) were normal but Testosterone, which has a "normal" range of 257-829 (according to my Endocrinologist). He said that for a 45 year old male @ 250 lbs. mine should be about 550+ and it was only 157! I wondered if there was any reason to think that my addiction or the treatment of it was what caused this. Later that same week I got an MRI and they found a small nodule on my pituitary gland. I was told not to worry about it, but that is pretty hard to do when you hear there is something growing on a part of your brain that isnt't supposed to be there.
Anyway, as it pertains to Suboxone, I think simply wondered if the Suboxone had anything to do with it. When I would take 16mg instead of 8 (something I am really not supposed to do), the pain in my breasts would be worse. So you can see why I connected the two.

Since using the Testosterone, the breast pain has gone, I have had more energy, and am losing fat. The med is called Androgel and looks and smells just like anti-bacterial hand cleaner. You rub it on your shoulders and uper torso. I think it is what Mark Mcuire and other "stereoid" using Base ball players got in trouble for (though this is not a steroid).

There is data on the web that says that Methadone useage can cause a lowering of testosterone and resulting breast pain. Do you think Suboxone can do the same? Comments? Quesitons?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:23 am 
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Hey man,

Sorry no one is responding. I think it's one of those things that if you haven't experienced it you have nothing to add. Well I've experienced it. I also had my testosterone tested and it was extremely low when I was on a high dose of the sub. My sex drive was terrible, energy low, and I also felt nipple tenderness. I'm down to almost no sub and my sex drive is up, chest feels better, have mroe energy, etc. I am 100% the two area connected. I'm 30 years old, athletic, active and should have high testosterone and high sex drive and both were almost flat lined when I was on a high dose of sub.

I dont know anything about your using history but try to taper if you can. The lower you get the better you'll feel (after the discomfort from lowering your dose). Hang int here.

Doug


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:11 am 
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I did read that this can happen to men from suboxone. I think that is a really crappy side effect and I am quite curious why that happens. Sorry you are going through all of this. They are definitely going to have to work on this side effect or men won't take it long term. Let us know how things go.


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 Post subject: Thank you for your reply
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:49 pm 
Jackcrack wrote:
I did read that this can happen to men from suboxone. I think that is a really crappy side effect and I am quite curious why that happens. Sorry you are going through all of this. They are definitely going to have to work on this side effect or men won't take it long term. Let us know how things go.


Thank you for your comments.


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 Post subject: getting tested
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:41 am 
I'm getting a physical on the 26th of March and I plan on requesting a thyroid test and especially a test of my testosterone level. I have a very low sex drive, very low metabolism, very low energy, and increasing depression as time has passed while I have been on Suboxone. I am 27 years old and in otherwise great health. Don't get me wrong, Suboxone definately saved my life! It's just that I want a full recovery, with the energy to do what I want, the sex-drive of a normal twenty-something guy, and a metabolism that works like it should. Unfortunately, even with the addition of three antidepressants, I've only continued to get more depressed as time passes while I continue to take Suboxone. But it's not bad enough to stop taking it altogether. Right now my Sub dose is 6 mg, which can go lower still. Maybe a testosterone deficiency will explain some things, and treatment for that will help. Your post actually gave me a little hope! Good luck, and thank you.

As far as numbers, I've heard of this type of thing happening before, but you don't hear about it much. But think about it: how many healthy young men use extremely powerful doses of opioids over long periods and have the need to complain about something like testosterone level and the resulting problems from its deficiency? Most people who take high levels of opiods for long periods are active drug addicts, elderly people, terminally ill people, cancer patients, and the like. It's easy to forget how truly potent and powerful buprenorphine is, much more so milligram for milligram than oxycodone or morphine. Buprenorphine's limited applications and limited length of widespread use on the US market have left a real deficit in the amount of information known to many physicians about less-likely, but still very possible, side-effects. Unfortunately for some Suboxone users, suppression of testosterone production in otherwise healthy males is a possible side-effect, and physicians need to be told to screen for the condition.
j


