long term suboxone effects

The question surrounding suboxone is a simple one: Is it a good idea to treat opioid addiction with another opioid?

Sinner or Saint: Long-Term Effects of Suboxone Use

Opioid abuse is well-known as a scourge across the country by those addicted to them, as well as police, doctors, rehab facilities, and even the federal government. It’s a public health emergency that kills tens of thousands of people each year, and appears to only be getting worse.

Of course, because opioid abuse has become such a major problem, there is, obviously, a number of counter-strategies to help fight this epidemic. While behavioral therapy and counseling are always an important step to fully releasing yourself from the grip of addiction, opioids are a highly addictive substance that aren’t usually willing to let you go that easily.

Identifying the root causes of your addiction aren’t going to help you beat it if your brain is still screaming at you relentlessly to take another dose. The withdrawal symptoms of opioids are often severe enough to send people right back into use without proper treatment.

Luckily, there is a treatment specifically made for recovering opioid addicts. That treatment is suboxone, a synthetic opioid that works as a moderate-strength painkiller just as other prescription drugs do.

But while it technically works similarly to other opioid painkillers, suboxone is most frequently used as a treatment for opioid addiction and abuse. Suboxone is generally administered during opioid detox as a sort of “step-down” drug. It hits the same parts of the brain affected by stronger opioids like heroin or OxyContin, but offers a much weaker high while also diminishing withdrawal effects.

Sounds like a miracle drug, right? Well, not exactly. Suboxone helps a lot of people ween themselves off of more dangerous opioids, but it comes with its own problems.

suboxone fda approved

How Suboxone Works to Lessen Opioid Addiction Symptoms

Suboxone is a drug that combines two different substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. These are substances that both affect the brain, but in opposing ways.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it activates the brain in the areas that opioids do – namely, the reward receptors. They don’t activate as strongly as a full opioid agonist like heroin; it provides a much duller and diminished response to the brain, which keeps withdrawal symptoms at bay  during treatment.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which blocks the receptors in your brain that respond to opioids, and even works to flush out some of the lingering effects from opioid use. Naloxone is a useful drug for reversing the effects of opioid abuse, but when administered by itself, it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, especially for somebody in the early stages of recovery.

Suboxone combines these two drugs in a way that both satisfies the brain’s opioid receptors and begins to heal them. By doing so, it minimizes withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting opioids “cold turkey,” while also having a minimal effect on your mental state. It has, undeniably, been a breakthrough in the field of addiction treatment and has made a lot of peoples’ lives better.

Suboxone is not, however, a full cure for opioid addiction. It helps with the opioid part, but addiction is a disease that affects the brain in compulsive ways. No drug can completely alter the way you think. That’s why the best use of suboxone is as a stepping stone that keeps you sober enough to be receptive to behavioral therapy and holistic addiction treatment.

This is the real end goal of suboxone, is a short-term fix to make long-term treatment easier to adapt to. This approach has worked across the country, as opioid addicts who go through rehab with suboxone have better recovery rates than those who don’t.

Perhaps more importantly, since Buprenorphine is technically an opioid agonist itself, it has the potential to be abused the same as any other opioid. Adding naloxone to the drug makes it much more difficult to isolate the specific opioid agonist and abuse it to satisfy addiction cravings.

This is especially important considering Buprenorphine is often the subject of overdoses. Since the standard dose provides a more subtle high, abusers will take much larger amounts than they should to get the rush they’re looking for. Suboxone lowers the risk of this sort of abuse because of its naloxone component.

purpose of suboxone

The Immediate Effects of Suboxone

No matter how helpful it is, there’s no way to get around the simple truth of suboxone treatment: people who come in with an opioid addiction and leave with a prescription for suboxone? They’re still addicted to opioids. They’ve just swapped their opioid of choice for a slightly less damaging opioid.

Now, this is an important step in recovery, because it makes further treatment and behavioral therapy possible. Suboxone’s high is there, but it isn’t the same rush as other opioids, so you maintain a sense of normalcy, rather than the altered state you get with heroin or stronger prescriptions.

But the goal of taking suboxone is not to take it forever, but to use it as a temporary crutch, then rehabilitate to the point where you no longer need any substances. That is a long, difficult road, but it is the ultimate goal of true recovery. Using Suboxone is a part of that journey, but it is not the destination.

Still, a number of people who find themselves using suboxone never find themselves moving on to the next step. For them, suboxone becomes like a treatment for a chronic illness, rather than a treatment that help them beat the illness. Of course, it’s true that addiction never completely goes away, but it can be beat back into remission with consistent effort and proper treatment.

So what happens when the recovery process stops at suboxone? Is it okay to end up perpetually taking suboxone? What are the long-term effects of suboxone, and what are the pros and cons?

The Pros of Long-term Suboxone Use

The biggest pro of long-term suboxone use is simple: You’re not taking the (presumably more harmful) opioid you got addicted to in the first place. In that sense, at least, suboxone use is a successful outcome.

Life on suboxone can definitely regain a feeling of normalcy. It will probably feel like you’ve beaten your addiction, since you’ve kicked the habit of your substance. You will regain control of your life to an extent, because suboxone’s effects aren’t as mind-altering as that of its more destructive cousins.

