How should I taper Suboxone? How long should I be on Suboxone? Should I taper fast or slow? Can I dissolve Suboxone?
Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:13 pm
So glad to find these forums! Been on Sub a little over 3 years....started feeling the time was right to start my taper about 3 months ago. I have been on 24 mgs/day and tapered to 16 mgs two weeks ago. Today, I started 12 mgs/day. In 2-3 more weeks, I plan to taper down to 8 mgs/day and then, take it very slow from there. I started at 8 mgs/day in Oct 2007 but my doc kept increasing my dosage for pain management. I feel like enough healing has occurred and as anyone knows who has done the Sub program, your body/mind has a way of telling you when it time to start preparing for the "jump". My time has now come...and I couldn't be happier about it. A year ago, I might've told you I did not know when, if ever, I could get off. My doc kept telling me to be patient...that I would let myself know
He was right!
I plan to return to this post periodically and log my taper off Sub. I hope it will be helpful to others. All over the internet, I kept reading frightening stories of people trying to come off Sub and they couldn't. I just don't feel that way about myself. I think it's "mind over matter"...I feel strong, confident and realistic about this. I know there may be some bumps in the road...but right now, I want this more than anything! I feel so strongly that the time is right and I'm ready to reclaim my brain
I've got the best Sub doc in my area...a very compassionate doctor who understands perfectly (and has perfectly explained it to me) how this happens to your brain and the changes that have taken place there.
So, hi to all...if you're tapering, I sure would like to hear from you. I'm female...a mother, a wife...people that find out I'm on this (that know what it is) can't believe it. I hate the stigma attached to it by some. To me, it has saved lives, marriages and children. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can become addicted to opiods. Mine was a back injury and surgery that was not successful in relieving the awful pain I lived with daily.
Thanks for reading and I'll be posting again in a few days to report on how I'm doing on 12 mgs/day.
Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:54 pm
Hi ClearAqua and welcome. I'm not tapering off yet, but I wanted to welcome you and offer my support. You do sound determine and even better - you sound READY and prepared to taper off for all the right reasons. Personally I think when one goes off sub for the right reasons that it's a predictor of their success. Just be flexible with your taper, especially when you get down to 4 mg and below. And be sure to listen to your body. Lots of people here have had success doing a liquefied taper when they've gotten to very low doses. They can measure the doses more accurately and get lower than just using the tablets. And the lower and slower one goes, the less acute and post acute withdrawal one seems to have. Some even have had next to none. Good luck to you. I know lots of people keep taper journals here. Just try not to obsess over every withdrawal symptom or it's liable to make it worse, if you know what I mean. The more one thinks about something the bigger it seems, if that makes sense. Take care and keep up the positive attitude - I think it will serve you well.
Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:06 pm
I too was around my 3 year mark on Suboxone when I 'knew' it was time for me to quit. Hard to explain the feeling of 'knowing' it was my time to quit, I'm Christian and I believe God had a lot to do with it though. Not only did I know it was my time to quit, but I knew, without a doubt, that I was going to be successful as well.
As far as your taper is concerned, you sound like you're doing really good...keep moving forward, when you feel resistance then stabilize there for a few days or so (it may take 5 days to stabilize, it may take 15 days...just be patient).
I look forward to keeping up with your progress.
Oh Yeah, I wanted to let you know that Suboxone wd is such a head game. If you can keep your mind busy it will help a lot.
Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:15 pm
Thanks to both of you for your supportive answers to my post! I didn't know if I would get any replies, since I'm new, but part of this writing is for myself and partly for anyone coming down this same road in the future. Thank you both for the vote of confidence and for the helpful advice.
I agree with both of you...I think you know when you're "ready". And I think that makes a huge difference. I have prayed many times for an answer and for help and my answer has finally come...but not before I was ready.
I also agree that there are a lot of head games involved here....but I just don't want Sub in my head anymore, pardon my pun
I work full-time and am a pretty busy person...I don't have any free time to sit and ponder any w/d symptoms...if they come, I intend to push through...don't have a choice, really. I want to be very honest in my posting here...and I want to show a positive experience for all those too afraid to try. Who knows? I may be on the verge of a great, easy time with the taper. I am so excited about getting my life back without monthly Dr. visits and huge prescription costs...having to schedule any vacation around Sub visits and being afraid of losing it when out of town. The stress of it all is just not something I want in my life any longer.
