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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:28 am 
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This is actually my first time posting here. I have been visiting this site for a long time, reading people's stories and finding faith that I will finally be able to not be held back by my addiction anymore. I was on vicodin for about 3 years, started with a on going back problem which I still have. When I finally sought help I was taking about 10-12 10mg loratabs a day. I Tried to wean off but since I run my families company I couldn't do it without all my employees noticing so I decided to try suboxone. I have been on it for 13 months now, 16mg p/day, and it has really allowed me to live a healthier life. I have a great doctor who sees me once a month and actually takes time to talk even though he has over 300 suboxone patients and are always very busy.
My company requires a lot of travel. I travel at least twice a month for 1-2 weeks at a time, this usually requires me to make my suboxone appointments at random days, never on exactly 30 days after the last. My doctor understands that just because we are addicts doesn't mean that we can't hold jobs that require a lot from us, so he has never had a problem seeing me early.
About two months ago I had to go to Trinidad and when I got there they stopped me at customs and questioned my suboxones, they didn't know what they were but they let me go anyways. I had my doctor write a note saying what they are and why I take them along with the amount prescribed in case it ever happened again. The next trip I went on was to Singapore. My plane left on the 24th and I was supposed to run out of suboxone on the 29th so my doctor wrote me a refill so I could pick it up before I left. I had to work it out with my insurance but that wasn't a problem. I dropped the refill off on the 23rd and picked it up on the way to the airport the next morning. At the airport I threw it all into my briefcase because I didn't want to leave it in my truck. I was already cutting the time close so I decided not to go home and drop it off, I had a total of 35 days supply on me. The flight went well, 25 hours. Arrived in Singapore at 1:30am and had to meet my customer at my hotel at 7:00am. When I went through customs I picked the "nothing to declare" line since I didn't think I had anything worth declaring, just clothes, computer, tools and medicine. The x-ray machine picked up on my dip (Skoal) in my briefcase and I was pulled to the side, I had no idea that it was illegal there. They pretty much dumped my bag out and went through everything. When they saw the suboxone they didn't do anything at first until one of the agents saw where it says buprenorphine on the box (film). Turns out that is a very controlled substance there and even though I searched all over the Internet for information on bringing it I was supposed to have a form filled out with all the information on it and sent in to their agency like the DEA to have it approved to bring into the country 10 days before entering, the letter from the doctor wasn't sufficient. I ended up spending about 2 hours in there and they finally decided to let me enter with only the amount needed while I was there. As they had my travel itinerary they checked with the hotel and verified I was in the country for 15 days and let me go with 1 full box (30x8mg's), the rest was confiscated. The rest of my trip went well, customers happy but asked that I come back after they are further along in the project.
I am now home and luckily I had some extra suboxones from when I refilled a few days early in the past, I have 3 left to be exact. I'm not due for my next refill until the 29th so I have been taking half my dose for the past two days. I am planning on calling the doctor later this week to try and make an appointment to have the paperwork filled out for my next trip as it will be in two weeks from today and it must be turned in 10 days before entering. I want to see if they would give me another early refill or just a few to hold me over until the 29th but they already give me the junkie look every time I go in. The doctor is nice it's just the nurses. I know they like their patients to come in a day or two before they are out but between work and spending time with my family it's not always possible. I feel they have be lenient with me and I hate to push it again. Sometimes I don't think I can make it through the one year I have left on his plan due to this but I dont like my other options. I am sure he has heard every excuse in the book but I just don't want to be kicked out or labeled.
So there's my rant. I am also wondering if I am on way too much. From what I have read it sounds like it. His plan is for me to go 2 years on 16mgs/day and the last month I will take a lot and go cold turkey. I assume this has to do with the half life. Makes sense that if you take a lot and stop you would be automatically tapering down and a decent rate. Has anyone heard of this routine?

Thanks for your time and all your posts, this site is better then the robots at Here 2 Help.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:24 am 
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Hi Texas281 - Welcome to the forum,

I have to say that I am impressed with how calm you sound after dealing with all of that hassle! The whole situation just sounds like a royal pain in the arse.

