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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:34 am 
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The first time I got on Suboxone I lost over 25 pounds in 12 months. I looked like death. I ate extremely well and exercised each day. Then I went to rehab and stopped all opiates including the Suboxone. I got a year and a half clean then relapsed. During that year I gained all the weight back. Then I got back on suboxone after rehab and lost up to 30 pounds. I eat extremely well and stay active. I eat just as much as other people the same hight and build who weigh 150 pounds. It has effected my job, my energy level and my family. I now weigh 125 pounds at a height of 5-10. So I have tapered down the Suboxone to 400 mcg hopping to jump soon and be sub free for life. What if I have to get on an opiate replacement medication in the future? Are their other options that might cause less weight loss for people like myself? I have had dozens of tests done that mostly show nothing. In the past shorter acting full agonists have caused less weight loss. The thing is I much rather be on a long acting opiate.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:43 pm 
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Hi Simple6, Welcome! Unfortunately, I do not have the answers you are looking for. I am sure someone will respond soon who can address this topic. The only time I have had weight loss associated with opiates is during withdrawl. I have been on suboxone for almost two years and don't feel it has any effect on my weight. Please, stick around! I am sure you will get some helpful feedback!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:07 pm 
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Welcome simple. I don't know that the suboxone is the only factor causing your weight loss. I know getting off of it will cause you to gain weight I'm going through that now I've gained almost 15 pounds in 9 weeks, but when I was on suboxone I never lost weight I pretty much just stayed the same. Opiates reduce testosterone levels which can have a loss of appetite and muscle growth effect, but if you are eating normally then I don't see that as an issue. My suggestion would be if you haven't done already maybe see a doctor or nutritionist to see if there are any other possible causes.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:06 pm 
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Hello simple6,

I would try to decrease your suboxone dose and see if you can't regain your appetite with taking maybe half your dose. I noticed that when I was on 12mg of subs, I lost weight. NOT as much as you but maybe 5-10 lbs. however, when I got down to 2mg I felt like my old self and my appetite was normal.

If gaining weight is your goal. Maybe cut down on the exercise and eat more calories.

To be honest, people would love to have your problem of weight loss. But I know too much is not a good thing.

But seriously, try to reduce your dose a bit and see what happens.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:28 pm 
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The weight loss become such a bad problem that it started effecting my job and physical health so it's not somehow an added bonus as some people may believe. It got so bad I decided I had to get off. 125 pounds at a height of 5-10. Skinny and pale with dark circles under my eyes.

So over the last 18 months I have been tapering down. I have been at 300 mcg for the last week and before that I was at 0.5 mg for over a month. The weight loss has not gotten much better though it has stabilized. I do not look as pale and drugged up but I know my body needs to be completely free from opiates for it to stabilize.

I have visited multiple specialists and taken a number of blood tests. Two blood tests each year measuring TSH and other levels especially thyroid and liver functions. Nothing abnormal about the tests. co-workers at my job started asking what was going on and if i was on drugs. I told them I was on drugs prescribed to me by my doctor. With the help of my PCP we decided it had to be the bupe causing the problems. This is the second time this has happened from bupe though last time I got down to 115 pounds. I think I have learned my lesson regarding opiates and weight loss in relation to my body type.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:53 pm 
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I'm sorry that you are suffering!