I am thankful it was there when I needed it. I have a healthy respect for pain pills of any kind now...and if I ever need surgery again, I will be sure to hand any meds to my husband for safekeeping and get off ASAP. I don't even want the things for dental work. I'm sure I will be just fine with some Advil
Romeo, congrats to you on a successful taper and hatmaker...you will know when it's time. I hope I'll be able to give you a positive experience to look forward to.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:03 pm
Hey, been on and off suboxone since 2006 to try and help a horrible heroin addiction. I have been cold turkey off subxone twice before and it was horrible. The first time was 31 days of shitty hell from all of the opiate acute withdrawl symptons you can think of. I came off of suboxone again at a different time and was succesful for 24 days until i could not take the back pain, 3 weeks of sleepless nights, leg cramps, nausea, so lethargic you feel like you worked out for years with no breaks, and just no motivation to even get up off your ass to take a piss. So no i finally have been away from street opiates for over two years in which i have been on 16 mg. of suboxone down to 8mg during the the last month of use and jumped off at the 8mg. I was experiencing so many side effects from being on the sub so long that i couldnt even function any more due to serious paranoia, such anxiety i felt i was in opiate withdrawl while on this dam medication, hot flashes cold sweats etc... So i thought to myself, i cant even manage to leave my apartment at my university to go to class, i will take a medical leave, go to rehab and get off this medication safely so i dont relapse or not successfully stay off the sub. I decided to get off cold turkey at the 8mg mark because i had went cold turkey at 16mg before so it couldnt be as bad or so i thought. Well, that was a big ****** mistake because since i did not take the doctors advice to taper down slowly because i could not function even on 8mg, i told him fu** it, i will go to rehab and sweat it out for 2 weeks. It has been absolute hell. I am so wacked out right now from the side effects still after 19 days, my vision is so blurry which i have never experienced in my life. I feel it may be to serious pupil dialation adjusting to being human again. I have nothing wrong with mmy back and yet i feel like every muscle from the top of my spine down is in flames. Cold sweats, hot flashes, dizziness, nausea, digestive system is completely screwed, lethargic to the point where i have been laying on my couch for 24 hours a day since i was released from hospitalization. Mentally i am drained, i feel completely psychotic at this point trying to convince my family everything is fine. I feel completely nonhuman being off this long term bullshit drug. Sorry to ramble, i just dont have anywhere or anyone to go to about how i am feeling. I have been going to meetings, but do not have the luxury to talk about suboxone with anyone of whom has experience with this luxury drug. Anyways, i just want things to get better and get back to feeling like an earthling or whatever the hell N.A. junkies call themselves coming off opiates. If anyone has experience with long-term suboxone use and jumping off cold turkey on a higher dose then 2mg. I know subxone withdrawl is long-lasting, ive been through it before, but not over two years of use and then just jumping off cold turkey. I just hope these withdrawls do not last for 60-90 days like i have been reading on the internet. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:40 pm
I am really sorry you are going through this. Is there anyway you can do a taper at very low doses? You did not say why you were going cold turkey at this point. I'll assume that you do not have a doctor any longer or cannot afford the Sub.
Withdrawal is awful and there is no way around it.
Drink lots of water, make yourself get up and walk, hot baths/showers, and know that every single minute is one minute farther away from the addiction. Get some vitamins too.
You are in the process of getting your life, your brain, back to your control. It is not easy but it is achievable. There are many who have done it and they all say one thing....thinking about the withdrawal process makes them never want to use again.
Best wishes to you...and post here all you want. It really does help to get this all off your chest. People here understand.
