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 Post subject: Subutex for Depression?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:41 pm 
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Hello, I was wondering if anyone here is prescribed Subutex (or Suboxone) for depression. Not a lot of people know that a very limited amount of doctors are willing to prescribe it for depression. I actually have one willing to do so. My only concern is that once I start, I'd probably have to be on it for the rest of my life... because I experienced Subutex withdrawals and man they are not fun. It's a major decision that I have to make.I wouldn't want to resort to taking Subutex for the rest of my life but it's the only thing that makes me feel like a human-being. I've tried every anti-depressant out there but nothing works. I still lack the motivation to do anything in life and still struggle with thoughts of suicide.

Anyway, just wanted to know if anyone else on here is taking it for depression... I'd love to hear yalls stories.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:06 am 
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I am not prescribed for depression but for addiction.I have always secretly hoped that they would come out with a pill or I could take a pill that made me feel mentally how I did when I used well...this is it.My depression has lifted and for once in a very long time,I can say I am happy.I have tried SSRI's and Wellbutrin to no avail,this is the med for me.Q,how would you start since you will not be in withdrawal?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:48 am 
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Hi DepressedOne and welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear your depression is so bad and nothing else has helped. I've struggled with major depression my entire adult life, so I can empathize with how black it feels. I really hope suboxone does the trick for you. You're not the first to go on it for depression and not addiction. I believe they are doing studies regarding sub and depression. When do you plan on starting it?

Oh and melijm, as long as there are no opiates in DepressedOne's system, no withdrawals are necessary before induction. DepressedOne can just start taking it, but at a very low dose, especially if s/he is opiate naive.

DepressedOne - please keep us posted.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Thank you so much for your support hatmaker. It's nice to know you understand the blackness of severe depression. I'm not sure when I start because I haven't decided. I'm just so afraid of being physically dependent on something my whole life. I haven't taken a Subutex for four months and these four months I've been in this black hole. I got over the withdrawals and that lethargic state of mind that sticks around for about a month after quitting, but my natural depression is back and nothing seems to fix it or even eases it.

I do have a question for you hatmaker. Do you think my tolerance is back to zero since I haven't taken it in four months? And would it take less amount of time for my body to become physically dependent(not addicted) if I decided to go on it? I have always wondered that but I can't seem to get the right answer. And just in case I didn't phrase my question correctly I'll give an example: Say it took me 2 months for my body to get physically dependent on Subutex to the point I would withdrawal without it. Since I haven't taken it for 4 months, would it still take 2 months for my body to become physically addicted again or less?

Anyway, I'm still debating if I want to take this for the rest of my life. I'm young so I have a lot ahead of me, but I don't know how long I could last with this depression that won't ease.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:08 pm 
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I hate to say it, but I think I recall reading that we addicts get re-addicted/dependent pretty quickly the next time around, so to speak. And that our tolerance goes back up pretty fast, too. I haven't the vaguest idea where I read or heard that at though, so I can't give you any sources.

Depression is a horrible condition to have and it invades every aspect of one's life. It's so destructive. If you know from past experience that sub helps your depression, then I fully agree that it's a valid option. But no one is saying you have to decide to take it the rest of your life RIGHT NOW. Going back on it now isn't a commitment to remain on it forever. See how you do for awhile and play it by ear. In a few years you can reassess. See how much things have changed - how YOU have changed. When the time comes to try life without sub again, you'll know.

Good luck to you.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Hey there I just want to say Hatmaker has good reasoning here and that I myself know exactly what you mean when you say you feel more like yourself on opiates. I think this it what drove many of us to use opiates, and my depression is lifted tremendously on subs, however, the lower I go, one of the major side effects for me has been depression! so its a catch 22.
keep us posted and if you do start, maybe a lower dose is all you need!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:40 pm 
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I actually was "induced" after I had used for I think 2 weeks. Now, keep in mind I did use opiates with a very very long half life, but still, I was over the physical stuff. My use was really weird, off and on, off and on, off and on. I would also always always taper off of them.