We have several threads with members talking about how suboxone made them gain weight! But there are others like you who have the same problem. Keep your chin up!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:45 pm 
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Greetings and salutations to the sub community. I have been on sub for just over 5 months, and they ramped my dose up from an initial 24 mg back in Jan to 32 mg during that time. I've found that every time my dose increases, the wight decreases, and I'm already a slim built guy. I look skinnier than I did when I was strung out on meth years ago, almost 6 feet tall and just shy of 140 lbs. Went from a 32 to 27/28... Is there anything I can do, besides beginning my reduction schedule, which I will start next week, to help put on a little weight? Tips? Help!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:12 pm 
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Eat more.. Lol. I don't know 32mg is really high you'll probably get more of an appetite when you reduce it a lot, that's how it worked for me anyways.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:37 am 
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32mg is on the higher side. Suboxone is unique in the fact that it actually works better on lower doses. I started out at 16mg and dropped to 12mg then 8mg with pretty much no noticeable difference. Usually ppl don't start noticing any difference in doses until they go below 8mg, some even lower than that. There could be other reasons why ur losing weight too, it may not have anything to do with suboxone.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:15 pm 
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Hi Clive, Welcome! Yes, I agree with Jenn....less is more! I started at 24mgs and am now at 4mgs without any sign of withdrawl! I am a full figured woman and have been with or without suboxone! I don't see subs having any relationship with weight. I wish I had the issue of uncontrollable weight loss! I think sometimes people blame just about everything on suboxone. Which, can be serious if you are having symptoms of something more serious going on. Please, think about getting a physical just to make sure! Please let us know how you make out!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:48 pm 
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Michelle F. wrote:
Hi Clive, Welcome! Yes, I agree with Jenn....less is more! I started at 24mgs and am now at 4mgs without any sign of withdrawl! I am a full figured woman and have been with or without suboxone! I don't see subs having any relationship with weight. I wish I had the issue of uncontrollable weight loss! I think sometimes people blame just about everything on suboxone. Which, can be serious if you are having symptoms of something more serious going on. Please, think about getting a physical just to make sure! Please let us know how you make out!


Buprenorphine just like any other opiate has been associated with weight loss in some individuals. Weight loss as a side effect from opiates is relatively well known. Thus Dr. Jeffrey Junig has spoken on the matter up on the prescription-drug.addictionblog.org website. He states, Weight loss is common during active opioid dependence. Opioid intoxication often causes nausea and anorexia. Opioid withdrawal is almost always associated with loss of appetite and weight loss. Additionally, active opioid addiction causes weight loss, but is NOT a healthy way to stay thin!" He also concludes, "However, any effects of buprenorphine on weight gain/loss are consistent with the effects of all opioid pain pills." Long term use of opiates has been well studied in regards to their effects on thyroid and hormonal functions. Opiates have also been proven to slow peristalsis in the gut. The side effects on the GI track are enough to warrant weight loss problems in certain individuals.

I am well past the point of wondering if opiates cause weight loss as I have tested this side effect at least a dozen times. Really I am wondering if other people experience this and if they have found certain diet changes or medications that have been helpful. I attend a weekly suboxone group along with weekly UA's to test my bupe levels. Three other people in the group have complained of weight loss problems. The point at which I really knew the Suboxone was causing my weight loss was the second time I got on MAT. Within a few weeks my PCP starting commenting and ordering tests. When I stopped the sub the weight loss stopped and within 3 months from being sub free I had gained 15 pounds. Now here I am again years later on Sub with the same problem. Looking strung out and extremely thin is not some type of handy side effect unless you like sporting the methy kind of junkie vibe. Hay some people actually like looking that way. I don't.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:11 pm 
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I've been on buprenorphine since 2008 and can not gain any weight! I'm not losing weight but I can't gain even a pound. The reason I know it's the buprenorphine is because of being incarcerated. While locked up I definitely take in less calories But also work out heavy. Every time I've been locked up and forced off bupe I gain weight fast. Usually 10 pounds in about 3 weeks.
Now When I get outta jail and back on bupe I maintain the weight ive gained inside but am unable to gain more. Its frustrating.. I can't bulk up at all. I have a heavy protein diet at the moment but in the past I've tried diets very high in carbs and fat, to no avail.
All I can recommend is keep replenishing.. Calories, lots and lots of calories.. Low salt low sugar high fiber high protein.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:36 am 
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Buprenorphine is a partial opiate as we all know. Any side effect that regular opiates have, it's just as likely that buprenorphine can have those side effects too, nobody is trying to argue with u on that fact Simple. If suboxone is having side effects that in ur opinion is unbearable and not getting better not matter what u try, then u only have 2 options. Those options are either taper off & try something else (if there is a better way for u personally) or stay on it and endure the side effects. Suboxone isn't perfect for everyone, it can have some side effects. Some may not think it's worth dealing with those side effects, and others would be the opposite, feeling that they'd rather deal with em other than active addiction. So really it's up to the individual. Some don't have any of these side effects. Personally I was a lot thinner during active addiction than I am since being on suboxone, so it didn't have that effect on me and until I came to this forum, I'd never heard of the weight loss side effect. I go to a suboxone clinic and have attended sub based meetings for 4 yrs and had never heard of sub causing weight loss until coming to this forum. I remember when I was on 16mg, I'd fall asleep all the time. I had a hard time even sitting down in front of the tv for 5 min. So when I tapered down to 8mg, that went away. All ya can do is keep trying different things hoping something may get better.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:22 am 
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I just thought I would give an update on my current situation. I tapered down to about 400 mcg over 18 months. I stayed at that dose for a few weeks. I also obtained more blood tests. These tested TSH levels other thyroid functions, liver function, blood sugar level tests and a test that shows how my body is metabolizing fat. All totally normal.

