Friday, January 2, 2009

About Suboxone-that little orange pill

A lot of you have emailed me asking about suboxone and how it works. This is what I observed from my daughter when she started taking it. 

My daughter was 17 when I found out she'd been shooting heroin everyday in parking lots for a year. Yeah, she was an addict. One of her friends called me to let me know she was in trouble [addicted bad]. Luckily, she was already undergoing therapy for anger, anxiety and depression from a psychiatrist who also specialized in addiction therapy [seboxone]. 

She was really sick. I drove her to see her psychiatrist and he took one look at her, asked if she was sick and then gave her a 4mg seboxone. In about 20 minutes she was laughing and happy. That was the beginning of a year of seboxone use. Yep, she messed up twice within a two month period but other than that she took her seboxone regularly. If she didn't take it she was very, snappy and angry. I could always tell. 

When she started taking the suboxone she was taking 8mg once a day. It made her very sleepy. So she broke it up and took 4mg in the morning and 4mg at night. Sometimes she would just take 8mg at night. She progressed to only needing 4mg a day...again she broke it in half and took 2mg in the morning and 2mg at night. At about the 9 month period she was taking 1mg in the morning and 1mg at about 10 months she was taking 1/2mg...then reduced her dose to just a few crumbs each day....then to nothing.  She was okay for the first couple of days and then started to experience slight flu-like symptoms, slight leg cramps, backache, headache....She didn't even realize she was going through withdrawals. She thought she had the flu. She's perfectly fine now. A happy, healthy 18 year old. 

One important thing about suboxone is that its really important to take it everyday. I can't stress that enough. You may think you don't need it but you do. Don't stop taking it...honestly, I think it's your brain trying to sabatoge your recovery. My daughter went through the same thing at about month 4. She was convinced that she was fine and didn't need to take it any longer. Suboxone is also very nasty tasting and because you have to let it dissolve under your's pretty bad. Her side effects ranged from hot flashes, some nausea and slight headaches. She took alot of advil and motrin. She seemed pretty happy with the suboxone as far as cravings were concerned. If you think your dosage needs adjusting talk to your doctor about it. Her doctor told her it was very important to make sure she was taking the right dose because every person is different. Some may need 16mg twice a day while others only need 8mg once a day....

There are many sites about suboxone. Here are a couple of places to start.

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals website has a physician locator and loads of information

A non-profit organization formed to help people find treatment for opioid dependency with suboxone. They offer loads of information about seboxone and  links to an online forum. They also have an online physician finder by State. 

If you have specific questions about suboxone ask the Suboxone Doctor. 


SuboxDoc said...

Thank you for mentioning my site, and for linking to me. I enjoy your blog and wish you the best with your daughter.

A couple things you may already know-- there is an 'angry mob' out there on the internet that does their best to get people to quit Suboxone; I don't know why they care, or consider it their business, but be careful if your daughter starts getting 'coached' by one of those people. They sometimes are into 'amino acid therapy' or other things that have no evidence of being helpful (and knowing what we know about addiction, it is silly to even think it would work).

My second comment is that younger people don't do quite as well with Suboxone long-term. Don't get me wrong-- it is still the best thing out there. But where older folks are grateful to just be done with the craziness of addiction, younger people seem to get bored, and miss the chaos. You might do well to talk to your daughter about those feelings if you see or here signs of them-- better that she recognize those bored feelings consciously than act on them unconsciously.

Finally, you will face the question at some point over 'how long to stay on Suboxone'. My thought is that a person is always safest on Suboxone-- I have lost a couple close people to addiction, by overdose or suicide, and the deaths still haunt me because I know they would be alive had they been on Suboxone. There is NO need to get off Suboxone-- at this point we know of no significant long term problems with either medication that make up Suboxone. And even if we did, looking at the 'balance of risks', the destruction caused by active opiate dependence justifies putting up with some risk or side effects in order to keep things stable. I will keep a person on Suboxone indefinitely if he/she is doing well, and if a person wants to stop taking it, I will help them taper, but I strongly recommend that they replace it with active recovery... VERY active recovery, such as at least three or four meetings per week.

Just some thoughts. Thanks again, and best wishes to you and yours.

Jeffrey T Junig MD PhD
Suboxone Talk Zone

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Thank you SuboxDoc.

I'm unaware of the suboxone "haters". I'm not a Doctor and I might be completely off base here...but I really don't understand how amino acid therapy...would alleviate heroin withdrawals or how it would relieve the cravings like seboxone does.

