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what do I tell the Endocrinologist?
Poll ended at Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:48 am
Tell him EVERYTHING 80%  80%  [ 4 ]
Tell him about the history with pills only 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Tell him about neither of the two 20%  20%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 5
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:48 am 
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First of all I want to say hello and introduce myself. I've never posted in this forum but I read the messages in here all the time. I want to thank everyone who contributes to this forum as I have found it extremely helpful on so many occasions.

I don't want to bore anyone with all the details of my addiction because that is not the meaning of my topic. Basically I was hooked on Vicodin/norco for 6-7 years. Probably around 200mg/day for several years. I told someone about my addiction (only a couple of my close friends knew about it) and he said he went through the same thing many years ago. He told me he knew someone who had suboxone and he got me a strip to try one day when I was going through some tremendously painful withdrawals. I took the strip in my car on the way home from work and 30 minutes later I felt better than I had felt for many years. I just couldn't believe the immediate relief of my withdrawal symptoms. Long story short, I found a suboxone doc and talked to my health insurance company about their substance abuse program. A week or two later I had a prescription for 8/2mg a day and felt like a million bucks.

A month later I got my daily dosage increased to 16mg/day because 8mg didn't seem to be lasting through the day. Thinking back, I think this was my first mistake with the Subs. I have been taking 8mg in the morning and 8mg in the evening for a little over six months. Everything seemed to be going great...my life was getting to be back in order and I finally felt like I was really going to beat my addiction. For the past few months I have been noticing a change in how I felt. After losing about 10 strips one day (still no idea how I lost them or whether they were stolen) I ran out early before my next visit to the sub doc. Three or four days days went by with no subs and I felt HORRIBLE. just like I did when running out of pills back in the day. Not quite as bad, but very close. My worse withdrawal symptoms were always insomnia/restlessness and these horrible headaches that are hard to describe. The headaches aren't like any headache I had ever had in the past. To me they are my "Vicodin headaches". Anyway, i finally got through the days of no subs and got my new script. I realized then how addictive these subs were and I started getting very concerned. I thought to myself that this addiction was never going to end.

So now I'm still taking 16mg/day. I've been taking them for about 8 months or so. For the past few months I've been getting my "Vicodin headaches" every single day. There is no rhyme or reason as to when the headaches start or stop. Sometimes the subs help with the headaches and sometimes they make it worse. I can't stand the headaches anymore. They are sucking the life out of me. Throughout my years on pills, and still to this day, I have almost no energy, no zest for life, no mojo anymore. I don't feel like a man anymore. I started to have ED issues and I finally went to my primary physician and explained about my ED. He doesn't know about the problems with the pills or that I am on Subs. I also explained to him that I just don't feel "right" anymore and that I am constantly in pain of some kind. He ordered a bunch of blood work and after getting the results it was discovered that I had very low testosterone (127 ng/dl) and high cholesterol. He didn't seem too concerned about either. Low testosterone? I had seen the Low T commercials before, but I didn't know the first thing about testosterone except that bodybuilders use it. I am almost 40 years old, overweight (230lbs), I eat like crap, don't take good care of my body, but I'm still pretty athletic. I always thought the pills or the subs were the cause of the ED problems I had every once in a while. Could it really be the Low T??

I am a professional scientist. A geologist by trade. I have a scientific mind and am a curious person. I started researching Low T and discovered that my T levels were, in fact, really low! After three weeks of nonstop research of scientific journals, websites, scientific studies, various forums, etc I discovered in a nutshell that opiates can have a significant impact on the endocrine system. Hormonal imbalances cause a long list of potential symptoms it seems. It turns out that over the past 6-7 years I have likely been feeling the effects of Low T, as well as all the other issues that go along with being an opiate junkie. I can honestly say that I experience almost every documented hormonal imbalance/Low T symptom listed on all these medical studies on a daily basis.

