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Suboxone: To Sub Or Not To Sub…

Thinking About Taking Suboxone?

If you are struggling with opiate dependency (like I was), you’ve probably conducted some research on your treatment options: taking Suboxone is one of those options. I wouldn’t blame you if you thought that taking Suboxone sounds like a pretty “easy fix” compared to the alternatives. As I’ve mentioned, throughout the site, I had a physical dependency to opiates and my main concern was getting through the detox as comfortably as possible.

NOTE: For those who are profoundly addicted to pills or shooting heroin (or both), rehab should always be a consideration and remains the gold-standard. 

Rehab is very expensive ($30,000 for 30 days… and up), requires at least 30 days. In my case, I truly felt like that level of therapy was unnecessary; even if I had the time or money to do it. Although I must admit, some of the new rehabs look fantastic! You know, the ones that are perched on a cliff and have 4 pools along with personal chefs, yoga, exercise rooms, horseback riding…awesome. It almost makes you forget that you’re going to be miserable most of the time. But, I suppose I’d rather be miserable in a high-end rehab than almost anywhere else. Kind of sickening.

Then, for a mere $10,000 you have Rapid Detox, which sounds like some sort of Inquisition-era torture. They put you under general anesthesia for 12 hours and then make your body go through a procedure that is not fully understood or proven. They use drugs like Narcan to empty your opiate receptors and essentially detox your body at light-speed. It sounds straightforward but there’s something very draconian about it…no thanks.

Next up is the acute care (hospital) “In-patient Detox.” At an in-patient detox, you just sit in a bed, take Xanax and Advil for 7 days; after which they hand you a $6,000 bill when -in reality- they should pay you.

And finally, there is Suboxone (a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone) which you take instead of your opiate of choice for a few weeks and then gradually taper off (or so the theory goes). The slang for Suboxone is “Sub”…it is often referred to as the “rich man’s methadone”.

Partial Agonist v. Full Agonist:

It’s important for you to understand the basics about what is going on in your brain when you take opiates in order for you to understand how Suboxone works. I’m going to make it as general as I possibly can for the purposes of this discussion. When you take a pill like a Vicodin for instance, it releases chemicals into the brain that attach to your brain’s opiate receptors. When your brain’s opiate receptors are occupied by the right molecule, it signals neurotransmitters to release dopamine and serotonin that help relieve pain and can also cause that euphoric feeling or “high” that you can get when you take that Vicodin. For this reason, Vicodin, Oxycodone etc. etc. are considered “full opioid agonists.” [Note to “Chemists” out there. Please don’t email me and get all technical about how I made a mistake on this molecule or how I mixed this or that up. I’m just trying to explain this process in general terms as if I were reading it for the first time…4th grade reading level ok?]. Suboxone is considered a “partial opioid agonist” because it binds to your brain’s opiate receptors, but it gives those receptors slightly different instructions on what chemicals and processes to release. Suboxone is not supposed to produce any narcotic effects and is a deterrent to other opiates. That’s all you need to know right now…read on.

Lesson Recap: Vicodin = “Full Opioid Agonist”    Suboxone = “Partial Opioid Agonist”

What is Suboxone?:

Suboxone is a brand name for a drug that is a 4:1 mixture of  Buprenorphine and Naloxone. These partial opioid agonists send different instructions to your brain than full opioid agonists. In much the same way that a birth control pill fools a woman’s body into thinking it’s pregnant, partial opioid agonists fool your brain into thinking it is receiving its normal dose of opiates.

What Does Suboxone Do?:

As I explained above, the pain killers that you take or that you took are considered full agonists because they bind to those same opiate receptors in your brain and they potentiate (produce) a narcotic effect (the “high”) and help relieve pain. Suboxone is called a partial agonist because although it acts very much like a normal opiate but it does not produce the same “high” as pain killers. Thus, Suboxone is a very powerful opiate but it does not produce any of those narcotic effects that pain killers do. Since Sub “masquerades” as an opiate and your brain does not know the difference, a person is able to discontinue the use of their normal pain killers and take Suboxone without having to go through “complete” acute withdrawals. You “Substitute” your drug for Suboxone in order to avoid painful withdrawals…sort of. See below.