There is no question that living with suboxone use is better than living with a full-on opioid addiction. If the choice is simply between those two outcomes, then suboxone is certainly a better option. And indeed, many people who struggle to kick their addictions end up on suboxone long-term simply because they find it to be “good enough,” and because the next step is so difficult.

Realistically, there are many people who fall right back into their opioid addictions after stopping the use of suboxone. Worse still, since they’re used to a diminished dose of opioid agonists, they may try to go right back to dosage levels they were accustomed to before they started recovery. Because bodies build up a tolerance to opioids over time, and suboxone helps reduce that tolerance, a return to the same dosage as before is a recipe for a potentially fatal overdose.

Suboxone is technically an opioid, and as such it can be used as a painkiller. But because of the unique blend of suboxone – an opioid antagonist and a partial agonist – the odds of suboxone abuse are much lower than they are for other opioids. Suboxone can still be addictive, but the cravings aren’t as strong as they would be for, say, OxyContin or heroin.

suboxone pros and cons

The Cons of Long-term Suboxone Use

The goal of substance abuse recovery isn’t to swap an addiction to one substance for an addiction to a not-as-bad substance. We don’t consider it a success if you enter our facility with an opioid addiction and leave as an alcoholic.

In fact, we make it a point to look out for cross-addictions like that. This may sound strange to say, because people who are addicted to suboxone don’t have the appearance of an “addict.” Someone taking suboxone is taking it because they’re trying to recover. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But it’s a bad idea to get complacent with Suboxone use as a final solution. It is still an opioid, you can still get addicted, and you will build up a tolerance to it, same as any other opioid. In fact, long-term suboxone use has some very serious side effects, such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Constipation
  • Social isolation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Decreased tolerance for pain

And these are just some physical and mental effects of long-term suboxone use. That’s to say nothing of the problems that are common to all forms of addiction, like a diminished sense of personal responsibility, damage to personal relationships, financial problems, and potential legal issues.

The debate surrounding suboxone as a simple detox drug or a long-term solution continues in the medical community, and likely will for the foreseeable future. There are tradeoffs in both situations – shorter suboxone use means a higher chance of relapse, while extended suboxone use can be habit-forming on its own.

In addition, suboxone, being as it is a potentially habit-forming opioid, has withdrawal symptoms of itself to deal with.

symptoms of suboxone withdrawal

Suboxone Withdrawals – Detoxing from the Detox Drug

It’s a sad truth, but it’s true. Suboxone is often administered during medical detoxification from opioids, but in many cases, it comes with its own set of withdrawals. That’s right, it’s entirely possible that you may need to detox from the drug you get for detox.

That may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s exactly why suboxone is not a good option for long-term addiction treatment. It truly should be a stepping stone for total sobriety, not a plateau at which the recovery process stops.

The longer you stay on suboxone, the more your body adapts to it, and the greater the odds you’ll have a difficult time getting off of it.

People who suffer from suboxone withdrawals may experience symptoms like:

  • nausea/vomiting
  • headaches
  • digestive problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritability
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • fever/chills
  • headaches

Many of these symptoms are similar to the side effects of long-term suboxone use. And while it’s true that even the best medications can have side effects like these, this is just further proof that suboxone isn’t a harmless thing to take in the long term.

Because the withdrawal symptoms from suboxone can be significant, it often requires a detox period. Which means yes, you will have to detox from the detox drug. And in many cases, the detox from suboxone is even more difficult than the initial opioid detox.

The reason for this is twofold. First off, when you detox from opioids, suboxone is the substance that helps to lessen those withdrawal symptoms. But when you detox from suboxone, there is no “step-down” substance. In many ways, suboxone tends to just delay the inevitable. When you detox from suboxone, you’re still just detoxing from opioids.

But because of the extended-release nature of suboxone, it is a more stable substance that takes much longer to flush out of the system. As a result, suboxone detox can be even more difficult than other opioid detox processes, and can take up to a month of sleeplessness, anxiety, and pain.

This is a big part of the reason it is important to move on from suboxone before it takes root in addiction.

suboxone addiction treatment

Using Suboxone on the Way to a Full Recovery

But if your goal is to get completely sober, the path to take is clear. While suboxone can be a useful drug to help detox and kick-start the recovery process, the ultimate goal is to get back to a point where you don’t need any substance to live a normal life.

That means no prescription drugs, no heroin, no suboxone. If you go through proper addiction treatment, you can see the light at the end of that tunnel, where you don’t have to settle for “good enough” but can go right on past that to beating addiction entirely.

Ultimately, suboxone is a great help to people who have nowhere else to turn. But its greatest benefit is in helping people be receptive to real addiction treatment. When you suffer from addiction, the substance or process that caused the addiction is only secondary. The reason it’s so easy to move from one addiction to another is because addiction itself is the problem. Once you become addicted, your mental processes change, and you become more prone to compulsive behaviors in the future.

This is why suboxone alone will not make you overcome addiction. It can release you from the grip of your particular substance of choice, but until you truly understand the nature of your addiction and develop strategies for recognizing and avoiding compulsive behavior in the future, you will not have truly overcome your addiction.

Luckily, suboxone exists as a great way to bring you back from the brink and make you much more receptive to the real addiction treatment you need. But it is, ultimately, a painkiller. Like any painkiller, it treats the uncomfortable symptom, not the problem.