Did I ruin my endocrine system with the pills? Are the subs ruining my endocrine system? Is it a combination of both? Are they ruined permanently? Will I ever feel like a man again? Will I ever get off the subs? These are the questions I've been asking myself lately. I've read countless studies and testimonials about how testosterone replacement therapy TRT can magically cure all of these symptoms I've been experiencing for years. It's worth a try right? Based on my T levels I don't think I would have any trouble getting an endocrinologist to prescribe me some testosterone. I asked my primary physician to refer me to an endocrinologist and he said he would. I call the Endo, and they don't have any appointments available for over two months from now. I waited much too long to start this process, but I had no idea it was likely testosterone. My symptoms are out of control right now. The headaches are unbearable, I'm losing hair, I have zero energy, I can't focus or concentrate at work, I have ED, I have a rash on my face that looks like this rash associated with dandruff (another side effect of hormone imbalances), I'm depressed, I can't motivate myself to move. I need some relief!! But I have to wait months. I bet when I see the Endo, he is just going to order more blood work and make me wait months before even considering a script for Testosterone. I'm convinced that the Testosterone is going to solve a great deal of my problems.

Here's my dilemma...do I tell the Endocrinologist about the subs? I don't really have a problem telling him about the years of opiate abuse, but I'm afraid that if I tell him about the subs he is just going to tell me to get off them and my T will bounce back or something and NOT put me on a TRT program. Nobody seems to know a damn thing about the subs and their effects on T levels. I really want to try the TRT!! There are just so many stories of how great guys feel after starting TRT. My plan is to get on TRT, start a new healthy life, lose weight, get more active, look and feel good again, and finally get off these subs that seem to be eating away at my soul. Don't get me wrong, the subs saved me from the pills, but now I am a slave to the subs. I feel like I am falling apart quickly. What does everyone think? How should I handle the Endocrinologist issue? What is causing these horrible headaches? Is there any end in site to this vicious cycle? I honestly believe that the TRT may be the solution, but I don't want to ruin my chances of getting on one of these programs by telling a doc that I'm taking Suboxone. Can anyone think of a faster way to get in to see the Endo doc? I've already begged to get in sooner and put me on a cancellation list.

I'd love to hear some responses and any similar stories out there. Like I said earlier, I have found this forum very helpful. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of good advice and good information. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.

Thank you all in advance!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:50 am 
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I forgot to ask that if anyone out there has had these headaches and found some sort of relief, I would love to hear what you did to get through them!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:27 am 
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Welcome lefty!
I have read a few reports here of men experiencing low T, hopefully they will see this and share their experience.
You mentioned that you eat poorly and I relate to that. I have minimal energy and motivation if my day is made up of chocolate and more chocolate. I have started to introduce fruit and veg in the form of ninja juices and noticed substantial changes in stamina.
It might be worth investigating how much of how you feel is related to your food intake.
As for the endo, I would think he has no place to encourage you to stop subs.
Take care


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:44 am 
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Yes definitely tell your endocrinologist everything. If you see him and don't disclose your history and present situation of opioid use, you're leaving out the likely major influencing factor behind your low-T. Opioid Induced Endocrinopathy they call it. And despite the jury still being out on whether buprenorphine causes it, the number of men who come on this forum who claim to suffer these issues speaks volumes in my opinion.

I'll just detail you my experience. Back when I was taking 6mg in the morning, 6mg in the evening (total of 12mg daily though I trust you can do the math), I came to suffer from low testosterone. Mind you, it took one or two years on that dose to start to suffer the symptoms of low-testosterone. Those symptoms were severe depression, no libido, no "mojo", no up'n'go. I felt like a drip, and I hardly went out and socialised. My testosterone levels were tested (I think I had 2 or 3 tests), and they were all conclusively low. Mind you I was in such a state that I ended up getting back on heroin, ended up fucking up my life completely and landed back in an abstinence-based rehab which reduced me off Suboxone. I then had 18 month clean off Suboxone, off all drugs. It took about 3 months clean for my mojo to return after I got off the Suboxone and the heroin, and I had a good 18 months of pretty solid libido, muscle gains at the gym etc. So if you're at all stressed, just know that the body DOES bounce back from this stuff. Gym especially helps.