The added benefit of a partial agonist like Suboxone is that while you are taking it, your opiate receptors are “occupied” right? Therefore, it blocks any other opiates from producing any effects or giving your brain any other instructions. Just think of those opiate receptors in your brain as a bunch of tiny locks. You can’t occupy those receptors if there’s already another key (the partial agonist/Sub) in those locks right? Ok, well I hope that you’re following me. So, if you are taking Suboxone, Vicodin won’t work very well. In fact, if you are taking Suboxone and you decide it would be a good idea to pop a couple Lortab, you’ll be in for the surprise of your life.

How Do You Take Suboxone:

Suboxone is usually administered sublingually which means that it dissolves under your tongue. There are also trans-dermal patches available but the sublingual strips and tablets are the most popular way of administering the drug. The tablets and strips come in two different strengths (2mg and 8mg). I’ve never tasted the strip so I cannot give you a first hand account but I have tasted the tablets. The tabs aren’t too bad; sort of like eating a burned orange peel or a bad batch of Tang. Yum. Some people can’t stand the taste but I think it’s tolerable. As of June 2016, an implantable, continuous release form of buprenorphine has cleared the FDA for those that wish to take Suboxone for an extended period of time.

When Do You Take Suboxone:

Here’s the kicker. Let’s assume you are on 8 Norco 10/325’s per day and all of those opiate receptors in your brain are occupied. In order for Suboxone to work, your opiate receptors have to be open and available for the Sub to occupy. That means that a person who wants to begin Suboxone therapy must discontinue their use of opiates (in this case the Norco) until those receptors become “receptive”.

As you know, if you stop taking the Norco’s for long enough, you will start to go into withdrawal. That’s because the withdrawal process is a physical manifestation of all of those opiate receptors being vacated.  If we are using the same Norco analogy, you will not begin acute withdrawal for at least 16-24 hours. So…in order for the Suboxone to work, you must be in full-blast, goose-fleshy, shivering withdrawals before you take your first dose. This is very, very important. Remember that “surprise of your life” that I talked about earlier? If you take Suboxone before you are in full withdrawal, you will go into what’s called “precipitated withdrawal.” You really, really don’t want this. Typically, one has to wait at least 24 hours before taking their first dose of Sub. Taking suboxone and another opiate like hydrocodone is never, ever a good thing.

What Can You Expect When Taking Suboxone?:

After your first dose, it doesn’t take long for you to start feeling much, much better from the withdrawal symptoms that you’ve likely had to endure for a few hours. At first, Suboxone might make you pretty drowsy and woozy; that goes away. Your doctor might start you off at a pretty high dose (16-32 mg’s) depending on your prior opiate intake. If your doctor plans on immediately weaning you off of Suboxone, they will gradually lower your dose over a period of roughly 2-4 weeks to make sure that you do not have any acute withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also decide to put you on a “maintenance dose” in order to prevent relapse or stabilize you for a longer period of time.

Overall, taking Suboxone it does not feel like much of anything; it’s a non-event. You might get a mild “rush” for a few minutes after taking it but that’s about it. Suboxone also does a pretty good job of suppressing cravings for opiates.

If you are on a maintenance dose of Suboxone there’s a very important disclaimer that I must mention. Remember that Suboxone is an opiate; a very powerful one actually. If you stop taking the Suboxone, you will go into withdrawal in much the same way that you would with any other opiates. Suboxone has a longer half-life than a drug like hydrocodone so it will take longer for your withdrawal symptoms to begin but they will happen if you stop taking it.

How Long Do You Take Suboxone?:

By and large, Suboxone can be prescribed for either a detox of 2-4 weeks or your doctor may decide that it is best for you to take it on a longer term basis (a.k.a. “maintenance dose”).