Hang in there. You can make it.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:46 pm
Jw6457 wrote:Hey, been on and off suboxone since 2006 to try and help a horrible heroin addiction. I have been cold turkey off subxone twice before and it was horrible. The first time was 31 days of shitty hell from all of the opiate acute withdrawl symptons you can think of. I came off of suboxone again at a different time and was succesful for 24 days until i could not take the back pain, 3 weeks of sleepless nights, leg cramps, nausea, so lethargic you feel like you worked out for years with no breaks, and just no motivation to even get up off your ass to take a piss. So no i finally have been away from street opiates for over two years in which i have been on 16 mg. of suboxone down to 8mg during the the last month of use and jumped off at the 8mg. I was experiencing so many side effects from being on the sub so long that i couldnt even function any more due to serious paranoia, such anxiety i felt i was in opiate withdrawl while on this dam medication, hot flashes cold sweats etc... So i thought to myself, i cant even manage to leave my apartment at my university to go to class, i will take a medical leave, go to rehab and get off this medication safely so i dont relapse or not successfully stay off the sub. I decided to get off cold turkey at the 8mg mark because i had went cold turkey at 16mg before so it couldnt be as bad or so i thought. Well, that was a big ****** mistake because since i did not take the doctors advice to taper down slowly because i could not function even on 8mg, i told him fu** it, i will go to rehab and sweat it out for 2 weeks. It has been absolute hell. I am so wacked out right now from the side effects still after 19 days, my vision is so blurry which i have never experienced in my life. I feel it may be to serious pupil dialation adjusting to being human again. I have nothing wrong with mmy back and yet i feel like every muscle from the top of my spine down is in flames. Cold sweats, hot flashes, dizziness, nausea, digestive system is completely screwed, lethargic to the point where i have been laying on my couch for 24 hours a day since i was released from hospitalization. Mentally i am drained, i feel completely psychotic at this point trying to convince my family everything is fine. I feel completely nonhuman being off this long term bullshit drug. Sorry to ramble, i just dont have anywhere or anyone to go to about how i am feeling. I have been going to meetings, but do not have the luxury to talk about suboxone with anyone of whom has experience with this luxury drug. Anyways, i just want things to get better and get back to feeling like an earthling or whatever the hell N.A. junkies call themselves coming off opiates. If anyone has experience with long-term suboxone use and jumping off cold turkey on a higher dose then 2mg. I know subxone withdrawl is long-lasting, ive been through it before, but not over two years of use and then just jumping off cold turkey. I just hope these withdrawls do not last for 60-90 days like i have been reading on the internet. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Hey....I cannot completely relate, but I just wanted to tell you I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's ridiculously hard to get off this med. Holy COW!! I'm still tapering down and down and down. I'm at 1 mg right now, but going from 1.25 to 1 has been awful. I'm serious. The leg pain is unreal. I absolutely hate it. I cannot even fathom doing what you did. You certainly aren't alone. I've been making tons of phone calls to Sub docs all over the place, detox places...anywhere where there is someone with a lot of experience. The reality is pretty scary. There are lots and lots of people suffering beyond anything they imagined after being on Suboxone long term. I've been on since 2005!! Some days I feel like I've ruined my life and I'm totally screwed and other days, I resign myself this pain in the butt taper. I had really bad symptoms on Sub, too. Not at first. It was good for quite a while. Then, I became a weirdo recluse and leaving my house actually became intimidating. My body temp got nuts, too. Hot, cold, hot, cold. My estrogen levels got all messed up. And on and on. Very strange how that happened. At least we are in this together. I encourage you to just keep laying around and to believe that you will get better. I'd tell you to go work out if I thought you possible felt okay enough to push yourself to do that!! How much longer do you have off work? I don't want you to fail, because not being able to get off Sub is not a good reason to stay on it, KWIM?
Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:48 pm
Started my 12 mgs yesterday...have decided I am going to stay here for 4-5 days and then go on down to 8 mgs/day. I'm going to half an 8 mg pill and do it twice daily. Then, once a week, I will take a quarter off until I am doing 1/4 pill daily. At that point...I am going to go S-L-O-W and listen to my body and start skipping days. When I get to the point that I can go 4-5 days without a crumb...I'm going to try the jump.
So far, I've had no effects WHATSOEVER from going from 24 mgs to where I am now. This may or may not change. But, I'm going to do it anyway.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:55 pm
laddertripper....do not give up! This can be done, I promise.