Now unfortunately I experienced another relapse at 18 months clean, and am now back on Suboxone. Mind you this time around I'm approaching it differently. I'm on 5mg a day, dosing ONCE only in the morning. Even though I wake up with mild withdrawals every morning, I feel this gives my endocrine system a break enough from the buprenorphine to prevent me from experiencing the same endocrine issues again. My libido is still solid, and I'm swimming 3km's every 2-3 days and have a solid build again. Mojo is there.

Based on what I've been through, I'd suggest reducing your dose and seeing if you notice any benefits libido and hormone wise. 16mg is a larger than average dose and I'm not surprised you're experiencing endocrine issues on it. I'd even go so far as completely cutting out your evening dose. Believe it or not, you may discover that you don't actually need it. You may experience a few days of mild discomfort, but in my experience the need for split-dosing is largely psychological. Put up with the aches and yuckness in the evening for a few days or a week or so and give your hormones a chance to regenerate.

Also, going to the gym can help kickstart your body back into producing T. I remember my sexual desire only returned when I started pumping iron. But once it came back, it was there to stay, even when I stopped working out.

Good luck man and let us know how you go with your doctor, and what course of action you choose.

I forgot to ask. Are you on any other medications?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:00 am 
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Thanks Tee Jay. Very insightful. I think you are right about the two doses a day being physcological. When I was popping pills I did the same thing. An onslaught of pills in the morning and more in the evening. I could never sleep well without something in my system in the evening hours close to bedtime.

I keep telling myself to start working out again, but j can't seem to find the drive and motivation to pick myself off the couch and actually do it. I thought that the Testosterone would kickstart me physically and mentally to make a change. I planned to lower my dose. My plan was always going to be to switch to 4mg in the morning and 4mg in the evening. I'm wondering what others out there think about splitting the doses in the day vs. only one dose in the morning.

To answer your question, I do not take any other meds. My doc gave me Lipitor to take but I haven't started it yet. I keep telling myself that I'll start the Lipitor when I start working out. I'm not sure why I haven't started it yet though. The fewer meds the better I guess. Thanks again for your response.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:59 pm 
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Anyone?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:11 pm 
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Testosterone comes back full force during withdrawal. Have you considered a long slow taper?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:52 pm 
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A slow taper is definitely in my future, I just want to make sure I'm ready to begin the taper. I don't think I'm mentally or physically ready to begin yet, but I think that it's my addiction talking. The Endocrinologist called today and said they had a cancellation. I am going in tomorrow to see what they say. I am hoping they put me on testosterone for a while.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:46 am 
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I get headaches as well.. I'm unfortunately one of these ppl that seems to get every side effect (I'm a girls so maybe not all:) anyway I found that not all generics are equal.. I switched to the Roxanne brand which seems to give me less headaches or at least not anything an Advil can't help.
I don't know how your Vic habit started but I know I got hooked from a neck problem was rxed pain pills.. These spinal chord issues cause pain and even though Subs help w pain I find they don't do as well as full opiates like Vics or oxys.
Anyway good luck .. Maybe try lowering dose a bit and trying different generic.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:24 pm 
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Lefty1776 wrote:
A slow taper is definitely in my future, I just want to make sure I'm ready to begin the taper. I don't think I'm mentally or physically ready to begin yet, but I think that it's my addiction talking. The Endocrinologist called today and said they had a cancellation. I am going in tomorrow to see what they say. I am hoping they put me on testosterone for a while.


I'm not a doctor, but have you thought about reducing your dose rather than supplementing T? Androgel and the like increase your risk of prostate enlargement / cancer, and your risk of heart attack and stroke. It might be better for your overall health to reduce the medication that's causing your low-T, rather than medicating the side-effect of a medication, if you get what I mean.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Welcome!