If your doctor decides to prescribe Suboxone in order to help you detox, it’s a pretty simple process. They will have you discontinue whatever opiate you are currently taking until you are in full withdrawal. Once you are sufficiently miserable (in withdrawal) they will administer the Suboxone. Your doctor will stabilize your dose for about a week and then quickly begin tapering you down over a period of 2-4 weeks. This is typical for someone who might be dependent but does not have much of a risk of relapse. For the most part, Suboxone does a good job in this regard however, you may still feel some post acute withdrawal symptoms even after you have discontinued it. Once tapered off, it is up to you to address any cravings you may have with either group therapy and/or counseling.

For those who have more acute addictions and therefore a higher risk of relapse, some clinicians believe that it is best to be on Suboxone long enough so that you don’t immediately fall back into the same pattern of drug abuse. This makes sense to me. If you take Suboxone for 6-12 months, all of those previous triggers and addictive behaviors may have time to fade away. Hopefully this will help you establish a new “lifestyle” and schedule. There are also those who remain on Suboxone in order to control chronic pain although I’m personally not a fan of Suboxone for chronic pain.

I have met people who have been taking Suboxone for years and years as well as people that just took it to detox; it’s really just a matter of what is best for you. By and large, the best of all possible outcomes is to take suboxone for the shortest amount of time possible without putting yourself in jeopardy of relapse.

That sounds great right? Well, sort of…lets examine the “Pro’s” and Con’s of Suboxone.

The Pro’s of Suboxone:

1. Administered under the care of a licensed physician who has undergone additional training and accreditation for prescribing Suboxone.

2. Does not have powerful narcotic effects and provides a stable means to quit your opiate addiction or dependency.

3. Is very hard to overdose on (unless taken intravenously or with Benzodiazepines) and helps block other opiates from having any effect on your brain.

4. Can be tapered with your doctor in a controlled manner. Tapering is a lot easier to accomplish due to the fact that it has mild narcotic effects.

5. Provides a way to partially avoid a longer acute withdrawal from the drugs you were taking previously.

6. Is “accepted” by most major insurance carriers.

7. It’s relatively easy and painless to take other than the bad taste.

8. Does not have any serious side effects…sort of.

The Cons of Suboxone:

1. It is very, very expensive. Even if your insurance “covers” it, they are going to make you pay a lot more for it than your normal co-pay. Expect to pay about 300 bucks a month with insurance and about 200 bucks a week without insurance. That’s not including the cost of your monthly doctor’s visit. Ouch!

2. It’s mildly addictive. I know, I said that it doesn’t have the same narcotic effects that other opiates have but it does have a calming and slightly “nostalgic opiate euphoric” effect. This is my personal experience and others may disagree but I got a little bit of a high from it. Some people abuse Suboxone and can develop quite dependency on it. For the life of me, I have no clue as to why because -as I mentioned- any narcotic effects are weak at best and it’s expensive. I’ve heard of those who have managed to counteract some of the abuse deterrent capabilities of Suboxone and are able to inject it which I would assume produces the desired effect. You can find out about that on your own!

3. You are substituting one drug for another and you have to ask yourself if you are getting closer to your goal by doing so. With a maintenance dose, the clinical strategy with Suboxone is virtually the same as methadone which is essentially to “stabilize” and then “sustain” the patient until he or she is ready to get off of it.

4. There ARE withdrawals from Suboxone. Since Suboxone is a relatively “new” drug (12 years or so), there’s not much data on the long-term effects of the drug or the withdrawals. The common wisdom is that Suboxone withdrawal is very similar to opiate withdrawal except that it is a bit milder and lasts up to a month as opposed to 10-12 days like Vicodin. There is a syndrome called P.A.W.S. (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) that is commonly associated with Suboxone and it consists of prolonged lethargy, depression and insomnia.

5. Many people who have used Suboxone will find it too expensive and then transfer to methadone treatment since it’s cheaper. Trust me, you do not want to be on Methadone! You have to go to a clinic every day (gag) to pick up your dose and the withdrawals are horrible. In my opinion, you might as well go back to Vicodin if you’re thinking about Methadone.