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:34 pm 
This is an update to my previous posts on the subject of low Testosterone (T). Since being on T replacement therapy my numbers have gone from 159 to 322. I will have another test in several weeks to see where they are since increasing the dose of Testosterone Gel. Whether or not the Suboxone makes the male body produce less Testosterone is not known, but I will say that there is enough evidence that years of opiate abuse in general does lower testosterone production. I do not know for how long my T was below normal, but it was most likely that way (or on the way down) even before I took the Suboxone. Even the Endocrinologist cannot say for sure that the two are related, though he did say that abusers of all narcotics tend to have lower testosterone levels. Unfortunately, he also said that in my case it is unlikely to ever return to normal on its own. My pituitary gland has all but stopped telling my Testicles to produce T. So I will likely be on some level of replacement therapy the rest of my life. As usual (for an addict) I treated the Androgel as I did opiates in so much as I assumed more would be better. The doc told me that because there is such a wide range of "Normal" (229-880 depending upon the chart you look at) that I could increase my dose from 5 gm of gel per day to 7.5 or 10 gm. Of COURSE I chose 10. This was a mistake. Many of the negative symptoms of opiate abuse or suboxone over use happened to me when on 10 gm of Androgel. Swollen ankles & prostate (hard to pee), nausea, extreme daytime fatigue all were experienced. I had to back off. I am trying to figure out now if 7.4 or 5 gm per day is the correct dose. Anyway, for those of you that were going to get tested for low T, this post is for you. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a private message and I will try to answer any questions I can. The bottom line as it pertians to Suboxone and low T: Suboxone may not cause low T, but if you are already experiencing poor Testosterone levels, Suboxone MAY make it worse, or at the very least will not help you in your efforts to increase it. Nevertheless, I think we all know what the positive impact of Subx has been in our lives, and I wouldn't trade that for even a "4 hour" hard-on! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:59 pm 
I had a physical the other day, and begged for the doc to test my testosterone. I've lost about 2.5" of height over the last 2 years, and I have just about all of the other symptoms of low testosterone. I think I had it already, and the Suboxone just aggrevated the condition. The bloodwork came back, and my testosterone level is 52! It says anything below 300 is considered low, but only 52? I guess that's why I'm tired all the time. I'm going back to the doc on the 23rd to discuss treatment options. I would love to hear from some guys who have been succussfully treated, and about what works/doesn't work as far as treatment goes. Thanks in advance!
J

ps....I also only take 4 mg a day of Suboxone, not a very large dose. I'm not willing to take a lower dose, and going off the Subs are NOT an option.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:17 pm 
Your results should speak to every man on this forum. If you are a male addict/recovering addict and suffering from extreme fatigue, weight gain or stature decrease, you should get your testosterone levels checked. Our behaviors have damaged many of our hormone production systems. I know my data is anecdotal and from personal experience and not scientific testing, but then again I am only suggesting a test and not a medical procedure.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:43 am 
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I know that my T level has dropped over the years. And I agree 100% with e.r.. that sub doesn't help, may keep the decline going.

I'm 46 and had my T level checked. I have moderate issues, like lack of interest, infrequent erection, less complete, fatigue, etc. etc. etc.

My level was 359. So I did some looking. In the main studies that documented 'average and mean' levels of T in non-diabetic males - I'm the average of a 70-80 year old person.

One thing that bugs me about the test is that the 'normal range' is so huge! I'm hopeful to get a chance to try some gel - and see. But it will be an uphill battle.

I realized yesterday that it had been 2 weeks since I had an erection - and when I did it was like I almost forced my self (I know ...TMI)..

Well. I'll post as well what happens in about 10 days. I'd like to think the symptoms of the drop in T for me are enough to warrant a try of the gel.