I have two friends who have successfully come off of Sub and they did very well. I don't know why some have it easier than others...probably has a lot to do with your own personal chemistry. Both tapered down and then just stopped. One said that she never felt anything...she couldn't understand the fuss about it! Imagine that
She was a very bad hydro addict...at times, 40 Lortabs/day.
Please try to remain positive...it can be done and my doctor says that he has a great success rate with taper....he thinks a lot of it is mental as we have become so dependent on pills.
Stay positive and know that you CAN do this!
Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:00 pm
Jw - I'm sorry you're having such a hard time right now and that suboxone has left such a bad taste in your mouth. I'm surprised that after going cold turkey that you decided to do it again. Many people have tapered off very slowly and experienced little to no discomfort. Is going back on it just long enough to taper down slowly an option for you? Just a thought.
I know withdrawals off any opiate are difficult, including suboxone. The thing is with us opiate addicts (and I know you, Laddertipper, are not an opiate addict) is that we are utterly unable to taper off our DOC AT ALL. But with suboxone we CAN. That's one of the the main differences. Because it doesn't make us high and we don't obsess over it, we actually do have the ability to taper off of it.
Another difference in a slow, low taper is that it also reduces the chances of having PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome). It's just another reason why most people usually recommend that people spend some time tapering off off suboxone before jumping off. Jw - there are some people who jumped off at higher doses and had some issues but not as bad as it sounds like you've had. ClearAqua is right too. And I know it's the absolute last thing you want to do, but if you can force yourself to get some exercise, you WILL feel better. And the hot baths, too. Also, can you get a doctor to prescribe you some Clonidine? It's a blood pressure med, but kind of considered to be the "gold standard" in treating opiate withdrawals. Such withdrawals cause specific changes in the brain and the clonidine actually helps (reverses?) some of those changes which is why it helps so much.
I truly hope you get to feeling better really soon. Hang in there. You might want to go to the "Stopping Suboxone" section and start your own thread. You'll get plenty of support. And you can use it as a journal of sorts; it might make you feel a bit better. Oh there's one person I can think of who jumped off at 12 mg. Her name is Jackcrack and you can send her a PM and I'm sure she'll respond to you. Take good care of yourself.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:04 pm
ClearAqua - At the dose you're at now, you should be fine going from 12 to 8 and probably 8 to 6 as well. And you might be fine going from there to 4 mg. But from 4 mg and below, you need to slow down your taper. Dr. Junig recommends 10% drops, while others recommend 20-25%. But don't go down any more than that. Especially not 50% dosage drops. The idea is to feel each drop as little as possible. The less you feel it the easier the taper is on your body. It might take longer, but it will be worth it. I hope this helps.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:27 pm
hatmaker, thanks for your uplifting support!
This is the very reason I wanted to do a good, positive posting of coming off Suboxone. Everywhere I turned, it seemed there were horror stories from people. Though my doc said I shouldn't have problems and I knew two people that had come off, I am lucky and I thought about all of the people that want off and need a good experience posted to show them this can be done!
Yes, I agree with you 100% about needing to go slow from 4 mgs on down. It took a while to get here and it's going to take a while to get back. Don't be in a hurry....don't stress about it....slowly taper and forget about it...that's the mindset I'm keeping
Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:45 pm
ClearAqua said, "It took a while to get here and it's going to take a while to get back. Don't be in a hurry....don't stress about it....slowly taper and forget about it...that's the mindset I'm keeping"
That's a GREAT attitude to have.
I've been off sub a while, but still don't feel 100% and I have to constantly remind myself that I abused drugs for a LONG time and to expect it all to go away quickly is rather silly of me.
Thanks for reminding me of that!!
Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:56 pm
Okay, I'm over my moment of insanity. I took an Alleve and wow, what a difference that stuff actually makes. It doesn't make the leg pain go away, but it makes it tolerable. Put on some music and the world looks brighter. I'm just having a tough few days, and that's it. I have to keep my head together and not think too hard about what is going to happen. I know it's an AA cliche, but I need to think about TODAY and that's it. Make the best I can out of today
and not stress about tomorrow.