6. Suboxone doesn’t have many side effects but the ones that it does have are acute. Industrial strength constipation that will make you want to drink Drano (for God’s sake this is a joke! Don’t drink Drano). It gives you munchies for sweets so whatever you weigh now just tack on 10% after you get on Suboxone. It can also make you very, very sleepy and when I was on it, I drank about 4 cups of coffee and 5 cokes a day just to stay awake which caused…insomnia.

7. Did I mention it’s very expensive? You also need to find a doctor that will administer it to you every month so factor in the office visit co-pay or out-of-pocket costs into the total cost of the treatment.

My Personal Conclusion/Opinion:

Please remember that I am just one person and my thoughts below reflect my personal experience with Suboxone. I have also spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people who have taken Suboxone in one form or another. As I mentioned before, Suboxone is -in my opinion- a “rich man’s” methadone although it is far superior to methadone in many ways. As you know from my many posts and blogs, I encourage everyone to quit painkillers in any way possible. Whatever works. For some people, Suboxone has been a God-send and they have been able to begin the therapy and get off of it with no problem. It’s safe if it is taken as directed and under the auspices of a licensed physician. It is very effective at reducing any cravings for opiates but does not do a good job controlling chronic pain. Besides, if I need opiates for cancer pain or chronic pain, I’d like the narcotic effects please and thank you very much!

*The price of Suboxone makes it very hard for the average Joe to get on and stay on the medicine for more than a few months. Many folks will just go straight to methadone due to the price which is something that I strongly discourage. Suboxone is a big money-maker and it is only going to get more profitable as they recoup R&D costs. As I mentioned, unless you are very well off, you will not be able to afford to take the drug for as long you you might need it.

The side effects are not plentiful but they are very annoying and the constipation is quite exquisite so it’s worth mentioning again. The other side effects again are tolerable but it’s still worth thinking about before you begin Suboxone therapy.

Ultimately, I think Suboxone can be a very good alternative and treatment for those that can afford it and can make sure that they have a plan for getting off of it in a timely fashion. If you can do that and you can handle all of the other things that go with it, Suboxone is a good treatment if you are the right candidate. It’s also worth noting that it’s extremely important that you have a doctor that is committed to helping you stick to your “plan” with an end-game in site. For those people in my neck of the woods, Dr. Earthman is someone that I would highly recommend because he will be able to guide you responsibly and he will honestly assess your condition to determine if Suboxone is the right treatment for you. You HAVE to find a doctor like him to administer Suboxone or you will risk being on Sub for a long long time. Again, whatever works but just remember that there’s no silver bullet…get educated and know the long-term consequences before taking anything for your opiate addiction or dependency. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. I hope that this has provided you with an adequate introduction to Suboxone. Hopefully this will help you weigh the factors involved so that you can come closer to taking that first step. Good luck!

-George

If this article was interesting to you, you may find the following articles useful as well:

Suboxone…Is a Storm Looming?

How To Detox From Suboxone At Home

Author’s note: This article was written in 2009 so insurance coverage and recent developments of generic forms have reduced the costs.

Updated Jan, 2016

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37 Comments

  1. heather I. says:

    I have been on suboxome(8mg) for about 5months(not very long)but very badly want off of them.for the past week I have only been taking a quarter of it to ease off of it.if I start taking a half of that quarter,for a couple days, do you think that might work as far as withdrawls and getting off them?
    p.s. your article was very interesting, and I could not agree more on everything!!!!!

  2. I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

  3. Heather Ridl says:

    I went downto 30mil of methadone, then didnt dose for 3days and went on suboxone 8mil,so far kool most people I know are on250mil,of methadone,never toget off, not me wish me luck.

  4. went down to 30mil of methadone, then no dose for 3 days not so bad. then 8mil of suboxone,so far so good,most people I know are on250 mil of methadone, wish me luck

  5. morton h popok says:

    my doctor charges me $175.00 per visit just to get presciption – and does not take
    medicare. How can I save money thank you

  6. Thanks i really liked reading this! My problem is that i was taking xanax for about 17 years and now they say i need to stop. I have bad panic attacks without them, and i am prescribe them! So its one habit or the other! ugh!!!!! I have not got kicked out yet!!! But i’m thinking they will after they do find them in my urine more than once! And now that is causing me more panic! So i feel pretty much screwed!! Btw i do not over take my benzos.. But thanks for your info.

