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 Post subject: Will these ever change?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:45 am 
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My girlfriend and I recently started taking suboxone as part of an out-patient program. I'm on 16mg / day (but I really only take from 4-8mg / day usually) and she's on 20mg / day (and she takes all 20mg religiously).

I haven't really noticed any serious side effects personally other than a bit of malaise. I recently was diagnosed ADHD and have been taking Vyvanse for that and it's been working great. I was really under the impression I was set, but recently after taking Subs for about a month and a half have been experiencing a mild depression which is manageable, but annoying.

My girlfriend on the other hand has been experiencing a *lot* of joint/body aches and NO sex drive at all. Every morning she wakes up and doesn't want to get out of bed and her whole body hurts. She usually thinks that it's a sign that she needs to take her suboxone, but the body and joint aches continue. In addition to that, she has absolutely no sex drive at all. It ends up making her feel really guilty because it negatively affects me. I've always trusted my girlfriend (and we've been together for 3 years) and for the first time in years I started thinking she was cheating or didn't want me anymore, etc. and she swears up and down that it's just that she doesn't feel sexual at all. Even on heroin we used to have sex at least 3-4 times a week for over a year, so this change is pretty drastic. Before she was using heroin we would have sex probably twice a week or so. It wasn't until I started checking the side effects of suboxone regarding the body aches for her that I realized the sex drive thing was related to suboxone too.

Are both of these side effects common for women? Do they usually change over time or is it pretty safe to say that she will have the body aches and no sex drive for the duration of her usage of suboxone? Both are really unmanageable for her (and for me!). The body aches make her not want to do anything at all and the lack of sex drive makes her depressed and feel guilty. Does subutex have the same side effects if she reacts this way to suboxone?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:56 pm 
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only advice I can give you is get out and heal your body, it's hurt from the dope and needs to heal, just like a cut on your finger. The best thing I can say is go out and take walks, or work out WITH your girlfriend, and eat healthy, a little bit of everything fruit, veggies, meat, carbs. I'm a chef and a nutritionist and I went through what both of you are going through, tired, depressed, muscle pain, joint pain, loss of libido. All were CURED with getting up and treating my body right, I walk the dog, eat better (lots of fruit/veggie juice) and work out when I can. Plus doing everything together will help each other stay on course, and I'd bet both of you feel a lot better about your relationship. If that doesn't work ask a doctor about supplements.
GOOD LUCK!!

JayJay Sober since July 9th, 2008.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:59 pm 
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I can tell you that for me, opiates completely kill my sex drive. Not just suboxone, but any opiate would do this. My wife never believed me that it was all opiate induced, but yes it can. If I did have a sex drive, I'd experience 'retrograde ejaculation' as well, which was PAINFUL.

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 Post subject: Joint and body aches.
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:06 am 
The joint and body aches are not just a woman's symptom. I used to have them much worse than I do now, but I can also say that reducing my dose helped. For me excessive sexual, urination (trouble peeing), and joint problems were a sign that my doe was too high. I reduced the dose and most of this either disappeared or at least become manageable. Your wife/ or girlfriend rather, shoud consider this and talk to her Dr. about it. (or just do it).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:34 am 
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The body aches come and go, and can be more intense around that "time of the month" for women.I have experienced this, and also go through a hibernation period at that time too. I usually have a day where I sleep for at least 12-16 hours straight on a monthly basis. As far as sex drive- I have NONE now.When on opiates, I did have one and have always been a very sexual person.Now, it is non existent. It is rough at times, but then I think that maybe it isn't so bad because it was an area of my life that needed work. Hopefully it will improve, but there is always hormone therapy.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:17 pm 
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My girlfriend and I spoke about it some more and she's going to talk to her doctor about tapering off. The program that her and I are in basically requires ex-opiate addicts take suboxone/subutex and everyone take antabuse. I'm not taking antabuse since I hadn't drank 6 months prior to the program, however she is, but not regularly (only when they demand she take it in front of them).

Thing is, I've been in numerous in-patient and out-patient programs and continued to relapse until now. While suboxone, in my opinion, is a miracle drug when it comes to detoxing, I don't really feel like I need it any longer, but not because it cured me or anything. I was recently diagnosed ADHD and prescribed Vyvanse and since treating my "core" problem, I honestly don't even think about heroin anymore. Even when I forget to take my suboxone and notice I'm getting dope sick, I don't even think about heroin then, which is, for me, unbelievable. In fact, this is the first time in my whole life since I started using heroin that I haven't felt a near constant desire to acquire drugs or use drugs. I genuinely believe this is attributed to the fact that ADHD was causing a symptom of substance abuse used to cope with my feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame, etc. regarding my ruined life and my inability to do anything about it, whether I was on or off drugs.

