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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:54 am 
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I've only been on Suboxone for 3 weeks, but all of the nasty symptoms I had while on my doc (oxy) have gone away; mainly constipation and NO libido at all. Within a few days of being on suboxone everything improved significantly. Unfortunately, I spent a few minutes on subsux.com and got all worried. I know, I know, I shouldn't have gone there. I was just wondering if others had a good first few weeks, and then later started to experience lack of libido and constipation.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:53 am 
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Hey Nikonite! Thanks for responding to my post, by the way- I really appreciate it:)

Since we are both new to Suboxone and treatment, I think we could help each other through this a bit.
My side effects are completely gone and today it has been a full week for me since I was inducted. I had RLS for a few days, and yes, constipation (which actually happens with ANY opiate/ opioid), which was actually LESS severe for me than when I was on my drug of choice. As for the libido- well, my body just wanted to adapt to the Suboxone the first week...nothing else. So I, too, experienced a loss of libido, but for me, it seems to be getting stronger every day. I don't know if you are a girl or a boy, but if you happen to have a wiener, then there is a pretty good chance that Suboxone will reduce your sex drive, and also make orgasms more difficult to achieve, as Suboxone is an opioid, and opioids tend to lower testosterone levels substantially. But if you didn't have many problems with libido/ orgasm while on your drug of choice, then I doubt that the effect will last the entire time that you are on Suboxone. I can't really offer much more help than that- this is what I have read, however. I have also read that women occasionally experience a loss of libido as well (for what reasons I do not know) while they take Suboxone.

As for Subsux....that was the FIRST Suboxone forum that I ever read. Now, those people there are genuinely trying to help others, and I feel terrible if any of them had negative experiences while on Suboxone. You may notice, however, that most of their issues stem from tapering off the medication, which yes, can require a bit of patience...also, I don't believe that they were made aware enough that Suboxone IS an opioid, and thus causes withdrawal when treatment is ceased. They also may not have been told that the withdrawal from Suboxone is mildER than full agonists, not 'mild'...I believe that there are some doctors out there that just don't either know themselves what Suboxone is/ does, or they don't feel that it is important to disclose that information to their patients. I know that the people on that forum are suffering, and I feel bad for them. However, they had negative experiences that tore them apart, and they think that everyone will also suffer the same fate, which is just not true. I read that forum when I was first considering this treatment. I decided that, even if what they said about tapering off the Sub was true, that the positives, for me anyway, would still outweigh the negatives. i think that the most important aspect of my treatment is that I get accustomed to dealing with life again, and not centering it around an obsession with using. I am able to go about my day, improve my life, and do things that I was unable to do while I was on my DOC. To me, that is the most important thing. When and if it comes time for me to stop taking my medication, I am going to do it slowly, and I am going to get down to the lowest dose possible before ceasing my medication. If you taper the right way, your withdrawal symptoms should be negligible. Listen to your body. When your body tells you that you aren't handling the taper well, then go back up to your old dose. (I have plenty of theories on how to do this, if you need any help).

Now, I remember that you said that you weren't certain if you were going to do a rapid taper or not. If you have in fact decided to do the rapid taper, then for you, the withdrawals are going to be absolutely NOTHING like what those people describe them as. In fact, you may not experience any whatsoever. Even if you are using Suboxone for maintenance and at some point in the distant future you decide to taper off, if you do it slowly and attentively, then your discomfort should be minimal. Just don't jump off of 4mgs, or even 2mgs, or 1mg. If you get your dose down slowly, very low, and you give your body time to adapt to it, then you'll be just fine:)

You just have to think about whether the pros outweigh the cons here. If you stop taking Suboxone soon, what do you think is going to happen? Is that going to be worse than suffering a (potential, not necessary) few weeks of discomfort in the distant future?

