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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Hey Everyone,

Although I'm sure this has been touched on these boards before, I wanted to start a thread detailing my experiences with Suboxone as treatment for Depression only. Throughout the web you can find stories here and there of people getting on this medicine to treat their depression, but it's tough to say if they are true or not. I will use this thread to help anyone of thinking of pursuing this treatment option for themselves. This thread will be 100% honest with no embellishing of facts or attempts to make the med seem like something more then it is. This is only from my experience, your experience may certainly vary.

A brief backgroung on me. I suffer from depression (MDD) with suicidal ideation. I do not have anxiety at all. I was hospitalized 4 years ago after an attempt on my life. This is when the Anti Depreessant med merry-go-round started. I originally was put on the AD Wellbutrin which made me feel great for two days and then it disappeared...a tease of feeling 'normal' that never returned in years of taking the med. During this time I was also put on various AD's including Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Pristiq, Remeron, Seroquel XR, Abilify and others...all which had more side effects to them, then any positive effects on my mood. For four years I followed my PDoc's recommendations for treatment, only interjecting medication choices at times to avoid nastier AD's like Paxil and Effexor. Late last year I decided enough was enough and visited my GP looking for new options...

At the time we tapered my off of the current combo which was Seroquel XR, Zoloft and Wellbutrin. Since Wellbutrin was the only med to help...if only a little we decided to try a stimulant (adderall) to see if that might be effective in giving me energy. Adderall was the second medicine to give me a few days of feeling really good...followed by a much diminished effect...Adderall was very effective in giving me energy and helping me complete tasks that would have otherwise been left unfinished.

Coming into 2012 and now knowing two meds that helped briefly..clearly Dopamine is my problem area. I knew about Suboxone for years in reading a few stories(very few) online about people who had the luck of having in prescribed for them...but who knows if they were telling the truth. I asked my GP if he could refer me to a Suboxone doctor....he seemed onboard with the idea but was unable to find colleagues who would prescibe it strictly for depression...they would only see you if you were an addict or in pain.

I went to suboxone's website and printed out a list of the 100 closest doctors to me who were able to prescribe it. Calling around was little help as the secretaries wouldn't talk to you if you were not addicted. So I hit the letter route...I sent out letters to doctors explaining that I was looking to have Suboxone prescribed for depression and what my reasons were. I received 8 replies to the numerous letters I sent out and only one actually responded in a way that let me know he read my letter and might help.

His practice was 50 miles away...but I made and appointment and the rest is history. In short if your looking for treatment with suboxone for depression it's not going to be easy to find a doc...but if your honest and do it legimately....a doctor can be found....I'm living proof. thanks for Reading so far..

My journal of starting the med will start shortly....


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Ok, so with my back story out of the way let's get into my experience with Suboxone.

First of all I am obviously opiate naive...I have no tolerance to opiates nor any experience with abusing them, so any dose of suboxone was going to hit me quite hard. My doctor and I decided on the film strips as they would be easier to cut and dose then the tablets.

Day 1+2

It was decided I would take the smallest dose possible to start and work my way up to the dose that made me "feel the way I wanted to feel" (my doctor's words). Obviously we were using 2mg strips here so my first dose was maybe 1/4 mg tops. About an hour after taking my first dose I could feel it hit. I basically felt they way people do after a few drinks or so. Slightly buzzed and relaxed. It was a comfortable feeling, not at all unpleasant and almost very subtle. This feeling lasted around 4 hours with a definitive 'comeup' and 'comedown' but nothing drastic. My biggest complaint...itching...which has happened to me before using Percoset for pain relief. Funny thing is although annoying...I don't mind it since the other feelings make everything ok.

Day 3

This day did not go as well...whereas there was a definite good feeling again...I developed car sickness, during a long drive I had to do. This is not a normal occurance for me and I literally got sick to my stomach later in the ride. For the rest of the night I felt nauseas and genuinely out of sorts. This may have been a virus or something...but I did read Suboxone can make you more prone to motion sickness and nausea.

Day 4+5

I moved my dose to the morning so I could see how the drug affected me in the work environment. I dosed around 10am and by 11 I was hit by nausea along with the usual good feelings of the med. I fought through the nausea and it eventually subsided leaving just the positive benefit from the med. It did not effect my ability to work, and although it's much nicer to sit and relax while under the influence of the med, it also helped make work much more tolerable. Oddly one thing it did seem to do was make me want to avoid people...not a good thing when you work in sales.