I think if you need prozac, zoloft or any other SSRI to feel better then maybe you should try amino acid therapy but I don't see how it would even begin to help a heroin addict. Personally, I would never take that kind of chance with my daughter.

You're exactly right about the obvious effects of suboxone and younger folks. The suboxone did what it needed to do for my daughter. I don't really know what would have happened to her without it. It helped her stop using heroin, kept the horrible withdrawals at bay and gave her an opportunity to find "herself" again. We've talked about the lack of drug drama...she's staying busy reading, working, redecorating her room, seeing her counselor, writing a book and helping me around the house. She will start college in August and wants to study psychology. I can't begin to tell you what a difference a year of suboxone makes. I will forever be greatful to the makers of suboxone.

Gledwood said...

Hi thanks for the comment you left me...

I was just reading the top comment: why would anyone want your daughter or anyone else's kid to quit suboxone? Because they insist on total 100% clean without chemical therapy?

I was on one called Subutex which is buprenorphine for a short while. It seemed to work really well for me. Interesting you say your daughter got SLEEPY off the meds I got the exact opposite I was so crystal clear I found it difficult to handle. Also my sleep went down to barely 4 hrs per night at the worst which I really didn't like.

In the end I just missed heroin too much.

I think what your daughter has going for her is that she WAS so young. It means she hasn't experienced so very much of what life has to offer and she can do all these things clean.

I had already travelled and done other things BEFORE heroin and I never got on it till quite late (around 28 when it was full-blown) though I know people who started later than that.

I had done years feeling miserable with nothing to ease the pain... when at long long last I found heroin that was it for me it had me hook line and sinker. I honestly think it will take a miracle for me to stop... this higher power NA talks about. I need a miracle from God!

I'm glad your daughter's doing OK now

My Daughter's Addiction said...


I know the suboxone has naloxone in it where the subutex does not. I guess the naloxone was what was making her sleepy.

You're right maybe it is easier for younger people to get off heroin than older people. I know I pretty much had to fight with her to get her to take the suboxone everyday. I'm convinced her brain was trying to sabatoge the treatment. After she'd been taking it about 3 months straight...her brain sorta gave up trying to convince her that she didn't need to take it anymore.

Maybe you should give the suboxone a try...Unlike the subutex, you will see a difference in your cravings---and especially in the withdrawal symptoms. ...and hey if it doesn't work then you could try something else. It can't hurt anyways. Never give up!

Hey, if I were you're Mom I'd make you take it! :)

Thanks for your nice comments. Stay Safe.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Suboxen: A Miracle Drug":


My Daughter's Addiction said...

Anonymous- Yes, suboxone is addictive. Did the Doctor take him off the suboxone suddenly? ...or did the Doctor taper him slowly off seboxone? Obviously, if he still feels the need to take seboxone he needs to be prescribed the seboxone. Counseling is an important part of the suboxone program.

About whether or not he is using opioids/oxy's again it's hard to tell. Only a drug test could answer that question.

Stay Safe.

Addicted Rantings said...

Why should SuboxDoc call other people who think they have an alternative to a therapy he endorses an “angry mob?” Isn’t it all about what works best for the patient?

I endorse good old fashioned rehab instead of chemicals. Am I in the angry mob category?

Something smells fishy. ~AR

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Hi AR- nah...I don't think you're the angry mob...he's probably just referring to someone on his site- bashing the use of suboxone or marketing their amino acid therapy...don't really know.

Personally, I'm just glad there's help, no matter what it is. I've oftened wondered what my next steps would have been if the suboxone hadn't worked...honestly I was considering rehab as a next step.

Carol said...

I admit Suboxone helped me off drugs but 3 years later and I am still trying to get off of it. Every time I try, I get severe withdrawal symptoms. I even tried methadone but kept craving the suboxone.
I am down to a tiny piece of suboxone. It is a very powerful drug.
I received the suboxone on my 5th day of detox. Looking back I wish I had just detoxed for longer and not taken the suboxone. But then again, who knows where I would be now.
I am happy that your daughter is better, she is a stronger girl than me. :)

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Thanks Carol.
I don't think she's stronger than you at all, she was just sick of taking the suboxone...she hated the taste from day one. She always took it at night because it made her sleepy.

She was very sick when she took her first dose of suboxone. It immediately made her feel better.
That's the reason she kept taking it...because she knew that she would feel bad if she stopped. She stayed on it for about 9 months or so...then started tapering...I want to think she tapered all in all about 3 months total.

