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For Painkiller Addicts, Suboxone Means Freedom, Dependence


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Another testiment to trading one dependence for another

 

ABC News’ Dr. Mirjana Jojic reports:

The first-ever large-scale study to look at treatment options for prescription painkiller addiction has shown that these treatments – much like painkillers themselves – can be a double-edged sword.

 

The psychological effects of painkillers are one of the reasons 5.3 million American abuse them, according the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Researchers at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, conducted the first large-scale study to look at treatment options for this growing problem.

 

“What made this study different was the population,” said Dr. Roger Weiss, lead author and chief of the division of alcohol and drug abuse at McLean Hospital. “This is the first study that focused exclusively on people dependent on prescription opioids, not heroin.”

 

Tooth extractions, chronic pain, illness and other painful surgical procedures are the major reasons Americans are prescribed painkillers. These medications, branded Percocet or Vicodin, are classified as opiates, and in addition to pain relief, they can produce the same feelings of euphoria and relaxation as heroin does.

 

The study took 650 people addicted to prescription pain medications and treated them with buprenorphine and nalaxone. This combination, marketed together under the trade name Suboxone, safely mimics some of the effects of opioids, while reducing drug cravings, helping to control withdrawal and preventing the same “high” if patients were to abuse opioids while on Suboxone.

 

Half of the study participants were also given intensive individual addiction counseling. Over the 12-week trial period, 49 percent of participants had success with Suboxone in that they were able to maintain sobriety for a large portion of the study, regardless of counseling.

 

“This was an ideal population to treat – short history of opiate use, high employment rate and most [people] had never sought help, so they weren’t dealing with many failed attempts,” said Weiss of the success of Suboxone.

 

However, despite their initial improvement, when participants were weaned off Suboxone, 90 percent went back to using prescription pain medications.

 

Weiss and colleagues concluded that Suboxone was effective in reducing prescription drug abuse in the short-term and could be safely administered to patients in an outpatient setting with relatively short weekly medication management visits. However, the likelihood that participants would relapse on pain killers if they stopped Suboxone was extremely high.

 

“This study is a cautionary tale,” Weiss advised, and stressed that future studies should focus on how long people should take Suboxone to increase their chances of staying sober.

 

 

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This is a nasty drug. I was on it for 2+ years.  I defanatly traded 1 addiction for the other. i could not get out of bed in the morning without putting that little orange pill under my tongue. i Cold Turkey off this drug at the same time i CT'ed my Klonopin. it was no walk in the park. suboxone withdrawal is way worse than opiate withdrawal, and much longer. this drug is only meant to be used for 2 weeks. its not meant to be long term.(just like benzos) but people all over are getting on it for a long term period. anyway, so happy to be 100% med free. never thought i would be...:)  -Jacob
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This is a nasty drug. I was on it for 2+ years.  I defanatly traded 1 addiction for the other. i could not get out of bed in the morning without putting that little orange pill under my tongue. i Cold Turkey off this drug at the same time i CT'ed my Klonopin. it was no walk in the park. suboxone withdrawal is way worse than opiate withdrawal, and much longer. this drug is only meant to be used for 2 weeks. its not meant to be long term.(just like benzos) but people all over are getting on it for a long term period. anyway, so happy to be 100% med free. never thought i would be...:)  -Jacob

You've had quite a road you traveled.  Congratulations on your sucess. I can only imagine what it took to get there.  You should be very proud!

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  • 2 weeks later...
They give alcoholics Ativan to prevent alcohol w/d... and some become dependent.  They give heroin addicts Suboxone to prevent w/d... And then they give them benzos to prevent the Suboxone w/d.  Sheesh. 
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The psychological effects of painkillers are one of the reasons 5.3 million American abuse them

Hey WWW.

 

When are they going to understand that the withdrawal of these drugs which is physical is the reason that people keep taking them. To stop withdrawal. And no one is showing patients how to properly withdraw. In order to convey, it's not abuse.