Day 6

I continue to dose the med at 10am only today I decide to take a bigger slice of the film due to my uneven cutting. BIG mistake. It was probably about 3/4 of a mg so again we are talking really small dose here...but it hit me hard. Too hard. I was extremely nauseasous and didn't know what to do...throw up, pass out, enjoy the rush or run around naked. I was vey confused as to what I was feeling and I was alone in an area of work I could not leave so I was in a way trapped. It was not a good feeling...way to intense...and very uncomfortable...the comeup and comedown were MUCH stronger under this dose as well. This was welcome...the peak of the effect was not. I begin to ask myself if this is what people feel...how do they stand it???

Day 7

With the prior day's mistake out of the way I resumed taking my usual dose (which is now approx 1/2mg) in the morning. The nausea is not going away so I asked my doctor for promethazine. When I take the promethazine within 30 minutes of taking the Suboxone I do not get any nausea....it also seems to tweak the sub a bit to make it feel a little stronger.

This ends weeks one...thanks for reading.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:28 pm 
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The itchiness, nausea, the good feelings lasting a few hours, and the comeup and comedown feelings...sounds like, since you are opiate naive, you are getting the opiate high, just like people do who first start taking 1 or 2 Vicodin or Norco, or whatever. These symptoms will probably go away after your body gets used to the sub because you will probably develop a tolerance.

I don't remember if you said you have ever taken opiates before, but if you did, was there any difference in the feeling?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:28 pm 
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We all turned to opiates for depression too, illegally tho, everyone I know who started using is because of depression and anxiety.yor drug dealer just happens to be a pharmacist instead of a street dealer. Your gettin High from the subs and that will stop very soon and you will want to get High still and you may move to heavier opiates. Best of luck for me becoming addicted for life beats my depression so I don't care, hope you feel the same.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Taurus - I've had experience using Oxy's before. I had them left over from a surgery and used them recreationally to get 'high'. Two of them (don't recall the dose) and I woudn't have cared if a dump truck came through my house. The itchyness and sedating effect was much stronger when taking the oxy's for sure. Overall the effect from the Suboxone is MUCH more subtle and nothing close to the potency of the Oxy's. I would not classify what I feel on the Suboxone as Euphoria...it's much like others describe...I can feel 'something' and it has a postive effect on my mood so it's a plus for the time being.

Oclafsti - If I had access to opiates I have no doubt I would have become an addict a long time ago. It's no secret that opiates were used in the treatment for depression before the advent of the first tricyclic AD's in the 1950's. The 'remission' rate was also much higher then, then it is now using conventional AD's. However 'higher' is the key word here, as we had people getting high to beat their depression....not the best solution to the problem. Suboxone does not get me high....not even close....but it does help me 'feel' and has a positive impact on my mood, so to that effect its better then any AD I have ever been on.


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 Post subject: sub for depression
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:00 pm 
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I don't understand this at all. If the DEA found out that this doctor prescribed an opiate for depression, the doc would probably lose his/her license. I wonder what your file says for a dx? Maybe the doc assumed you were/are an addict and are simply lying to him. Did you have to do a UA?

That said, I find it outrageous and totally against the notion of liberty in this country that we are not allowed to ingest any drug we see fit. Alcohol is OK, but pot is not? People become tolerant to alcohol and pot just as they do to opiates. Simply put, the reason most "recreational" drugs are illegal is because the pharmaceutical companies can't make money off them. I used to hear benzos referred to as "whiskey in a pill". Why can't I buy zanax at my local grocery store? Our drug laws are a joke.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:56 pm 
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I really hope this line of treatment works for you Darken. It sounds like you've been through a hell of a ride thus far.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Darken I think sub has the potential to be your lifesaver just as it has for most of us. I don't think you'll have a problem keeping your dose low as long as you keep your doses spread at least 24 hours apart. You might be able to dose every 36 to 48 hours. In doing this it should maintain its effects without any tolerance building. Does this make sense anybody?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:27 pm 
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I wish Sub worked as an anti-depressant for me, but I get depressed just as much on Sub as I did while I was abstinent. I think maybe it's because I'm tolerant to opioids now. When I first started using them, they were fucking fantastic anti-depressants that cured me of all my woes. Then I became tolerant to them, and now I'm dependent on opioids with no benefit. Damnit!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Year jerker when did this hooen, not bein able to feel the opioids , I was told there's a honey moon era but I've been on them a year and still great


