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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:06 pm 
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I had been prescribed Subutex for just under a year for a pain condition. (History - I expressed to my pain specialist that I did not want to be on long-term Oxycontin or another opiate agonist regularly due to the way they made me feel... tired, bloated, etc. with rebound pain.) He said he'd had some luck treating pain patients with buprenorphine and so I went on Subutex (16mg/day) with decent results and few side effects. I have no history of addiction and take meds as prescribed.

Then I found out I was pregnant and decided to taper. Within three weeks I went down to 2 mg Subutex with no major problems... some aches and headaches but very manageable. However, after that, every time I tried to go below 2 mg Subutex I became very ill and agitated. The doctors said I could just stay on the Sub and the NAS would be minimal at this dose, but I was very stubborn, and insisted on continuously lowering my dose. Because I was basically on crumbs and the pregnancy was otherwise healthy, they saw no harm in letting me keep trying to go lower and lower.

Long story short... it took me about six months with four or five attempts to get to absolute zero before I finally succeeded. I tried crumbs, skipping days, liquefied doses, meditation, acupuncture, more meditation, and anything I could think of. These have been some of the worst months of my life. I experienced profound anxiety, breakthrough pain that was not easily controlled with any medication, insomnia, RLS, body aches, but most importantly - lack of any ability to feel normal emotions, plus the general feeling of "nails on a chalkboard" brain chemistry. I didn't feel like myself and every minute seemed to drag on.

Finally after months of stubborn persistence I found some other non-opiate medications that were deemed "safe to take" in the third trimester that controlled my pain (and maybe helped with the withdrawal? who knows) and I was able to make the leap completely off of Subutex. I have been off of it now for almost 2 months and while I still do not feel like myself more than 50% of the time, I see improvements and there is enough of "me" showing through to keep me going.

Has anyone else had an identity crisis of sorts while coming off suboxone or subutex?

AJ


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:24 pm 
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Hi ajerup and welcome,

I haven't tapered off sub yet, so I can't really answer your question from a personal standpoint. But from what I hear what you experienced isn't all that rare. I believe what you're describing is PAWS (post acute withdrawals syndrome). I'm just sorry that you had to go through such bad withdrawals! Did you doc at least tell you up front when you started sub that it would happen like that ?

I'm glad to hear you're now on a safe pain medication - safe for both you and the baby. I'm sure others that have been in your shoes will chime in soon. I just wanted to show you my support and welcome you to the forum.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:08 pm 
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Thanks for the warm welcome! The pain doc said his patients have experienced varying degrees of difficulty coming off Suboxone/Subutex. He warned me that my receptors would get used to the medication and that at a minimum I would feel uncomfortable for several days, but that a couple of his "more sensitive" patients described the experience as "pure hell." He said typically pain patients like me who do not have a history of addiction can come off even long-term opiate use including buprenorphine with a lot less effort and anxiety. Too bad I didn't fit his mold! I found myself agonizing & obsessing over the situation constantly, I spent hours and hours and hours researching what to do on the internet, and I STILL feel that I am extremely hyper-aware of how I feel physically/mentally, and little things bother me (two months after no sub!). From what I have read on this forum, I seem to share a lot in common with folks who consider themselves to struggle with addiction. ;-) At least I am in good company.


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