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Would Love some Suboxone Taper advice...
  1. #1
    needhelpct is offline New Member
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    Question Would Love some Suboxone Taper advice...

    I hope I'm posting in the right place. I joined this site back in March, but until just this week I was unaware there was a forum here! I originally found the "Support Group" section and didn't find many people posting, or answering posts there, so I pretty much gave up.

    That was back in March, as I said - the exact day was the day I started Suboxone treatment to withdrawal off opiate pain meds. I originally reached out there because I was smack dab in the middle of induction and was scared to death of experiencing precipitated withdrawals, so I was looking for advice.

    Now, I'm back - but this time I'm looking for help getting off the Suboxone. It's been 3 months and I never intended to be on it this long. I realize that some out there have been on it a heck of a lot longer, but for me, I expected to have this long over with by now! Summer is coming and there's no way I want to spend it in a constant state of semi-withdrawal while I'm trying to taper - which is what I've pretty much been going through.

    I bit of how I got into this mess, in case it can assist anyone in whatever advice they could give me. I started taking pain pills, unknowingly, about 3 years ago. I was prescribed Tramadol by my OB-GYN and while she wrote me the script she told me point blank that this was "a non-narcotic, non-addictive, pain medicine". That was the beginning of the hellish ride for me.

    I know some people think Tramadol is no big deal, but for me it was HIGHLY addictive. In fact, even worse than stronger opiates. In the beginning I was only taking it occasionally, but eventually it became a daily thing. Problem was, it wasn't helping with my pain, which was at that point getting worse and worse. I began seeing a new doctor, a back/joint specialist and told her I was taking Tramadol for the pain. She increased my dose and switched me to Ultram (an extended release version). It was shortly after that when I realized I was addicted. Once the medicine was in my bloodstream constantly the slightest delay in taking it would cause me withdrawals.

    But within the next 6 months or so I was diagnosed with Fibro, along with various other things, so even though I knew better than to continue taking something that was making me addicted, I just thought to myself, oh well - so I'm addicted. If I need to be on pain meds to get by and cope with the pain, so be it. But 2 years later, after moving up the ladder from Tramadol, to Vicodin, to Oxycodone, to Oxycontin, I ended up in Sub treatment coming off of a nearly 400mg a day habit.

    Mind you, the entire time this was prescribed medication! I was always very diligent to take only what I was prescribed, mostly because I was so terrified of being labeled a drug addict. But I also had a Doctor with a very free flowing prescription pad and I have no doubt had I not searched out Sub treatment I would probably be on Morphine or Fentanyl by now! She was all to happy to have me coming in every 6 weeks, filling her pockets, while she filled my addiction.

    In theory, my thinking that being on pain meds for pain was no big deal would have maybe been true had it not been for the fact that anyone in long term pain treatment will tell you - pain meds stop working. Not just for pain either. They stop working to stave off withdrawals too - something I knew nothing about until I lived it. Six hours after taking my usual dose that was supposed to last 12 hours and I was feeling icky. Sweaty, eyes watering, goosebumps, restless legs at night, the whole nine yards. It was evil.

    I didn't even tell my doctor I wanted off the meds. I had resolved months before I actually sought out treatment that I would formulate a plan and get off that ???? for good. I tried tapering, but that was useless. Every time the withdrawals kicked in, I'd be looking for relief. So, I found a psychiatrist in my area who deals with opiate addiction specifically and offered a Suboxone program. So far, she's been alright. She seems to be in the middle of the stories I've been reading the past week here. She knows I want off and fast (I'm paying out of pocket and it's costing a small fortune), so she's been somewhat supportive with that, at least initially. I was induced at what I now know was a high dose, but I think that's because I did in fact have precipitated withdrawals and she over-medicated me in an attempt to get past that.

    The problem was, I was on a time release med, which I know now, from reading some of Robert's posts is not the best idea when transitioning to Sub. She should have known that and switched me to a short acting opiate before she induced me. She told me I needed to be a 12-14 on the COWS chart - not the 26 Robert recommends. I had my last OC at noon and started the Sub the next day at 3pm, so 27 hrs later. I was a 12 on the chart when I took a 1/2 8mg strip and felt absolutely no relief. 16 mg later, I was able to function, but didn't fully feel okay for 3 days. It was miserable.

    So, she sucked at induction, but after that she was fairly rapid with the decrease. I went 2mg down every 5-7 days, depending on how I was feeling, and for the most part I stayed on the that day routine, until I got to 7mg, and that's when I started struggling more. The problem for me is, I think the induction screwed up my ability to decrease more easily, or as easily as it seems for some at higher dosages. The decreases were getting rocky at one point and she said she thought it was because I was never stabilizing at a particular dose before I was dropping. So we tried that and it seems to be going a bit more smoothly, but of course, it's taking longer now.

    I also suspect that she's eager to have me take my time, because the longer it takes me the more money she makes. Right now, I'm at 6mg and I've been comfortable here for 3 days now. I'm planning on following Robert's plan with the 25% drops every 4 days and hoping for the best. I really want off this medication! I'm so ready to have my life back and I'm tired of being tired, and stuck on something to feel semi-normal. Even on the Sub there's only a few hours a day where I feel 'normal', the rest of the time I feel w/d's creeping in. I'm over it.