And yeah, I want to second what ClearAqua said to you, Hat. Thank you for your support. I really appreciate that you take the time to respond and give encouraging words even when you aren't in the situation yourself. It's easy when not in the situation to kinda forget about it, so I admire that you are still trying to help out the people going through this. I hope when I'm no longer in this place that I will pass it on too. You're right about the 10%. I actually sat down and figured out on paper how long it would take me to stick at 10% and it was sooo long. I'm so impatient. And then there are such conflicting instructions. I've been told to stop the Sub now because I'm continuously getting more and more stacking up in my body. That makes me panic, but I know I need to steer clear of that fear mongering and stay with the positive and keep thinking I can do this. I have to remember that the people who answer the phones at rapid detox places have a financial incentive to tell me this is impossible and that they are only seeing the people who have failed, so their view is absolutely going to be skewed.
So, I'm going to go down at small intervals. The drop from 1.25 to 1 was kinda shocking because I thought it wouldn't be bad at all and it was, even tho I alternated between those two for a week before sticking at 1. Maybe I wasn't at 1.25 long enough? IDK....I'm going to go down in .125 increments from now on. That's the smallest I can reliably cut the strips.
Sorry to ramble.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:06 pm
Romeo...Yep, that's the mindset I'm keeping and I'll be glad to share it with you or anyone here! LOL Look, we have to be positive...I am in such a better place than I was 3-4 years ago...and Suboxone gave me that. I am thankful to the drug for getting me off Lortabs, lifting my depression and basically getting me back to a normal place.
Now, some 3 years later, I am ready to take off on my own! Yes, it took a while to get here....and yes, it's going to take a while to get back but you know what? I AM GOING TO DO IT!!! Come with me
laddertripper....that's the spirit, girl! Get positive and stay positive! It's the only way to beat this. Be glad you're alive and getting stronger by the day! One of my friends that came off sub....well, when she was a hydro addict, she ended up in the ER, liver shutting down and she heard the doctor say "We're losing her"...she had taken almost 100 Lortabs that day. Her liver was shutting down. She went into a coma. She just about died. She still continued to do Lortabs after she survived. It was only getting arrested for prescription fraud and starting Sub that saved her. Is she happy about Sub? You bet...no wonder the taper did not phase her after all she went through.
Guess what? Today, not only is she off Subs...she is a counselor for addicts. She has been off Subs 2 years now. She is beautiful, alive and healthy. She has a great marriage and 3 beautiful kids.
I guess what I'm saying is that we have a lot to be thankful for. Coming off Suboxone seems very doable to me after watching someone like her. Let's not make any more of it than what it is....it did its job for us and now is the time for us to move on.
Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:12 pm
Laddertipper - Have you tried the every other day dosing? 1 mg one day and 1.25 the next and so on and so on? It'll only leave you at 1.5, but you'll likely not feel it at all. And then move on to 1.5 alternating to maybe .75 every other day. People who do that say they really don't feel those drops at all, or if they do it's very little. Give it a shot, you might rid yourself of the discomfort you're suffering from.
I honestly don't mind helping people out who are tapering. I've just learned so much about it in the last 2 years it seems a waste to me to not share it with people who are needing assistance. Plus it's like paying it forward or something. I support others when they need it and hopefully I'll get some support when I need it. (Speaking of which, if anyone knows anything - anything AT ALL about Butrans, I posted under the chronic pain section and I need some opinions.)
Anyhoo, give that every other day dosing a try. It's really supposed to help when you get to the lower doses. Good luck!
Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:57 pm
I think that dropping by 1/8mg instead of dropping by 1/4mg is going to make a HUGE difference once you stabilize at 1mg. Suboxone is strong[sup]2[/sup] stuff!! Big jumps = Big pain in the ass!!
Stay strong, stay positive and stay busy!!
Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:18 pm
Here's what I did. I was at 1.25 mg for a week or so. Then, I went to alternating between 1 and 1.25 for a week. Then I went to just 1 mg and today is my fifth day I think at just 1. It was weird because that seems like it would be a breeze, right? It just wasn't. I didn't feel that bad until yesterday either. I don't entirely understand Sub, because it is pretty confusing, mainly because of the long half life and stacking and bioavailability and all that stuff. So, maybe it was painful to do that drop because I still had a lot backed up in my system? I just don't know, but today has been better since I decided to quit whining and suck it up. I played the Michael Jackson Wii game, lol. Really fun! Ran a lot of errands....just basically distracted myself and decided to quit stressing. AND the Alleve makes a big, big difference. Can I take it every single day? I'm going to hang in here at 1 until I feel very good and then maybe alternate between 1 and .75 a while instead of cutting it into .875, which is some intricate cutting, trust me.