But that is beside the point. Basically I was in a recovery center and was not doing well, it was in my first week. I was all over the place, couldn't sit still, desperately wanted to stop using and get help but was also fantasizing about using. I was so depressed. My doctor at the facility (who is a great doctor, the facility was great overall) perscribed me the Suboxone then. So while it wasn't exactly for "depression" it had quite a bit to do with my mental state. My tolerance was still very high (I always had a high tolerance to opiates and made it worse) so the induction wasn't a problem.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Well it is better than the alternative. so it takes a lot of courage to not feel guilty about it- if your life is at stake, then i say go for it.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:06 pm 
DepressedOne wrote:
Hello, I was wondering if anyone here is prescribed Subutex (or Suboxone) for depression. Not a lot of people know that a very limited amount of doctors are willing to prescribe it for depression. I actually have one willing to do so. My only concern is that once I start, I'd probably have to be on it for the rest of my life... because I experienced Subutex withdrawals and man they are not fun. It's a major decision that I have to make.I wouldn't want to resort to taking Subutex for the rest of my life but it's the only thing that makes me feel like a human-being. I've tried every anti-depressant out there but nothing works. I still lack the motivation to do anything in life and still struggle with thoughts of suicide.

Anyway, just wanted to know if anyone else on here is taking it for depression... I'd love to hear yalls stories.


I have a friend who just started. She is happy with it. She takes 1-2 mg/day (she is still adjusting the dose slightly).

You should know that high "blocking" doses of buprenorphine aren't necessary for depression. Lower doses, 2 mg or less, work better because norbuprenorphine, which is what buprenorphine metabolizes into, is more effective than the bupe itself. It is more effective in treating both pain AND depression. >4 mg, no norbuprenorphine can attach to the opioid receptors, and the side effects increase (with no increase in efficacy, in my opinion).

Here is a study that was done. The participants were given varying doses, all under 2 mg per day (up to 1.8, actually).
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7714228


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:30 pm 
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Ironic - I don't believe that study has been posted here yet. Thanks for doing so. Could you post a thread in the "Links" section? That would be great. The more information we have on suboxone like that, the better. Thanks again.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:06 am 
Sure thing :)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Wow...I am SO glad I'm not a freak! Lol! I have no insurance, therefore; no prescription for suboxone or subutex, not to mention no addiction, but these are the only drugs that make me feel normal again. I felt like my body was literally dying every day. No energy, no motivation. My kids suffered, my job suffered...n then a friend told me to try these. Its been the ONLY thing that's worked. Wellbutrin, Prozac and a long line of other things I tried only made it worse. Iv felt like a criminal for having to find these "illegally", but if I don't, I don't think I would make it. Now, when I actually HAVE insurance again...I won't feel so horrible or ashamed to ask a doc about an RX. Thank you to you all! This has been an eye opener


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:09 am 
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I take Suboxone (4 mg - 6 mg) specifically for depression. Bipolar II. It really helps. I've never felt more alive and content till I got on this opioid.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:22 am 
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In the beginning opiates make everyone feel all those feelings of "omg I feel alive again, I have energy, I can get things done, i can talk to people and interact in society like a normal human being" Its called the honeymoon phase and it is all an illusion. You get tolerant and have to up your dose and then you're good for awhile and then have to up it again and again and again until you can't up it any further. Then you are right back where you were before except you have a monkey on your back. I hope it all works out for you with the sub for depression thing but to me it sounds as if you've only been taking them for a short time, long term use all of the glowing warm energetic feelings fade and you have to take them just to feel normal. Ive been on subutex for 3.5 years for morphine/poppy pod addiction but Im also diagnosed as depressed (depression is why I started abusing the opiates that led to the sub in the first place) and IMO I don't think sub is a very good candidate for an antidepressant. First off you are turning yourself into an opiate addict (Im assuming you guys who take it solely for depression werent opiate abusers from what info I have to go by in this thread) which is controversial at best and secondly like all opiates the reason it takes away your depression is because its euphoric and with long term use that euphoria fades completely and the anti depressant qualities usually fade with it. Sub does not do a thing for my depression, it keeps me from craving using other opiates and blocks them if I want to use like it was designed to do but IME (remember my experience Im not speaking for anyone but myself) it does nothing for my depression.

Im not craving opiates and it does a great job in that regard but I still have some pretty bad days where I don't get out of bed till 1pm and never change out of my pajama pants and may or may not shower and will just lay around the house to depressed to leave. Is that subs fault? No but Im just saying it isnt some life saving antidepressant and I don't think it ever was meant to be, it works good on cravings and blocks other opiates but for me thats about it. I might get heated responses for this but IMO I think a dr would have to be kind of a quack to just hand out a powerful maintenance opioid to someone for depression. You may be setting that person up for a lifetime struggle that never needed to happen in the first place.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:14 pm 
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I think that it's necessary to proceed with a lot of caution when making the decision to got on sub for depression, especially if you're not an addict to begin with. A medication with an opiate component will be that much harder to wean off of than a regular anti-depressant. However, I see no reason why people should not take sub for depression if nothing else has worked for them, but sub has.

