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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:30 am 
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I am tapering off methadone to get to a point where I can switch to Suboxone. My plan was NOT to use Subox long term but merely as a way to get off methadone, my drug of choice.

Now after spending a couple of days reading more, I feel kinda stupid, but it seems as if Subox is not meant for that -- that by using it to detox, I am only putting off the inevitable withdrawal, so which one is the worse w/drawal, methadone or Subox? Right?

I just wanted it to ease methadone withdrawal pains (I'm at 40 mg. a day now at the clinic), but would a better choice be to just simply titrate off the methadone at, say, one mg. a day? I want to get away, obviously, from methadone ASAP since it IS my drug of choice, and it's weird to be in its orbit every single day and have to fight off urges to take more.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:58 am 
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Unfortunately I don't have any personal experience with methadone, so I can't give you any advice based that. But I've been on this site for about a year and a half and have learned a lot about sub and methadone. I've heard that methadone withdrawal is pretty damn bad. Suboxone withdrawal is no fun, but it's clearly not as bad as even a full agonist pain meds, much less methadone. In other words, suboxone w/d should be much more doable than methadone w/d. That's just what I've put together from reading numerous experiences over a long time.

It's hard to say what I'd do in your shoes. On one hand, it's tempting to just stay where you are and try to taper off the methadone and be done with it once and for all. I understand the desire to do that. But on the other hand, if sub w/d is going to be easier (and it should be), then why not try to save yourself a bit of suffering? It's a tough call and I feel for you. Do you have a doctor you trust; has s/he given you any advice on the subject? The other thought I had is that it might be easier to taper of suboxone for the main reason that it's NOT your drug of choice. It won't make you high and if taken as directed, you cannot abuse it. Most of us have learned the hard way that we simply CANNOT taper off our main DOC.

So going over what I've just said, if it were me, I'd probably go the sub route. Even if you're on sub short term, at least it will give you a little bit of time to learn to live without being high.

Good luck and let us know what you decide. We're here for you.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:42 pm 
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Before starting sub more than 2 years ago methadone was my drug of choice. I took 100 mil a day. Once my doc stopped prescribing it for me my life went downhill and I did anything to get my fix...and suffered constant withdrawals. Withdrawal from methadone is the most horrible thing ever. Luckily I was accepted into a suboxone study. I was very skeptical but I was told I had to be off methadone for 3 to 4 days and be in bad withdrawal then start sub and it would work awesome and takd away the withdrawals. In the end I was only able to stop for 2 days before my induction. When I took my first sub I was disappointed...it didn't make me feel nearly as good as I thought..but each day it got better and better. It didn't work as well because I still had methadone in my system and the sub was competing with it. The sub didn't make me feel worse though cause I had gone 48 hours without taking methadone, it just didn't take away all the withdrawal symptoms right away. After a week I was feeling great. On a side note it took 1 month before methadone stopped showing up on my UAs. I say switch to sub. It literally saved my life and now I am living a life I never though possible and have actually changed into a good person with good morals...not a day goes by where I am not thankful for sub. For me tapering off methadone was not an option...its just too hard and ur going to feel sick no matter what. I have never beeen without my sub so I don't know how the withdrawals are but everything I have heard points to it not being NEARLY as a bad, especially if u taper down slowly...Good luck...in my opinion get on sub...but talk to a professional and get their advice..just know I can totally relate to you. Methadone is a horrible horrible drug and the withdrawals are so long and unbearable. I am so glad I can live my life and not worry about getting sick and wondering where my next fix is.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:24 pm 
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You know, you don't have to decide right now. You could make the switch from methadone to Sub and see how you feel. Maybe you will feel amazing and not want to taper off right away. Maybe you'll get stable on sub for a month or three and realize that you are ready to taper off sub after all. Who knows?