I'm very interested in the Butrans too. Is it for pain primarily or is it for maintenance or is it for both? If I were planning on staying on Sub indefinitely, I'd probably really consider switching to it if it's more effective for pain management. It's in that early stage where there's hardly anyone with any experience to let you know what it's like and how well it works. In a few months, there will probably be many people who are taking it.
I think part of my problem is that my fibromyalgia seems to get mad at me when I am tapering and sometimes it just all out rages at me and it is so unbelievably painful that it's beyond description. Hat, you know what I mean! Fibro can hurt like nobody's business. If someone touches my neck, I will just sink to the floor. My neck is not happy right now and it keeps balling up whenever I'm still for too long. I have to remember that I've got this secondary thing going on and it's not all just because of the Sub w/d. I don't know how to tell which is which though. I think my legs are probably the w/d, but the neck and elbows are probably fibro mainly.
Romeo, why are you calling me Laddertripper again?? LOL!
Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:33 pm
I'm pretty sure I remember hearing about using the Butrans for people tapering. It comes in three strengths, 5, 10, and 20 mcg per hour and the patch stays on for 7 days.
Laddertipper (HA laddertripper - I thought that was Wade's name for you? That's funny, sorry couldn't help it), anyway, on a different subject - I don't know if you saw one of my last posts or not. I was put on a new medication back at the first of the year. It's for a different immune condition I have and the med is an immuno-suppressant. Actually it's a low dose chemo therapy - it's called methotrexate. Anyway, since then, my fibro pain has lessened considerably - and consistently! I still have flares and regular pain, but instead of it being at a 7 or 8, it's more like between a 2-4 on the pain scale. Now I'm convinced fibro is not related to nerves but is instead an immune-related condition. I'm so much better that I'm now looking for full time work and I'm much more active again. I honestly don't believe it's a coincidence, and neither do my doctors. And it's such a low dose of chemo that I have zero side effects - and it's helping the condition I was put on it for originally, too. So I'm very pleased and will stay on this for as long as possible!
I just wanted to share that with you. If I knew how to get that medication studied as a treatment for fibro I'd do it, but I have no idea who I'd even notify! Maybe some day it will catch on.
Continued good luck with your taper.
Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:59 pm
Today is the first day I've have some w/d symptoms and in keeping with the point of my taper thread, I wanted to post them.
On March 7, I tapered from 24 mgs/day to 16 mgs/day.
On March 21, I tapered from 16 mgs/day to 12/mgs/day.
Started 12 mgs on Monday this week, today I woke up early with some "buzzing feelings" in my arms and legs. Not bad, but I was pretty excited...I thought this means my body is having to go to work to make it's own stuff! I went back to sleep and took my 8 mg dose at 8 am as I usually do.
I have had a few "sweats" this morning and feel just a tad droopier than normal
It's ok...I welcome any symptom as a sign of my body healing. I figure in about 3-4 days, I will not be feeling this anymore.
As SOON as I feel like I have adjusted to the 12 mgs, I will be dropping down to 8 mgs...1/2 pill in the am and 1/2 pill in the pm. I am really excited about getting there as that was my original starting dosage in 2007. I had a "shady" doctor for a while that kept upping my dosage to provide pain relief. I sure wish now, in hindsight, I had not let him do that. I just didn't know as much about Sub back then and there was not much info out there about it. Yes, I think there are bad doctors out there in this for the $$$...and I think at this point, I know more about Sub than a lot of them do! I am fortunate to have found a good doctor now....he is all about me coming off the Suboxone, if that is my desire. He is truly an "addiction" doctor and his goal is to keep patients on Sub as long as they need to be to control craving. He has often told me that I would KNOW when the time had come to taper and he was right.
Thanks to all for their insight...I'll keep updating on my taper
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