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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Hello. I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong area.

I just started on Suboxone for treatment resistant depression after being clean from opiates for 8 months. I realize this is a very controversial topic. I'm on 2mgs once a day and have only been on it for 6 days. I feel fantastic, well not fantastic in a "high" way, but NORMAL, which for me IS fantastic.

I have suffered from severe depression for the past 10 years, along with being a chronic insomniac. Like many folks I tried numerous antidepressants including Wellbutrin, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Celexa. I had moderate success with Wellbutrin however it made me very manic before finally pooping out. The others made me far worse and the side effects were unbearable.

3 years ago, almost to the date, in April 2010 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is frightening to admit, but I was in such a bad place emotionally I actually thought dying from cancer might be a relief. I had a full hysterectomy and started on chemotherapy immediately. 

I was also put on Oxycodone for the pain. 

From the time I took that first 7.5 mg pill I had never felt better in my life. I went through 2 years of chemo and radiation and felt fantastic. I bought a new horse after selling all mine because of anhedonia caused by my severe depression,  and got back into horses with my daughter, rode almost daily, went horse camping with her and was more active socially than I'd been in years, making many new friends. This was despite being on chemo, gaining 40 lbs from other meds and losing all my hair including my eyebrows and eyelashes! I didn't care how bad I looked I just knew I felt happy and energetic for the first time in years.

Well, of course that love affair had to end. Even though I never took more than 60 mgs of Oxy a day and 40 was my usual dose it began to turn on me and I knew I had to get off. Keep in mind my Drs would have kept prescribing me Oxy with no questions asked as the chemo/radiation  has left me with arthritis and some pain issues. I tried 8 times to withdraw from the Oxycodone and the last time stuck. That was 8 months ago. I was on Oxycodone for 2-1/2 years.

The past 8 months have been a living hell for me depression wise. I was 100% clean until the last month where I started drinking a few glasses of wine a night to deal with the crushing depression.  Every morning I woke up wanting to put a gun to my head. I couldn't deal with any of life's normal pressures. I NEVER felt joy from anything. I forced myself every day to do the things that normally brought me pleasure like riding my horse, walking my dogs, hanging out with my kids, family dinners out - you name it. Supposedly the key was to keep forcing myself to be active and do things to get my endorphins revved up and I was doing these things. I even did a seven hour mountainous hike last month and never felt any better. I even have sex every day!  Forcing myself to ride my horse was an exercise in futility. I couldn't wait to get off her and go back home to isolate.

The last straw for me was that I had to take my daughter to an out of town horse show for five days 8 hours away. We were going with a large group of people, some I knew and some I didn't. Everyone was so excited to go. I was dreading it. And yes, it was a nightmare for me. I was miserable the entire time and I'm sure I came off as a not very happy friendly person to the new people in the group. Everything for me on this trip was forced. Even my daughter winning a show brought me no joy. I faked happiness whenever I could. I felt terrible for my daughter because I felt like she had the "weird mom ". Ugh.

Everyone i have spoken to who had been through opiate addiction just kept telling me to stick with it. Things would change. I would get better with time. I'd get my life back. But back to what? Where I was before I took opiates? That was a bad place. I was miserable before opiates. 

I decided, after much thought, i wanted to try Suboxone so I called the local detox place but because i'd been clean so long they wanted nothing to do with me. I already had an appointment with my regular GP to have everything checked to rule out anything else physically wrong me besides the Arthritis. We did a very thorough Blood, urine and even fecal because I've had ongoing gastro problems including daily diarrhea. Everything came back fine. 

I told him I was contemplating going on Suboxone. At first he looked at me like I was nuts. He said absolutely not, you've been clean for so long! He wanted me to try another antidepressant. I said look through my charts again. He saw I'd been on many and none had helped. 

I told him the happiest and most active I have been in the past TEN years was the two years when I was in chemotherapy and radiation. "Does that seem right to you?" I asked. He shut my charts and asked me to follow him into his office. In there he said yes I was absolutely a candidate for going on Subs for depression even though it's highly unorthodox. Because of my arthritis and gastro issues he was able to prescribe it. He spoke into his recording device that he was prescribing Suboxone to me with "much trepidation".

The pharmacist was quite surprised when I handed her the script as she knows I've been clean for quite a while but she was very kind and explained to me how to use it etc. 