    I know this is really long and I apologize for anyone reading this that it's so long! Believe it or not, this is a shortened version! I could write much more, but I wanted to at least give my drug/sub history in the hopes that anyone experienced in this might have some insight or advice. Will I struggle the whole way down because of my induction? Will it get easier if I follow Robert's 25% taper every 4 days?
    Even if I end up talking to myself here, I'm hoping to post more and read posts here in the hopes that I can finally pull through the home stretch.

  2. #2
    Robert_325 is offline Retired
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    I'm here every day on and off if I can help you. All you have to do is ask and tell me what I can do. God bless.
    I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.

  3. #3
    needhelpct is offline New Member
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    Robert - I'm so happy you responded! I've been reading many of your posts the past week and what you do for people struggling with this nightmare is a godsend. You're amazing.

    Basically, my doctor told me I'd be off Sub in 4-6 weeks when I had my initial consultation with her. Now it's 3 months later and I'm still (barely) at 6 mg. At my last appointment she suggested I stay at 7mg another 2 weeks to stabilize more, but I dropped anyway. At the rate she's been going with me lately I'll be on Sub for a year at least.

    I read your Sub taper plan multiple times. I have it printed out and I'm trying to track my progress by journaling daily. My biggest problem at the moment is that I have w/d symptoms, albeit on the milder side, daily. I run my own business and I'm raising 2 young kids at the same time, so it's hard to function with w/d's - which is really motivating me to get off this.

    Should I continue with my taper, but start your plan decreasing 25% every 4 days? I haven't dropped yet since reading your plan, so I don't know how I'll feel when I do. As I said above, I've been dropping 2mg every 5-7 days previously, w/some struggles.

  4. #4
    Anonymous Guest

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    if you have been reading the links the main thing to stick to is the 25% rule, the 4 days can actually be flexible (well, not less than, but some go over 4 days) depending on how they feel.

    also, its not up to our doctors to tell us when to drop, they have NO CLUE actually how it feels being on this stuff. please follow the taper, and stick to how you feel not your doctor..

    you can get off subs. no worries... plenty of us have
    Last edited by Anonymous; 05-26-2012 at 06:57 AM.
    taylor123 likes this.

  5. #5
    needhelpct is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheekysod View Post
    if you have been reading the links the main thing to stick to is the 25% rule, the 4 days can actually be flexible (well, not less than, but some go over 4 days) depending on how they feel.

    also, its not up to our doctors to tell us when to drop, they have NO CLUE actually how it feels being on this stuff. please follow the taper, and stick to how you feel not your doctor..

    you can get off subs. no worries... plenty of us have
    Thanks Cheekysod - That's what I'm planning. I'll go with Robert's taper and see how things go. I'm nervous about how I'll feel only because it's a much more rapid drop than I have been doing. But I'm so motivated to get off this stuff and I'm hoping that will help push me through.
    So far being here is helping. Reading other people's stories and overcoming struggles is giving me hope. It's hard to go through something like this without people who understand what it's like!

  6. #6
    taylor123 is offline New Member
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    Default 25% rule

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_325 View Post
    I'm here every day on and off if I can help you. All you have to do is ask and tell me what I can do. God bless.
    Hi Robert,

    I have been addicted to hydrocodone and oxycodone for over six years and have been on Subs for about 7 days. I know you can get addicted to them . I tried to do this cold turkey but the withdrawals were unbearable . It was a nightmare. But I have decided that I don't want to be a slave to any kind of pill. It has ruined my life. Or maybe not ruined but robbed me of my life. Anyways I am new to this forum and read where someone had wrote about a 25 % rule. Can you explain this to me? Like I said, I know you can get addicted to Subs and I don't want to trade one pill for the next one. Sometimes I think to myself, Did this doc really just give a Pill head (me) PILLS to get off pills?? lol . Any help from would be greatly appreciated. Taylor

  7. #7
    Robert_325 is offline Retired
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    Quote Originally Posted by taylor123 View Post
    Hi Robert,

    I have been addicted to hydrocodone and oxycodone for over six years and have been on Subs for about 7 days. I know you can get addicted to them . I tried to do this cold turkey but the withdrawals were unbearable . It was a nightmare. But I have decided that I don't want to be a slave to any kind of pill. It has ruined my life. Or maybe not ruined but robbed me of my life. Anyways I am new to this forum and read where someone had wrote about a 25 % rule. Can you explain this to me? Like I said, I know you can get addicted to Subs and I don't want to trade one pill for the next one. Sometimes I think to myself, Did this doc really just give a Pill head (me) PILLS to get off pills?? lol . Any help from would be greatly appreciated. Taylor




    Taylor ..... The 25% thing is that we reduce our dose by 25% every four days or so. Some people can do it every three days, some it takes four to six days. Subs have a half life of up to 72 hours or longer so we need to see how we metabolize the medication to know how many days we need between reductions. But the 25% reduction is pretty much a proven standard that has worked here with LOTS of people over the years. Hope that helps. God bless.
    taylor123 likes this.
    I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.

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