My girlfriend, on the other hand, was thoroughly tested by the doctor at the program and he feels that she is without mental disorder. There are times that I'd certainly disagree with him on that (hee hee), but as a whole, I don't even see anything, disorder-wise, that would make her life unmanageable. She does exhibit a lot of symptoms of hypomania, bipolar, and ADHD, e.g. impulsiveness, recklessness, impatience, twitchiness, racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, mood swings, etc, but she has a lot of trouble identifying them on her own, only when they're pointed out to her by others, and as I mentioned before, none are consistent and intense enough to cause serious unmanageability. Furthermore, she still has a lot of cravings. She hasn't expressed to me that they are so intense to make her go through ridiculous hoops to use, but are certainly bothersome and causing her lots of emotional stress.

My concern is thus, if she does have a disorder which isn't being properly identified, or maybe even just needs therapy, I'm afraid the cravings will intensify as she tapers down. Is it possible that having even the mild opiate touch of suboxone could be triggering these cravings? She's only used heroin for less than a year, while I've been using it for almost ten. She was using maybe 200mg per day, I was using about 1000mg per day. I'm on a fraction of the suboxone she is, and I have no cravings at all.

I guess there's only one way to find out for sure, but was curious if anyone had experienced similar situations and could comment.

Thanks for everyone's great input, I reaaally appreciate the support in this difficult time for us.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 2:20 pm 
I've been on Suboxone for about 3 months, and all this time I thought I was the only one with these symptoms. Don't get me wrong: if it weren't for Subs, I would probably be spending the majority of the rest of my life in jail (prescription fraud). So I give this medicine the credit for allowing me to live in a level of freedom I couldn't achieve on my own.
However, about a month after I started taking Suboxone at 16 mg's a day I started to get signs of severe arthritis such as very inflamed joints (especially fingers,hips,knees, and knees), stiff legs, sore feet, and a very hard time unbending and walking when I first get out of bed in the morning. And I am only a 27 year old male! I have lowered my dose of Suboxone to just 8 mg per day, but it didn't seem to help so now I take Tylenol arthritis to control the pain.
The other thing is the sex drive. Suboxone has destroyed it. I mean absolutely 100% gone. It's starting to be a sad trade off - my sobriety on the one hand, or intimate relationships on the other. But I value my freedom more than physical contact, so I continue to make the choice for Suboxone. Oh, btw, the last time I saw my doctor he prescribed Wellbutrin XL 150 mg to try to counteract the sexual side effects. It's been about 10 days and hasn't worked yet but I'm going to get him to double it next time I see him. I'll keep you guys posted if it works.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:31 pm 
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If I may ask.....why is your girlfriend asking to taper off COMPLETELY? I do understand the aches and lack of libido are bothersome and the arthritic-type pain in the joints can be excrutiating but a significantly lesser dose of buprenorphine may curb that issue. I, too, had the joint aches and additionally experienced rather painful episodes of my extremities falling asleep for what appeared to be no reason. Since tapering to 4 mgs of Sub a day both of those issues although not gone completely occur FAR less frequently and are no longer actually painful. Similar to what your girlfriend is experiencing, I could barely walk in the morning. Several times I got up and immediately fell on the floor from the lack of mobility in my joints.
Are you aware that there will be withdrawal symptoms from the buprenorphine? With the proper taper they can be significantly lessened and although it is nowhere near as bad as being dope sick they will last for a much longer period of time due to the rather long half life of the drug. Plus, isn't it better to remain on the drug (especially for her with her cravings) so that even if the mood and the urge should strike, it would be a waste of time and money because the buprenorphine would block the effects of an opiate?
As far as her cravings are concerned, it is my opinion that "cravings" are a personal thing. Suboxone, again in my opinion, has very little to do with that. Sub only takes away the body's physical "need" for the drug. The brain's "need" for the drug is something completely different. You very well may not be having the urge because you are far more grateful for the wonder that is Suboxone having used for 10 yrs. She, on the other hand, only used for a year so perhaps her bottom has not been hit yet, proverbially speaking. She has probably experienced a fraction of the pain that you have regarding addiction. Does she go to meetings or therapy or anything of the sort? Sounds as if she may need a support group of some kind.
Please don't take any of these things that I am saying the wrong way. I am by no means a professional. I am just an ex-junkie with a lot of experiences and opinions.
Wish that I could help with the libido thing, that's one thing that I don't have an opinion on. Thankfully mine and my husband's sex life was unaffected both by our d.o.c. and Suboxone.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:17 am 
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Just mho....based on nothing but my observations/conversations with others and what I've read....but it seems that more often than not that those complaining of suboxone side effects having a serious impact on their lives are on the higher end of the dosage scale (I'm thinking 16 mg/day +)

Seems like on the lower end (12mg daily or less) side effects are less common, less severe when they do occur, and often transient.

So, maybe your GF might want to consider reducing her doseage some....and see if that doesn't help.

As I said, this is based on absolutely nothing scientific, just my observation.


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