 

Even though there's becoming more and more awareness through these articles about statistics and it's reaching more headlines that benzos, painkillers, the lot of them are out of control with the masses on them, I get so frustrated reading the same misinformation. You know what I mean?

 

The xanax news article did the same thing. They show a kid that "abused" benzos, and that's it. The usual drug addict abuse story. THAT is getting old.

 

I don't get excited when I see that kind of stuff. I don't see it as a win for involuntary addicts. UG

 

 

:brickwall:

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[e8...]

I got off opiates 4 years ago. I was never given Suboxone but I was tempted with Methadone!

 

 

Do not take Suboxone or Methadone!

It can be done without those and Benzos!

 

Billy.

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The psychological effects of painkillers are one of the reasons 5.3 million American abuse them

Hey WWW.

 

When are they going to understand that the withdrawal of these drugs which is physical is the reason that people keep taking them. To stop withdrawal. And no one is showing patients how to properly withdraw. In order to convey, it's not abuse.

 

Even though there's becoming more and more awareness through these articles about statistics and it's reaching more headlines that benzos, painkillers, the lot of them are out of control with the masses on them, I get so frustrated reading the same misinformation. You know what I mean?

 

The xanax news article did the same thing. They show a kid that "abused" benzos, and that's it. The usual drug addict abuse story. THAT is getting old.

 

I don't get excited when I see that kind of stuff. I don't see it as a win for involuntary addicts. UG

:brickwall:

 

VG,  I so hear you.  When I initially saw this artical it reminded me of the heroin/methadone issue (scam), where an illicit drug is traded in for a supposed w/d tool that in fact just trades an illicit drug for dependance on an "approved", legally profit making drug without the high, but continued dependence nonetheless.

 

Your frustration is absolutely justified and it often feels like David and Goliath only David isn't winning.

 

WWWI

 

 

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I got off opiates 4 years ago. I was never given Suboxone but I was tempted with Methadone!

 

 

Do not take Suboxone or Methadone!

It can be done without those and Benzos!

 

Billy.

 

Exactly!

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Perhaps drugs should be legalized in America as a result?  Not saying they shouldn't be scheduled or controlled.  But it puts the decision on the patient and the prescribing doc. 

 

I've seen too many heroin addicts on documentaries going from heroin to S to benzos... And they all say they'd take a heroin w/d any day over a benzo w/d. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
I was given three days of suboxone to get off high dose of daily morphine in march 2010, same time I got off k with 3 days of neurontin and depakote...I went home on nothing...havent gone back on anything either yet. I guess it helped some of us....
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I was given three days of suboxone to get off high dose of daily morphine in march 2010, same time I got off k with 3 days of neurontin and depakote...I went home on nothing...havent gone back on anything either yet. I guess it helped some of us....

I'm glad you came out unscathed.  Although I don't know many since this is a site for those who struggle with w/d, I'm glad you are one.  And although I do not ask this with malice, I am curious...you are here on this site because?

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I also did a pretty rapid w/d off of a high-dose opiate (120 mg hydrocodone), using a limited supply of Lortab as a taper. I can tell you that it was pure pain - I was sure every bone in my body was being repeatedly broken, over and over.

 

I was in a drug trial for a controlled release hydrocodone w/o tylenol (for chronic pain) and got dropped when I had to switch anti-depressants. I don't like the "addict" stigma, but my body would tell you it was addicted to the drug in the trial.

 

Ultimately, I was glad I didn't get methadone/suboxone to "help" me. While that taper and w/d was a nightmare, it was a walk in the park compared to coming off benzos.

