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 Post subject: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:32 pm 
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Does anyone else get these? Sometimes after I take my suboxone, I will start to get an odd numb feeling through my extremities, and I get a pounding "pressure-like" headache. It feels like my heart-beat is pounding in my head. However, I have checked my blood pressure while experiencing it, and if anything, it is a bit lower than normal but not much. Actually, "headache" is a bit of a misnomer as it is not actually pain, but rather, discomfort. On particularly bad attacks, it makes me want to shut my eyes and sit down, and my hearing starts to fade out a bit.

I have been on Suboxone for years, and I know it is linked directly to it, because it won't happen if I miss a day's dose, and it almost always happens about 2 hours after I take it if it is going to happen at all and it will get worse if I take more after it has started. It definitely doesn't happen often enough for me to quit taking it, but it has been happening since I started taking it. I also didn't get these when I took methadone.

Does anyone have any ideas what this is, or does anyone get these?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:54 am 
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YES, YES, YES I get these all the time...but mine almost always turn into migraines. They suck huge ______ (fill in blank). I felt like I was going to have to quit treatment because of headaches, until I saw my internal medicine doctor, he gave me all kinds of scripts, some made me loopy, some did nothing at all, then I tried Calan SR (verapamil ER) it costs like ten bucks a month and is a calcium-channel blocker. I take 240mg every night with milk, and have very few headaches of that type now. I still get tension headaches, and sinus headaches from snorting OXY for ten years, but the migraines seem to have subsided. Why? I can't tell, and neither can my doctor, all I know is it's the best 10 bucks I've ever spent! B.T.W.- my problem took a year of suboxone treatment to show up, don't know why.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:11 pm 
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jsp4th wrote:
YES, YES, YES I get these all the time...but mine almost always turn into migraines. They suck huge ______ (fill in blank). I felt like I was going to have to quit treatment because of headaches, until I saw my internal medicine doctor, he gave me all kinds of scripts, some made me loopy, some did nothing at all, then I tried Calan SR (verapamil ER) it costs like ten bucks a month and is a calcium-channel blocker. I take 240mg every night with milk, and have very few headaches of that type now. I still get tension headaches, and sinus headaches from snorting OXY for ten years, but the migraines seem to have subsided. Why? I can't tell, and neither can my doctor, all I know is it's the best 10 bucks I've ever spent! B.T.W.- my problem took a year of suboxone treatment to show up, don't know why.


Wow, thanks for the info, and I am very glad to know I am not alone with this. I had not been able to find any reports online citing this as a side-effect, and my hypochondria was starting to get the best of me ("Do I have brain cancer or something?!"). I may need to talk to my doctor about that medicine.

As far it taking a year to show up for you, honestly, I don't know exactly how fast it started affecting me, because it took me a long time to realize the two were connected. At first I thought it may be a tooth-infection, as I have very bad teeth from years of heroin use and puking, and I was having bad tooth-aches at the same time. After I got my teeth worked on, it kept going, and then about 6 months later I realized it was related to the Suboxone when I ran out of my script and had to go 5 days without and did not get them. After that, I became more aware of when I took my meds compared to when I got the "head throbs", and they were indeed related.

Thanks again for the info! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:44 pm 
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You could also try Subutex instead of suboxone, you may be hypersensitive to the naltrexone

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:30 pm 
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jsp4th wrote:
You could also try Subutex instead of suboxone, you may be hypersensitive to the naltrexone


I just started thinking about that. Maybe it does have something to do with that, and I may be needing to change soon when my cobra insurance runs out and I have to pay full price for my meds. Generic subutex, ho!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:14 pm 
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When I first starting using Suboxone (my life saving miracle!!) I got those headaches. But they weren't like headaches, more like my head was in a VICE. It hurt so bad! BTW, I NEVER got headaches before, I am one of those people who never gets headaches. The more Sub I took, the worse the headache. I quickly figured out that I was taking too much Sub. When my doc. put me a schedule of 8mg in the morning and 8mg at night, that's it - no more, no less... The headaches VANISHED! I was definitely taking too much, about 28-32 mgs a day! I have since heard from other people that they got headaches when they took too much. Hope this helps!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:24 am 
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A couple thoughts from the scientist in me-- again, I get no commission for people taking Suboxone! First, I would try the Subutex-- it is now generic and about $2.55 per pill from Walgreens, and it sounds like it is pretty much nation-wide at this point-- although they may need to order it, which takes about 24 hours.