I appreciate the info that MORE is not NECESSARILY good. I'm just looking for a little boost to around normal. My body tells me this is NOT normal - and I don't blame suboxone only. Years of opiate use is the real culprit.

LD


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:38 pm 
It's amazing....I've had symptoms of low testosterone for years, but I never "knew" that's what it was! For example, every time I would go to a doctor's office and the nurse would measure my height, it would be lower and lower. I just kept thinking the nurses were incompetent idiots! It never occured to me that I could actually be shrinking. And that's scary, because one of the reasons you shrink is because of osteoporosis (!), so I'm sure I'll need a bone density test. Also, I've had unexplained loss of muscle tone and increase in fat, and I'm only 27. And I excercise a pretty decent amount. So the low testosterone level really explains a lot of stuff for me.
J


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:26 pm 
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I am glad to have found this forum, there are so many great stories which help me in my situation.

Been taking sub for almost a year, not too many side effects or so I thought. About 3 months ago I began to get VERY tired in the mornings, even after sleeping well. It got to the point where I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open at 10am. It was terrible, I could barely work or concentrate so I made an appointment to see my endocrinologist, as I have hypothyroidism and thought maybe my meds were off. They ran a full blood screen on me and my thyroid was off a little but my testosterone was VERY LOW, below the normal range for a 43 yr old. I did notice my sex drive was very low and energy levels were down as well. I started with the gel, but it was a hassle and stunk pretty bad, so I went to the injections. I've been getting them once every three weeks and have started to feel better and sex life has improved a lot too, but I get tired that third week and mentioned it to the Dr. but he wants to see my levels before changing anything up. I have my labs next week and will find out how I'm doing. Wife sure likes the change, and have very powerful stamina, etc with the injections. I hope this helps someone, if you're feeling like I did, make sure you have them check the hormone levels.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:15 pm 
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I posted the abstracts of two studies awhile back that looked at testosterone levels in people on methadone and buprenorphine. Both showed the same thing-- that testosterone levels were lower in the methadone group compared to controls, but the testosterone levels in the people on buprenorphine were not decreased. The post is somewhere in this forum... I don't have the articles anymore. I think I might have put them on the blog as well, somewhere...

The fact that bupe is a partial agonist is important, and could explain why it has different effects on testosterone levels. Agonists cause ever-increasing tolerance, for example, whereas buprenorphine's ceiling effect causes tolerance to stop at some point. When tolerance stops, that allows the person taking bupe to feel 'normal' on a constant dose, whereas people taking agonists don't reach the same type of 'steady state' end point. Perhaps the endocrine system response to bupe is similar to the subjective effects in that the response reaches a 'steady state' where hormone levels become normal. I would expect that ALL things affected by bupe, that go through mu receptors, have the same static tolerance.


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:15 pm 
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i've only been on sub for about 25 days, so i know the bupe is not the cause of my low test. levels. my new GP thinks i've been suffering from low T for all of my adult life and suggested that the cause could be from chronic weed smoking but she also went on to say that abuse of opiod pain killers cause lower levels of test as well.

i've only been recieving treatment for low T levels for a week, but already feel a bit better. (i'm currently recieving 1ml test injections weekly @ 1,000mg/10ml AND applying test cream to arms daily @ 5mg/0.5gm.

for years i've been diagnosed as bi-polar w/ extreeme anxiety, but i've come to believe the symptoms relating to that daignosis was actually symptoms of low testosterone level. my GP asked me to discontinue all psychotropic meds and see what happens as my Test levels increase over the next month or 2... i can say the day after my first injection was the best day i've had since my first day on the subs!

i'll post more of my story as it unfolds.


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 11:28 am 
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Hey Bigzone !

Thanks for the post. As I was reading, I realized I had not posted a 'follow up' note as promised. So I missed the 10 day mark, but here is the update:

I was given 3 month supply of 'Androgel' it is a pump bottle with measured amounts. I am on the small dose - 4 pumps a day. I was told that this was a process of months to see the full effect. I would likely see some improvement in 30 days, more in 60, etc.