I am sorry to write a novel here- just want to be of some help:) Look, I read that forum. I was scared, too. But when I really thought about it, and put the most important things first, it was a no- brainer for me to get on Suboxone. Without it, my quality of life would have likely depleted to something akin to that of a corpse. And I wasn't prepared to do that. Those people have suffered, and it's a shame. It's not their fault, but I think that they tend to discourage Suboxone treatment just because it didn't go as they thought that it would FOR THEM. Please, read more of this forum, and other forums centered around treatment with buprenorphine and see if you can't find just as many positive experiences. Do what you feel is best for yourself, but don't let that one forum discourage you. I think it's unfair of them to be so discouraging of a medication that has saved lives, and could potentially save the lives of others. Good luck to you, sorry for the rambling, and I hope that I helped at least a little bit. I hope everything goes well for you whatever you decide to do. Congratulations on making it three weeks, though:) You made a HUGE change in your life, and look how well you're doing:) You deserve to be happy and free of active addiction. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you stay that way, no matter what anyone else says:)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:55 am 
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Also- sorry to double post (I love to do this), placebo can be a VERY strong effect. I think that you developed those side effects because you were anxious about developing them after having read about them. Happens to me a lot, also. I could have just said that instead of typing that long winded post! haha, sorry!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:15 pm 
Melsie.....I thought your "long winded" post was quite lovely and seemed heartfelt. I haven't spent much time on the Subsux site...just enough to believe that what you're saying about them is probably quite true. All of us as opiate addicts suffer greatly....we suffer in active addiction, we suffer in withdrawal, we suffer with issues associated with medication-assisted recovery, we suffer (to some degree or another) when we opt to taper off buprenorphine or Methadone, and we suffer when we're in recovery without any medication. I believe we all have that much in common. It is human nature to want to have someone or something to blame for all that suffering. And for some, it's much easier to blame buprenorphine or the doctor that prescribed it or whatever, than to dig deeper and get to the true core of why we are suffering so.
What you said in your post is so true.....we each, as individuals, have to choose what route to take, how long to go down that road, when to try something different or whatever. We have to have a goal in mind and that is initially, at least, to stop the madness of the life our former DOC dragged us into. I think you said something about using Suboxone as a tool to help you just live your life, productively, without the obsession to use drugs. And I couldn't agree with you more. I needed Suboxone to help me get my feet back underneath me, so to speak....just to be able to take a breath....and start working on crawling out from under the mess that I (and my addiction) had made of my life.
After having been on the medication for a year now, I can say that my feelings about it have changed....at least a little. I still believe it's a wonderful drug....a fantastic treatment option. I still believe that it works as advertised (if you did any research anyway!) but it is an opiate, it does carry some potential for side effects....and we are still medicated. Not medicated like we were on full agonists, but medicated with an opiate, nonetheless......hence the horror stories that some people have when trying to discontinue the medication. It is not an easy thing to do. I believe that until and unless you, your mind, your body, your recovery status, etc are truly ready to try life without bup....it will indeed be a difficult road to getting off this medication. I have been down to ~1mg/day for several weeks now and am finding it increasingly difficult to taper further. I'll not go into the reasons here as I have another thread going about my taper.
Mostly I just wanted to encourage both of you who are new to treatment with buprenorphine. It truly is, in my opinion, a 'wonder' drug if used properly.....as an adjunct to a full-out recovery program. Unless you plan on staying on a dose above the ceiling level for the rest of your life, you're going to need to be willing to do the work necessary to keep your addiction in remission.
Best of luck to you both and congratulations for taking such a big step toward getting better. We're all here to support you.
Again, Melsie...nice post!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:01 am 
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Thanks to both of you for responding.

Yes i am a guy, but Melsie, butI think you may have misunderstood my post a little. I said that I have not experienced ANY symptoms since being on suboxone. I'm just wondering if they are likely to come later. I'm really enjoying the fact that I feel completely normal now, but if those other symptoms are likely to come later, I may stop now. I go to AA meetings 4 nights a week and take other actions for my recovery, so I think I could do it, but to be honest I don't think I'm ready.

And Melsie, congratulation to you too. It sounds like you've made a great start.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:53 am 
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Hi Nikonite,

So it's been 3 weeks and no side effects? Well, in my utterly non-medical opinion, I would have to say it could go either way - you might never have any or you might still develop some. You probably don't want to hear that. What dose are you on? A lot of side effects depend on the dose one is on, there's a correlation between (low) dose and (low) side effects. But, everyone is different. For example, constipation is a very common side effect, yet I'm on a pretty high doses and only have that side effect every now and then.