  7. You know so many interesting infomation. You might be very wise. I like such people. Don’t top writing.

  8. Fay Hill says:

    I would wrather kill die than go thru methadone withdrawls. A pistol in my mouth sounds like a better option. Been close before. God willing, it won’t come to that. JR

  9. Charles says:

    This site has brought me some comfort.Right now i am an addict..but my problem is that it is not just one drug.In order for me to feel normal I have to take a mix of percocet,provigil,Ultram er,and lyrica.I will feel bad withdrawl if i ran out of just one of the prescriptions,so I could have plenty of percocet and if im out of another I will get the withdrwal symptoms, even if I took extra percocet.Could this be more of a mental problem then?

  10. J Clouse- jjc032681@aol.com says:

    Very informative reading..Thank you very much for the post. I’ve been on Sub. for about a year and a half now, and am trying to not dread the day that I start tapering off!! I’ve known a couple people that have gone through the tapering off process, and they felt fine..the doc. took time to gradually reduce the dose until nil. Anyways, I wanted to comment on the expected price of getting on Suboxone..I think it will turn many people away just hearing how much it can cost! Just to ease the minds of those persons; I have Medicaid insurance (NY State) and only pay a $3.00 co-pay each month, and no co-pay for the doc. visit. With no insurance during my first month, I did have to pay a little over $100 for the script.

    • Thanks for the note J. It’s good to hear that some people aren’t getting totally shafted on the high price of Sub. Unfortunately, most people that I hear from have to pay an arm and a leg.

  11. I HAVE KNOWN MOST OF THE INFO YOU POSTED BUT FIND IT ALL TO BE TRUE . I AM ON SUBUTEX NOW FOR 5 YEARS AND IT SAVED MY LIFE. I WONT GET INTO THE STORY BUT I WANTED TO TELL YOU YOU DID A GOOD JOB ON THIS SITE AND GAVE GOOD ADVICE. THANKS FOR THE INFO BRO AND GOOD LUCK EVERYONE.

    CHUCK

  12. my son went to detox. they discharged him and didnt give him a prescription for anything. now he is out cold turkey again. what good did the detox do if they were going to turn him out with nothing

  13. My son just started sub today and had presipitated withfraws from. H ehad been on about 50 ml of methadone and 60 ml of oxycodone. He wated 4 days before starting it. (mention) He had been taking the opiate drugs for 5 years. My question is. About how long will he feel these withdraw effects? He is taking 3 8mg. Of sub right now. Thanks in advance, DRat

    • Hi. Weird that he would have precipitated withdrawals after waiting for 4 days. I’ve never heard of that…which doesn’t really mean much. Anyhow, I think a good guesstimate would be that your son will feel sick for about a month or so until he starts to slowly get better.

  14. ibddisney says:

    Well My Story? I had a very bad Motocross accident in 04 with several following surgeries and pain. of course got hooked on Norco. Good day could gobble 20 10mg of the little monsters. One month ago I went on Suboxone 6 2mg pills a day to start and taper by 1/2 a pill every two days. Im off it now but I tell you there is withdrawl from it. I only took it for two weeks!!! in my 9th day clean and still feeling withdrawl but nothing like norco withdrawl. I would recommend these to anyone trying to stop….and seek mental help for the head trips.

