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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:05 pm 
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First of all, thank you everyone on this site for letting me lurk at your posts while I was in the process of quitting subutex. You all really inspired me, helped me, and I am finally now ready to contribute by hopefully giving some hope to others who want to stop subs. And since I was someone on it for a long time, I thought this might be of interest.

I’ll try to make the background story short: Got addicted to vicodin while taking it for chronic lower back and neck pain due to car accidents. I only abused it daily for 3 months (8-12 tabs a day). But of course it felt so good, took care of the pain, and after I crashed my car while on vicodin, doctor put me on subutex (I was never on suboxone).

Fast forward to the taper: Was on 16 mg/day for first 2 years, 8 mgs/day for the 3rd year. And about 1 year ago I tapered from 8 mg to 2 mg/day in the time span of about 4 months. I felt some withdrawal sx while reducing, but not too hard to deal with. Between Aug 09 to Jan ‘10 I stayed on 2mg/day. I successfully tapered over one month to 1mg/day by Feb. Then all of Feb I tapered to and maintained at 0.5 mg/day. It then took me 3 months to taper from 0.5 mg/day to approx 0.125 to 0.25 mg/day, then I stopped on May 27, '10 after a total of 4 years on subutex. (I broke my subutex/ used a pill cutter to cut the 2mg pill down to tiny little pieces and approximated the dosage).

During the taper, mostly at the end with the small dosages, I had a lot of problems feeling withdrawals pretty quickly…did have some RLS and foot cramping, cold feet, but that didn’t last too long. I could never skip a day towards the end without shaking and diarrhea. (But right now it feels so good to have a normal bowel movement every day after being constipated for 4 years!!!). So right before I quit (last dose May 27), I went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life (instead of my prescribing doctor) and he was very caring (although the psychiatrist prescribes subs too and says subs are safe to stay on for the rest of your life). He respected my decision to quit and he wanted me to be comfortable. He gave me a prescription for clonidine and that made all the difference in assisting me to stop (and mentally I think it helped too).

Another note: I had migraines/headaches while tapering and minor headaches after stopping subutex, but I also have a history of migraines prior to subutex so it may only be semi-related.

So here’s a quick recap of my progress once off subutex while taking clonidine every night starting May 27 (last dose of sub):

Day 1: 5/28: daytime very slight shakiness and then slight restlessness at night (I worked today which kept me occupied). Intermittent sleep.

Day 2: sneezing a lot, no shakiness, but felt a bit “uneasy”, a bit tired and my legs felt “bricklike” but not bad. Intermittent sleep.

Day 3: stayed busy at a bbq socializing. Some diarrhea, took immodium and was resolved. Very fatigued, sneezing, uneasy feeling. Terrible sleep.

Day 4: slightly uneasy feeling, sneezing, tired…poor sleep: this day was probably the hardest withdrawal day and it really wasn’t bad.

Day 5: back to work today for whole week: no withdrawal sx: just very very tired. Poor sleep.
Day 6: EXTREME fatigue…really hit me this day: yawning, sneezing
Day 7: extreme malaise, exhausted, slight nighttime restlessness.
Days 8, 9, 10: daytime fatigue, sneezing decreased, waking up a lot in middle of night.

At this point the MD encouraged me to take 0.5 mg klonopin at night for only a few weeks to get my sleep cycle back. I had been trying trazadone (what I used to take before for sleep as it has always been an issue) and it just wasn’t working. So the klonopin has really helped with my sleep. I only wake up once or twice now in the middle of the night and am able to fall back asleep. I am still taking 0.1 mg clonidine/night (took 0.2 mg the first 2 wks) and overall I’m feeling pretty good. I still have some very minor night time restlessness, and fatigue, but it is improving. I’d say days 6- 20 were the worst as far as lack of energy and fatigue. I did add some tyrosine supplements recently which helped a little. I worked the entire time (Mon thru Fri) which really helped in just keeping busy. Exercise was a little tough because I ended up with a respiratory infection and on antibiotics and inhalers on around day 15 – 22. The biggest challenge so far is that my back pain returned with a vengeance this past week, and I had to tell my brain to deal with it and take some advil. Lots of stretching, walking and hot showers have helped a bit, but I realize I can/need to deal with it with mind over matter instead of opiates.

