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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:17 pm 
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I developed an addiction to opiates over a four year period. Started with a prescription of Percs from the dentist four years ago and ended up taking 600 mg of Oxy daily. Just recently went to a Sub doctor and paid the major dollars out of pocket to get off the Oxy and on Subs. He wanted me to take 16 mg daily for at least a year and then talk about getting off subs. I read enough disturbing stories about long term use that I decided I would wean myself off in 30 days. I started at 16 mg and am now down to 1 mg each morning and I'm at day 15 of the taper. I felt really good while on the higher doses but have been experiencing some fatigue and general malaise since tapering down to the lower doses. My question is whether or not I should experience withdrawals coming off the Buprenorphine altogether and at what point should I jump off. I know that I'm in line for the post-acute withdrawals and that they can last for 12-18 months, considering my very heavy level of opiate use. I've made a conscious decision to stop using because I want my life back. So very tired of the train wreck that is my life. I was a fairly functional user, but still went into deep debt, divorce, etc. because of the choices I made. I'm off the Oxy and now I want off the Subs. I'm hoping that short term use will make it a little easier to jump. Any advice from personal experience is appreciated.
Thanks for listening and for being there when I need to bounce this off someone.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Welcome!

The only thing I would be concerned with, personally, is going back to the others. Suboxone is a life saving program. IF you use it properly.

I was on Subs for 7 years. Started at 32mg, weaning throughout the years to .25 mg, and jumped 5 days ago. Yes it sucked. Not gonna lie, it was the worst 4 days of my life. Today, day 5, I feel much better. WD sucks dirty, stinky, nasty ass. BUT it is so much better than a relapse.

That being said, what are your chances of a relapse? Are you prepared for that? I think a fast taper is not a good idea. Work the program a bit. Give it a chance to really get you away from the other life you have lived. In my opinion, and it is ONLY an opinion, I would stick around, on the program.

You have been given a chance to get away from all the shit that makes your life suck. I would give it a chance. A real chance. But like I said... just my opinion.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:10 pm 
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Welcome to the forum TMD!

To answer your question as to whether withdrawals should be expected, the answer would be that most likely you will have some symptoms to a varying degree. It's very difficult to judge at this time. Depending on the dose from which you make your jump, any symptoms vary among each of us as to their severity. Some have a very difficult time, some experience moderate symptoms, and some like me get off really easy.

I was in the minority it seems and barely had any issues at all. I was at 24mg and tapered to .50mg when I required emergency surgery. I never went back to the subs after that. I had no symptoms to speak of. A couple hiccups, but nothing horrible by any means.

It's usually suggested that the lower in dose you get, the easier the symptoms will be. Most try to get down to .25mg, and many go below that even. The taper should be fairly slow and steady. Maybe reduce by 10% or so every 4-10 days is what some actually do. Some get more agressive and taper by 25% sometimes. Once I myself got under 2mg I reduced by .25mg every 4-7 days or so most of the time. That worked for me and you will need to find the best way that works for you. I went from 1.75mg to 1.50mg, to 1.25mg and so on.

I'm not so sure you thinking that using the subs for "only" 30 days will prevent any harsh symptoms. Sub is strong, very strong and 30 days will still have it in your system after you stop due to the very long half life of this drug. You should go into it with a positive attitude as that certainly helps in my opinion. You sound like your really ready to be free of it and that also makes a difference.

My thoughts and suggestions for you. Others will probably have different advice also. Just make a plan that best fits you and go with it. You can do it, there's lots of success stories on this site. Good luck and best wishes TMD.

Karen


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Thanks for the advice twostepj. I was living in a fog for about the last two years. Just a shell of my former self. When I started the Subs, I went through two days of terrible WDS, but got through it and felt great by day four. The fog has lifted and I've taken account of the damage I'm responsible for over the last year especially. I am VERY committed to getting off and staying off of the opiates, including Subs. I feel that the longer that I'm on them, the harder it will be to get off and that the REAL healing won't start until I'm off everything. I have so much to look forward to and I honestly want to live a clean sober life. I'm going to start eating better and taking vitamins/amino acids, etc. Hoping that it will help with the transition and help repair the mind/feelings. Has anyone tapered off of Subs from start to finish in a month? I'm wondering if I should try and skip a day or two or see how long I can go between doses.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Good for you TMD! What I wrote was just an opinion. Personally, I would not have been able to be successful with such a short time. But then again, it is your recovery and not mine. Just like it is your addiction and not mine. For me, it was a horrible addiction, stemming a 20 year period. I needed the program. It sounds like you are in the right state of mind to stop.

I agree with Miss Karen too. You can skip a couple of days, like you said, and see how you feel. If you feel like shit by day 1.5 or 2, I would suggest NOT taking your full prescribed dose. Try a tapered dose and see how you feel then. If you can do that, great! Through personal experience, tapering is the best way to ease the discomfort. Hell, 2 days ago, I was ready to jump off the 14th floor of a high rise. However, through the support of BrownEyedGirl (Miss Karen) and many others like her, I was able to make it though(what I felt like) was the worst days of my life.