Two hours after the first dose of 2mgs I FELT NORMAL. Physically all I felt was a little jittery but I didn't feel anything like I felt on Oxy when I first began taking that. On Oxy I got extremely animated and crazy energetic. The subs just make me feel normal. I got up the next day a completely different person. I wanted to get up. I wanted to go riding and I did! I called two friends who were shocked to hear I wanted to go and we went for a four hour trail ride. Also, unlike my riding experiences "clean" when I got back to the barn I had the energy and lack of pain to hose my horse off and take care of her instead of just handing her over to my daughter to deal with and rushing home. 

Since I do find I get quite sleepy after about 4 hours after dosing (I have been taking it in the evening so that's ok) and I also feel kind of jittery soon after dosing  I was thinking about cutting my dose from 2mgs to 1mg. I figure I want to try being on the lowest dose possible so may as well try? 

Can any others here relate to my story? Can I stay on subs forever? And even if I cannot,  won't the time of feeling normal be worth it? I feel I had no quality of life whatsoever before going on Oxycodone for cancer. And I feel no antidressants will do for me what Suboxone is doing. Besides having their own side effects and withdrawal difficulties. So far I have had no bad side effects. I would appreciate any opinions, information and personal experiences regarding using Suboxone for depression. I know I've only been on it for a week so perhaps I'm in for a fall? I don't know but I do know I love that I don't have this horrible feeling of doom upon awakening every day, my bills are getting paid and I'm no longer ignoring and running from all my problems. I feel I now have the emotional stability to deal with the everyday stresses that most others don't find completely overwhelming like I did.

I know this was ridiculously long!  Probably no one made it through the entire post but I thought being thorough would curtail any unnecessary questions.

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:31 pm 
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for your post. I'll get right to it. For me, I have taken suboxone for an addiction to painpills. 5 years of it. I felt wonderful while on them, however like everyone else they had over taken my life. On tbey very first day of my induction, I came to see that I felt normal plus happy, not depressed, witch I see now as an added bonus in all of this. I'm now taking 4 to 6 mgs a day. Down from the 12 to 16 I started on. That was 27 months ago this Sunday. I feel great, very few side effects. Maybe I'm a lucky one. I have no plan to taper off anytime soon. There isn't a timeline on when a person should get off of suboxone, that is up to each person I think, or there doctor. If your treatment is working for you, and it sounds like it is then congrats and live your life. You deserve it. Be as happy as you can be. I'm sure others will be by to help you also. And thanks again for telling your story. You are strong...... raz.....


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 Post subject: Thank you
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:10 pm 
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Raz, thank you for the post. It's wonderful to hear you've been on Subs for over two years and are happy on them. Have you experienced any side effects? Could you tell me why you are lowering your dosage?

I'm only on 2mgs and my Dr seems to feel as if I will never need to up my dosage. This seems amazing to me, and as I've been browsing this and other forums it does appear that people do not seem to increase their dosages?

The difference in how I am feeling today compared to just one week ago is nothing short of miraculous. I am very glad I decided to overlook my fear and the stigma surrounding Suboxone and get back to living my life again!


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 Post subject: Speedy feeling?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Today is my sixth day of taking 2mgs of the Suboxone. I just took my dose about an hour ago and I am feeling really "speedy". I've noticed as the days have gone by each time I have felt a little more jittery each time. It's by no means unpleasant however does this mean I should lower my dosage? I'm assuming it's building up in my system?

Any advice is appreciated! Thank you


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:30 am 
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Ggeo, Welcome welcome dear, I read you entire post YES! ENTIRE post. Ha ha I actually was glued the whole way thru... I am SOOOO, VERY HAPPY for you that Suboxone is a positive in your life. I mean if you are miserable and depressed with no motivation to live. I'd certainly want to try anything and everything to change that... so CONGRATS on finding the one thing that seems to be working for you. Who gives a shizzy if ppl think you are nutz...(lol kidding)
With this said, I believe you may be a great canidate for dosing every other day... Why you ask? Well simply put, suboxone's half life is anywhere from 20-60 hrs, so as you take your suboxone each and every day, you are ever increassing the amount of buprenorphine in your blood stream. In all actuality, Suboxone was really meant to be dosed every other day, if I am not mistaken. This may in fact be why you are getting the speedy effect. Perhaps you may even be able to get away with 1mg daily or 2mg every other day, or even 1mg on even days and 2mg on odd days. You should obviously discuss this with your doctor. FYI~ I am not anything but a friggen addict that has some experience with suboxone. So please take my opinion as just THAT. My opinion...So Again WELCOME to this forum, you are absolutely at the right place. Many blessings and happy & productive days ahead....