Honestly, if someone is low on testosterone and feel effects - I would recommend considering balancing your testosterone. Luckily I have a doctor who gave me a Rx card, and my prescription coverage was good. It is not cheap.

Anyway, within a couple of weeks I found that my overall energy level was improving some. I also noticed that my interest in intimacy and such were improving. Without too many (TMI) details - every area so far that should be helped is being helped.

The doctor was right, though, that I didn't have a 'day one experience.' I'm maybe around 6 weeks into the daily routine - and it is right on track.

Who knows for sure about my 't-level' in terms of opiate abuse or age . The reality for me was my testosterone was in the lowest 5% for my age. I now have increasing energy and desires. So, as of this note, I am personally glad to have tried it and am looking forward to the next 6 weeks.

I hope this information helps others. --LD


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 Post subject: my low T experience
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:43 pm 
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I've been on Subs for 9 months now, and I love it and believe it is the cornerstone of my recovery. However, I got my testosterone checked about 6 weeks ago and the level was under 100. The sub doc put me on Androgel, the lower 5 g dose. I just got my new T level checked the other day, and it's still low. The doc gave me a script for two 5 g Androgel packets a day, with 5 refills! So I guess as long as I take Subs, I'll have to be on hormone replacement therapy. This sucks! But I will have to get used to it because the alternative (going of Subs) is worse. At least the Androgel makes me feel normal. But my sex drive is still shot to hell. I really hope this new 10 g dose of the gel will help in that department.

One other thing I wanted to say: I don't think the Suboxone "caused" my hypogonadism; rather, I feel I already had a relatively low level of T and the Sub just exacerbated the problem. For years I've been overly tired, losing muscle mass, loss of muscle strength. I'm only 28, though, and I hate the idea of using Androgel forever. Does anyone know, can the body ever "heal" and begin making more of it's own testosterone, even if I still take the Sub? I want to know if I should expect some improvement.
James


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:50 am 
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well.... you are 28 and your testosterone is below 100. I'm not sure, but I think that your body is probably done making T. There is tons of info/forums and such about testosterone in men. They are much better than I.

One thing that you might consider with your doctor is a monthly/weekly injection. It takes time - as in months to feel any results - regardless of your method of boosting your testosterone. I think lots of us get tired of the hassle of gel and think - forget it. I find myself thinking that - then I think of my sex drive - and I put it on. Maybe you can move to a more 'certain' method -- injection. That way you know you get T in your system. No skin absorption issues, etc.

Anyway - if you find out that your body heals - please post back. There are supposedly foods, sunlight, and other things that help - but given you are below 100 - it might be like putting a gallon of water into the ocean.