  15. Great info! I’ve been on sub (1/16 of a troche that’s total 30mg bupe, .5mg nax) for almost 6 years. My terrific doc (the man’s a godsend) started me cause I was increasingly using opiates for back pain (failed surgery for bad disks), though I was not addicted. Sometimes I’d go for days without any meds, some days I’d eat oxy like popcorn. Now I take my sub daily and have a normal (?) life essentially pain free. I’d like to get off the sub, but don’t want to face the pain and immobility I was having before. So, what’s your take, Geo, on sub as a med for chronic, long-term pain relief? p.s. fortunately, cost isn’t an issue for me

    • Hi Jack. If used properly, I think anything can be efficacious. I think you’re the perfect candidate for long-term Sub use and I applaud your healthy perspective on that. Again, I’m not against Suboxone for the right people however, there are a lot of opiate addicts who are prescribed Suboxone without being given full disclosure on the implications. If one is prescribed Suboxone, they need to be advised that they may be on it for a long time and that as a result, they may experience withdrawal. However, the people who financially benefit from the prescription of Suboxone are promoting it as a wonder drug and indicating its use for a vast spectrum of people that start taking it without knowing the implications. The Suboxone PR machine is a multi-million dollar engine that churns out Suboxone success stories every day but still don’t provide the long-term consequences of Suboxone use.

      As long as Suboxone is given to people like yourself who are fully knowledgeable about who long they are going to take it then I’m fine with that. However, most people aren’t told the truth about it and get stuck on essentially a much more expensive opiate. That sucks.

  16. I was a useing addict for 3 years and got on suboxone in december of 07. I slowly taperd down from my 2mg to 1mg then to .5mg until I only took them at the feeling of a full blown with drawl. I eventually went every 2 days with out taking 1/4 of my 2mg pill and now I’m clean and happy. If you have the determinastion you can do anything. Most of this is a mind game. Why are we so affraid of 4 or 5 days of discomfort while withdrawing verses yeas and years of drug use? We are ceators, lets create a clean life.

  17. I have been on soboxone a year or more now. Im scared , i dont want to take anymore because iam afraid. I did not know about the reaction of that drug! I think is awful that the doctor never explained the side effects or withdrawels I would experience from these godforsaken pills. I was put on soboxone because I wanted to get off of the percoset I was taking due my battle with cronic athritis.Had I kn own then what I know now about soboxone I would have never gotten on them!

  18. i was on methadone for 4 years,i went through HORRIBLE withdrawls for three and a half months.this was not in my head!!!!!I would NEVER advise anyone to get on methadone for any kind of treatment EVER!!!when i stopped taking methadone i stopped at 20 mg.if i would have only been given the info i needed before ever trying to stop i would have done something else.My husband worked all day,came home and had to put me in the tub,hold my hair back for me to throw up,take care of our kids,watch me for seizures,rub my legs at night,listen to me beg him to find me something,(which he never did,thank god!!)it slowly got better.now,i have disc disease and have to take pain pills,this scares me to death.but really glad to know that there is a pain regime that can be done if done correctly.My sister has been taking methadone for 8 years at 240mg a day,i am recommending sub for her.ill keep you up to date on how she does or if she even chooses to try it.thanks for all the info,i have found it helpful.

  19. My boyfriend started taking suboxone and he has been gagging from the taste. Is there anything that he can do to help deal with the bad taste?

  20. backfromdeathsdoor says:

    I decided, after YEARS of taking Vicodin and then Norco 10/325, that I REALLY needed help. Yes, the meds were legally obtained, but I found myself taking up to 16 a day just to feel normal. I finally took the steps to get my life back and did some research. I found a doctor close to home, got into therapy and now I have rejoined the world of the living! So far so good with Sub. I’m only into my 1st month of treatment but with God’s will…and mine too, I’m back!!

  21. How long after quitting suboxone can one take a pain killer for pain? I tapered down to 1mg. and have been sub free for 4 days.

  22. Hi George,
    have been on and off oxycontin and norco for pain for 10 years.got off the oxy,on norco then found a few of these stop signs (8mg)
    they work immediately for me and have only been on for a week this time.i have adapted the the chronic lower back pain,(chiropractic and acupuncture)and gotten off the valium,gotten on xanax.now i only take about a 1mg-2mg bite out of the sub with .5-1mg xanax.then i feel normal,problem is i am on my last one,would like to stop completely .what can i expect? is it similar to the other opiates,seems it is,so i wait for as long as i can to feel better… can go 24 hours now. want to clean up now.