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:34 am 
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I just first want to say I'm glad you found something that worked for you.

The only reason I'm going to share this with you is bc you mention you were interested in long term use. I was on suboxone for four years and they were the worst four years of my life. Each year the side effects got even worst and the one I'm scared to tell you about which was also my worst and it is becoming more and more common with long term sub users. You will start to lose touch with your emotions and more so become numb and start going through the motions of your everyday life. This doesn't happen to everyone but it's becoming common reoccurrence of late. Also there are NO studies on what long term side effects suboxone could have on the body physically and mentally.

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 Post subject: Thank you!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:40 am 
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Hi Sweet and thank you for the warm welcome and good advice. I too was thinking that because of the crazy long half life of subs that I could probably get away with dosing every other day. I was thinking that maybe I will go down to 1mg tomorrow and stay there for a few days. If that seems ok perhaps I will try 1mg every other day. Can't hurt to try right? Especially as I see most people, even though they are using it to ease opiate withdrawal not to counteract depression, seem to lower their dosages rather quickly.

The point is to use as little as I can get away with correct? I suppose it will become obvious within another week if that small of an amount will still have this positive effect. I admit that I'm a little afraid of messing around too much with dosages though because as of right now things are going so amazingly well for me. I'd really hate to screw that up!

Thanks again


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:16 am 
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Hi BBoy and thank you for posting. I'm genuinely sorry you had a bad experience with Subs.

My situation is very much the opposite. Before I got cancer, and began my opiate journey I had lost interest in everything. I had sold all my horses, quit my job of 23 years, left my 25 year marriage, and sold the ranch my ex and I had built together. I was severely depressed. Then when cancer came and during chemo and radiation I got on Oxycodone I had a complete turnaround and like I stated above, bought a horse again, made new friends and generally enjoyed life again. During chemotherapy, because of Oxycodone I was happier and more productive than I had been for years prior.

Upon quitting opiates for 8 solid months I went into a worse anhedonic state than ever before. I became agoraphobic and had to force myself to do everything. Even taking a shower was a huge job. During this time clean from everything (except for trying antidepressants and having them fail me miserably) when I rode my horse it was out of obligation and guilt only. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't experience joy at all EVER. My relationship with my husband and children was suffering terribly. All I wanted to do was isolate, however I followed the protocol of "fake it til you make it" and kept exercising etc. it wasn't working.

So what you experienced ON Subs is how I feel OFF of Subs. And because i had been depressed and anhedonic way before opiates i felt that no amount of clean time could make me feel like a normal person.

My Dr feels I truly am endorphin deficient and have refractory depression (TRD). It's only been a week on Subs and my life has done a 180. Subs don't feel like opiates to me, they make me feel well....just like a normal person with normal thoughts and emotions. And I react normally to daily stresses unlike before.

I'm willing to take my chances with Suboxone because life before it was truly unbearable for me. Even if it stops working or for some reason I must go off I will have at least had this time where I'm enjoying life again. And as a cancer survivor I believe now in living in the present!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:46 am 
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I also completely forgot to mention how Subs have helped my pain issues! After I withdrew from opiates I had a chance to realize what true pain I was in. Chemo left me with arthritis especially in my hands, along with some neuropathy and some other unidentifiable body pain. (my oncologist thought I may have Lupus because my ANA numbers were questionable.) I also have had terrible gastrointestinal problems for the past six months and was tested for everything including parasites. No answers so far.

Subs erased most of my arthritis and body pain and all of my gastro distress. I've had no more daily diarrhea. My energy level has gone up greatly. After riding my horse even while on opiates I would tire quickly and doing a four hour ride like I did a few days ago would have wiped me out. I felt energized after this last ride!

It also has taken away my desire for alcohol, which I feared I was going to begin using heavily to self medicate, which I know only fuels my depression more.

All in all, after writing all this down I truly see that the pluses from taking Subs have far outweighed any negatives I may possibly have in the future. At this point I'm willing to chance it!


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 Post subject: Sleep!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:53 am 
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Sorry, I don't know how to edit my posts!