I have been getting two blood tests each year that measure a number of things. When I was on the higher doses of Suboxone my liver levels were slightly elevated. After tapering to a really low dose they came down to normal. I have a healthy liver no hep and was never a drinker or an IV drug user. Nor did I ever overuse tylenol.

I stopped the Sub at 0.4 mg and it took 4-5 days before I noticed any major WD symptoms. When the WD's did start they were intense and reminded me of DC'ing methadone. I did not sleep for at least two weeks and when I finally did it was in 30 minute bursts. Cold sweating, sneezing in the middle of the night, yawning, runny nose, aching, gooseflesh, dilated pupils and RLS. It felt vaguely similar to when I stopped Suboxone at 5 mg. I believe low doses can produce intense WD's partly due to fact that bupe has a celling effect and bell shaped dosage curve. I used a number of comfort meds and moderate doses of immodium

What also started happening was my appetite nearly doubled. This is normal for me in WD. I would have to get up 2-3 times during the night to eat a snack because I felt so hungry. Instead of eating 3 times each day with snacks I started eating an extra meal in the morning that usually consists of bacon and 3 eggs. I also started gaining a small amount of weight. Hopefully I can put 17 years of opiate addiction behind me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:33 am 
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Another thing I would like to add. I attend a Suboxone group each week. In my group there are about 7 clients. One of the other clients looks slightly similar to how I look. He has been on the sub program now for about 6 months with weekly UA's. These UA's are many time sent in to do further tests of the norbupe levels.

This individual looks a little bit better then when he was on IV black tar but he has not gained a single pound. His face is sunken in, pale, skinny with a jaw line that could cut butter. His eyes are also sunken in and dark. His arms look so skinny like someone who is using meth. He has complained that he can't gain any weight. He also says it has been hard to get a job because people think he is still using. Thankfully he is on the program instead of on the streets.

I believe suboxone is a bit of a newer drug. With time just like methadone the full long term side effects will become more well known and accepted. Also with time and knowledge clinicians will be able to better attend to such problems. Especially when it is affecting someones quality of life.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:18 pm 
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If someone's quality of life is being negatively effected by suboxone then why not try a different treatment option. I mean, can u really say that not being able to gain weight on suboxone, and when using having the same issues with not gaining weight, that it's effecting the quality of life worse than when in active addiction? I know ur not exactly saying that but isn't suboxone, regardless of it's causing some physical side effects as some other opiates, better than the alternative of using? And if it isn't better in their opinion, then can't these ppl it's effecting that way just find a different recovery plan and stop suboxone? These are the questions that go through my mind when someone is complaining about side effects. Don't get me wrong I'm not downplaying the seriousness of not being able to gain weight because I'm sure it's not good at all, but if it effects certain ppl that way and they can't take it, then maybe this medicine isn't for those ppl. It's not a common side effect, I've never met anyone who's had that effect in 4 1/2 yrs and suboxone meetings every week, every two weeks and every month. I've literally seen hundreds of ppl come and go through those yrs and not 1 person ever complained with this side effect. So imo it isn't that common of a side effect, I believe u that it does happen, I'm not saying I don't believe u at all. I'm just saying, no one forced ppl on suboxone, it is a choice. Just like if u were prescribed an antidepressant and it didn't work well with ur body then isn't it pretty routine that u try a different approach or medication? There's always going to be ppl that just don't do well with certain medications that others are perfectly ok on. So u either continue or discontinue. When I first started treatment, even if my Dr had said "this medicine could possibly cause u to not be able to gain weight" I'd have done it anyway without hesitation. That's how desperate I was to stop using and I think some ppl forget that after time.