I understand that it may be hard to imagine that sub could work as an anti-depressant for someone else when it doesn't do a thing for your depression, Buprecision. A lot of the medications are like that though. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. I agree that an extra layer of caution must be added when considering sub for depression for the reasons I've already stated, but I think that if sub is working for you as an anti-depressant, you should use it while it's useful to you.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:53 pm 
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I just think its a real sticky situation, to me its really no different than saying "heres some oxy or morphine" for depression when it comes to giving it to an opiate naive person because obviously they have no tolerance and will get high and all the euphoric feelings from it (At first). It will be no different than all of us when we got addicted to full agonists and how during those first few highs you feel like "this is how life is supposed to be, I feel like I can do anything and fear nothing" and of course when you feel that your depression goes away but we all know that tolerance always comes into play. I wonder how long it would take a person who has never taken an opiate to stop getting high from subs on the same dose everyday.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Suboxone is different from other opiods/opiates. There is a ceiling effect for depression around 2mg-3mg. Any more than this amount does not make the depressed person feel any better. This is the beauty of buprenorphine.----In other words,...basically no risk for tolerance in anyone taking this medication (responsibly) for depression. In fact, any antidepressant effect from bupe actually declines with increasing dosage!! I believe this is due to Bupe's slight effect on the Mu receptors and its strong effect on the Kappa receptors. This action is unique to suboxone. Allowing it to stay in one's body longer while not causing the extreme high of heroin or oxycontin etc.---------A small study has just been completed at the University of Pittsburgh regarding bupe for depression. Another one is on going at the same institution by Dr. Jordan Karp. The results have not yet been published. ----Unfortunately every drug company seems to be afraid,or unwilling, to do "real" long term trials which could lead to mainstream acceptance of bupe as an anti-depressant!!
This is especially hard for me to swallow in light of recent revelations that the makers of Prozac, Paxil & others knowingly withheld an illegal number of their own trials from the FDA in order to get approval. These studies showed no antidepressant effects from their medications-----only horrible side effects(which I know all too well)! The psychiatric community needs to wake up to the fact that there have been NO real advances in psychiatric medication since the 1950's!! All of the "new" SSRI's & SSNRI's are a joke and a money grab. Why can't modern psychiatry be more progressive? Think outside the box and allow those of us with so much potential a chance to reach that potential and make the world a better place!
I could easily become a drug addict in order to get suboxone, but I only WANT to try a small dose for depression! It may not work for me? However, after years of suffering, I believe that I deserve the same respect given to pain pill addicts.---I challenge ANYONE to argue that taking 1mg of suboxone a day could possibly be worse for me & my body than taking my current combination of 80mg fluoxetine, 6mg Klonopin & 30 mg Adderall XR(a schedule II drug!) daily. This combo currently allows me to just make it through life. A pitifull way to exist.-------If someone knows of a Dr. or a "way" to be prescribed low dose buprenorphine,....please contact me!!! I will be forever in your debt.----Thanks.....peace & love to all...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:01 pm 
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The most recent study on Buprenorphine(Suboxone) for depression is available with results.---They are positive!!!! Yay!!---The results are in the Journal of Psychiatry---or something like that---a VERY official and respected source! Study overseen by Dr Jordan Karp at the University of Pittsburgh. This study was for people 50 and older. However, Dr Karp has also completed a study with Buprenorphine for all ages who have treatment resistant depression. I expect those results will be published within a few months. From personal experience I expect those results to be equally encouraging. The first study and results can be found by Googling "Safety, Tolerability, and Clinical Effect of Low-Dose Buprenorphine for Treatment-Resistant Depression in Midlife and Older Adults". The same Dr is currently doing more studies along the same lines. It seems the most effective dose seems to be in the .5mg to 2mg range (daily). -----As good as this news is, it is very frustrating as there are only about 15 people in each study!!?? So all they can officially say is the same ole same ole--"very positive results but much more research needs to be done". The same thing "they" have been saying since the 1980's or so----when similar studies were done with equally positive outcomes!! Bupe works for depression for many of us!!! It is a fact. It is safe. Higher doses actually REDUCE the anti-depressant effects!! Why do we still have to lie, pay extreme amounts of money, and risk being found out--perhaps prosecuted....just to get a medication that is already here!!!!! I now have to go to drug counseling for 2 hours each week in order for my insurance to cover me in any way. 1mg works fine for me. And I have been able to quit Prozac and Klonopin!! I hate, hate, hate talking for 2 hours a week about my non-existent drug problem!!!! I suppose the big drug companies are mainly to blame. There must be no money to be gained!!!???? If anyone knows of a doctor who will prescribe Suboxone for depression, or of any other way I can legally get Suboxone/Subutex/Buprenorphine without having to lie, PLEASE get in touch with me.