  23. i have been on suboxone for 2 years 10/18/09
    started with 4 8mg per day only down to 3 a day. no one rushes you off you also have to see a therapist which is another expense i have just switched 1 drug for another i am worried about long term i dont want it for life i cant stand the therepy seems like old war stories. i would not recommend it you cant stop it bad withdrawal symtoms flu shaking just like all drugs

  24. I want to reassure people who are either hooked on opiated wether it be by RX or street purchase that Suboxone is a good alternative!

    I am in no way involved in the medical field (i am just a regular person)

    Suboxone saved my life after several years on very high doeses of Prescribed opiates.

    Take your time and remember there is no short raod to recovery!

    I have to drive all the way to my home state of Michigan in order to have my treatment covered by my insurance. I live in Kentucky and all the clinics here over charge for treatment.

    It is absolutely disgusting that these doctors do not accept insurance in most cases! Shame on the medical community.

    My medication is also covered by my Anthem Blue Cross.

    Good luck to all and god bless you, I know how hard the battle is and the fear one feels.

    What really makes me mad is how no matter if I am on oxy and fentanyl or Suboxone I get looked at like I am a thug rather than a responsible human being who gives a shit about myself. I never ever took street drugs since doctors so readily prescribed poerful narcotics without being there for me emotionally at all. Unfortunately some doctors are just lazy.

    Amy Hayes

    • Thanks for your comments Amy! I would agree with you with one exception. Suboxone was a good alternative for YOU. However, there are many people out there who may not have taken as much or may not have had an addiction at all…they are chemically dependent. Suboxone is a good alternative if it’s your ONLY alternative. People need to know that too.

      Thanks for the post Amy

  25. My boyfriend has been on sub for about 2 years. Got on it to get off of methadone. He’s been slowly weening himself since the January 1st. He was taking 2mg twice a day. He went down to 2mg twice a day for 10 days. then half a pill for another 10 days. today is day number 4 with nothing. He is absolutely miserable. His body aches, terrible headache, upset stomach. The works!!! Is there hope in site for him? I’m trying to be supportive. He’s very irritable, and is picking fights. I know its the lack of meds but how long will this last? Should he be going to a support group?

  26. fyi i waited 24 hours after my last opiate dose to use a quarter of 8mg sub and went into precipitated wd within 15 minutes of putting it under my tongue. I really advise waiting until you are in FULL ON withdrawal. The precipitated withdrawal lasted for about 45 minutes and then the buprenorphine finally kicked in and i was alright from there on out. Basically, i ran straight to the bathroom to diarrhea and vomit. after i emptied myself i went straight to bed to wait for the bup. to kick in. It was the scariest hour of my life but it passed soon enough. I plan on getting a subx script soon so i can get clean. God help us.

  27. First off, this is a great post and you are very educated in this field and I thank you for writing this. I have been on H for 4 years now, but ive been on Sub for 2 weeks now and am already tapering down to 1/8 of an 8mg when im feeling withdrawls kick in. From my experiance if one were to taper down to an 1/8 of a pill then stop and wait 4 days and if you are in unbearable agony still take less than an 1/8 on that 4th day, then after that you should be good with the physical discomfort. The mental part takes time as i think you mentioned with the PAW(post acute withdrawl) and this can last for quite some time depending on length of use. You just have to really think to yourself if you want to live a clean life without having to depend on a chemical to make yourself feel normal. Finally, with the high cost to aquire this drug, look into a state funded program that has doctors that will prescribe you the Sub, but with a little co-pay a month which is about $8.00 every month for refil. In the state of MD, the program is called PAC, and anyone without insurance is eligible and will probably be granted this. I wish everyone the best of luck in this battle, just remember the pain you go through is WELL WORTH the future you have ahead of you without chemicals.

  28. Hi,
    Thanks for the best sub info on the net – so thorough! My question is I stopped cold turkey 10 days ago 25mcg fentenyl patch but during that time took 8 5mg oxycodone to cope and tried to taper off them but couldn’t stand the WD’s. Went to doc and he put me on sub telling me I’d have “no WD’s from it” (liar!). I’ve been taking 2mg sublingual sub for 3 days now and nothing else. Can I start to taper off the sub now and is it OK to break these sublingual pills to lower the 2mg dose? My doc intend to put me on the 8mg sub pills for 2 months then taper me and I do not want to do this after all I’ve read. I would much rather taper myself from the 2mg sublingual pills if possible – I have 14 left.