We both have a lot in common... Except that I'm not a scientist or a man. But I do work in the STEM field my addiction to research is probably far worse than my pill habit was before.

I've been on some sort of opiate for 6 1/2 years. When I wasn't abusing prescription pain pills, I was using Suboxone. I've experienced all of the same symptoms and more. In the last year, I've been diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia/Major Somnolence Disorder (basically Narcolepsy without early REM), Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I've never had my hormones tested but I've wanted to. I strongly feel it's all related to the opiates I've been ingesting but only time will tell.

My advice to you is to be honest with the Endocrinologist. Don't be afraid to be assertive. Question the need to wait for additional blood work when you have results with you. Ask what can be done between awaiting the results if he wants to do new tests. Explain pain turned into opiate addiction and opiate addiction turned into maintenance therapy with Suboxone. Ask him how TRT could help you while you taper from the Suboxone and that you'd be willing to taper the testosterone with the Suboxone as long as your levels are being monitored. If there are no adverse effects of mixing the two, there's no reason why he shouldn't at least discuss your options. While I don't recommend it, you could always tell him you take the Suboxone for pain management. I believe in being truthful with doctors because they really need the entire to do their job. As a scientist, how accurate would your conclusions be if some results were withheld?

Lastly, is this the only endocrinologist available? Can you make a back up appointment in the event you don't like this doctor? If all goes well, just cancel the back up appointment. This way, you won't have to wait 2 more months of this one won't help you.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 7:26 pm 
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Given the widespread use of opioids to treat chronic pain, and the high incidence of opioid induced endocrinopathy, I really wouldn't be surprised if your endocrinologist has already been faced with some cases of what you're going through.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:17 pm 
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Lefty1776 wrote:
First of all I want to say hello and introduce myself. I've never posted in this forum but I read the messages in here all the time. I want to thank everyone who contributes to this forum as I have found it extremely helpful on so many occasions.

I don't want to bore anyone with all the details of my addiction because that is not the meaning of my topic. Basically I was hooked on Vicodin/norco for 6-7 years. Probably around 200mg/day for several years. I told someone about my addiction (only a couple of my close friends knew about it) and he said he went through the same thing many years ago. He told me he knew someone who had suboxone and he got me a strip to try one day when I was going through some tremendously painful withdrawals. I took the strip in my car on the way home from work and 30 minutes later I felt better than I had felt for many years. I just couldn't believe the immediate relief of my withdrawal symptoms. Long story short, I found a suboxone doc and talked to my health insurance company about their substance abuse program. A week or two later I had a prescription for 8/2mg a day and felt like a million bucks.

A month later I got my daily dosage increased to 16mg/day because 8mg didn't seem to be lasting through the day. Thinking back, I think this was my first mistake with the Subs. I have been taking 8mg in the morning and 8mg in the evening for a little over six months. Everything seemed to be going great...my life was getting to be back in order and I finally felt like I was really going to beat my addiction. For the past few months I have been noticing a change in how I felt. After losing about 10 strips one day (still no idea how I lost them or whether they were stolen) I ran out early before my next visit to the sub doc. Three or four days days went by with no subs and I felt HORRIBLE. just like I did when running out of pills back in the day. Not quite as bad, but very close. My worse withdrawal symptoms were always insomnia/restlessness and these horrible headaches that are hard to describe. The headaches aren't like any headache I had ever had in the past. To me they are my "Vicodin headaches". Anyway, i finally got through the days of no subs and got my new script. I realized then how addictive these subs were and I started getting very concerned. I thought to myself that this addiction was never going to end.