----People who haven't experienced true clinical depression just don't understand the depth and severity of the pain we have gone through!! I didn't until it got me and took me down to a living hell that I would not wish on my worst enemy. True clinical depression is a deadly disease! ---If i knew how, i would start a campaign to get Bupe approved as an anti-depressant. Posting on sites such as this is the best I can do at present. Anyone out there with more resources or know how please, PLEASE....help us out!!!! I am fortunate because I have found a way to get the medication I need. Most others aren't currently able to try this life saver....legally. And I guess what I am doing isn't actually legal, but I do not care. The powers that be who keep this safe drug away from the ones who need it most are the real criminals.---------ALKS-5461(bupe plus a chemical which eleminates the mild mu agonist activity of bupe) will most likely be approved within 2 to 3 years. Then it will be a blockbuster anti-depressant ( or AD add on) and the drug company making it will have hit the jackpot. And my argument will be irrelevant. That will be a great day!! Unfortunately, that will be too late for millions. How many suffering people will needlessly die in the mean time!? Why doesn't Dr Karp or other Dr's who know about suboxone's anti-depressant effects do something? He does these great studies yet they are pretty much useless if no action is taken. Maybe a doctor with some balls will stand up and risk their license and actually do something!?----If an already FDA approved drug was by chance found to also help cancer victims live normal lives.....there would be an uprising. That drug would be available to those who needed it very quickly. Those with major treatment-resistant depression don't have the ability or the mainstream support to initiate an uprising.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:14 am 
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hglee27
thanks for bringing back this thread. You posted some interesting information. I do not believe there will be any drug company money pored into research because bupe is already out in several formulations as well as generic. If company A gets an indication for depression for their product then company B C or D's can be prescribed as well. The sublingual form is being used off label for pain management. . I suspect Europe and Australia will continue to lead when it comes to this type of research, and unfortunately/ with American exceptionalism ruling in politics and medicine; we will continue to ignore it.
Are you a chronic pain patient as well? Butrans is a patch in the dosage range you are looking for.
Again, thanks for posting.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:04 am 
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Yes---there is no money to be made, so it won't be put into "real" studies to get approval for depression. However, any FDA approved drug can be prescribed off-label. Ketamine clinics for depression are now open in at least 5 states in the US!! I think this is great for the people that this helps! But giving very low dose intravenous ketamine infusions for depression is extremely off-off-label. There are obviously some docs that do prescribe Suboxone for severe, resistant depression----off-label. I don't think any of them practice in the state where I live. I asked several psych docs here about the possibility of giving me sub for depression. Got tired of getting laughed at and/or lectured about how ridiculous that idea was. Ironically one doctor looked at all my research and was willing to prescribe Tramadol for depression. I tried this and it worked well for a few months but eventually I developed a tolerance and it stopped working. Withdraw was rough but no worse than some of the AD's Ive taken. And he was going to stop prescribing it anyway because the opiode/opiate laws in my state became very strict. I then went off all meds and after a years wait got in for ECT. The second session I went into cardiac arrest(not sure why---I am physically healthy) so no doctor will ever give me ECT because of liability issues.-----Anyway, why Ketamine and not suboxone?---Maybe because they can charge an arm and a leg for treatment that has to be given over & over...? Not sure...Partly the severe opiaphobia in this country I suppose. And, yes I used Butrans a few years back when I had surgery on my shoulder. No one will prescribe it for depression either. It didn't seem to have the same positive effects as low dose suboxone. It's all so mixed up. To get it in an addiction setting I had to fake an addiction and they prescribed 24 mgs Suboxone to start. I never actually took more than 2mgs a day so I have quite an excess of the stuff. I could easily be taking much more...but I have no desire and no need ---as its AD effects decrease if one takes a dose greater than 2 or 3mgs a day. -----I hate having to lie to get it but it has saved my life. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do when it's a life or death situation! It seems so simple and logical. Don't know why some doc(s) hasn't become a true advocate to get suboxone available for the truly desperate folks??


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