If Suboxone does work for you, you might find the stability and relative clear-headedness that it provides will give you an opportunity to work on whatever issues underlie your addiction. For me it was pain and depression, and I used my two years on Sub to find alternative ways of dealing with my pain, to get my depression managed, to fix my life and my health. When I started Suboxone, I felt like I would never be ready to taper off and I was willing to stay on for the long haul. 18 months later, things had changed and I felt stable enough and strong enough in myself to taper off. I took my sweet time about it, but it worked for me.

Go easy on yourself - it's totally ok for you to decide not to decide and just keep an open mind. Once you make the switch to Sub, you will have more information to help you make the right decision for yourself. If Sub doesn't work for you, you can taper off of it or go back on methadone and taper from there. And if it does work, you can take a few weeks and see how that info fits into your life and your goals for recovery.

One last thought - if you are a person who is more convinced by data than by anecdote, you could try doing some research to see if there's any info out there about rates of people successfully tapering off of methadone as compared to those who switch from methadone to Suboxone and then taper off. I've never been on methadone, but it is my impression (from reading here, from talking to both of my sub doctors - one of them was the head of psychiatry at the VA and oversaw the methadone and suboxone programs there - and from what I've learned in my chemical dependency counselor program at school) that it is easier to taper off of Suboxone.

Keep posting here as you work through your thoughts about this - we're here to help support you!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Thank you, one and all, for your prompt and specific replies! I am really touched, and so glad there is a forum like this where I can post such questions.

I HAD originally without a doubt wanted to switch to Subox and then off (definitely off - on for any length of time is simply not an option for me), but honestly, after poking around on the 'net I'd become convinced that the taper from Subox was so much worse than methadone - so I'm pleasantly surprised to hear it's not!

Diary - I am going to spend some time this weekend reading about your taper. I am such a baby when it comes to pain! And what scares me is my clinic saying "not to believe everything I read on the Internet" when I told them I thought the protocol was to start induction on to Subox. after 48 or 72 hours, not the 24 hours (at 20 mg. methadone) they insist on.

Is it possible to spend as few as 10 days on Subox? The reason I'm so stubborn about persisting in believing I can get off and stay off is I constantly compare it to my battle with nicotine and alcohol - both successful. Also, I secretly believe the world is going to fall apart within the time I'm on this taper :roll: and there will be no way to get to the clinic to get my dose. Honestly, that IS part of my agenda...

It seems as though at my clinic I have to insist that they start the methadone taper because they're content to leave me at 40 mg. when I have told them I want to start the taper right away. It boils down to money for them, I think; this clinic has a bad reputation for that kind of thing.

Once again, thanks. I will keep you posted.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:57 pm 
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withdrawl from methadone is much more painfully worse than the subs! however there is alot of discomfort from subs as well! You would def be better off with the subs in my opinion.Good luck!

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:30 pm 
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After a lot more reading about both the pros and cons of w/drawing either Methadone or Suboxone, I have decided to stick with what I know, which is methadone. I was clean of it for a whole 30 days this last July, so I haven't really been taking it that long, and if I taper at 1 mg. a day to start, and go slowly if I need to, I think I'll do okay, provided I have Xanax to help me sleep, which my clinic will not give me so I will probably have to "do this thing myself," i.e., without the clinic after a certain point and with my own illicitly-acquired substances so I can control how the taper goes. There is too much bureaucracy in this clinic to suit me and my needs, and I may as well take the $300 I would pay them next month and put it in street drugs.

Also, they are very adament about not giving Xanax and I know that sleeplessness is one of the main problems with withdrawal, so Xanax is going to be an absolute MUST.

hrtbt72: In response to what you said about withdrawal from methadone being "much more painfully worse than the subs," that doesn't seem to be what I'm reading, even on this forum, and I don't think it will be a painful hell when I jump off at, say, .25 mg or however low I have to get.