Side effects aren't a given, some people simply may never get them. I truly hope that you're one of those people!
Take care and please keep us posted.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:16 pm 
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thanks for your answer Hatmaker. Of course I would love to hear that I won't have any side effects, but I do want to know what to expect even if the news isn't the greatest.

I seem to be stable at 4 mg a day.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:27 pm 
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4 mg is a nice low dose and as such, you may not get any side effects! YAY, you! Keep us posted. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:11 am 
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Nikonite-
Yes, I realized that I did, indeed misunderstand your post! I just felt that I had made you read enough already, so it was better to refrain from subjecting you to any more of that (I love typing and making sentences and statements ten times longer than needed:)

It's great that you are having no side effects, and I agree with hatmaker that since you are at a lower dose that you will likely not experience many side effects. I too have noticed the trend that the people on higher doses seem to experience the most side effects (headaches/ lethargy/ lack of motivation/ sexual side effects etc), so you should be just fine! I also am not a doctor, nor do I even have much experience in even reading about medicine, but I believe that you will be maintained fantastically at 4mg without many (or any) side effects. I mainly wanted to convey to you that you shouldn't let the negative things that you have read influence you to do something that could be damaging to your recovery, and that you should listen to your instincts with it.

Setmefree- thank you:) Everything you said was spot on! I agree that addicts suffer in many ways (I tend to think that the social stigma against us is the worst part. Ignorance causes so much damage- not only to the addict, but to the people that are possessing the ignorance), and I think that whatever we can do to alleviate that suffering without wreaking more havoc in our lives is our best option. I knew what I was getting into when I decided to go the route that I did with my treatment, and I am NOT expecting it to be easy in any way. I am expecting it to be easier than it would be had I decided to quit my drug of choice cold turkey and then have to go about life with immense cravings and an obsession to use.

Congrats on tapering to 1mg! I have heard that the lower doses are the hardest to taper from, and I wish you the best. Have you thought about the liquid tapering method? Maybe that would help ease your discomfort a bit? I hope that you are doing well and that you have few problems when you do jump off the Suboxone (if you decide to do so). I am taking 5mg every day, and obviously for me it was a total breeze to get to that within a week, but I am certainly hoping to get down even lower within the next week or two. I won't push it, though. I'm only tapering for economic purposes, and only down to between 2 and 4mg. I wish you the best of luck, and hope that you find an easy way to taper! You can do it:)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:34 am 
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I would have to agree that at 4mg you aren't likely to experience side effects if you haven't by now. I have heard people say that after a while they experience some side effects, but it seems those can be controlled by dropping a bit in dosage and things can go back to normal. My suspicion is that you won't have any at all.

Cherie

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Thanks to everyone for their nice and encouraging posts. This is one of the warmest forums I have ever been on, and I have been on many.

I also wanted to mention that my doc put me on a Clonodine patch which really helped with anxiety. I'm wondering if it would be helpful for those that are tapering down under that 1 mg dose that gets so difficult. I will probably try it when I get to that point.


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 Post subject: Clonidine
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:39 am 
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Nikotnite- Clonidine is frequently prescribed to people that are tapering/ withdrawing from opiates/ opioids. You're right- it is a very helpful thing to have during withdrawals. I have read that lowers blood pressure, which helps with symptoms like the chills/ runny nose, watery eyes, etc. I have read through many posts on other forums where it has been recommended to people detoxing from their drug of choice. I haven't personally tried it, but I know that when the time comes, I will certainly try to get my hands on some.

I, too, suffer from anxiety. Currently I am taking Valerian Root extract to help manage my symptoms, however, if the Clonidine has helped you, would you recommend that I try it? How would I go about procuring it? I am so glad that you don't have to suffer with anxiety! It's a terrible thing to have to deal with, especially when you are making huge changes in your life/ lifestyle, and I think that it could be yet another useful tool for you in your recovery:) Maybe mine, too?


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 Post subject: Anxiety
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:25 am 
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Melsi is correct about Clonodine very often being used for withdrawals. You'll see it mentioned all over this forum - likely under the "stopping suboxone" subject. And I wanted to throw in my two cents about treating anxiety.