Addiction is the problem. Opioids are the symptom. To truly get your life back, you have to treat both, and with the right treatment and persistence, you will.

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Sinner or Saint Long Term effects of Suboxone Use

Sinner or Saint: Long-Term Effects of Suboxone Use
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March 12th, 2017|26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Shannon Finley-Scott Young February 6, 2018 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info. However, with all due respect, has the author of this article, or the author(s) of any of the last 11 I’ve read, ever actually been on Suboxone? While there may be some useful information here and in some of the other blogs, most of this is regurgitated “data” from the pharmaceutical company prior to changing their name.
    I was on Suboxone in 2011 after being on opioids off and on for 20+ years. I have been through withdrawals, (many times by choice in an effort to clean out my system) too many times to count and yes, they’re miserable but they’re a piece of cake compared to Suboxone withdrawal. I was only on the drug for a total of four months and on a low dose at that (6-8mg a day). I had only been on it a few weeks when I ended up in the hospital with a leaking splenic aneurysm caused by a pancreatic pseudo cyst the size of a grapefruit. Please note that these health crises were in no way related to Suboxone usage. However, due to the Suboxone in my system nothing would work for pain relief….NOTHING! It was almost 72 hours of torture and years later, I will never forget that. On the 21st day of my 23 days in the hospital, a “pain management “ doctor ordered my iv pain meds stopped and put me back on Suboxone. No problem, I was a cooperative patient. I also have family members who’ve been on Suboxone for years so I thought it would be fine and useful for my chronic pain issues not related to the current hospital stay. Long story short, at the end of four months, I tapered myself off the drug and it was hell. Most of the lists of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms you find online omit several symptoms. Hallucinations comes to mind and though the length of time one must endure these symptoms is usually listed, it tends to be glossed over as if it’s not that bad.
    Along with what I know from personal experience, what I’ve witnessed first hand from family members to others I’ve met these last years, all of whom have been on Suboxone for many years, and copious amounts of research, Suboxone is just another opioid that’s gets you high, yes the patient gets high, and gets you addicted but worse than Norco, Percocet, Vicodin, whatever your preference was/is. If I read one more article/blog/press release stating Suboxone doesn’t get the patient high, I’m going to snap! I know of what I type, here. The first time I put a pill under my tongue in the cash-only doctor’s office, I had an awesome amount of energy and practically danced out the door. Considering I could barely make it up 6 stairs 30 minutes prior, of course I thought, “it’s a miracle!” Sure it was, it’s the miracle of mind altering drugs. I repeat myself again, I was high as a kite, different from when I was taking painkillers but high just the same.
    As for what I’ve seen regarding long term use… it changes the person. People I’ve known my entire 49 years on this planet, are not the same or even similar to who they were pre Suboxone. Emotions, if they have them, are distorted, and temperament is unpredictable and volatile. Short term memory is horrible. I could go on and on, not to mention physical side effects.
    Now I’m not saying that no one should be taking Suboxone as I’m not a physician. I am saying that in my experience in coming home from 23 days in ICU and coming very close to dying a couple times, but was discharged on the road to recovery with a bright future, found myself at death’s doorstep a couple months later due to Suboxone withdrawal. This wasn’t cold turkey, folks! This was a precise tapering schedule. Maybe it’s a beneficial drug for some. I think it’s beneficial to the pharmaceutical company to keep patients hooked on their overpriced poison, beneficial for their profit margin.
    If you’ve read this and are still thinking about going on Suboxone, just do your homework. If you’re not familiar with the prescriber, research him/her as much as possible along with whatever version of the drug they’re prescribing. Be your own advocate, it’s so important. In my opinion Suboxone is a huge money maker for some and a huge draining nightmare for others. Protect yourselves.