 

Marie

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Inkerbelle, hi, I have written on my sig dont go to detox. I did not come out unscathed at all..I have had a very harsh and extreme wd...from psychosis, akathasia, change in heart rhythm, tremors, tinnitus, severe wt loss, parasthesias, balance problems, vision problems, vibs, and many, many more....I was helped however by suboxone because I was very physically dependent on morphine, I took over 500 mg of it a day for almost 10 years. I have never in my life ever vomited so much as the 36 hours in detox before suboxone was given...I was backwards, on my knees in bed, rocking and projectile vomiting until it was given and experiencing other sx such as profuse itching, chills, sweating and diarrhea. Zofran, phenergan, compazine all were given with no relief. Suboxone helped those sx....I still went home a mess and am still not recovered at 21 months off...I was commenting only on how suboxone helped me...opiate wd can be very dangerous with severe nv, that can lead to life threatening electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and more. I wish everyday I had tapered off klon...if it sounds like it hurt to ct off 6mg ...taken daily for over 9 years...you cant begin to imagine...so Im here at a benzo forum....to receive and give support. Hope that clears up any misunderstanding about why Im here. Unscathed...no..not hardly
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Hi Colleen,

I think any w/d from opiates is going to be tough, and yours sure sounds rough. I had very bad nausea in my opiate w/d and phenargan did help, but I was not on nearly the kind of dose that you were. I know that suboxone can provide relief for difficult w/d from many different kinds of dependencies, and I'm glad it eased your w/d from the opiate, but I have no doubt that even coming off the suboxone and now the K has put your poor body into a tailspin.

 

We all make the best decisions we can at the time, and I know you did what you thought was best for you then. I went to a treatment center for depression and there was a woman coming off of a long term heroin addiction. They gave her suboxone to treat it, but didn't tell her it was to be used sublingually (they were so ignorant, they didn't know how to administer it). She just swallowed the suboxone whole. She was very ill for weeks! I have no doubt that "detox" centers are a mixed bag, and I'm so sorry for you that you didn't get the care you needed.

 

I'm glad you are here for support, and to provide input. I hope my comments didn't throw you for a loop in any way. I was just giving my two cents about my experience, but everyone is different, and we all benefit and suffer in different ways.

 

Be well and sending you many hugs of strength for all you've been through,

Marie

 

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Hi Inkerbelle, I appreciate you kind comments, and wish you the best also :). I made an error in my post directing my comments to you. I was in no way upset with your comments. I was surprised to read WWW comments and that she assumed I havent struggled with wd, and would question why Im a member of a benzo forum...I have been a member here for a few weeks shy of a year. Just because I havent reinstated does not mean its been easy. Every minute of everyday is painful and challenging for me, but Im glad that Im off drugs so that I can hopefully rebuild my life when I eventually recover. I have a 19 year old daughter and I wanted to model that huge challenges can be overcome with determination. Anyway...I dont like to talk about my wd experience that much..its just really been that awful...I still do not even drive...geesh. Hugs back and hoping you have as good a day as possible. Colleen
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Colleen

 

I'm really glad that subox worked for you to help you off Morphine  Your comment was brief and I didn't see in your sig line that you don't suggest detox. What I read is that you took some drugs at detox for moraphine and benzos and then you went on to say

 

"I went home on nothing...havent gone back on anything either yet. I guess it helped some of us...."

 

That led me to believe that was the end of the story which led me to ask, based on your apparent success at detox and no further information, why you would need a support board.  If my question upset you, that wasn't my intent.

 

WWWI

 

 

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Hi all,

I hope that, despite the misunderstandings in our stories, etc., that this thread continues, because I think it's a good one! Hearing different perspectives and backgrounds is important, because, as I've been on this board for awhile, I've heard a lot of people that have also come out of opiate w/d. While the w/d process is different than benzo w/d, the treatments for it seem to be all over the map (from tapering, going c/t, suboxone, methadone, benzos), and it's interesting and important to learn how the processes have succeeded and failed from one person or another. I think this is really the only way that knowledge gets imparted is by sharing our stories and passing them along to friends, family, caregivers, and doctors that have the ability to listen, and treat with dignity and respect.