Under the "chronic pain" subject you'll find a thread I posted from a couple/few months ago about guided imagery/self-hypnosis/meditation. It's very detailed on how to get started. That said, I'm not a doctor or psychologist, just someone who's found this technique useful. See, when I started sub I had to stop a few-year habit of over 6 mg a day of xanax. I didn't know how to deal with my anxiety! My therapist got me into guided imagery - slowly, but surely. At the time it was my only option. I thought it was a bunch of hooey, but I gave it a chance and lo and behold - IT WORKED! I'd encourage anyone who's having trouble with anxiety to give it a try.

Additionally, my doctor has me on atenolol, a beta blocker. It helps cover the gap filled by the guided imagery and now, over a year and half later, I have next to ZERO anxiety. Even without the atenolol I have very little.

Lastly, some time ago Dr. J did a blog entry about anxiety and benzos. He talked about how many of us take benzos not to feel normal, but to feel relaxed and what that means. Here's that one: http://suboxonetalkzone.com/2009/12/27/ ... -you-sure/

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:30 am 
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Hi Melsie and Hatmaker,

I think one has to have an RX for Clonodine, but most docs are happy to prescribe it because there is no risk of abuse. It's very expensive though without insurance. I was going to get it without going thru my insurance because I didn't want them getting wind of my opiate abuse, and I almost fainted when the pharmacist told me it would be over $300. Needless to say I used my insurance and the cost was only $10.

I too, was abusing Xanax and Ambien when I decided to start suboxone. Ambien is very similar to xanax, and I used to break an ambien into 4 pieces and take about 6 or 7 in a day. My sub doc would not treat me if I was on a Benzo, so I detoxed myself in about 10 days. it went much easier than I or anyone else expected.

Thanks for the links Hatmaker. I will certainly look into those other options. I have used meditation and minor forms of hypnosis in the past, but it's been a long time.

Back to the subject of side effects, I've been taking 6 mg for the last few days instead of only 4 because i was feeling a little sketchy and found myself craving something outside of myself. I noticed some constipation which correlates to what some have been saying about symptoms getting more pronounced with higher doses. I hope to get back down to 4 mg in the next few days. I am in Medellin, Colombia visiting a friend, and traveling always makes me feel a little more anxious being away from home and my comfort zone.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:33 am 
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Wow, yeah that Clonidine is not something that I can access due to the fact that I'm totally broke and uninsured:( Oh well, the Valerian Root is working decently. I am glad that the Clonidine is helping you, though:) And glad that you don't have to pay out the ass for it!

I'm sure that being away from home is what has you feeling as if you are missing something, especially if this is a situation in which you would have formerly turned to your drug of choice. I hope that you are adapting well to the change, but if you find yourself craving the comfort of chemicals, just look on the bright side of things. After all, isn't Columbia exotic? Are you enjoying your time there otherwise? Look how much you have improved since you decided to seek treatment:) Also, you are surely saving money now, right?

I understand what you are saying about how you are feeling. I have been suffering from intense BOREDOM since I started Suboxone, and at times, it even makes me anxious, but I can usually talk myself out of it, and have been trying to do the things that I know that I used to enjoy before I got into all of this (reading/ writing), which has helped me immensely. I also keep myself busy by writing people's essays for them, haha:) I still feel like I'm 'missing' something, and I know what that something is, and I try to be glad that I am rid of it, instead of longing for the comfort that I thought it used to provide. Here I have made the most enormous change that I have ever made in my life, and I am somehow expecting myself to just adapt to it. Well, it doesn't work that smoothly, unfortunately. But I try to just keep my head up and look forward to the progress I will make without having to resort to abusing opiates anymore. It's hard, but it's rewarding. I think you'll adapt as well, as long as you keep a positive outlook/ attitude, and enjoy the things that you DO have:)

As for taking more of your Suboxone than you had been, welp, I'm pretty sure that we've all done that. The only thing you probably got out of it was a stopped up colon. Not really worth the trouble, is it? I hope that you manage to poo at some point, as I know how frustrating that can be! Man, I'm glad that the Suboxone has relieved me of that symptom of opiate use- that was the worst! I hope you enjoy your vacation:) You're doing great!:)


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