    • Beth March 23, 2018 at 2:35 am - Reply

      thanks for commenting Shannon so helpful

    • john May 20, 2018 at 5:03 am - Reply

      you were high like a kite because you probably were on a very low dose of opiates compared to the people who actually need this drug.. I have been on it.. been on every opiate.. been on iv heroin.. been on methadone and subs to get off.. and got off methadone and subs.. when I went to get my sub on day 1.. from my IV HEROIN use.. or my 600mg oxy habit a day.. I didn’t get high AT ALL.. I just didn’t feel THAT sick anymore.. I still hurt all over.. and no matter how much suboxone I took I didn’t get energy or high .. so . im guerssing that you probably were on opiates.. but not a huge tolerance or addiction.. people like that shouldn’t get on subs period.. maybe 7-10 days.. start at 8mg.. and go down a half a mg everyday until off and you people will be fine.. but shoot heroin and do up to 100bags of dope a day then tell me that your high off suboxone.. lol it doesn’t get the HEAVY user high at all.. and honestly.. I don’t think anyone with a habit under 100mg of oxy Vicodin or any opiate from the doctor should go on suboxone for more then 14 days the max.. that’s not really an addiction so much as it is a depency .. honestly.. I think the drs love to make people feel like an addict but if you aren’t using hard core drugs and aren’t doing things that put your life at risk I don’t see that as much of an addiction but more of being hooked on it depency wise.. like im surprised to find out when people were on Vicodin or percocets and only taking up to 50-100mg a day get put on suboxone to get off those.. when 1mg of suboxone can kill the withdrawal from 80-100mg of oxy.. when I got off 600mg of oxycodone sniffing the 80s and 30s.. watever we could get.. I got put on 8mg a day.. and I could take 8mg a day and just feel normal not sick.. not energized just like I haven’t taken anything.. but when I was on like 90mg of oxy a day and the doctor thought I should go on suboxone again and I took 8mg.. I felt energized a little bit.. but that’s because I took 8x the amount needed to take the withdrawal away.. its something drs don’t know because addicts don’t tell them.. and or people who are dependent on opiates aren’t going to tell the dr because they are just happy they aren’t sick and they got energy again.. but in reality.. if its used as a detox drug I think suboxone is a miracle.. 10-14 days and u can get off any amount of heroin or oxy shooting it or snorting it or eating it.. u can get off ANY AMOUNT with a 10-14 day detox.. u can start at 16-24 mg if having a huge iv habit.. and feel nothing but better.. and just work yourself down every single day.. and feel just a little weak after.. I had a detox dr do this with me.. I got off iving 100-150bags a day when I was selling to support my habit.. and the heroin I was selling was cut with fentanyl and the max I took was 16mg and he just lowered my dose every day and when I left.. I went right into a rehab program and I felt nothing besides slept like crap so they put me on a few sleep meds at the time but told me if I stayed on those I wouldn’t be able to sleep without them so I used those for 5 days only.. then I felt like my old self.. stayed clean for years.. and then woops through my back out herniated 8 discs and had 2 bulging discs and a slipped disc.. then got hooked on pills again.. then heroin again.. then heroin cut with fentanyl .. and got onto suboxone 8mg a day for a while.. then slowly cut myself down to nothing very slowly and FELT NOTHING at all besides sleeping like crap again.. so all in all. it saves lives if used correctly.. and can work long term and short term.. but I do not think anyone on pills should be put on subs long term.. and I also don’t think anyone who isn’t taking high doses of pills should be put on them longer term.. I was really surprised to see people saying I was on 60mg of Vicodin and then got 8mg subs .. ya of course your high u took something that gets rid of the sickness for people taking like 400-500 mg of Vicodin easy.. so your doctor doesn’t know much which how can u blame them.. they aren’t taking it. or relapsing.. and taking it again… I find the best info comes from other people who have used it.. like me for instance.. I taught my doctor so much that he had me a JUNKIE stand infront of 50 doctors in my state tell my story and tell them how it really works dose wise and who should and shouldn’t really get it long term.. and now the area I live in is working suboxone the correct way.. so it took years of hell to get here.. and it could all end tomaro with my back problems.. but atleast I know the truth.. it works. and its not nearly as bad as methadone… methadone got me high.. suboxone NEVER REALLY GOT ME high.. it may have gave me energy when I took to much when I knew I could take like 1mg and I took 8mg but its not a high like dope or oxy.. its like drinking a coffee

      • Ashwood Recovery May 22, 2018 at 3:05 am - Reply

        Thanks so much for this insightful information. Best of luck continuing your sobriety.

      • Heather August 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm - Reply

        I totally agree with everything you said. I used iv heroin and alot of it and I never got high off of suboxone there are alot of people who should never be put on suboxone if your tolerance is that low to where suboxone gets you high then you don’t need it. People that don’t really need suboxone are giving it a bad name for the true opiate addicts that can really benefit from it.

      • Ed Shepard August 31, 2018 at 4:28 am - Reply

        Thank you so much for what you shared. It has helped me considerably. I know now what dose to take and for how long so that I don’t get hooked on suboxone again. I was on it for over 3.5 yrs (8/2 x 2) and quit cold turkey. I lasted through the hell of withdrawls for 5 weeks with nothing as things got worse. It wore me down until it finally got so bad I had to get something. I chose oxy just to help with the pain and other crap that they don’t tell you about suboxone withdrawal. After a couple weeks of oxy I started back on suboxone but now I know how to use it wisely. I’m not going to let it get its claws in me this time! Thank you again for what you shared. It validated much of what I have experienced; stuff the doctors are clueless about. Life and Blessings to you and yours in the name of JESUS!

      • Tanya September 2, 2018 at 11:33 pm - Reply

        Holy cow. This is the most accurate descriptio of have ever read! Your story sounds a lot like mine, and yes it does not get you hith, just a little energy.
        I do wish (desperatly) that I knew what I do now about the entire process however, because I would have done exactly what you did.
        Instead, I stayed in subs and it has been seven years. My life is very stable, which is good because it certainly wasn’t before, but long term use has changed who I am (so so socially isolated now) and I feel it is impossible to get off it after this much time. It’s pure suffering and an inability to feel any type of happiness for a really long time.
        Great to use for a short time, but be careful. Also one of my biggest fears is having a severe injury and being in pain and nothing works to help. This is a real problem that needs a solution.

    • Amanda October 12, 2018 at 6:03 am - Reply

      Soo very True! Was on suboxone 4 yrs and my short term memory is about non existent. Also must definitely wayy harder to kick then any other drug out there. Took a month before my body stopped hurting and 3 months before I had any energy again. Barely could crawl out of bed for so long! Oh and yes most definitely does get you high.. you’re on top of the world.