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:26 am 
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After a couple of years of using opioids they stopped having that consistent euphoric high. That's when I started mixing with benzos and other drugs to chase that feeling. A couple of years later I found that if I used when I was depressed, I ended up feeling even more depressed. Same with alcohol. It seems that these days depressants just make me more depressed!

By that stage I was dependent.

I'd still get intense cravings to use opioids though - whether it was Sub or heroin or whatever ... Even though I knew I'd just feel worse. I guess that's addiction.

If Sub was such a great anti-depressant I wouldn't be feeling like I am right now.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:39 am 
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Yeah I fluctuate my doses and it seems to be working to not get tolerant, how's mixing it with benzos?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:36 am 
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That's just one of the many thing I clutched at to try and get opioids working again.

If opioids had any kinda anti-depressant effect on me I'd still be devoting my life to them.


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 Post subject: Re: sub for depression
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:48 am 
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Jimmy wrote:
I don't understand this at all. If the DEA found out that this doctor prescribed an opiate for depression, the doc would probably lose his/her license. I wonder what your file says for a dx? Maybe the doc assumed you were/are an addict and are simply lying to him. Did you have to do a UA?

That said, I find it outrageous and totally against the notion of liberty in this country that we are not allowed to ingest any drug we see fit. Alcohol is OK, but pot is not? People become tolerant to alcohol and pot just as they do to opiates. Simply put, the reason most "recreational" drugs are illegal is because the pharmaceutical companies can't make money off them. I used to hear benzos referred to as "whiskey in a pill". Why can't I buy zanax at my local grocery store? Our drug laws are a joke.


This is an off-label use of a medication, just like off-label use of any other medication and it is completely legal. It's no different that my doctor using suboxone off-label as a pain medication. Or using Trazodone off-label as a sleep med (it's an atypical antidepressant). There are studies ongoing (and previous) concerning treating depression with suboxone, so it's not completely unheard of either. It has been used for this on other people and studies are encouraging.


Darken - I REALLY hope this works for you. Obviously your Major Depression is treatment-resistant and I understand how destructive to your life that can be. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.

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 Post subject: Re: sub for depression
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:04 pm 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
Jimmy wrote:
I don't understand this at all. If the DEA found out that this doctor prescribed an opiate for depression, the doc would probably lose his/her license. I wonder what your file says for a dx? Maybe the doc assumed you were/are an addict and are simply lying to him. Did you have to do a UA?

That said, I find it outrageous and totally against the notion of liberty in this country that we are not allowed to ingest any drug we see fit. Alcohol is OK, but pot is not? People become tolerant to alcohol and pot just as they do to opiates. Simply put, the reason most "recreational" drugs are illegal is because the pharmaceutical companies can't make money off them. I used to hear benzos referred to as "whiskey in a pill". Why can't I buy zanax at my local grocery store? Our drug laws are a joke.


This is an off-label use of a medication, just like off-label use of any other medication and it is completely legal. It's no different that my doctor using suboxone off-label as a pain medication. Or using Trazodone off-label as a sleep med (it's an atypical antidepressant). There are studies ongoing (and previous) concerning treating depression with suboxone, so it's not completely unheard of either. It has been used for this on other people and studies are encouraging.


Darken - I REALLY hope this works for you. Obviously your Major Depression is treatment-resistant and I understand how destructive to your life that can be. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.



It's nothing like using those other medications or a off-use because only suboxone makes you become addicted to it, totally different man


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments everyone.

Well first off, to address the comments on whether Suboxone could be prescribed for Depression. This falls under two areas...the first is whether the doctor would even consider such a thing. In most cases the answer is no...normally the only ones who would even think along this route would be Psychiatrists...as they are more apt to be dealing with people who have other MI's then just addiction. However, it could also be a possibility with an MD as well who did not specialize in addiction. I was lucky enough to find a GP who had tried it successfully with patients and was not against thinking outside the box. The second part is as was already mentioned the doctor need only inform you that you would be using the drug Off-label...to prescribe it legally. Which he did both before the appointment and during the appointment....and of course I already knew this.