Stick around TMD. Take your time. There is a shit-ton of personal experience, help, and most of all, support to be had on here. Again, I wish you the best!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:16 pm 
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Hi TMD,

Welcome to the forum!!

Before I say anything, I have to say this....the stats for short term Suboxone use are grim, as far relapses are concerned. For many of us, we needed a good deal of time on Suboxone to completely pull our heads out of our collective asses and effect the changes in our lives that needed to be made.

While short term use of Suboxone will make your overall wd experience easier, you're left with a very high risk of relapse. I know you said you've made a conscious decision to stop using because you want your life back and I'm assuming you're sure you won't relapse because of your decision, but you have to realize relapse is possible.

K, I'm off my soap box. :)

Using Suboxone like you are usually means you've escaped the heavy wd from your drug of choice, but like you said, you may be up for some PAWS. You already have your Suboxone dose down to 1mg and it's completely normal to be feeling some fatigue and general malaise at this point in your taper. You could try settling in at this dose for a few more days, things will likely even out for you, then continue tapering down. People who taper below .5mg usually have minimal wd's.

Good luck with whatever path you choose.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:36 pm 
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I have to agree with Romeo. Just be careful! Make sure you set yourself for sobriety (i.e reduce stressors, triggers, using friends, etc), because normally the physical dependency we have to the pills is just a small piece of the puzzle. The needing to reach for a crutch at life's every little stress is what I needed some time to work on. I was on for almost 4 months and felt like I probably could've been on longer but decided to give jumping a try and so far, so good. Sure, there are bad days but the work I did while on sub has helped me cope with those rough times.

When I decided to do a fairly quick taper process my thought process was basically, give it a shot, if you relapse, get back on sub and do a longer stint. But I felt I could risk relapse because my habit was rather mild, and any relapse wouldn't have resulted in overdose. Even as a pill popper, I was still a total wuss....I would never mix pills or take anything in excess. Your habit was pretty big. If you relapse, are you a go big or go home kinda person? I've known a few people in the last couple of years who died of overdose after a stint of sobriety because their tolerance was low.

I completely understand your desire to be sober. And I'll support whatever choice you make. But if you feel shaky, just stick with it for another month or two. Like I said, I was on almost 4 months and never did more than 2mg a day and just did a slow taper to .25mg before my jump. It wasn't that bad at all!! And now, at day 13, I feel really good!!

Love and luck!!!

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**OUT OF ACTIVE ADDICTION SINCE 7/18/13**
**OFF SUBS SINCE 11/1/13**

"the only way out is through"


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Uwillbeloved, thanks for the words of encouragement. All I can really say is that I've lived life sober for most of my adult life and really want it back. I know that I have to completely abstain from all opiates or my chance of relapse is exponentially high. I don't ever see a day when I can have the fun weekend again. The weekend turns into the weekdays and next thing you know, you're right back where you started. I just don't want to have to take a pill to get through the day. I want my body to heal and sooner the better. I'm going to see how long I can go without taking anything and take it one day at a time. If I feel like the cravings or WDS are getting the better of me then I'll take a little Sub. If not, then I'm going to try and get through this as quickly as possible. I feel like posting what I'm feeling and thinking helps, so thanks for listening. And reading everyone's postings really gives me encouragement. It's reassuring to know that others have dealt with the same affliction and made it through the other side, sometimes stronger for it.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Just an update on the tapering. I started on 10/29/13 at 12 mg and stayed at that level for 5 days. Dropped down to 10 mg for the next 3 days and then 4 mg for the next 4 days. On 11/10/13 I took 3 mg, 2 mg the next, followed by 1 mg on the 12th. This morning I didn't take a dose and I can already feel some slight WDS. Nothing that prevents me from working, but just not really comfortable in my own skin right now. Only slept 4 hours last night and woke up with cold sweats early. I'm going to try and abstain from the Sub as long as possible and only take a very small dose if I feel like I really need to. I'm just wondering though if my previously high Oxy dosages will make this harder than what is typical. I was taking about 600 mg daily towards the end and had been on it for about three years. This is the first time I've been clean for more than a day or two during that time. Today is my 16th day clean from Oxy and first day off of everything. As Greg Focker once said, taking it day by day by day by day.......


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:11 pm 
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You've heard some 'horror stories' about staying on Suboxone? I can assure you I've seen more real-life horror stories that involve the almost inevitable return to active addiction once one tapers from buprenorphine even after having been on it a lot longer than you suggest. If you aren't actively working a program of recovery and probably at this early stage involved in a traditional program at the very least or something other than a plan to eat healthy, take multi-vitamins and exercise I think you're going about this in a haphazard way. I've seen a lot of people with your plan, just none successful with it. Do yourself a favor and work with your DR, don't focus on tapering off buprenorphine and get your life in a really, really good spot in which you are ready to taper or are so grateful for the life you have that you see no point in the potential risk involved with tapering.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:32 pm 
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Don't you feel like you're still in somewhat of a fog while on Subs though? Circumstances are different for everyone and I know what led to my addiction. Working on the underlying factors are a big part of my road to recovery. I think Subs are a wonderful tool for getting someone in the right state of mind long enough to think clearly about what they really want to do about the problem they're in. I'm not knocking the use of the drug as a maintenance program for all, I just don't think that it's necessarily the only way to get through this. I know that I have to stay away from ALL opiates, bar none. They are not an option for me regardless of the circumstances. As long as I'm not struggling with cravings and having thoughts of relapsing, the Sub has served its purpose and I don't see the need to remain on the drug. If I get a week into this and am struggling, then that's reason enough to get back on the Sub. I won't know until I try though and I'm not interested in turning this into a maintenance program, unless that's the only option. And it may be. We'll see. Thanks for the advice though. I honestly do appreciate it.