    Thanks for all your great support and info!

    • Hi Marnie. Well its a slippery slope if I tell you to directly go against your doctors orders. However, it’s clear that you doctor knows very little about suboxone. It’s best to get off of Suboxone within 2 weeks if you can. I cannot map out a specific schedule for you since I’m not a “doctor” but you get what I mean. I highly encourage you to put together a solid, slow, plan and stick with it to the letter…yes you can break those 2mg tabs…use a straight razor blade. You may have some residual withdrawal symptoms from the other opiates that you were on but they will not be as bad as a Suboxone withdrawal after 2 months of use…(2 months turns into 6 months which turns into a year etc.)

      Good for you and let me know how you’re doing ok? email me at Georgec@withdrawal-Ease.com

  29. ive been trying to quit my addiction for a long time now and have cold turkeyed it every time… the one time i went tried to get help was near christmas and the result was getting put into a mental ward for hallucinating… if you can find someway or some1 to help that go for it… otherwise just tuff it out… take a week+ off of work and get out of ur comfort zone leave ur phone off u wont want to talk to any1 anyway… oh and immodium is a life saver trust me

  30. sarah medina says:

    hi,
    i was taking around 40 to 50 of the 1060 vics, i was behind on my bills killing my marriage and showing very bad examples to my 3 wonderfull kids, now 14mths off vics and on suboxone 3 a day of the 8-2mgs i have lost my medicaid and ant find a doc that can use hth pap (here to help patient asstiance program) to have meds paid for and no choice but go cold turkey i honest to God would rather be dead than feel like this anyone have any advice please and someone at least pray for me im soooooo sick!!!!!!!!!

  31. SubHelpedMe says:

    Suboxone totally helped me and I did NOT need much!!! I did good one ONE MG a day of Sub! I was doing like 10 Norcos a day for two years [that means probably four years :)] Anyway, one day, my drug dealer runs out and pities my withdrawal after day two and says “All I got is Suboxone” for the next week. BIGGEST mistake he ever made!!! He gave me five 8 MG sublingual Subs. Scared, I took just 1/8 of one (1 MG) under my tongue and let it melt. Don’t swallow Sublinguals. I felt MUCH better. In fact, I was good for 24 hours! I LOVED not having to “find my bottle” of Norcos every 4 hours and being a slave to it and the drug Dealer.

    Then in 24 hours I took another small dose. Felt great (although sleepy as heck) another entire 24 hours. Then, I am thinking – “Self-get these legally” and I called a Sub type Doctor who must have thought I was hard core and a week later I meet with him and he scribes me THREE 8 MG a day. (Enough for me to last a year…if I cannot get off one measly MG a day) So cost is NOT a factor if you can get a big fat script BUT be prudent and not need ALL 24 MG a day of Suboxone. I only need 1 MG, maybe 2. *Two MG made me to sleepy to even risk driving. I think taking more I would have been vomiting and leaving planet earth. The amount of Sub he gave me was probably for Oxy users or Heroin. That would make MUCH more sense.

    But the most IMPORTANT thing? Norco users–ALL the acetaminophen we are sparing our livers and THIS was my biggest fear last few years. I do not think an MG of Sub a day can be anywhere near as bad as a few thousand MG of acetaminophen in my liver PER DAY. But writer of this blog is so correct about “Industrial strength constipation” when it comes to Suboxone so I take an ExLax when I take any Sub.

    I am pretty much not feeling I need any Sub day 14 and may only give in because I am having great bone pain as a result of leaving years of Norco. I did not realize serious bone pain I was suddenly having was related to a few weeks off Norco. Or a recent huge spike in Blood Pressure. Apparently it is, as I leave a very vindictive lover of many years–its making sure the door hits me in the ass as I leave it. Thanks for blog.

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