  2. Melissa March 31, 2018 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Took Suboxone for 7 years, clean for most then relapsed, mistakingly believed suboxone was to blame. Rehab that would not prescribe and also blamed suboxone for relapse. Got out of rehab, relapsed again. Took Methadone 2 years, relapsed again following personal trauma. Encouraged by well-meaning family and friends to go to detox. Detox would not prescribe methadone, not even to wean me down. Went into full-blown psychosis from abrupt withdrawal of high dose Methadone, got out of rehab in worse shape than when I went in, had near-fatal nervous breakdown, subsequently relapsed. Now back on Subutex indefinitely. Never getting off. I repeat, NEVER GETTING OFF. NO plans to get off EVER. Saved my life. Saves many lives. Why is it demonized in halfway houses and treatment facilities when it’s the single most effective treatment we have for opioid addiction? Does not get you “high”. Allows one to function like a normal person. Only barrier is cost, but Medicaid does cover in most states. Yes, makes money for the pharmaceutical companies, but so does every other pharmaceutical on the market So what? We live in a capitalist society. The cost to society of not affording its citizens access to MAT, i.e. Suboxone or Methadone, is immeasurable in lost workforce due to ODs and chronic relapse. Yes, dipshits will always abuse suboxone and then blame the drug for their dip-shit-edness, but people snort Wellbutrin in jail. Should we blame the Wellbutin? Let’s be honest that rehabs and detoxes make money by demonizing it and stigmatizing Suboxone and pushing all the familiar “you’re just swapping one addiction for another” bullshit, which just keeps addicts more vulnerable to relapse and cycling in and out of treatment and detox over and over and over, chasing the elusive “asbtinence-only is the only true recovery, 12-step model” proverbial tail. FOOLISH! Let’s stop demonizing these drugs and start really being honest about what is proven to have the most success in helping addicts stay alive the longest and function the best. Opioid addiction is a chronic, long-term, disabling condition and should be treated as such with LONG-TERM medication. If a diabetics blood-sugar spikes we don’t punish them by taking their insulin away. The stigma surrounding MAT is deadly, and people working in the recovery industry need to be responsible for stepping up and confronting this stigma and EDUCATING the public on what the World Health Organization has now declared the gold standard in successfully treating opioid addiction – METHADONE and SUBOXONE. Abstinence-based recovery is a dangerous model and a pipe dream for most opiate addicts, myself included. I’ve seen way too many people die from this ignorant mentality.

    • Tina April 14, 2018 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Thank you Melissa. I was starting to feel hopeless and inadequate at the process of weaning. I have my life back for four years now. Having young children, I can’t begin to think how I can wean while being mom. I need to give them a normal mom. You have definitely given a more realistic answer to this issue.

  3. Kay shore April 16, 2018 at 11:49 am - Reply

    You definitely spoke the real truth on Suboxone, and the reality of addiction. It blows me away how some people and articles talk about Suboxone and have not a clue what they are talking about. I have been taking Suboxone for a year now. I am 42 and have been addicted to everything you can imagine. I suffer from mental illness. This past year I have been able to rediscover my passion for horses and work with horses
    I work six days a week. Two different jobs, a rescue center, and exercise riding performance horses. I’ve never been able to hold a job for more than a few months. I take my medication and I haven’t even craved alcohol. This medication does NOT get you high. I definitely feel emotions I am not numb by any means. I am able to get myself grounded and seek something more.meaningful in life. When suffering from mental illness, I would self medicate, because of the.misery. I was always fragile from trauma as a child
    Taking Suboxone I am able to focus on my healing and life WITHOUT the constant craving of wanting something to make me feel better. I have taken psych meds and talk about side effects and almost not surviving coming off one of those..I’m OK being dependent on Suboxone, WHICH is different than being addicted..also I’m pretty sure you don’t build up a tolerance to Suboxone. If anyone says that it’s because they are taking more because they are trying to get high and THE medication does NOT get you high, so I guess people think they have a tolerance for it. I was a heavy heroin user, and Suboxone doesn’t feel anything like that..if you need Suboxone for opiate addiction, TAKE it if you are sick of chasing dope. Don’t worry about if you are “trading one drug for another” it will save your life. Don’t fret about when do I need to get off of Suboxone. Take it day by day, get your life back. Take care
    .

  4. Janice April 29, 2018 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Appreciate the positive reviews on Suboxone. Luckily I did not resort to drugs until between 45 and 50. Only took me a week to get addicted to Percocet. I have had a lot of health issues and opiates were given for that reason along with dental issues. I started using it recreationally after my son passed away and getting in with the wrong crowd that would take Lorcet and drink alcohol. I would have been too afraid to try that afraid I would overdose but my friend was doing it so I tried it myself. Biggest mistake of my life. I’ve been in rehab 3 times in a 10-year period. Would always relapse. After the last rehab they used Subutex to detox. I relapsed but eventually got a prescription for suboxone about 6 years ago. Tried unsuccessfully to detox from Suboxone. I have felt so much guilt being unable to feeling as if it has ruined my life. I have no energy no motivation and have lost a lot of friends due to alienation. Relationships have suffered and I can snap into a rage in a New York Minute. I do get a slight high or energy within an hour after taking Suboxone but other times don’t feel anything. I am having a lot of degenerative issues and the slightest touch will cause severe bruising. I am now pre-diabetic and wonder if the Suboxone has contributed to my negative health issues. Prior to opiates I watched my weight exercised and stayed healthy . after opiates I am 60 lbs overweight and have a multitude of ailments. I do agree it saved my life but so concerned that it is also slowly killing me physically. Wish there was some conclusive information regarding this but guess the drug is to much in the infancy stage to have this. If anyone recognizes the symptoms and would please provide some input either way I would greatly appreciate it. By the way I am 63 years old and always been in great physical shape but now I feel like that I am getting worse everyday. Thanks again for the input from everyone it does help me feel less guilty about the inability of detoxing from Suboxone.