So now I'm still taking 16mg/day. I've been taking them for about 8 months or so. For the past few months I've been getting my "Vicodin headaches" every single day. There is no rhyme or reason as to when the headaches start or stop. Sometimes the subs help with the headaches and sometimes they make it worse. I can't stand the headaches anymore. They are sucking the life out of me. Throughout my years on pills, and still to this day, I have almost no energy, no zest for life, no mojo anymore. I don't feel like a man anymore. I started to have ED issues and I finally went to my primary physician and explained about my ED. He doesn't know about the problems with the pills or that I am on Subs. I also explained to him that I just don't feel "right" anymore and that I am constantly in pain of some kind. He ordered a bunch of blood work and after getting the results it was discovered that I had very low testosterone (127 ng/dl) and high cholesterol. He didn't seem too concerned about either. Low testosterone? I had seen the Low T commercials before, but I didn't know the first thing about testosterone except that bodybuilders use it. I am almost 40 years old, overweight (230lbs), I eat like crap, don't take good care of my body, but I'm still pretty athletic. I always thought the pills or the subs were the cause of the ED problems I had every once in a while. Could it really be the Low T??

I am a professional scientist. A geologist by trade. I have a scientific mind and am a curious person. I started researching Low T and discovered that my T levels were, in fact, really low! After three weeks of nonstop research of scientific journals, websites, scientific studies, various forums, etc I discovered in a nutshell that opiates can have a significant impact on the endocrine system. Hormonal imbalances cause a long list of potential symptoms it seems. It turns out that over the past 6-7 years I have likely been feeling the effects of Low T, as well as all the other issues that go along with being an opiate junkie. I can honestly say that I experience almost every documented hormonal imbalance/Low T symptom listed on all these medical studies on a daily basis.

Did I ruin my endocrine system with the pills? Are the subs ruining my endocrine system? Is it a combination of both? Are they ruined permanently? Will I ever feel like a man again? Will I ever get off the subs? These are the questions I've been asking myself lately. I've read countless studies and testimonials about how testosterone replacement therapy TRT can magically cure all of these symptoms I've been experiencing for years. It's worth a try right? Based on my T levels I don't think I would have any trouble getting an endocrinologist to prescribe me some testosterone. I asked my primary physician to refer me to an endocrinologist and he said he would. I call the Endo, and they don't have any appointments available for over two months from now. I waited much too long to start this process, but I had no idea it was likely testosterone. My symptoms are out of control right now. The headaches are unbearable, I'm losing hair, I have zero energy, I can't focus or concentrate at work, I have ED, I have a rash on my face that looks like this rash associated with dandruff (another side effect of hormone imbalances), I'm depressed, I can't motivate myself to move. I need some relief!! But I have to wait months. I bet when I see the Endo, he is just going to order more blood work and make me wait months before even considering a script for Testosterone. I'm convinced that the Testosterone is going to solve a great deal of my problems.

Here's my dilemma...do I tell the Endocrinologist about the subs? I don't really have a problem telling him about the years of opiate abuse, but I'm afraid that if I tell him about the subs he is just going to tell me to get off them and my T will bounce back or something and NOT put me on a TRT program. Nobody seems to know a damn thing about the subs and their effects on T levels. I really want to try the TRT!! There are just so many stories of how great guys feel after starting TRT. My plan is to get on TRT, start a new healthy life, lose weight, get more active, look and feel good again, and finally get off these subs that seem to be eating away at my soul. Don't get me wrong, the subs saved me from the pills, but now I am a slave to the subs. I feel like I am falling apart quickly. What does everyone think? How should I handle the Endocrinologist issue? What is causing these horrible headaches? Is there any end in site to this vicious cycle? I honestly believe that the TRT may be the solution, but I don't want to ruin my chances of getting on one of these programs by telling a doc that I'm taking Suboxone. Can anyone think of a faster way to get in to see the Endo doc? I've already begged to get in sooner and put me on a cancellation list.

I'd love to hear some responses and any similar stories out there. Like I said earlier, I have found this forum very helpful. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of good advice and good information. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.

Thank you all in advance!


