Since we started selling Withdrawal Ease in 2009, we receive a LOT of repeat orders for Withdrawal-Ease and in the beginning I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t really count on many repeat orders because there are more than enough capsules in one order of Withdrawal Ease to cover a normal 10-15 day opiate withdrawal and detox period. And then I figured out what was going on…Suboxone. Over a period of a few weeks I discovered that many of my repeat customers were Suboxone patients…or rather, ex-Suboxone patients. For many, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are similar to opiate withdrawals yet less acute than withdrawal from Percocent or Oxycontin. Due to its long half-life, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms may last a bit longer.
However, there are some that suggest a detox from Suboxone (even as low as .2 mgs) is monumentally difficult due to the severity of their symptoms and duration of post acute withdrawal symptoms.
I have to be honest, I’ve always been a fan of Suboxone for people who have had long-term (2+ years) and moderate to heavy opiate addiction. But I have to say that I’ve seen SO MANY Suboxone patients on the site and also contacting me for help. Unfortunately, not all doctors give their patients the full story. People need to understand that Suboxone is not a cure for opiate dependency or withdrawal; it is an alternative for full agonist opiates. It’s powerful too. Even the FDA’s own studies concluded that Suboxone by volume is 20 times more powerful than morphine! It’s one of those drugs that’s sort of a a Jekyl and Hyde type of deal. It can be great in the short term but for long-time users, it can be a nightmare. And I’m concerned that people have gone rushing into Suboxone without knowing the full story and appreciating the true pitfalls of Suboxone.
I’ve taken Suboxone. The first part was completely stopping all opiates (important! Read Why Here) until I was in full withdrawal. I had to wait until I had full-on acute withdrawal with all of the symptoms. After sufficiently miserable, I took the first dose of Suboxone and started on about 16mg’s; oh boy that was a relief. You know when you run out of your prescription a week early and then finally you get that refill? It’s that kind of relief. I then tapered off pretty quickly which is what we call a rapid Suboxone detox. There was depression and some lethargy but nothing like I have seen with others.
I’m not particularly concerned for those people that go on Sub (Do you mind that I abbreviate? S-U-B is soooo much easier than S-U-B-O-X-O-N-E) for 2-3 months or so and then taper off. I’m more concerned for those people that stay on it for long periods of time and then have a very difficult time getting off of it. Some folks can have a Really hard time.
If I were a cynic (and I am), I would say that there are some pharmaceutical manufacturers out there who have not been very forthcoming about long-term use of Suboxone. Eh hem… Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals? I’m not putting this on the doctors that prescribe it because they can only rely on the data that is provided to them from long-term randomized clinical trials conducted and then approved by the FDA. [editors note: since this blog post was first written in 2009, a lot of controversy has swirled around this topic. Doctors who prescribe it now know about the perils of long-term use and are culpable]
For all intents and purposes, Suboxone is still a relatively new drug and the long-term consequences have not yet manifested themselves fully; that will take a while. But based on my experience with the many people that come to this site who are looking for help to get off Suboxone, I’m guessing that there’s something Rotten in Denmark folks. It’s an extremely expensive drug and if you are on it for years and years, you or your insurance company is spending tens of thousands of dollars on Sub! That’s a lot of ongoing revenue for big pharma. [Editor’s note: this post was originally written in 2009. Since that time Reckitt Benckiser’s patent rights have expired and they sold off their Suboxone division. There are a couple different companies that market suboxone now]
Here’s essentially what I have noticed with Suboxone patients. Those that have been on it for a year or longer are usually able to taper down to about 1-2mg’s per day without much discomfort but once they try and “jump” to zero, they have a really hard time. This is curious to me because I often hear that reducing the dose from 16 down all the way to 2mg is relatively easy and absent of acute withdrawal symptoms. Why is this so easy for people to do? Going from 160mg of hydrocodone to 10mg per day is not easy in the slightest. I just wonder if the ceiling for Suboxone is lower than what most people previously thought. But that’s for another time and another blog.
When people make the jump (opiate detox lingo for “stop taking the drug”) they often experience some acute withdrawal symptoms for a week or so and then move on to the next phase of detox which is called PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). PAWS is basically an extended withdrawal process that some people struggle with for months. The people that I have encountered with PAWS seem to have a lot of psychological symptoms such as ongoing lethargy and depression but there’s no doubt about it, it’s opiate withdrawal. Of course I have to mention again that Suboxone has a much longer half-life than hydrocodone so it makes sense that it would have an extended withdrawal period.
Having said that, I’m really surprised at the acuity and the duration of the symptoms that people go through after an extended course of Suboxone. By “extended course” I mean several months or years. It’s a bit alarming. And it must be downright scary for those people who thought that they were getting clean and sober by using Suboxone only to find out they they are sort of stuck with a worse “cellmate” than their original drug of choice. I suppose it’s a good sign that I’m getting a lot of repeat customers and that Withdrawal-Ease seems to be very effective for PAWS but in this case, “customer loyalty” is not a badge of honor.
Again, I know that Suboxone has helped a lot of people but I think some serious research needs to be done on the long-term effects of prolonged Suboxone therapy and its relationship to PAWS. I’m not really a conspiracy theorist but in many ways I smell a rat when I see all of these people suffering from a treatment that was supposed to help them! I think this needs to be studied a bit more extensively. From where I sit, I see a definite relationship between extended use of Sub and Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and I bet there are thousands of lawyers just licking their chops to have a big class action law suit against a large pharmaceutical company. Lets all hope it doesn’t come to that because we all know who wins in the end…the lawyers.
I still think Sub may be a good option for some people but a lot of my repeat customers may strongly disagree. We’ll have to wait and see.
Are You Miserable from Suboxone Withdrawals or P.A.W.S.? Why Not Do Something About it?!
Withdrawal-Ease Can Help.
“I just wanted to say thank you and that Withdrawal-Ease has helped tremendously with my Suboxone withdrawal. I used Suboxone on the street to stop taking street methadone and oxycontin then got addicted to Suboxone but with Withdrawal-Ease and your Survival Guide I’m on day 10 without subs and feel much better.”