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How long should I be on Suboxone?

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by KeyserSöze, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. KeyserSöze

    KeyserSöze Member

    Hey everybody. I'm a recovering heroin addict. I've been on Suboxone for a little over 2 years now because it makes me feel normal. I go to a pain clinic every month, see my doctor, get the same prescription, same dose. It's really expensive though. I don't have insurance anymore. I pay cash. Does anyone else here take Suboxone? I have friends that were on it but none for 2 years. Just wondering if I should leave it alone or try to wean myself off of it.
  2. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    Good question. I have done both Suboxone detox (5-10 days) and maintenance (about 9 months). I also know people who have taken it longer than you, so no - you're not alone at your 2 year mark.

    Part of an article written by Steven R. Scanlan, MD I thought was interesting:
    "When used in the short term, Suboxone is the best detox drug I have ever seen-it can immediately stabilize a patient's life, and this can be done in an outpatient setting. When used long-term, though, it is the hardest medication I have ever dealt with in terms of detoxing a patient from it.

    Suboxone does not work like natural opiates; it is created in a lab and interacts with the receptors in the brain unlike any other opiate. I speculate, based on treating hundreds of patients who have been on Suboxone maintenance, that when Suboxone is given long-term it causes abnormal adaptations to opiate receptors and other brain receptors. In my experience, long-term use can cause emotional deregulation, loss of libido, hair loss, and an abnormality in how the body regulates its response to stress."

    Read more here.

    I think a Suboxone maintenance program is much better than heroin addiction, but I also think the best way for me to live is without any opiates whatsoever.
  3. My boyfriend took suboxone in an outpatient setting which he coupled with doctors visits and therapy sessions. He took the suboxone for 6 months and then he was slowly weaned off of it. I think it is a great program and for people I know has a high success rate in the long term. I am not sure how true this is but his doctors and therapist told him they don't recommend that anyone participates in a suboxone maintenance program for more than a year. One thing I would not recommend is trying to wean yourself off it without medical supervision. My boyfriend tried that and it didn't work. With that being said I think when you consider the alternative your two year program is great, if you want to cut back I would definitely discuss with a doctor. When my boyfriend weaned himself off under medical supervision it wasn't pleasant but it was doable.
  4. KeyserSöze

    KeyserSöze Member

    Thanks. I see the doc again next week so I'm going to ask about it for sure.
    Jen S. likes this.
  5. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    The others on this thread have given some very sound advice and information. I would also like to add that it is important to self-evaluate, and be honest with yourself. Before talking to your doctor, think about how you feel about where you are at physically and emotionally. If you truly know that you are "not ready" you should let your doctor know that. Stopping this type of treatment "too early" can be just as detrimental to your recovery as staying on "too long".
    Jen S. likes this.
  6. Profit5500

    Profit5500 Senior Contributor

    Hi KeyerSoze congrats on being able to separate yourself from heroin. Its good that you can see the doctor for your pain meds. I never took Suboxone so I would not know the side effects of that detox.
  7. Giftbearer

    Giftbearer Member

    Hi KeyerSoze, If you're able to afford it you should probably not let the cost be the determining factor. I think Nick's advice was very wise. Think introspectively about your situation and be honest with yourself about whether you really feel you're ready medically to come off of it. If you really think you're stable enough and that it won't trigger a relapse then talk to your doctor and any other professionals you see about doing it under medical supervision. You might want to see your doctor and/or counselor (if you have one) more often while you're titrating down so that if you run into any problems you can go back up on it if necessary.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I just wanted to add that it takes a strong person to admit that they are not ready. I hope it's not perceived as a sign of weakness, because being honest, knowing yourself, and your limitations, is going to save your life.
  9. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor

    Do not feel bad, there are people who have been on suboxone for more than twp years, every one is different, their bodies respond differently to different things, I do believe that you are o the right track.
  10. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I'm sure it couldn't hurt to ask your primary care provider, or Suboxone provider, how long they expect you to be on it, and things of that nature.
  11. princepts

    princepts Member

    I know folks who are on Suboxone for the duration. They have come to the realization that they probably cannot sustain a normal life without either a.) opiates or b.) treatment. Keep an open mind here. It doesn't mean that you will be a life-long maintenance patient. It only means that you are willing to do whatever necessary to quell your addiction. Take it one day at a time. Time will be your best indicator as to what you should do. Stay the course, whether it is 2 years or 20 years. You will be fine.