My problem is that if headaches showed up 'two years after starting suboxone', how do you know it isn't from all the other things that you started over the past two years-- or the factory that set up in town 6 months ago, or the fact that people tend to get more headaches as they get older from a combination of factors? I see a similar phenomenon in doctors where if a person comes in on Suboxone-- and the doc knows nothing about Suboxone-- the doc is likely to blame anything he doesn't understand on the Suboxone. I have had patients sent home from ER's with fevers... 'from Suboxone'-- only to eventually find that they have the flu or in one case pneumonia-- without any connection to Suboxone.

I would want to see a person take the Suboxone at 8 AM, 10, noon, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 PM... and if the headaches occur 2 hours later in every case, you would have a good case for the Suboxone as a cause.

Another example to illustrate... I have a patient who gets urinary tract infections 'whenever she starts an antidepressant'. So she has tried many different antidepressants-- about 6 in the past year. She has also had about 6 UTI's-- sometimes a day after a new antidepressant, and sometimes a month after a new antidepressant. The problem? Many women get frequent UTI's-- and in this person's case, every single day of the year she is within a month or two of a 'new antidepressant'. So SHE is convinced... but I am not convinced that there is any connection between the two.

I am not aware of headaches being reported consistently from bupe, but if you look at any medication you will find a long list of 'side effects'-- many that occur in the 'placebo group'. It is hard to imagine a mechanism for headaches developing a year after starting a medication; there is no accumulation of buprenorphine over time once you get to the steady state level, so it is hard to imagine what 'time' would add the medication. Headaches, remember, don't come from the brain (the brain has no pain fibers in it), but rather from the muscles and from the blood vessels and other tissues in the meninges that cover the surface of the brain. Buprenorphine works at receptors deep in the brain and spinal cord, far from areas where pain can be generated (surgeries are conducted on the brain in wake patients for some conditions; once the skin and dura mater are numbed up, there is no sensation at all in the brain tissue itself). So the headaches-- or pressure feeling-- would come from the bupe somehow affecting muscle tone in the neck or scalp, or pressure in sinus cavities or stretching of blood vessels in the brain lining. Not impossible-- but hard to imagine the connection.

One last comment and I'll go to bed-- I often hear from addicts who were on opiates from age 16 to age 30, who then go on bupe, that 'life isn't fun anymore'. They make the mistake of comparing life as an adult (on bupe) to life at age 16, clean and sober-- or to life in between on opiates. I try to explain that the vast majority of people I see who are 30, who were never addicts, do not have 'fun' very often-- they are paying bills, going to work, struggling to figure out their kids' homework, trying to get along with coworkers, grieving over sick parents or grandparents... life is difficult. This is sort of a different topic, but sort of along the same line... they blame the buprenorphine for the loss of 'fun', when the only thing the bupe did was allow them to be normal. For the people with headaches-- always keep in mind that headache doctors have plenty of business; many people develop new headaches at some point in life. You MIGHT be just one of those people. This point is important because SOMETIMES I have seen people who are almost looking for a reason to 'get back out there again'. It didn't sound that way in any of the posts here-- but be aware that we all have an 'addict inside' whose job is to make us vulnerable to active addiction.

I DO recommend the experiment with dosing times; it doesn't rule out a 'placebo effect' but it helps to narrow things down in some cases. I also recommend dumping the naloxone, which has no positive effect at all, and certainly does seem to cause headaches in some people.

JJ


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:08 pm 
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It is not actually that it took a couple of years for headaches to start, but it took me a long time to figure out the connection. For a while I thought it was a tooth infection, but I got those taken care of, and it kept going. Then I thought it may have been dehydration, but it wasn't that either. After a while, I began to connect it to the Suboxone. And it they aren't "headaches" per se. Like Underworld said, it is like my head is in a vice grip.