-TMD


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:22 pm 
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Quick update. Took last dose of 1mg sub about 50 hours ago and feeling pretty blah blah. Yawning a lot and feeling very lethargic. Took clonidine last night and it helped me sleep just fine. Woke up and was able to go to work and drudge through the day, but very very weak. Really hoping this improves by Monday. Monday will be seven days off subs and everything will be out of my system. I need to find a support group in the area. Something like AA or NA. Anyone have any preference on which might help more. I've heard that AA has more structure. Thanks for any advice.

-TMD


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:56 am 
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Although my last dose of Sub was 1mg and 72 hours ago, according to my taper schedule and the half life calculations, I still have about 1.25mg of Bup in my system. By Tuesday I will be three weeks off opiates and one week off of Bup and no traces of anything in my system. Had real trouble sleeping last night for the first time. Real aches and pains and just not feeling right yet. I think much much clearer than when I was using opiates, but the head just isn't there yet. Hoping that each day is a little better than the last. I'm not going to lie about the cravings. They're there but I know it's not an option. I still have a bottle of Bup and could take a small dose to feel better but I know that I need to learn how to identify and deal with the triggers instead of running to the pill to feel better. Places, memories, people, feelings, etc. One day at a time and one foot in front of the other. No looking back.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Thanks for the calm reply! I'll be the first to admit that I feel strongly about buprenorphine because of the positive role it's played in my life and the positive role it plays in the lives of those around me on a daily basis. I've never personally felt sluggish mentally at all while on buprenorphine and certainly don't experience any euphoria, for me it controls cravings related to severe opioid addiction and some pain issues.

I'll also be the first to admit (in person sometimes more than on this board) that buprenorphine is not the only way or successful for everyone, but it is a successful tool by leaps and bounds and allows some people to live a very productive life and the ability to sort of skip the rigorously centered lifestyle that came with 'abstinence based recovery,' and the issues associated with obtaining methadone from an ORT clinic. It's not the only way, but be aware that it is much, much tougher to keep addiction in remission sans buprenorphine. At any rate, I wish no ill will, whatever keeps someone positive is the answer in my book.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Four days off of Subs and feeling a little better than yesterday. Not even close to good or normal, but nothing like full blown WDS. Only three hours broken sleep last night and feeling really really tired and still a general feeling of malaise. I have had some serious cravings, but was able to identify and deal with them just fine. I feel if I can get through the next week, I should be feeling considerably better. Just need to find something that will help with the serious lack of energy and sleeplessness. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Much love and thanks for everything.

-TMD


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:58 am 
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Well it's Monday November 18th and I've been off Subs for a week now. All traces should be out of my system. Was feeling a little better Sunday morning and went out and walked for about an hour. Strangely, I wasn't able to sleep a wink last night and had aches and pains in my leg and ankle joints. Skin is still really sensitive and feels like it's burning at times. Tossed and turned and just felt like I was wired for sound all night. I was really hoping that I would be feeling somewhat better by today. I've had thoughts of taking a very small dose of Sub to help with the pain and sleeplessness but then I feel like I'd be starting from square one and the week I just went through would be for not. Any suggestions with the sleeplessness would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

-TMD


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:47 pm 
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TMD,

I know exactly how you feel. I am at day 11 now, but dealing with it still. Romeo suggested to me, for sleep, the Unisom that does NOT contain Diphenhydramine. Unisom SleepTabs containing the active ingredient doxylamine succinate (25 mg) do not aggravate RLS caused by WD's nearly as badly. I have tested this theory and agree with the advise.

Just food for thought.

twostep


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:57 pm 
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I urge you to not take a small dose! You're almost there! I was still feeling it pretty hard at the one week mark. The goosebumpy skin, the fatigue, the mild depression, it was suuuuper trying. But here I am, on the other side. It was so tough but it's not toughat all anymore! Day 10, I think, was a turning point for me, where I started to see big improvements every day. In 2 days, it'll be 3 weeks for me and I'm doing so good. It's amazing how quickly I've forgotten about the habit of taking pills to "feel better". I wake up feeling good, I use exercise and vitamins to give me energy during the day. Sleep hasn't been a big problem for me, for whatever reason, but Unisom has helped many. Good luck and keep posting. Just hearing from people who understand you can be a life saver!

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**OFF SUBS SINCE 11/1/13**

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:41 am 
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How are you doing?

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"the only way out is through"


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:54 am 
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Haven't heard from you for a while. I hope you are doing well. I keep checking back to see your progress. Truly hope you're good man.


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