She was down to micro-crumbs for a couple of weeks before completely stopping. She was also tapering off prozac at the same time. Honestly I think the weed she smoked while tapering off the suboxone helped too. [whatever it takes] long as it's not heroin.

Everyone seems to react differently and you're absolutely right its a very powerful drug...keep eating those crumbs and keep in touch...Take care.

Athena said...

I really haven't heard much about Suboxone... Except of course, on your blog...

It was never brought up to me when I was desperate to help my daughter - even though we had insurance.

She was 17 when I learned of her addiction, and as you know from my blog - the only thing that's stopped her so far is jail... she even chose heroin over her baby.

I think that she might have not been successful, because she definitely has not wanted to change... but maybe, one day...

I'm so happy this has worked for your daughter, and thank you for sharing the information


My Daughter's Addiction said...

Thank you Athena...I hope that someday your daughter will appreciate all that you've done. I honestly think that everyone addicted to heroin will at some point want help...some longer than others.

In my daughters case, I still watch for signs of use, maybe out of fear or the lack of trust. It hasn't been long enough for me to really relax yet.

haydens mom said...

I first heard of suboxone in the summer of '07, and i started to snort just a little of the orange pill, and it made me very high. I got sick of the buying them and decided to see a psychiatrist to get them prescribed. The nurse started me the next day, bringing me in and giving me just so much, and watched me that day, to see about side effects and stuff like that, she did that for 4 days. When i was able to take my prescription home i tried to snort them, and it didn't work as well. So i started having to snort more at a time. I ended up taking to much and running out, i did this for about 6 months. I wasn't happy anymore, and i was sick of the games of always being high. I wanted to stop using all together, so i went through two long weeks with out the help of a doctor, just the help of my bf standing by me to get off them. I too have choose to get high over being with my son. Which pains me very badly. He is 3 now, and my addiction started before he was born. It was a long time addicted to pills, and i was ready to stop. I was clean for 15 days, even though loosing my grandma. Then i couldn't handle the withdrawals anymore, so i went on the search again, and found what i was looking for, or so i thought. I did that for about 2 weeks behind my family and boyfriends back. Then just couldn't hold on to the grief and pain of doing it and told them. So my thought was to go back on suboxone and do it the right way. And after a week my psychiatrist decided the she would put me back on it. I'm still monitored every week with drug tests. I see a councilor every week. I do take my suboxone the right way everyday. And yes things seem better, the cravings aren't as bad, i just don't think it's working as well anymore. I'm still dealing with depression, and suicidal thoughts some days. The suboxone helps with cravings, but nothing else seems to help. Talking doesn't help, crying doesn't help. And just lately seeing my son doesn't help me. He is the only thing that keeps me going and alive. And now lately it seems like he would be better if i wasn't around, or at least i know he would be okay. Just seeing his beautiful smile would make me smile, and now this last week its very hard to even smile at him. Sometimes i have a good day, or even a few good days. But not lately, it just all seems bad. I'm very glad the suboxone has worked for your daughter, and that no one knew to tell her she could snort them. It could of been worse for her, and i'm so glad she didn't have to go down the long road of 6 years of using, its wonderful that she found the strength within her to want to stop. Hope things stay good for you and her. Best wishes, tanya

My Daughter's Addiction said...

Tanya, I'm sorry that you're feeling so low these days. Just think of all the progress you've made so far. I think you've done an amazing job. Has your Doctor prescribed anything for your depression? My daughter's doctor prescribed prozac which didn't work very well...for her.

I would ask the SuboxDoc [Jeffrey T Junig MD PhD] what he would recommend to help you with your depression. I'm certain he will have some idea of what might help you in this situation.

His website address is

Always remember your son will not be better off without his mom...Stay strong! Keep in touch! Hugs to you and your little one.

haydens mom said...

Thank you, for your kind words, and i will stay in touch, as much as i can. Sometimes it can get kinda crazy feeling in my life, but i will do the best i can. That's what I'm trying to do, is just the best i can. I wish i could put up a picture of hayden, he is the cutest little boy i have ever seen in my life. I feel better today. Yesterday was bad, i didn't see hayden, he is staying with my parents right now. My boyfriend has been a wonderful help, although he thinks he is the one that is making me unhappy. And its not him, sometimes i have no idea why i feel so down. I know he does the best he can with me, and he is the sweetest caring man i have ever met. To have stayed with me though so much, i couldn't have asked for a better man. That is what i would love my son to grow up to be. And at three years old he already has most of the best quality's a man could have. Sweet, caring, and funny, great imagination,and right now he is pretending to be a fly on my computer screen with his fingers and He is my angel, between hayden and my boyfriend, they are the ones who saved me. My boyfriend still might not understand that he is the one who helped me stop using. He's the one who was able to tell me that i didn't need that stuff. My son was there and i feel bad cause he should of been enough for me to stop. But they are the two that have helped me so much. And now i hope writing on here to you will help me too. Thanks again, Best Wishes to you and your daughter, love, tanya.