--LD


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:20 am 
If anyone finds these papers Dr J refers to, please post their location here. I am anxious to read them and happy to hear that Suboxone did not have the same effect on T levels as Methadone. In my case, and many of yours, this means that our abuse may have hurt our levels and we are part of the decreasing T in America mystery as my Endocrinologist puts it.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:40 am 
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I too had low Free Testosterone levels, and Testosterone "is" a Steroid whether it be Gel, injectable, or pill form. It is the first steroid ever synthesized, and the most widely used steroid "period". Our bodies produce Testosterone naturally though, and sometimes not enough. HRT - Hormone Replacement Therapy, has helped me out significantly, or SO MUCH! HRT helped me to quit talking Suboxone all together (was on 4 years), and I do not need to take my 2 mg of Klonopin (I was on since I was 20 or so) for panic attacks anymore. I don't even get panic attacks anymore! I wish I would have taken this route much sooner! It is a steroid, and almost everything you hear bad about steroids/Testosterone, like "Roid Rage", is bull. I actually feel better, and work better with people now. My Dr. said "Roid Rage" is, psychosomatic /mental thing, like a placebo effect. I am 32. I have quit smoking, quit taking Suboxone, quit taking Klonopin (except rarely sometimes for sleep), I have more vitality, and life is much better! He told me Testosterone would instead of "Roid Rage" make me feel a more solid sense of well-being, and it does. I probably would have never needed Klonopin, or started self-medicating if my Testosterone levels would have been fine. I have no depression, no anxiety, no multi-meds., no addiction, etc.... I think it should be used for opiate recovery! Opiates suppress your natural Testosterone levels, and if you have been on them for a long time like I was it can take a long time, or maybe never to get back to normal T. levels. My motivation, energy, sex-drive, and healthy lifestyle is like when I was a teenager, but better because it's NOW. God Bless!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:39 am 
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Ok guys so my husband and I have both been addicted to opiod pain meds for about 7-9 years and have both been taking suboxone for about 2 years now. I wanted to post a reply on here just in case there are any other women out there that have had this same experience but don't know why and had the same feelings I started having. My husband and I have been together for almost 13 years now and have ALWAYS had an amazing sex life. I had always felt like we were the perfect match in that particular department. While the 2 of us were using pain meds our sex life was still amazing. We started suboxone about 2 years ago and a few months into treatment a few side effects had started presenting themselves that we totally expected because we had been through methadone treatment before and the side effects can be similar. Both of us had started to put on a little weight, me more than him of course. lol just my luck... As time went by I started to notice a change in him as far as sex drive was concerned. Oh let me add a few details just so u know. I am 32 now and he is 35 and when we started suboxone we had just moved into his parents house so we could attempt to repair the massive damage we had created to our finanances and get back on our feet... With that said, I didn't mention anything about us not having as much sex because I thought it was related to all the changes (being at his parents,taking new meds, ect). Normally he would initiate sex and I loved that, but he had not been initating it at all for awhile. I on the other hand still wanted sex all the time. Of course me being a typical insane woman that over the past months had put on some weight I assumed he might be loosing intrest. We were still having sex but not nearly as often and I was the only one initating it. Finally after more than 6 months of this I brought it up just to let him know that it was starting to affect me. He haden't really noticed his lack of intrest and was actually suprised when I asked him to think back to the last time he had been the one to initate sex and he couldn't remember. Over the next few months nothing improved despite many talks about it. I was getting impaient and the lack of his intrest was becomming a day to day issue. I started doing research and I read something about low T levels, and noticed he had ALL of the symptoms. I felt better right away, not because my husband had low T levels but that there was a reason that had nothing to do with my new larger ass. lol So I made him an apt to get his levels checked and we got our answer within a few days. My 35 year old husband had a T level of 100! This was shocking to us and we were so happy to find out that we could treat this issue. Keep in mind we only found out about his T levels like 2-3 months ago. He was started on a cream called Testim and after about 2 weeks of me gagging everytime he came near me due to the smell and the fact that the whole house smelled like that he asked the doc for something that didn't smell as bad and he switched to androgel. Thank goodness it has hardley any sent at all. We haven't had his levels tested yet but he has had great results so far. He's not nearly as tired, he's lost close to 15-20pds over 3 months. So he still has been the one to initiate sex but he has no problems with the equipment working when I initiate it. He's gotten his stamina back and we are getting back to having sex a few times a week. YAY! So sorry for the long reply but I hope anyone having the same problem that is reading this knows that if ur man is having the same issues ask for a testorone test! Don't wait as long as I did to bring it up and don't be embarassed to ask your doc for help.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:52 pm 
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My testosterone levels were 138 a half yr after taking subs. the gel and patch didnt wrk only the injection. i think its related, also my hairs falling out, im on 2mg now from 16mg last yr, constipation,fatigue hot flashes and lately minor jaundice & stomach pain. this stuffs aging me like no other, im trying my hardest to ween off, i feel like this stuff is very toxic after A WHILE


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