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:53 pm 
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I think I said this before, I've also heard that methadone w/d is much worse than sub withdrawal. Methadone is supposedly worse than full agonist w/d, and suboxone is nothing compared to full agonist withdrawals. I've NEVER heard that sub w/d is worse than methadone. Just wanted to be clear on that.

The other thing I wanted to say was if you're trying to be "clean" (I hate that word), should you really be planning on buying drugs on the street still? Do you not have a doctor that can prescribe Ambien and/or Clonodine to help with your discomfort? When a person chooses recovery/remission, that person has to change their whole life - or most of it - and it doesn't sound like you're doing that. Don't misunderstand, I don't begrudge you your efforts and I truly want to see you succeed, but I'm just being honest and want you to have the best shot possible. Knowing what you're up against will help give you that best shot.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Hm, well, you can see how decisive I am by my back-and-forth equivocating! :roll:

Hat, do you think w/drawal from meth is worse than sub even at 1 mg. or less than sub?

Seems like everything I've read this weekend makes it sound like either one is going to be a BITCH.

No, I don't have a doctor and have limited money, so rather than try different doctors before I end up with one who will prescribe me with what I know I need (Xanax - nothing else works) I need to get it myself. Yeah, I know it's not changing the junkie behavior, but I truly have a mission now: to get off this stuff. I feel like what's happened over the course of this is I've been scared straight, or into honestly striving to become straight as soon as I can.

And, Hatmaker, I want you to know I appreciate your honest input. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:29 pm 
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This is the way I see it: No matter which you choose to taper off, sub or methadone, your idea of going down very low is a good one. Stick to that, stay determined, get lots of exercise, and you CAN succeed. I honestly don't blame you for just wanting to stick with the methadone and be done with it. Good luck. Keep us posted on how you're doing. Maybe you can keep this thread going or start a new one (up to you) and use it throughout your taper. It might prove to be helpful for you.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:31 pm 
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thanks, hatmaker. it helps to have you "here."


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:05 am 
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I wouldn't say that my experience of coming off Suboxone was a bitch. It was uncomfortable and tedious, but I never had to miss work and I was up and about every day taking care of my daughter and general life stuff. It was never more intense than a medium-bad cold really.

That said, I did have to go very slowly and taper to a really low dose, though my jumping-off dose of 0.2mgs was higher than some of the other folks who posted their taper stories in my taper thread. Some of them went down to like 0.01 or something amazingly low like that.

The one thing that was so different for me was that I was able to consistently stick with the tapering - unlike any time that I tried to taper off full-agonists when I was still in active addiction. I tried and tried to wean myself off of whatever drugs I was abusing - hydro, oxy, dilaudid - and I would get down fairly low but I never was able to make it all the way off. With the Suboxone I was able to do it for whatever reason.

Whatever you decide to do, we will be here for support. Tapering and detoxing is physically uncomfortable and draining and it brings up a lot of uncomfortable emotions as well, anxiety and sadness and anger were the ones that surfaced for me. Having people to support me online and in real life was a big part of my success.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:57 am 
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Clearly this is your decision to make. I have never taken methadone but have heard withdrawal from methadone is worse than oxycontin and I have withdrawn from oxycontin. I have also withdrawn from suboxone. I jumped off at 12 mg thinking one didn't get withdrawals from it as that is what I was told. I had withdrawals but they were NOTHING like oxycontin. Don't get me wrong, it still sucked. BUT I didn't miss any work versus oxycontin where there was no possible way I would be able to drive into work. It was impossible. Those who have done a proper taper from sub have had way less withdrawal than I experienced AND more importantly, they have been able to escape the worst of the PAWS.

Clearly you have been able to get off meth for a month at a time so you know what you are looking at there. To me the question is which one would give you the greater chance for success long term. Do you recall what feelings or emotions or symptoms you were having when you relapsed at a month last time?