So I’d have to say at day 26 off subs now, this really hasn’t been bad at all…the very long and slow taper I believe help minimize my withdrawal symptoms and I feel like I’m on the mend. If you have any questions feel free to respond. I will continue to update on my progress. And thank you again to so many of you who inspired me with your stories while I was tapering and stopping.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:16 pm 
Thank you very much for posting that, Whynot. You certainly have contributed hope to those of us who have plans to come off Sub someday. It sure sounds like you and your doctor did it "right" in terms of seeing to it that you were as comfortable as possible during your taper and withdrawal from the drug. You're right....you were on it a good while!! It does seem like you were on a pretty good amount for a pretty long time before tapering considering that it doesn't sound like your addiction to opiates was too God-awful for too awfully long. BUT.....that doesn't seem to matter all that much....an addict is an addict is an addict.....is what most professionals will tell us. And I surely do believe that "it takes as long as it takes" when it comes to allowing enough time on buprenorphine and enough time tapering and stopping to allow ourselves the best chance at getting and staying out of active addiction. There are many who have or are choosing to just stay on it forever to keep from ever going back into that cycle. It's just something that one must decide for themselves with the help of their doctor.
In any case....again, thank you for posting your experiences! It is so refreshing to see another 'successful' story. I hope you'll keep posting as the weeks and months pass so we can know how things progress over time for you. I'm glad you're finding that you are feeling better and better! Congratulations on what you have accomplished! This is no easy thing, that's for sure!!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Thank you, Setmefree, for your words of encouragement...I was so excited to get a reply to my thread!! Yes, it was very hard to face up to my addiction although it was a short one. Especially because I came from a "good home", no addictions in my family, was always viewed by others as "straight-laced", had several opportunities to try heavy drugs and never tried them, but generally hung around a drug free crowd. I never purchased drugs off the street or anything like that. Just ended up abusing prescribed vicodin and lying to my MD about how bad the back pain was and then he'd prescribe me more and more vicodin. And then the high was so great, next thing you know I was addicted. Had I not rolled/crashed my car while on vicodin, I could have kept going the same way for who knows how long. I miraculously walked away from that crash with barely a scratch....which made me really think and woke me up to what I was doing to myself and possibly others on the road that day.

The interesting thing is that about 6 months after I started on subs, I ended up getting hit on the freeway by a hit and run driver who totaled my car and it set me back with a new severe neck injury and a torn rotator cuff so hence subs for real pain control in addition to keep me away from vicodin. So I just was not ready to get off of subs for a long time, also due to a pretty physical job at the time and multiple other stressors.

Anyways, it's been 4 wks since my last crumb of subutex and my back feels good again, no cravings for opiates, and my energy is returning. I also feel my concentration is a lot better and not being constipated from the subs feels amazing! I also have money to spend on other things rather than the subs! I find that as long as I keep myself busy, I feel pretty good.

Side note about my back pain: that was the only time I started craving subs/vicodin again....but mind over mattter and telling myself the craving would pass and taking advil was the way I coped. I know I need to handle future episodes of pain the same way (plus the physical therapy on my own and if necessary go back to PT if it gets real bad).

I've been following your posts as well, SetmeFree and I wish you all the success in the world when you decide to stop subs and support from me should you need it. Your words of encouragement are special.....even though I'm off subs, it's still a long haul and we all need to recognize that relapse is possible, so thank you again for your post to me!!!

If anyone has any questions about tapering, stopping, etc...especially after long term use, feel free to ask!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:57 pm 
whynot - thanks for your inspiring story and sharing your tapering experience. I also got in an accident while on sub. I got a pretty bad case of whiplash, but have been feeling much better over the past few weeks. Then I started tapering my sub dose for other reasons. Next thing I know my neck is hurting again - so I guess the subs were covering the pain at higher doses. Now I'm kind of in an akward spot because I didn't disclose to my orthopedic doc that I'm on sub, but I think I have been under-reporting the level of pain all along. Anyway, it's helpful to hear that someone else has been through a similar situation and dealt with it successfully. Good luck in your continued recovery.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:18 pm 
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nice to hear you were able to get off suscessfully the first time after 4 years!! but how do you think im goin to be im quiting off .5mg and goin to basic training this tuesday i was suspose to leave in 5 months but got oders to leave on tuesday i hope i can deal with this!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:24 am 
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@ whynot. Loved your post! It will give me the strength I need to kick sub when I am ready mentally. I came off a nasty 200+ 10/325 norco habit per month, plus intermittent with oxys when I could get my hands on them. Hope your doing well now....


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:29 pm 
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Hi everyone

I have been surfing the internet for days now trying to figure out what the right decision for me is.
I have seen 2 addictionologists with very different opinions that only left me even more confused.
I want to come off of Subutex becasue of the horrible physical side affects I experience on it.
Initially, I was on Suboxone and was switched to Subutex b/c the Doc thought I was allergic to
the naloxone in the suboxone.