I also want to mention my insomnia is gone. Ive been a chronic insomniac for over ten years. Oxycodone took care of that of course. After quitting the Oxy I went back to having insomnia. And I mean BAD insomnia. I know when quitting opiates people have insomnia but like everything else I had terrible insomnia for years prior to opiate use.

Since starting Subs I actually get sleepy and sleep through the night! it's been a god send!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:40 am 
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I have been taking 2mg of Suboxone for probably 5 yrs... My shrink knows I'm bipolar and that's the only reason he keeps scripting Suboxone to me ... We've tried 4 or 5 different ADs over a 3 yr period and they only made me feel worse . There are days when things are really dark , I may take another mg or 1/2 mg but those days are kept to a minimum ... Don't let yourself build tolorence to Suboxone , it's all that works , I cannot even think about what life would be without this drug ... Try to take the smallest amount needed, let your brain do a little of the work keeping you feeling good... Good Luck , Mike .. Crown Point, IN


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 Post subject: Tolerance ?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Hi Painter.

May i ask, How does one keep from building a tolerance to Subs? I've spoken to so many people who have been on the same dosage for years, most of whom actually dropped from higher doses. My plan was actually to try taking a quarter less today to see if I can get away with that because I have noticed, even though this is only me seventh day on it, each time I take it I feel more jittery. This jitteriness is not at all unpleasant, however I'm taking it as a sign that I could in fact take less than 2mgs.

Thanks for the post.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:40 pm 
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Welcome, Gg! I enjoyed reading your posts! I'm really happy for you that you're feeling relief from what certainly sounds like a severe and long standing battle with depression. Personally, I've only suffered from any 'real' depression due to my addiction to opiates which began for me at around 40 years old and lasted around 5 years. The anhedonia that I suffered after detoxing from a LOT of opiates was so severe that I couldn't maintain my sobriety for more than a month or two at a time despite extreme external motivation to do so. After trying so hard to stay "clean" for about 8 or 9 months after my initial brutal detox, I gradually found myself 'cheating' and using small amounts of hydrocodone more and more often, just to get a break from the depression, even for just a few hours. I knew that I was headed for a full blown relapse, so I made the decision to try Suboxone.
Anyway, I kind of know how you feel, although the depression I experienced was relatively short lived compared to yours...and mine was very much substance abuse related rather than organic (if that's an appropriate word choice) like yours seems to be. I just know that it's a very dark, very lonely place to be. So I'm glad you have a doctor who was willing to bend the rules a bit and prescribe it to you for pain and indirectly (or directly) for depression, which would at this time, be a way off-label use, I believe. In your position, having tried all the mainstream treatment modalities with no success...I'd have been willing to try it too. As they say, "this ain't no dress rehearsal," and you've got to find peace, happiness, and enjoyment out this life or what's it worth, right? I'm glad it's working for you.
I wanted to try to answer your question about the tolerance issue. This is just my opinion and based on my own experience and what I gained from others' shared experiences....Tolerance really doesn't seem to be an issue with Sub like it is with full agonist opiates. It has a ceiling level effect which means that once you're on enough that your receptors are full or saturated, taking more will not have any added effects like a buzz or respiratory depression, etc that goes along with the agonists. Therefore, a true tolerance developing is unlikely. That's not to say that you won't read some instances where people believe they are getting tolerant to it, or feel the need to increase their dose for one reason or another, but a lot of the time it's just the old addict thing...if a little is good, then more will be even better! Sometimes though, especially if one is only on 4mg or less a day, they really may need more to keep cravings and withdrawal away, especially if they're coming off a hefty amount of opioids. Dosing issues vary a great deal from one person to another, that's for sure.
Back to your situation...you're not even on it for addiction, so that makes me even more confident that you'll not run into tolerance problems. I would keep your dose as low as you comfortably can, just in case over time it stops working well for you and you want or need off of it at some point. Hope some of that makes sense! Congrats also on kicking cancer's ass! You've been through a lot and you continue to fight for your health and happiness....be proud of yourself!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:42 am 
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Welcome to the forum.
Short and sweet here. Its working for YOU, nothing else really much matters at the end of the day right?


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 Post subject: Thank you!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:52 pm 
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BarelyBoxed, thank you for taking the time to read my ridiculously lengthy posts and for your response! I really appreciate it.