I don't want to sound like a butt head here at all so please don't think I am. Sometimes I get so frustrated with something always being wrong with this medicine. Instead of recognizing how positively it's changed lives, I feel like it's always got a complaint in one way or another....and eventually it gets to me a little bit. I know u have tapered off and stopped, so u did what I'm talking about...u had side effects and u were ready to come off and u did. I respect that. I guess that "better quality of life" statement got to me a little bit.

Good luck man, I'm sorry I went on and on lol.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Jenn you are starting to sound like a butt head. Your replies have begun to not be as helpful or supportive. You also sound adamant about defending suboxone and believing some side effects including weight loss are rare. You have given me some brief feedback on what could lessen the weight loss problems including tapering my dose. If you have no more ideas regarding this specific subject than I find I am not benefitting from your other remarks. The DR who started this forum would throughly disagree with you. You can read about his take on the matter here. http://prescription-drug.addictionblog. ... n-or-loss/\

You can also easily do a google search and find hundreds of reports regarding weight loss related to opiate dependency. If you have never met someone who suffers from this side effect due to opiates maybe you may benefit from researching the matter on the internet. Especially given your interest in medication assisted treatment.

Well now at least three people in this thread have informed you that buprenorphine either causes weight loss or prevents weight gain. My neighbor who is part of my support system and has successfully tapered off bupe and stayed clean gained 30 pounds from getting of the sub. Thankfully for him he was not a skinny person to begin with.

As well this is the side effect section. It's for people to talk about their experience with side effects and get some feedback. Hopefully this feedback could include things to lessen potential side effects while maintaining on Suboxone. This information needs to be documented. In the link I provided you can scroll down to the comment section. In it you will find dozens of reports involving weight loss likely due to suboxone.

Lastly you can search the suboxone forum and find probably dozens of individual threads with people talking about this issue. Here are two to start with.
severe-weight-loss-t9702.html
weight-loss-t75.html
It's nice to know I am not alone on this matter after reading through these two threads. In one of the above threads there are over 7 individual posters all discussing instances of weight loss due to suboxone.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:20 pm 
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For what its worth, just using the 3 links provided, its interesting to me that it looks gender based toward males losing weight.
Males: 24 lost 1 gained
Females: 5 lost 4 gained
Uncertain gender: 4 lost 5 gained
Gained and lost: 6 posters reported both loss followed by gains

I'm guessing you are male, if so were your T levels checked?
For completeness sake. I'm including a March 2016 link from the FDA on rare lesser know opioid side effects.
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm489676.htm bc there is one on adrenal insufficiency that may be of interest, altho my understanding is that you'd likely have the other symptoms listed as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:34 pm 
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S6,
Edit: I reread your posts. The adrenal insufficiency refers to appetite loss whereas I see you have a good appetite. I'll leave the FDA link as it may be of interest to others.

Like jennjenn, I've responded to other posters in the side effect section when I was struck by a comment that seemed unusual and challenged that poster. The wonderful experience in this forum is that sincere comments are welcomed. They may be challenged, but this is part of keeping the discussion on bup from changing into a negative one like what exists on other forums. For me, bup was a life changer. I got my life back on it and am now off 5 yrs. I wish that you could have a good experience on it as well but given all your attempts including maxing caloric intake and reducing caloric use, I'm stumped w any add'l ideas and am sorry that it has not worked for you.

Your original question - were there any other alternatives given you prefer to be on a long term opiate. In your later post you mentioned DCing methadone - is that no longer an option if you need help in the future? Idk of any other MAT. Wishing you my best, P

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:29 pm 
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U know what Simple, if u go bk and read my post, I said I believe u that it could be a side effect so try not to confuse what my post was about. I specifically said that what bothered me about what u said was the comment "having a better quality of life". And yes, I do defend suboxone, bottom line. Everything I said, I still stand by it, u don't have to agree with me just like I don't have to agree with u.

I still 100% think if someone isn't getting a good quality of life on suboxone, then try something different. And I wasn't insulting in my post and even said I respect how ur journey went. Right now I'm trying pretty hard to be as polite as possible.

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