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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:45 am 
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I'll try and make this short. My sister is a recovering heroin addict, she used on/off for about 4 years, she went to one rehab about 6 years ago and they put her on Methadone.. she remained on methadone all this time. it's now almost 7 years later and the same doctor at the same clinic detoxed her from the methadone and started Suboxone. My sister is also bipolar. She never stuck to a bipolar regimen of meds. Sure she tried a few anti-depressants and lithium but never for a period of time needed to see results. The whole 6 years on methadone there were never any other medications used or tried. They just felt she should go from Methadone to Suboxone TO Manage the bipolar. I have scoured the internet and cannot find anything on the treatment of bipolar with Suboxone. Why wouldn't the doctor attempt a bipolar approved regimen? In 6 years some great treatments have come out for bipolar I just don't understand why they would do this after 6 years on methadone and not having tried another means of long term treatment. She claims her doctor said that studies have proved bipolar disorder can be treated long term with suboxone, I asked her to ask him what studies and she refuses and gets angry at anyone who WANTS to learn about this. She has a "Mind your own business" attitude. She doesn't seem to mind no one understands but we want to and it's frustrating. I should mention that she is separated and uses the money her husband gives her for this and he is fed up with paying for it, she has not worked in more than 15 years and has no plans to work. We are forced to believe (because she won't help us understand) that her husband is enabling and he is fed up with it and we think the best thing for him to do is step back and let her go, he still gets the kids everything they need but he's done paying for methadone and now suboxne, it's a weekly expense and it's wearing on him. I'm just trying to look at all angles here and she doesn't make it easy by not caring if we understand or not. You would think she would try and help us understand or at least point us in the right direction.

If anyone knows of a study of the treatment of bipolar with Suboxone, please can you send it to me. Also I would welcome any feedback and opinions. My husband is a recovering addict so I know about co-dependency, addiction, etc and I know I won't change her decision, but I still would like to understand so maybe I could help my parents understand as well.

Thank you

Lin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Did the methadone control her bipolar illness? Is she symptomatic?

I've never heard of bipolar being treated with Suboxone. There are a couple of studies on the use of buprenorphine (the active ingredient in Suboxone) to treat treatment-resistant depression. Some psychiatrists use buprenorphine off-label for this purpose.

If the Sub is keeping her off heroin and it's helping with her bipolar then why is it a problem?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:05 pm 
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Lin-
Suboxone is for opiate dependence,not bipolar disorder.In five years I have never heard of treating bipolar disorder with Suboxone in my local community, BUT Suboxone does have some anti-depressant qualities and there is research done on drugs that the general public is unaware of. Let me pose a question to you-
Is it possible that your sister is telling you this just so she is able to justify her not taking anything for her bipolar disorder? Many medications for bipolar disorder are not liked well by those that need them, they tend to take the life out of people, so to speak.They make a person feel emotionless, and when you are used to the extreme emotions with bipolar disorder, you feel very unlike yourself and that is scary.
There may be some truth to your sister's story, if you wish to talk further you could always PM me If you are willing to take the time to search, I may have some links to research study sites where you can look around.
Take Care, Shel

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:34 pm 
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Wow thank you so much for your replies.

I'm going to answer your questions honestly..

I do not really know if the methadone was controlling her bipolar From HER point of view.. however from my own observation.. No. I am also bipolar , I've been on a regular set of meds for years for which I am very blessed and I know.. LUCKY. My sisters type of bipolar is my opposite. I swing to the manic side more and she swings to the depressive side. Myself and my family do not really think the Methadone has done much in the way of her bipolar.

Shelly.. YES I think that's exactly what she's doing.. justifying the Suboxone.. That's it EXACTLY. The reason I posted is because my sister and I really got into it and I called her on this. No one ever calls her on her shit and that's part of the problem.

I'm not looking to judge my sister and I've been through the whole Alanon stuff and I'm not looking to control her.. I just want the education for MYSELF. She's still my sister and I love her and would like to understand. I've not found any substantial evidence of Suboxone being used for the treatment of bipolar or even symptoms. My own personal opinion is this.. she kicked the methadone and jumped off (required to do suboxone) .. why do the Suboxone and not seek another doctor out to get help for the bipolar, she's not USED heroin in over 6 years..


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:56 pm 
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Lin-
Only your sister can answer that question.If you want my opinion, I think it is because once you are hooked on opiates, there is a fear so deep of getting sick from withdrawal, a person would do anything to avoid how that feels.Six years or twenty, the feelings will remain.Add a bipolar disorder to the situation and it makes even more sense.
If she does well with Suboxone and suboxone only, does it really matter? We cannot begin to understand a person's genetics, why one drug works for girl A and not girl B- I feel if she is good with her treatment, let it go.If not, then you have every right and reason to be concerned.
If I can help in any way, let me know. -Shel

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:53 pm 
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Thanks Shell, I think you are right. I just think I was trying to understand where she was coming from.. she detoxed from Methadone, just doesn't make sense to me for her to jump in to another addictive substance.. but you are right.. I really can't make it a judgment call if it works for her. It is going to be tough for her because like I said..she has not worked and has no intention of working and her soon to be x husband has put his foot down since he's been paying for her methadone every week for 6 years and he's just had enough. I cannot blame him. There's NO reason my sister cannot go out and work.

Thanks again for your help!!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:01 pm 
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So her diagnosis does not entitle her to receive SSI/Disability? Some cases of Bipolar do, I guess it just depends on the severity.
Anyway, despite her husband being fed up(which is understandable to an extent)- does she have a back up plan to pay for her medication? I know it may not seem a big deal, but without them she would be inclined to relapse and it could be a very dangerous situation for her because of the Bipolar disorder.
If you talk to her and are interested in getting some information about assistance with medication costs for mental health patients, I could oblige. Let me know and Take Care.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:28 pm 
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No, she wouldn't qualify for disability she never worked long enough. She worked maybe 2 years tops her whole life (She's 39) ?

I love my sister but she's Lazy and always has been.

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does she have a back up plan to pay for her medication? I know it may not seem a big deal, but without them she would be inclined to relapse and it could be a very dangerous situation for her because of the Bipolar disorder.


My question really isn't about the validity of her taking Suboxne, it's the question of why wouldn't she TRY another medication or bipolar cocktail, she has Never tried a stable regimen of meds, it's been over 6 years and all she has taken is Methadone and now Suboxne, the doctor is an addiction doctor, I understand that, but she's not seen any therapist or doctor for the bipolar in well over 6 years, when she did she only tried ONE regimen and that was for a very short time. She does not have therapy, 12 step groups or any other form of support and that's really not my call, she won't do it and none of us can make her. I really just think the suboxone is her fear talking but she won't admit it and instead stands behind a lie that this Suboxone treatment is for the bipolar. She has said the doctor said it would manage the bipolar and that it's an approved course of treatment for bipolar with dual diagnosis of addiction. Again, this is not just about her taking suboxone, it's about her intentions for it to manage bipolar .. indefinitely and I'm concerned about long term side effects, ramifications and her inability to deal with the underlying issues of the addiction which is the bipolar. We are just all concerned as she's not made an effort to try the other medications available or even get counseling or a second opinion.


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