The other thing is....if the other poster is correct and meth stays in your system for a month or will still show in the UA's, then I suggest taking the suboxone for at least 2 months so you don't have any meth left in your system. I actually think taking sub longer term is the best idea for most people but I also see nothing wrong with you trying to discontinue it quickly either. I think 2 months would give you enough time to do a nice taper, depending on how much sub you have to start with.

Just my opinion. Good luck.

Cherie

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 Post subject: couple o' questions
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:07 am 
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Well, fortunately I have a couple of weeks in which to decide which I want to "jump off" from, methadone or suboxone.

Dairy of a Q, a question: When you say it was like a bad cold, how long did that last? The way I handle colds is not pretty. :roll:

Also, and maybe I should start a new thread for this, but this is pretty important: the clinic I am going to to get daily doses is pretty insistent that I do things THEIR WAY. So I won't have a bottle of Subox at my disposal to work with, as far as titrating down how I want to or even induction the way I want to.

For instance (I think I've mentioned this before), they induct at 24 hours after a 20 mg. dose of methadone. Isn't that downright stupid? Do you think there is anything I can do about it?

Again, thanks all. No one in my family (two grown daughters) knows I am going through this shameful thing. I so appreciate your support.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:32 pm 
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So it was like a medium-bad cold - the kind where you feel under the weather but you can still go to work and function, not the kind where you really need to take a day or two off. When I say it was like having a cold, I don't mean that I felt exactly like you do when you have a cold - more like it was just that level of annoying. I didn't feel great, but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't push through it. And I am not one of those super-human people who work and push through being sick, I'm actually kind of a wuss when it comes to that stuff. But unlike a cold, where taking time off to rest is actually helpful, the withdrawals responded better to me staying busy and distracted.

When I was tapering, I'd have withdrawal symptoms for a few days after each time I reduced my dose, usually days 3-5 after the drop, and then I'd stabilize and feel better. When I stopped alltogether, there was a few days of feeling really achy and bitchy but it was survivable and then I had clonidine and ambien for the insomnia and that worked great. I think I took the ambien like 5 times in 2 weeks and I took the clonidine a few times.

After two weeks I felt ok, after 30 days I felt about 80% of "normal", the most lingering symptoms were fatigue and sneezing. During this time I just gave myself the rest I needed and while I did everything that I really needed to do - I didn't take on any extra projects that would tax my resources. At 60 days off I felt great - my energy was back, sleep was totally normal, my mood was good, etc.

As far as your clinic - do you have to take your dose in front of them? Is there any way you could skip your methadone dose for an extra day or two before your induction, if that would make you feel more confident that you won't go into PW? Will you have to take your Sub in front of them as well? Have they told you what dose they will induct you on and what their taper schedule is like? I can understand why this system makes you uncomfortable. I really needed to feel in control of my taper.

If you stay on methadone for your taper do you have to do that at their pace as well?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:40 pm 
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In answer to Dairy: Yes, I do have to dose in front of them, and only at the dose THEY have decided, both methadone and suboxone. I think if I skipped a day prior to induction, they would change the induction date.

THINGS MAY HAVE CHANGED, though! I have tried to barrel through on my own and have not taken anything since Saturday at 7:00 a.m., so more than 48 hours, and I don't feel much in the way of withdrawal at all! I know methadone has a half-life and I'm ready for it to kick in later, but I always took methadone anyway on a schedule where I would put in a day or two or three or four between doses (until I started going to the clinic last week, and then it became every single day -- BIG MISTAKE ON MY PART, I think).

So if I feel okay tomorrow, I am going to call the clinic and tell them I can't make it in, and see how long I can stall them. I may be able to do this all on my own. I even have 40 mg. left that they gave me for a takeout on Saturday that I can use sparingly if I have to. I have no desire to use it to "have fun" anymore, now that I see what's involved in getting off this ***t.

So, wish me luck this week!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:47 am 
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I wish you luck this week and long term. I hope you spend some time, if you haven't already, and develop a long term recovery plan for yourself. I think this is extremely hard to do without help.

Cherie

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