 

Hugs to all that have suffered through opiate w/d, and to those that are working through benzo w/d too!

Marie

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Hi, I myself would have never asked questioned any member or made the comments you did to me...but thats me. I have over 400 posts out there, and several ones the last week on a protracted thread...but I do understand my post was vague...purposefully...I just dont like to go into the gory details and how devastating the detox and 21 months following have been. We were talking about suboxone for opiates, without the three days of suboxone..the acute opiate wd would have been even worse than it was. Also was trying to make the point that not everyone substitutes opiates for suboxone and stays on for years...I was only on suboxone for three days and did not reinstate to opiates...so I guess that is a measure of success but does not mean that my brain chemistry magically returned to normal in three days and I did not experience wd. Im glad though that you told me it was not your intent to upset me. Hopefully now we better understand where the other was coming from. Best, Colleen 
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Hi anyone who questions abt Colleens suffering , I know first hand of how much she is suffering , Colleens story is a very sad story , she went to Detox and her life has never been the same since, her suffering is 24-7 severe parethesia , Neropathy on top of alt of other intense symptoms , its amazing after her detox she didnt die from all the drugs they detoxed her off and is able to still be here today giving support to all her dear friends inspite of her struggles. I have alot of admiration for her, unless you really know someone as personal as I do with Colleen she is like a sister I never had no one can assume that someone os not suffering , sh struggles gng on the Forum as myself when you get protracted there is no support anymore , anyone who is not thisfar out tend to assume there is no way anyone can be suffering this far off and this bad and that there are other medical issues when its all related to coming off meds especilly C/T . I just wanted to say this in defense to Colleen (((Hugs sis))))))

 

 

Love Laura

xoxoxoox

God Bless

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Colleen

 

Let me begin by saying it was not my place to question your need for a support site.  And for that I apologize.  If suboxone was effective in helping you through the acute withdrawal phase that's a very good thing. 

 

However, as a point of clarification, this article was referring not to the 3-5 day acute w/d from opiates for which you used this combo of drugs but the post acute withdrawal phase from opiates.  This large scale study was intended to determine the efficacy of using suboxone as a tool for the post acute withdrawal phase and it stated that while on suboxone, individuals were stabilized and the craving was contained.  However upon cessation of the drug it failed, not unlike methadone for opiates/heroin or depakote/neruontin for benzo w/d (per ashton). 

 

So in summary, while you consider it a success for the acute stage of withdrawal from morphine, this study found it failed as a method for post acute withdrawal from opiates,  and as was stated earlier in the original article:

 

"However, despite their initial improvement, when participants were weaned off Suboxone, 90 percent went back to using prescription pain medications.

 

Weiss and colleagues concluded that Suboxone was effective in reducing prescription drug abuse in the short-term and could be safely administered to patients in an outpatient setting with relatively short weekly medication management visits. However, the likelihood that participants would relapse on pain killers if they stopped Suboxone was extremely high."

 

Perhaps what this means, based on your experience, Suboxone should be used to help with the inital acute w/d, but based on this article, it should not be used beyond that. 

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Hi WWWI, its ok, just a misunderstanding, that happens. It is just that opiate wd is so frightening...honestly it seemed my whole life revolved around making sure I didnt run out....just wanted to let people know it doesnt have to be as severe as we have all seen on tv...its a fact that opiates kill...if my telling people I got off helps even one person get off or at least start thinking of getting off its a good thing...and that they shouldnt lose hope...I agree its probably not all that useful for post acute. Hope you are doing ok this evening :mybuddy: Colleen
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  • 2 weeks later...
I did c/t on methadone, percocet, xanax, sleeping pills and a/d all at once and I am glad I was not even given the option of suboxone.  I recently met a woman like myself who also had a pill addiction and she has been on suboxone for 2 years.  She says it's the only way she  can get through life...she traded one addiction for another and I am so glad that's not me.
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