  5. Andrew W. May 3, 2018 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I’ve been on Suboxone for about 8 years, with only one extended break that lasted a measly 9 days because I was in Kentucky on work deployment and couldn’t find a docter. I ended up finding a guy that had me come to his house and he video taped my visit on his Ipad while he asked me the usual questions. It was a little creepy, to say the least I usually get prescribed 60 a month, but make the 60 last anywhere from 6 months to a full years. I take a tiny dose every 48 or so hours, sometimes less than a mg. I either have to redose the 2nd day after work or I get extremely tired and crash, but I don’t wake up in with drawls and actually feel refreshed. The real pain wakes me up around 4 AM the third day, like clock work if I let it get to that point. I basically jump out of bed in the middle of the night with extreme whole-body anxiety and panic that freaks me out because I know that’s only the beginning. It get’s much worse and comes in waves, and lasts for God knows how long. I’ve read stories of some people still hating life after a year. I run to the bathroom, stick a fraction of a fraction of an 8 mg strip and hold it there and slowly fall back asleep. I’ll admit, that relief feels fantastic every time. Suboxone completely saved my life, and I’m not thinking about quiting or taking it until i Die. I’m just living and happy doing so. After only six months on Suboxone and 6 months removed from smoking 80 mg Oxycontins off tin foil or shooting the horse-kick of a drug Dilaudid into my veins by selling whatever little assets I had to fund my addiction, I started my career as a catastrophe insurance adjuster working the largest insurance company in America. They deploy me to wherever state a catastrophe strikes (think hail storms, hurricanes, etc) and I handle the homeowners claims their out of a hotel, and get paid handsomely to do so. The job changed my life for the better, and a few years back I even started dating again not much unlike like the normal kid I was back in high school before all the drugs. Suboxone made that all possible. It’s truly been a life saver for me as I was pretty deep into opiate addiction and just the whole street junkie lifestyle. It’s not all rosy though, I do believe Suboxone has side effects such as low-energy, dulling of your senses and emotions (the 9 days I was off Suboxone music sounded so different, it was strange, almost metallic sounding), and poor short term memory, especially recalling certain words that always seem to be on the tip of your tongue but are probably hiding behind a Buprenorphine molecule or something 🙂 Honestly though the negatives usually creep up the farther away you get from your last dose, and the overall benefits of the drug complete and utterly outweigh any negatives that I’ve personally experienced. I was also prescribed low dose Adderall a couple years ago for the lethargy and it pretty much knocks out all negatives and makes me very productive and focused. I’m a happy and involved member of society now, and I’ve been that way since I started taking Subs. Yes I still laugh at funny things and cry at sad things, I’m just a little different emotionally than I once was. I used to be the kid in class that would always try and make everyone laugh and wanted to be the center of attention. I’m much less outgoing now, but I like to think it’s a positive cause I was a friggin spazz lol. Anyways, just thought I toss my experience out there. I see no reason to rush to sobriety that I know will be a depressing slog and may not even be worth it if I end up less happy and unfulfilled from what I otherwise would have been staying on Suboxone. It’s a quality of life choice I’ve made up to this point that I may or may not stick with for the long haul, but I don’t think about that stuff, only the here and now, and I’m doing just fine.

    If I was to give anyone any advice on Subs, I would say yes, if you can do a quick 5 day taper to get off your D.O.C instead of month long “therapy dosages” that’ll get you completely dependent after that first month, go for it. You’ll save a lot of money and hassle that way. If that doesn’t work out or you already are dependent on Subs and worried about your future dependency on them, cut your strips or pills into fractions and take them that way. Trust me when I say 1 mg will have you feeling much better than you would if you were taking 8, 16, 32 mgs or w/e ridiculous amount these quack-cash-doc prescribes per day. 8 mg and higher dosages should only be used for the first “induction phase” when you jump from heroin or whatever opiate you used. Go to a doctor one or twice a year, try and get prescribed a high dosage like two strips a day, and just pretend the doctors instructions don’t exist and take them in small and spaced out dosages. If you start feeling uneasy, take a tiny dose and you’ll be ok for another 36 hours. It’s very manageable, as I’ve managed the dependency all while traveling and living in a different state every few months. Oh and btw please don’t use Suboxone to get off a suburban soccer mom Vicodin habit. Buprenorphine will get you high as a kite even at super low dosages if Vicoden is all your addicted too, but the Bupe high doesn’t even touch heroin, Oxy, hydromorphone, morphin etc, so it’s a beneficial trade off. If you’re abusing Vicodin and can’t get off, either take a vacation to Mexico and buy a few bottles of legal Tramadol and wean yourself onto that as it’s is still a narcotic (a strange one but effective) and it has an SSRI effect that boosts your mood. Then before you get to Tramadol, you can use Kratom to wean off that or even the diarrhea medication Loperimide they sell at every drug store. For real it’s technically an opiate, albeit incredibly weak, but it will take away your with drawls for the most part. Then just slowly take less and less until BOOM, you’re not chained to a pill! Now go buy a 24 pack and start the journey all over again! Yeeeehaw! jk lol