I was placed on suboxone in February 2010 for a vicodin addiction. Side affects began about
6-8 weeks later. Swelling feet, numb & tingling hands and back, joint pain -- like I feel as if I am
90 years old and thought for sure I had fibromyalgia as did my Doctors. By July 2010 I could not take
the side affects any longer. I went to the Doc and told him I was certain my problems were from the
suboxone & the only way to find out was to come off of it. He recommended the switch to buprenorphine/subutex.
Within 7 days of coming off the suboxone, all my symptoms went away confirming that my issued were due
to the meds. I was so happy and continued to take the Subutex instead of the Suboxone. Within 8 weeks
of being on the Subutex -- ALL the symptoms returned and seem worse. It is affecting my life in a very
negative manner; I am SO depressed and feeling SO hopeless b/c I move around like an arthritic old woman.
I long for and dream of the day when I can lace up my running shoes again. This is why I want off. The
new Doc I saw yesterday said that I was allergic to buprenorphine and need to come off.

Noone -- even my med team has giving me a straight direction on how to go - taper...cold turkey??
My 1st addictionologist the one who originally gave me suboxone and then switched it to subutex told me
that it does not make any difference in how I come off it, he said that tapering off the subutex will NOT
help ease any w/d symptoms and that I could go cold turkey if I so choose to do. The Doc I saw yesterday who
said that I am allergic, recommended I check in to a mental health hospital for a week for a monitored detox.

As you can tell, my medical team BLOWS & I don't feel like I'm in very good hands.

I have been on (2) 8mg tablets a day; 12 days ago I stopped taking my morning dose and am down to 8mg
taken in the evening. My thought is on Monday, to go to 4mg (cut the tablet in half) to take 1x a day.

So far with my reduction from 16 to 8mg, I am irritable, have uncontrolled crying spells and EXHAUSTED.
I asked the Doc to give me something to get me though these spells while I withdraw and he gave me NOTHING!!
I went into his office in hysterical tears telling him I needed relief and got nothing.

I do have a prescription for xanax that I NEVER take; it puts me to sleep, BUT I took a 1/2 last night when I got
home from work and it DID calm me down.

So here I am confused and not knowing what to do to safely and comfortably (as possible) come off subutex.

Has anyone else in the forum had similar side effects? Can anyone chime in with advice on coming off of Subutex?

Thanks everyone -- I have gotten a lot of inspirations from reading your posts; addicts truly have each others backs!

KDUB


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 Post subject: I had same side effects!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:07 pm 
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Dear KDUB (hope I got that right),

I just had to tell you that it was those very same side effects along with some others that made me desparately want to get off the suboxone. My docs were equally as ignorant and just kept INCREASING my dose from 12mg way up to 24 mg daily for a 103 lb. woman! My docs were so judgemental and nasty - treating every addict as a criminal - anyhow, pt is that they would have never considered subutex and basically every person I talked to including docs, therapists, others in recovery, all told me it was in my head and to toughen up and deal with it - arghhh - I knew it was not in my head!)

Sorry this is scattered a bit, I'm agitated writing this because I can so relate to your dilemma. I too felt like I was 90 yrs old from joint pain, swelling, sweating - hot flashes.... and I had my PCP test for rheumatoid arthritis, lyme disease (all negative) and was inquiring about fibro, neuropathy of some kind, etc..... In the end, I took one of my bf's 600 mg. Neurontin (non narcotic, prescription med. that is non addictive and safe) and it took the pain almost totally away! I then decided I could quit subs using Neurontin and clonodine and so got scripts for these from bf's doctor (I made appt. and got scripts legitimately). I also used an old script of mine for klonopin and ativan (that I never used and thus had a lot to help me thru withdrawls). But after 2 wks off the subs using the above mentioned meds, I stopped the benzos and was miserable with nasty withdrawl symptoms STILL! Of course, I had jumped off at 4mg daily and I had been on sub for almost 6 mos. at times up to 24mg daily.

So.... long story long (lol), I found the liquified taper method on here and started back on sub at .8mg (800mcg) liquified taper and as of today am down to .050 mg (50 mcg). I feel mild withdrawl every day between 7 and 12 hours after last dose. I have ambien to help sleep which isn't working that great as I wake middle of the night, but its better than nothing. Im not yet using any benzos and have only taken clonodine once since I started taper. I'm on 1200 mg neurontin daily which I think must really be helping. The withdrawls are mild, but not mild enough that I can deal with them during the present circumstances. We are closing on a new house and moving in starting today, plus several other stressful things, so I am going to continue down with the taper. The worst for me seems to be the anxiety, moodiness, grumpiness and uneasy bone aches and chills. I must say though, I was feeling trapped and hopeless and very scared that I could never get off subs and this taper has given me real hope.

I hope this helps or at least lets you know you're not alone. I started a thread about my taper incase that might help too. I think I called it "Liquid Taper Going Good - Doctor Excited!" or something close to that.

Good luck and all the best to you wherever you are at on this journey :)

Bobbi


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