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 Post subject: My story...
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:52 pm 
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In a nutshell, I was introduced to opiates two years ago after having major leg surgery following a tragic fall. I was put on Percocet before surgery and then Oxycodone after surgery, and for ten weeks I felt like I was in heaven. Being in the healthcare field, I had many physician colleagues that were more than willing to keep writing me scripts. After my surgery, I weaned off oxycodone and switched to vicodin. Three months later I switched to Norco 10/325. I was taking anywhere from 15-25 norco a day. I got freaked out because of all the acetaminophen I was consuming, so I decided to add oxycodone back onto my regimen. After about 11 months of being on these pills, I peaked at taking 300mg oxycodone plus 200mg hydrocodone per day. The pills started to affect my job and personal life, so I decided enough was enough. I checked myself into a rehab, and since I'm a physician, I had to spend a minimum of 90 days in residential treatment (wish I never mentioned I was a doc). The place I was at was 12 step based and I really liked the idea. After being discharged, I really made an effort to get involved within the recovery community, working with a sponsor, going to meetings. I wasn't working at this time and I started to lose focus on my recovery, getting very lax with it. I hadn't relapsed, but my fiance noticed I wasn't taking my recovery seriously, and because of this, she left me. Two months later, after losing my job, my fiance, and pretty much all hope of getting my life back together, I relapsed after I found a bottle of vic at a buddy's house. For 12 weeks, I couldn't stop. I got back on the Norco and this time I was popping anywhere from 40-60 pills a day. I finally checked myself into a detox facility close to home and stayed there for 10 days. This was where I was introduced to Suboxone. After waiting 24hrs from my last dose of Norco, I was loaded with 32mg on the 2nd day of my stay there. Over the course of 8 days, I was tapered from 32 to 24 to 16, 12, 8, 4, to eventually 2mg. I was asymptomatic the whole time while I was there except for some mild anxiety. I was shocked at how well the Suboxone worked to control my w/d sx's from the Norco's. The rehab I went to last year used tramadol and phenobarb for opiate detox, and it wasn't nearly as effective as the Suboxone was. My goal after leaving the detox facility was to be on NOTHING, no Suboxone. But my Dr. there was trying to convince me to be on it for maintenance. Problem is, most states won't give you a medical license if on it. My Dr. at the detox facility ended up giving me 12 2mg tabs and told me to see him in 10 days, and then we would decide if I was going to be on them or not. When I got home, I had no intention of using any of them. But when I woke up the next day, I was feeling some mild w/d sx's, so I popped a 2mg tab and instantly I was pain free for 24 hrs. I'm in a dilemma right now and don't know if I should just stop taking them now or wait until I see my doc again. For those of you that have been on Suboxone for a short period of time, like two weeks or less, did you suffer major w/d symptoms while coming off it? Four people at the detox place I was at were also on Suboxone for heroin and oxy use, and after their taper, they didn't have any withdrawal symptoms from the suboxone. I saw it with my own eyes. Any thoughts, any input? Thanks guys.


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 Post subject: my input
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:37 am 
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hello!

Thanks for sharing your story... I too am in the health care field, just slightly different, I am in the mental health field, a family therapist. I was on suboxone for 18 days and then stopped at 1 mg. truthfully, it was a relatively mild transition. about 5-7 days of feeling off, achy, not comfortable in my own skin, but not terrible at all. Ambien helped at night, amino acids helped alot during the day... maybe this is the clinical side of me coming out to you, but whatever you do, make sure you are honest with yourself. we all know how sneaky addiction is, how we will tell ourselves anything and rationalize it somehow... your habit was sizeable, and the cravings will be there for awhile. what kind of physician are you? is your addiction well known in your community, with your friends? access to drugs is almost a surefire relapse, despite what you tell yourself. you very well may need to make a choice about career, or get politically involved to change the laws which would revise a doctor being able to be on suboxone and maintain his license. if you want to send me a personal email to discuss further, I am happy to walk you through it.. btw, i have been off the suboxone for about 3 months and doing great. i am a brutally honest person with myself, and have alot to lose, and I refuse to lose it. I am also int he helping field and will offer whatever I can...

Best!
mwflorida


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Thanks for the kind reply. It's nice to hear that you were able to taper off Suboxone in a short period of time and are feeling quite well now. Fantastic news, at least for me. My biggest fear is being on Suboxone for maintenance (say 2-6 months) and then tapering, then stopping, then feeling nothing but dysphoria for who knows how long. I can't stop thinking about this, whether to stay on it, or get off it ASAP. It's been exactly two weeks now since I started and I detoxed from Norco with Suboxone starting at 32 to 2mg in 8 days, stayed at 2mg for 4 days, saw another psychiatrist, and now i'm on 16mg qD for the next two weeks. It definitely is a double edged sword. Because I feel fine and normal when I'm on it. But then what again is normal? A setting on a washing machine?

In regards to your other q, I'm a former gas man, anesthesiology. I say former because I resigned and decided to switch fields, pursuing neurology now. But it sucks because I have to start over from square one. I basically had the keys to the candy store and, like many of my colleagues, could have easily ended up in the call room, lying on the ground, dead, with IV tubing and vials of fentanyl on the floor. I was on that very road and wouldn't have been long before it was me. I usually don't think about this, but because you asked me about my profession etc I started thinking about it again, and thank you for that, honestly. Keeps me in check to count my blessings every day. And may God bless us all.