  6. Ryan Zombro May 19, 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

    I have been on suboxone for years, and I no longer feel any type of high at all. I am addicted to feeling good and being happy, so I have self medicated for most of my life. I am debating getting off suboxone, because of moral issues. Should I stop using all my medications (including insulin and metformin for diabetes, and abilify for bipolar disorder? I am not sure what to do or believe about all medications because afterall, someone benefits from my drug dependency. I am beginning to lose trust in the whole pharmaceutical industry. I say legalize all drugs, and there will be less addicts. People should have the freedom to experiment with all drugs, without a doctor’s prescription. I think I am going to have to let go of my suboxone crutch. Please do not let fear of any kind stop you from doing what you think is right. Be content rather on or off medication. If you want real answers, then here is a word of wisdom: as we think, so we are. Do not believe that you will withdrawal so bad and you will not. I am only taking suboxone because I initially liked the way it made me feel, but the feelings are mostly gone now (after taking 2 8 milligram strips daily for years. I pray that God will deliver anyone who reads this from the fear of withdrawal, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ! Amen and hallelujah!

    • Ashwood Recovery May 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for this insightful information. Wishing you the best on your journey and making the choices for you about your medications.

  7. Bill McHugh July 7, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Fellow Addicts – I’m a professional project manager and technology specialist who got sober in the early 80s but relapsed in 2003. Once you have a professional life with all the usual responsibilities – heroin use is even more impossible than before. On top of that – I’m now closing in in 60 yrs of life.

    I started taking suboxone about 12 years ago in the normal routine of relapse and recovery – probably 25 full recovery stays in the past 15 years, and all the while – suboxone played the major Pharma role. Today I take 8 mg per day and shot my last bag ( with God’s grace ) on March 10. Anyone who examines my life from the outside – even my wife and family members will admit that I a man a very lucky guy. I have a tremendous career and no financial debts of any kind – no health issues beyond addiction, no legal troubles, etc.

    However – since about 1 year back I started experiencing night terrors – they were only present when I was waking up at first. I would rise from the bed and before I finished my first coffee – I’d be back to my normal. However – in the last 1 week the night terror starts when I lay down to sleep. I cannot close my eyes as my anxiety shoots out of control and I feel like I’m soffocating. I’ve never experienced anything like this in the past and there are no major stress drivers – outside of the same usual things that we all have to make a living and endure a challenging marriage.

    I’m wondering if the long term use of suboxone is starting to work against me ? I did try to wean down from 8 mg to 6 mg to 4 mg in a period of successively one week drops – I want t9 get back below 2 mg again where the side effects don’t seem to exist at all for me. The rapid drop may have kicked this night terror off and now I’m in a very bad space as I s8m9ly must sleep at night in order to function on large teams all through the day.

    Has anybody experienced anything like this ? I’m going back to 8 mg and hopefully this night terror will go away – because otherwise I’ll have to stay awake at night and sleep during the day. This is a career changing outcome if I can’t get this under control. Does anybody have any insights ?

    • Ashwood Recovery July 26, 2018 at 3:47 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Wishing you the best!

    • Brian October 5, 2018 at 5:30 am - Reply

      Hi Bill,

      Its interesting you mention night terrors… I have begun the last few steps of weening off Suboxone completely. I started at 24mg/day probably over 6 years ago now. I am now down to .5mg/day! (which is nothing less than the work of the Lord Jesus in my life). I have recently been encountering a lot more nightmares than I would usually get. I am not sure if there is a correlation between that and Suboxone use, I have never heard of such a thing. But I am no expert and every person has a different body. I would encourage you to continue to pursue lessening your dose if thats what you feel you should do.

      Have you head of Prazosin? At a very small dose it is used to treat people with PTSD, and help with night terrors. I have begun its use and found it effective. Look into it.

      Sincerely,
      Brian

  8. Pete August 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Hi all, I can see that so many of you have gone through far worse than me.

    I’m a professional, now in my mid 50s and didn’t think I was much of a drug user except smoking pot in high school and social drinking with friends. That was before opiates became available to me dirt cheap for a few years back in 2010. I’ve had a very bad back for years and a few other family issues that were bothering me at the time. So, to me it seemed to solve everything.

    About 6 years ago, after a nasty withdrawal following 2 years of my percocet and oxycontin abuse that peaked at about 300 mg of oxy per day, a friend recommended a doctor who had a good practice and a 2nd practice on the side to treat addicts. To me he seemed quite knowledgeable and put me on four of the 2.0/0.5 suboxone strips per day. The problem was – he never pushed me to cut down the dose. I never really did my research on Suboxone and that’s totally my fault. I was on it for over 5 years.