Honestly, I have come to find two well-defined cycles with my body and how it reacts to Suboxone. The first is the one where I get the head pounding headaches. I will get constipated, my Suboxone won't have much effect and I get the head-pounding attacks about 2 hours after every dose like clock-work. Then, the constipation does away naturally, my Suboxone goes back to having an effect and the headaches completely go away. And it isn't a gradual change back and forth. Sometimes it will occur all at once overnight, and sometimes even during the middle of the day. Maybe this is just the "changing internal weather" that Chinese traditional medicine talks about. I have no idea. I take no other meds or supplements, and rarely even take cold medicine when I get sick, so I have no idea what it is.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:13 am 
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Suboxone seems to give me slight headaches at times, I have suffered them off and on as migraines my whole life, which initially led to my opiate dependence. Due to this, I am very sensitive to triggers and very systematic in my approach to suspecting a trigger.

But it's a strange sort of subtle headache i get from subs, and I find some excedrin migraine with caffeine alleviates it.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:03 pm 
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I have been on Subutex for years, maybe 5-7, I lost track. About four years ago I started getting real bad headaches about once a week. Then about two years ago they started coming every day. I tried and eliminated everything except Sub. Finally last month I had to stop the Sub because no matter how low I went, crumbs of an 8mg tablet, I would get a pounding headache about four hours later. It wasn't as bad as when I took 2mg+ but it was still unbearable. So I have been Sub free for about a month and no headaches at all. Of course now I have a different, awful, misery to deal with, Subutex withdrawals which is a slow journey through hell, but I don't have any headaches. Headaches seem to be a side effect of opiate use for some people. On one hand I am thankful I had a motivation to quit the Sub, but on the other hand I worry that I will be a vegetable for the rest of my life.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:47 pm 
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its the blocker i promise. let the sub dissolve in your mouth, under your tongue, then spit it out. the bupe will be absorbed under your tongue, no need to swallow ever... youre swallowing the blocker in it that gives headaches.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:59 pm 
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By blocker do you mean the Naltrexone? Which is in the Suboxone. I did start on Suboxone but after awhile the doctor let me switch to Subutex because I complained about feeling strange on the Suboxone but I had been using Subutex which doesn't have the Naltrexone in it for five or more years. I just think some people are either sensitive to headaches from opiates or over time my body just couldn't handle it anymore and I started to develop headaches. In the beginning I didn't get any headaches. But now even if I try sometime like Ultram/Tramadol I will get the same type of massive tension headache.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:17 pm 
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uriahsky wrote:
By blocker do you mean the Naltrexone? Which is in the Suboxone. I did start on Suboxone but after awhile the doctor let me switch to Subutex because I complained about feeling strange on the Suboxone but I had been using Subutex which doesn't have the Naltrexone in it for five or more years. I just think some people are either sensitive to headaches from opiates or over time my body just couldn't handle it anymore and I started to develop headaches. In the beginning I didn't get any headaches. But now even if I try sometime like Ultram/Tramadol I will get the same type of massive tension headache.


yeah i meant the naltrexone. from all opiates ive taken ive never had a headache ever except for suboxone. its was the worst headache of my life the day after i first started... was like a hangover from alcohol headache x100. so im placing my bet on the naltrexone was the cause for mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:34 pm 
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I personally think buprenorphine in general can cause headaches. I've seen the same reports from subutex users.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:58 pm 
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I would have tried to pursue some other opiate to see if it caused headaches or not, but I just don't think any doctor is going to prescribe any opiate for my situation other than something like Subutex or maybe Methadone, which I did try and is an awful drug. There are plenty of posts regarding people getting pounding headaches from all different kinds of opiates and with my luck I would probably be another one of them. I am still not out of the woods. It is only day 35 off of Sub and it has been awful in one way or another. Right now, no sleep at all. I have to give it three months but I really don't have a choice. It is either face this withdrawal or get massive headaches.


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 Post subject: Re: Pounding headaches
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:16 pm 
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FYI, there is no Naltrexone in Suboxone. It is Naloxone.

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