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 Post subject: Me too Doc
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:10 pm 
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Hello Doctor and thank you for sharing. I myself used to be a Paramedic. I got hit by a car on a scene in 2003 with resulting fx to 6 ribs and right side hemothorax. I was in the hospital with a chest tube in place for about 2 weeks. The whole time there it was the usual MS every 3-5 hours. After I got out of the hospital I was placed on Norco 5/325. Well, you can geuss the rest as it is quite similar to your story. I would stop taking them, bend just wrong while lifting or loading a patient and bam, back to the doc, back to pain mngmt. Finally a few years ago, I was introduced to the 'wonderful' world of script doctors, that is doctors who were willing to write scripts for Norco 10.325 all day long as long as you were willing to pay. After a few months I was going to two different ones, then three, then four, etc. I finally ended up being to the point of taking 20-40 norco per day. Then I got busted. I got stopped by a suspicious cop for running a red light. I gave consent for a search of my car and he found my stash (at this point I was hiding them from my wife) of over 200 norco. The case was dismissed after I was able to provide a valid prescription (I could have told them, take yer pick, i've got about 6 right now lol). However, word got back to my supervisor and while I was not fired I was given an ultimatum. I was allowed to continue working for 90 days, put my affairs in order and then out the door with a small severance pay. And of course, the grape vine carries fast amongst health care workers so good luck finding anybody else in town who would hire me. So, loss of career and a long separation from my wife and son, loss of family. I finally checked into a rehab for 30 days, detoxed, was doing wonderful, went home and tried to start over again. That was a year ago. Back in April I reinjured myself in a mva. Geuss what they gave me at the ER? Morphine, again with a take home script for 40 norco 10/325. At the time, I almost spoke up and said no thanks, but then I figured, well, I AM in pain and as long as I just take them untill I no longer need them I will be allright.....A few weeks later, back to the script docs. Last week, after my wife gave me the boot I decided it was time to quit again. Went cold turkey with horrible results. I slept maybe 2-3 hours a night, bloody stools, the whole bit. It was withdrawls but MEGA w/d, much worse than the last time. Last time, going cold turkey by day 7 I was feeling great, coming back to life. This time, today was day eight and I am still passing blood and feel almost as bad as I did on day 3 (the suppsed peak). My wife came over and was horrified at what she saw. We talked about it and decided that perhaps it would be best if I get back on them and start weaning myself off. So back to the script doc. I am staying at moms untill we get this straightened out and she left me 30 norco saying she would give me another 30 in 2 weeks. Fair enough, I took 1/2 norco earlier and I feel fine now. No shakes, chills, cramps, etc. However, I am very much afraid this is not going to work so am looking into finding a Physician who treats with suboxone. How does it seem to you? A good idea? Something else doc, 'physician, HEAL THYSELF.' What I mean by that is once you are stable again and back in recovery don't forget that you may be in store for or still have great pain. Instead of popping a few vics, seek out other alternative treatments. I am thinking (for myself, I don't know your specific situation and can't comment) of massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc. Costs a bit, but so do 700 norco tablets per month, the lesser of two evils I would say. On top of that, consider this. If you fall back on the junk and are ever involved in a serious accident, gsw, etc. and you get the hospital and REALLY truly do need a dose of MS it won't do you a damn bit of good. However, stay clean, and if something along those lines happens then the MS will be therapeutic. And of course I am talking about extreme unmanagable pain here, not a twisted ankle or a boo boo. Good luck to you doctor, will let you know how it goes for me.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:41 pm 
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I'm not sure I am using this forum correctly or not but I realy want to post a short story that I hope will be encouraging to most. I had been on an 8mg a day dose of Subutex for nearly a year after withdrawing from a morphine habit that varied wildly in the amount and frequency of useage. I was very happy with the Subutex. In fact on it I felt better than I ever had in my life and I am 59 years old. The problem is that I am unemployed and I was concerned about the day that I might no longer be able to afford the $400 a month I pay for my monthly medical appointment and RX cost without insurance. So at first I thought about tapering down but what happened is that my doctor fell ill with the flu (I love this doctor by the way - best I have ever had). He asked me if I had enough meds to last me until he was well and I lied and said I did. So I just decided to stop to see how bad it would be. First though, after I stopped I used morphine for a couple of days and then 5mg oxycodone every 6 hours for 2 days then I just stopped. That was a month ago and I have never had a withdrawal symptom of any kind other than a mild runny nose the first week and some very strange drifting off to sleep morphine daydreams about events of the day that never occurred. After the first week there was not one thing to suggest that I had ever been hooked on anything. Then I thought since I was IM'ing the morphine sulfate that maybe it had built up in the fat layer of my body (what little there is) and it would take much longer than a month to get it out of my system. But I don't really think that's it. Nor do I think it is something odd about my "system" either because years ago I detoxed myself off of opium and I went through a week of living hell almost as bad as they depict it in the 1950s movies. My feeling is that by jumping cold turkey off of the Subutex and then briefly on to the morphine sulfate and then on to the oxycodone for 2 days, three totally different types of opiods, that I somehow tricked my brain into thinking that there has never been a physical dependency at all. Anyone have any comments or similar experiences? This is really weird and unfortunately it has sent me the message that well what the hell, why worry in the future. In reality I do worry about the future because I feel that all of my life I have been serotonin deficient or whatever other "brain chemicals" deficient and that sooner or later I am going to feel compelled to return to opiods for the comfort and peace of mind unknown in my entire life before opiod use. I wanted to get this to Dr. Junig as well for his take on it but again I couldn't figure out how to contact him so if anyone could forward it to him for me I would sure appreciate it.
Denny


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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