I can understand why you are wary of asking your doctor to refill your Suboxone early. Obviously you know him and I don't, but I don't see what would be the harm in at least explaining to him what happened and what your situation is; then he could decide whether to give you an early refill or not. Unless you think that he would be suspicious of you or something. Do you have any kind of paperwork to document that they took your medication away at customs?

It seems like you are going to have to talk to him about your situation one way or another, especially if you're going to keep traveling for work. Plus, if you run out of medication early, it's very likely that you will go into withdrawals. At 16mgs a day most people can go 2 or 3 days before they get really sick, but after that you're going to feel it (unless you are just one of those really lucky people who can cold-turkey off 16mgs of Sub with little problem). I really hope that you can work it out with him. All you can really do is be honest and see what happens I guess.

As for whether 16mgs is too high of a dose, it's hard to say. Ideally you want to take the lowest dose that keeps you out of withdrawal and keeps the craving to use at bay. That dose varies from person to person, but in my opinion 16mgs is on the high side for someone who's been on Sub for over a year and is doing well. Of course, if you're using it for pain control, that's another story.

For many people, the "ceiling level dose" is around 4mgs, meaning that 4mgs is the lowest dose that will keep you out of withdrawal and block cravings and maintain a stable enough blood level of medication that you can dose once a day. Many people on the forum have tapered down from 16mgs (or even higher) to 4mgs with little or no withdrawal symptoms and report that they feel just as stable at 4mgs as at a higher dose. Some even feel better because ceratin side-effects resolve at a lower dose: fatigue, constipation, etc. But like I said, everyone is different. Some folks need 6 or 8mgs while others can get by with 2mgs.

The only way to find out is to decrease your dose and see how you feel. You might not want to cut right down to 4mgs if you don't have too - that's a big drop. How are you feeling at 8mgs a day? If you're doing well at 8mgs, you can probably drop down to 4mgs in a span of a month or so. You just don't want to decrease so quickly that you end up with a bunch of withdrawal symptoms - that's not fun.

I'm interested in your doctor's plan for discontinuing your Sub treatment. It's quite unusual. Has he had many patients get off of Suboxone successfully with this method? I can only think of one other person who tried something similar - she boosted her dose up to 32mgs a day for the last week or so and then quit cold turkey. Her story was posted here, but she removed it. She ended up going back on Sub and she's still around. If you send her a PM she might give you her opinion. Her user name is Shelwoy.

There are other folks around the forum who went cold-tureky off Sub at high doses, some of them more successfully than others. Romeo is one, though he stopped at a lower dose than 16, Jamez went CT off of 8mgs, jackcrack CT'd off of 16mgs (I think), and lillyval quit from a relatively high dose also. I'm sure there are others but those are the ones I can remember right now. All of them went through some pretty tough withdrawals and PAWS. You can search the forum for their experiences or PM them.

Most of the people around here who have stopped Sub have tapered down to really low doses. The long, slow taper seems to be the best chance of quitting and avoiding intense withdrawals and PAWS. In the Stopping Suboxone section of the forum you can find quite a few tapering stories that are pretty detailed.

Best of luck & let us know how things work out for you. There are lots of wonderful people here - I hope you are able to find useful information and support. See you around the forum!

Obligatory Disclaimer - I am not a doctor or any kind of medical professional, anything I state is just my opinion, based on personal experience and stuff I've read here and other places. Please consult your doctor before changing your dose or discontinuing your medication. Thanks!

_________________
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

-Jack Kornfield


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:49 pm 
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It's really lucky they let you in. I know a guy who went there who was forced to detox in his hotel room by himself, which screwed up his itinerary completely.

Singapore are very against the idea of drug replacement to treat addiction. Singapore is one of those countries which I would recommend contacting their embassy and getting the complete lowdown. Same as Emirates, Thailand, China etc. A lot of drugs used to go through Singapore as it's a transit hub, and they reacted by going complete zero tolerance, lock up all addicts style.


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