    For the past year to 18 months I was on suboxone I completely lost my motivation, my drive to succeed, my desire to interact with friends and family, and my sense of personal responsibility. For me, long term use became a nightmare. I was able to cut down to 3 strips/day about 6 months ago and took 2 per day for the last month. I stopped taking it completely 29 days ago. While obviously not as intense as the oxy withdrawal the suboxone w/d symptoms were ugly for the first 2 weeks. Now I just wonder how long they’ll last! They keep coming back after a day or two of feeling ok, but I’ve read this crap could go on for months. The good thing is my drive and sense of responsibility is almost restored. As soon as I can get rid of the waves of chills and digestive issues I hope to be able to move on with my life!

    While this may not apply to long term heroin or opiate abuser who uses it to avoid far worse outcomes, for anyone else, I’m convinced that taking suboxone for more than 2 or 3 years is really, really dangerous.
    I sincerely wish those still using can recover & those recovered can stay clean.
    Be well everyone!

    • Ashwood Recovery September 8, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      So glad that this article resonated with you. Wishing you the best on your journey!

  9. Tom August 29, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

    My Dr, after going to the same Place for 6 years now, paying $180 a month, called me and told me to bring in my subs and take a piss test by the end of the day Last Thursday. I was at work and told him I couldn’t get there by the end of the day. I work 8-5 and that’s when they’re open, not to mention I don’t drive and have to take a bus 40 minutes to get there. They already test you when you go for your appointment each month if they want, and in 6 years they never called me before, but now because I couldn’t just leave work, find a bus, and get there within 4 hours I wonder if They’re gonna kick me out when I go to my regular appointment on Friday. They wouldn’t even let me come in the day after or the day after that….I’m so upset now. I already have to take at least 1 day off a month to go to my sub appointment,they make you go to shrink once a month which I have to take off for. I mean they say its good I’m working now, but LOL I’m just supposed to leave and magically get there .I was shocked when she said by the end of the business day or It’s a failed test ,but then wouldn’t say what having a failed test means. I dunno honestly because I haven’t failed a test now in 6 YEARS of going there. I think they look to get rid of people going there after so long,cause they have a limit of how many people they can see, and at the place I go they charge $300 for your first visit and $180 for each visit after that….. So of course they’re looking to get rid of people doing what their supposed to be doing to get fresh meat in there to make More money because that’s all it’s about for them.

    Anyways not looking foward to going thru withdrawl from the subs now if they do kick me out, so I’d appreciate some prayers or something if you can 🙂

    • Ashwood Recovery September 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Sorry you are going through this. Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you the best!

  10. Toby September 17, 2018 at 6:35 am - Reply

    It sounds to me like we’re seeing a lot of the issues these people have playing out here in the comments section. What I mean is most addicts have trust issues, so they can’t or won’t be led through a structured program. They gotta do it their way. So we’re hearing all these varying accounts of what happened.
    Then, I hear some pride issues, for instance people don’t want to admit that they may need to take something for the rest of their lives. I chose subutex as an alternative to Oxycodone because after two years of pain management and oxycodone for my back, I developed another painful problem, piriformis syndrome, and became overwhelmed with pain.My doctor would not up my dose anymore, so I began researching alternatives. I actually interviewed people who managed addiction treatment facilities. She told me the results they were getting Crome buprenorphine and Wellbutrin together were nothing short of a miracle. So, I asked my doctor if he switched me to subutex and added Wellbutrin, would he give me enough to manage my pain. He said yes. Within a few days of starting the treatment of buprenorphine, Wellbutrin, and Lexipro, I felt 20 years younger. My mind was so clear. And powerfull! Working problems, reading, learning, writing, Hell, I felt 30 years younger. The one thing I never experienced was a high. The people at the treatment facility figured that an addicts brain is different than someone who isn’t an addict. They felt that they were zeroing in on the right cocktail of drugs. I agree.

    • Ashwood Recovery September 23, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience, and wishing you the best as you continue your journey!

  11. Bruce Teller November 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    The blog post is well-written, yet easy to understand. It’s pretty sensible, too. As for my case: I’ve been on Suboxone Maintenance some 2 years now — I take 24 mg. per day, along with 2 other ‘psyche’ meds. The Suboxone is a huge help to me, but so are the psyche meds. I.e., Suboxone alone wouldn’t crack it for me, not really. I discovered that fact when I tried to cease taking one of those psyche meds. The Suboxone basically ‘needs’ the other psyche med to be fully effective. This has been my experience anyway.

    Does Subxone get you high? Well look, I’m not going to BS you — if Suboxone didn’t give a euphoria, I probably wouldn’t take it. And neither would many other people either. That’s why (many clinicians agree) it’s a good thing that Suboxone provides a slight & smart euphoria; the so-called “high” = high patient compliance, which in turn = less drug abuse & overdoses = Recovery, or a damn good form of it.

    Lives improve with Suboxone, that is documented. Yet, it’s also true, lives can be ruined when people start playing games with Suboxone and/or abusing it. It’s sort of a ‘fine line’ there, but I think it’s easy to stay on the good side of the line.

    • Ashwood Recovery November 18, 2018 at 1:33 am - Reply

      Thank you for your perspective and honest thoughts, Bruce.

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