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend is a current addict and it is very hard for me to deal with. i want to walk away but i think im the one one he ahs left. he recently used in my home and that is the breaking point but i still dont know what to do about leaving or staying. he currently is seeing a doctor and is on suboxone. my thing is i think he is using the suboxone so hes not sick when he comes off the heroin.he takes it everyday and still ends up using, which i dont understand never being and addict myself.he was clean for months when we first got together and has since relapsed. me and his family are basically at the end of things to do to keep us strong. any suggestions?

My Daughter's Addiction said...

He has to want to get away from the life of heroin addiction before he can walk away from it. You can't help him. If he was taking the suboxone correctly then he couldn't get high even if he used heroin.

He has to stop taking the suboxone for about 3 days or so before he can get high on heroin. Then when he doesn't have any heroin and starts to withdraw-become sick then he starts using the suboxone... It's a vicious cycle....

Try talking to him about his use. Ask him if he wants to be a heroin addict for the rest of his life? Ask him if he wants to start taking the suboxone like he should and give up heroin you can have a life together. Tell him you want to help he needs to let you give him the suboxone probably should watch him take it-that way you know he's taking it...

Does he have a therapist? Does his suboxone doctor drug test him?...Hang in there....

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relay76 said...

Well I was on Suboxone for a year maybe but I managed to get Depressed from the naloxone. Which is the Atagonist. Which is believed to be connected with Migraines and headaches.Its VERY unfortunate that Subutex is NOT approved in the US for Opiate treatmment. I used to be a major bodybuilder and into health foods prior to the Heroin Addiction. (Go Figure) I started "late" with addiction at age 26, which is usually the WORST time to start. I think that Subutex would help MORE (same as Suboxone -Minus the naloxone) that suboxone. TOO Often I would go back to Heroin and naloxone made is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE too resume Suboxone.**Cause it WILL throw you into Full-Blown Detox!!** Which is why until only 9-10 Months ago I only THEN ceased Heroin. To answer MOST peoples questions on Addiction: Its ALL about When you get "Hooked". That Girl at 18 wasnt distractable cuz of her AGE and Experiences prior. The Reason(s) why there are "Haters" out there is they SELF-REFLECT and Lack 100% Understanding (Are VERY Stubborn Mined too) and ANY compassion for Addicts. (I've been there!) Therefore you here about "Natural Detox" aka TORTURE a lot. The ONLY reason why I am clean is I am on Methadone at 117mg Daily. I used Heroin for Fun, then later found that being "Numb" was a Right in my mind. When I got clean, my Anger arose like fire! After Time I used Heroin to "be a Nice Person". Listen: Heroin Molecule contains Endorphins. When you SMILE, Eat, Relax, etc- Your Brain is Flooded with them. Therefore YOU are an addict cause YOU "enjoy" your high (per se) Just Picture everytime you didnt smile, you got body aches,vomiting,lack of sleep,Insanity. Then when you lifted your lips to "Smile"- It ALL went away.. Well this becomes the Addicts Circle- (The MOST Longterm and Dangerous Part) They dont use ANYMORE to feel "High"- but just to Function at all. Even MONTHS Later! With Heroin-Withdrawal you can NEVER HIDE. A shower feels like Needles with ICE. Cold is HOT and Hot is COLD. I remember its 20 degrees outside and Im POURING Sweat! I pay $30 and get 5-6 bags and in 3 seconds- Im 100% NORMAL like you! Lesson is: STOP it early and Get Help before you get THIS deep! DONT force "help" on Addicts or "taunt" them.. Its Counter-productive. If your an addict lookinggfor help- get it NOW! Suboxne is GREAT for many.. Thats ALL I have to say..

Anonymous said...

Iv been clean now for years & suboxen is the reason why I am of the problems is that I have to buy them & iv tried to recieve them from a local retreat but they said they were full & basicly puts me in a bad place.i go weeks without them & it makes me sick.there people out there who dont take them correctly and just sell them to get high while people like me are struggling to survive day by day.can u please help me?