I have headaches too!! I have been taking subs for about 6-7 years. 8MG once a day. About 3-4 months Ago, I started experiencing heart like pulsing feelings in the back of my head. I't was driving me crazy at night, so it has been causing insomnia!! Now I have been having full blown headaches, because lack of sleep. This is also making me depressed. I'm waiting to see a neurologist. Blood work everything else looks good?? So it may NOT be the subs!! But I myself am also losing motivation and pep I once had. Again I'm not blaming the Subs yet, But I know I'm not myself???? It's weird, I'm not worried about nothing. Nothing is on my mind and I just lay there in bed and rest but some nights don't sleep. This all started along with the pulsing sensations in back of my head!! I can't wait to feel better! Next visit to the Doctor, I'm demanding a MRI!!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:20 am 
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I was on suboxone for 12 years and had the same issue. My test was so low that the lab called my doctor questioning my age. I'm 32 and he said its the worst he's ever seen. I told him about the subs and he was fine with it. I highly recommend the biote implant. It lasts up to 6 months. It made me feel like a new man. I started kicking serious butt in the gym, I couldn't believe the improvement.

Edit by Amy: James, you need to modify your tactics on this forum or you will be banned.

Any questions please don't hesitate.

Good luck!!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:14 pm 
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No Suboxone is definitely not slowly eating away at you! However there are qualitya few studies of sexual dysfunction in men who are being treated for opiate dependence with Buprenorphine and they have found lower testosterone levels and 23% of the men reported erectile dysfunction. Unfortunately the study had a very small sample size so the findings are so so in my opinion. Ad for generally not feeling well you kind of answered your own question when you mentioned you're overweight, eat poorly, and don't get much exercise. I would guess those factors have much more to do with how you're feeling than the Suboxone. Buprenorphine, like all opiates, are actually very benign and carry very few side effects. One side effect that is particular to Buprenorphine is headaches however. Many people mistakenly attribute this to the naloxone but when taken as prescribed you get practically no naloxone into your blood. The study I've read on Buprenorphine and it's adverse effects actually had a whopping 63% of the participants complain of headaches. Luckily this went down to about 12% at three months although since you've been on Suboxone for a bit you might be one of the unlucky ones who experience that side effect. A close friend of mine actually had to switch to Methadone because of headaches from Suboxone but they were migraine quality and unbearable. So there's no easy answer for the headaches and if I were you I would find a doctor who was actually listened to my concerns. There should be no reason you can't be prescribed supplemental testosterone if your levels are that low. I know a few people who receive hormone treatment that are on Methadone as sexual dysfunction and low testosterone levels are more common with Methadone Maintenance.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:59 pm 
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Hi, I'm new to this group and hope this thread is still available because I too have had some major side effects while taking suboxone. I have always been relatively healthy other than my addiction to benzodiazepines and opiates. When I first started using suboxone I was taking about a quarter of an 8 mg a day and slowly increased over the last two years to two 8 mg. Strips a day. The difference at first was amazing.. I did feel a little weird nothing that I couldn't manage tho. I started noticing involuntary muscle spasms and jerks.. all day and night some pretty violent and when they started moving into my neck and head I got very worried. Then numbness and tingling in my arms and fingers started not long after bumping my dose from one a day two onebamd a half.. at times I could hardly move my fingers.. in the morning my fingers were so stiff and achey that it took quite some time to get them to open and close.. I went from 120 down to 99 and dropping.. no matter what I do or eat I can't gain weight.. my liver enzymes are elevated..probably due to the massive amounts of pain medication in the past but after extensive blood work and test every thing came back normal..I feel ok
Not much energy.. no motivation or drive.. I know pain pills effect more than most think and it can take years to get back to a normal state..whatever that is..lol. anyway.. I hope your situation has improved.. for me I still struggle with weight loss and some of the other side effects I mentioned.. I think it beats being on drugs and I am willing to take it for what it is right now.. my hope us that in the future I can go down enough on my dose that the side effects are minimal.. best of luck to you.


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