You didnt touch too much on your own expierence. It sounds like you are on Subs now? How have they affected you? Are you happy with your decision? I would really like to hear your story.

I admit I've been reading lots and LOTS of horror stories over the past few days and it's freaking me out. I have to continually remind myself that these people were not in the same awful place I was when they made the decision to go on Suboxone. All were using it for its intended purpose; to detox from opiates. And most of the horror stories are from people who stayed on Subs long-term. Seems like most who used it for a month long detox or less were very happy with the results.

I made a mistake today and swallowed my Sub pill! I've no idea what I was thinking! Well obviously I do, I WASN'T thinking! Duh. I wasn't sure what to do so I redosed correctly. This means I'm one pill short now. I figure this isnt a big deal because of the half life and at some point, probably better sooner than later, I will have to half dose for a couple of days.

Anyway, again, thanks for posting, and if you have the inclination I'd love to hear your own story.

PS Scofflaw, yes you are right. I just need to remind myself that now and again. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Hey Ggeo!

Welcome! I too read you whole post and let me first say....congrats on kicking some cancer butt! I have been on suboxone for almost 6 years now. I had a very very (18+ years) long addiction to mostly pain meds but many other drugs as well. Your story is unique, and I am really interested in hearing more! Everyone is different, and medication has different effects on folks of course. You have been given some excellent advice on dosing here. Are you eating a little something before you dose? You might try that to see if it helps with the jitters any.

I have nothing bad to say about my years on sub. Sure, it has risks just like all other medicines do. Do those risks outweigh the benefits? Sounds like your doctor has started you on a reasonable dose. Unlike some other ADs, you shouldn't need any increases. I do hope you hang out and let us know how it is going for you! :D As for right now sit back and enjoy the ride, sounds like you deserve it!

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 Post subject: Long-Term Sub use
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Hi My! 

Thank you for the post. It's very encouraging! Frankly, I'd love to hear more about your situation. What's your dosage? Did you have to raise or lower your dosage? Are you using it for depression, or ? Side effects? Do you have plans to discontinue it ever? If so, why? I'm really interested to hear your success story, especially because I've been reading so many negative stories from peoples' experiences from using Subs long term. 

Today I was faced with an emotionally stressful situation and the difference between how I handled it today and how I would have felt just last week is like night and day. The problem didn't seem ridiculously overwhelming and like it was the end of the world. Today I felt ready to take on the problem not just run from it like I have been doing. It's truly amazing (and kind of scary) how Suboxone has shown me that I can manage my life and it's difficulties.  I recall from reading other peoples' stories in the past how Subs had made their life more "manageable". Now I get what they are saying. It doesn't just keep one from relapsing, as I wasn't going to relapse on Oxy.....it's hard to put into words....it just seems to have reset my brain chemistry or something so I react and feel like a "normal" person would. 

So far, I'm beyond thrilled with the results!


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 Post subject: Dosing Qusetion
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:53 pm 
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I've only been on Suboxone for a little over a week. I notice that when I first take it i get a bit of a speedy feeling. (It's not unpleasant however.) Then about 6-8 hours later I crash and get very tired. 

When I first started the Subs I started dosing at 4 pm, so I was wide awake until about 11pm and then would fall asleep. I'd wake up really groggy and need coffee, something I haven't drank in years. So I started dosing in the morning, around 9am to take advantage of the energy, however now I'm crashing at around 5pm. 

Upon researching this I have read that this may mean I'm on too high of a dose? I'm only on 2mgs. Since it's working so well otherwise I'm reticent to take less. Should I split my 2mgs into two 1mg doses? There seems to be a trend towards once a day dosing I've noticed. 

Maybe this will just go away with time? As it builds up perhaps it will level out in my body? 

Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Hey GGeo
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:16 pm 
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At lower doses, Less than 4 mg a day, it is common to split the dose. Particularly in pain management. Ask your doctor if it would be ok to try 1 mg twice a day. Or do what some of my patients do, try it, then ask for forgiveness. I think Dr. J may have had a couple of blog posts about this on the talk zone. PAX


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:15 am 
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Great advice docm, I highly recommend to any newcomer to read Dr j's blogs on many subjects. This is were I've made choises that cut though some of the haze. It's all there. Then later I talk some of my findings with my Dr. Many good posters here but hard to find they truth at times.. Hope this helps any and everyone.. raz....


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