As we now roll into week three I am finding my experience with Sub to be much the same. I am now dosing 1/2 mg in the morning and 1/2 mg at night...while this may be unecessary, since I can feel the dose take effect each time I take it, I decided to 'up' the medication in this route as opposed to taking 1mg at one shot...my experience with taking 3/4 mg in one dose was so harsh that I am in no hurry to repeat that anytime soon. The affect on my mood has been tremendous...however the on and off nausea is getting very old. There is no rhyme or reason as to when it hits...but it can usually be tempered with Promethazine....If I was smart I would just take them together as a rule, but I am trying to take as few meds as possible...so if I don't need the Promethazine I don't take it...some days I don't get nausea...others I do.

One of the effects I would like feedback on is sleep. When I dose the Suboxone at night and lay down to go to sleep I can really 'feel' the medication. It's a very mellow feeling where I am awake yet have no sense of time..sometimes I'll lay there for hours feeling 'good' but not realizing it's been that long. I am unable to actually 'fall' asleep during this time...whereas if I normally put my head down I'll be asleep in no time. I have been prescribed low dose Seroquel which works like a champ for deep sleep...but in the end I'd rather not be on it at all....again I don't need any weird interactions and the less medicaiton the better.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:45 pm 
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Try taking all your Sub in the morning. Buprenorphine has a slight stimulant effect I've found, and taking it right before bed always gives me a hit of energy that makes it hard to sleep. Having one dose a day in the morning helps this I've found. Otherwise, if you must split, try to have your evening dose earlier.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:58 pm 
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Going into week 4 now I feel things have stabilized a bit. I've learned from past experience with Anti-depressant medications that it's necessary to work your way through the early phases of starting the drug to see how your body will ultimately react.

I have the current dosage at 1mg a day...1/2 in the morning and 1/2 at night. With this dose I can 'feel' the medication but not get 'hit hard' by it. I suppose at some point I can start experimenting with taking more in the morning or all 1 mg at once I can handle it moving the whole dose to the morning...but for right now I am taking the 'if it's not broke don't fix it' mentality.

Clearly the medication has been beneficial to my mood. Two reasons I feel this is the case are the low amount of side effects. (right now all I have is occasional nausea which may or may not be due to the Suboxone..and difficulty urinating) A far cry from the plethora of side effects most AD's have. The second reason is you can feel a lift from the medication...call it a boost of energy...call it a more positive sense of well-being...it's the first medication I've ever been able to tell was working in a positive manner....usually the side effects outweigh any benefit from the medication.

Of course the danger now is crossing that one month barrier where I am almost certain to experience withdrawl effects should I ever need to come off the medication. I knew this coming on of course...and with the medication apparently working for me there is no reason to fear this...but there is the natural fear of medication 'poop out' where the med seemingly has no more positive effect on you...and a need to come off will be necessary. Hopefully this is not something I Will have to worry about for some time. I came into this struggle with the knowledge that this could be long term...let's hope it's effective long term.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:35 pm 
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Unfortunately all the studies I've come across using bup as an antidepressant only did it for a short period of time -- 3 weeks max. Yes, it showed FAR greater efficacy as well as almost instantaneous remission of depression -- but 3 weeks? That's only about as long as it takes to become tolerant. So those studies, in my mind, say nothing more than than the studies in the 50s which showed morphine was superior to any AD available -- for a very short period of time.

Looking forward to seeing how you feel in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months...

OH and BTW I am pretty sure that Suboxone is the ONLY drug that cannot be prescribed off-label. That's my understanding of the law that was passed -- it was approved for addiction treatment ONLY. I think it's wrong that MDs can't use their own discretion in practicing medicine, that this is legislated. But someone correct me if I'm wrong, I'm pretty sure Sub cannot be scripted off label. I'm curious what your chart at the Doc's office actually says....


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:02 pm 
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My own prescription is for pain, which is quite clearly not opiate addiction and is therefore off-label. The label on the bottle itself actually says, "for chronic pain" and it's been that way for nearly three years. I'm sure if it was expressly disallowed the pharmacist would have taken action by now.

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