Still in the tapering process

How to stop Suboxone? How long should I be on buprenorphine? Is Suboxone withdrawal bad? How do I detox?
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Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm

After 14 years on buprenorphine and at 62 years of age, I am tapering off and in the last 2 months, I have gone from 1mg down to .3mg. I got started on bup after my 1st back surgery in 2006 when I told the doc, "no more short-acting opiates", so my pain management doc agreed to write me an off-label script for bup. The pharmacy howled at first since the pain management doc is not a bup doc, but the Dr. office actually called the pharmacy and told them this can be done. Now, I've had my 2nd back surgery in Nov 2019 and I have been pain free for almost a year now and I want off all opiates. BTW - after my 2nd back surgery, I also entirely weaned off of my klonopin and my Horizant (XR gabapentin) - and it was no fun coming off the gabapentin either - something they never told me when they put me on that.

I take 2 doses a day of bup now - .2 mg at 11pm and then another .1 mg when I go to bed at 1-3am. If I don't get my 11pm dose, I am all fidgety and nervous (usually starts at 9-10pm) and if I don't get my bedtime dose, I'm afraid I wouldn't sleep as well. I have the bup 2 mg pills and have been cutting them with a razor blade and then weighing them on a scale that claims to be accurate to the thousandths to get my dosing as accurate as I can - although the same crumb will weigh different each time I put in on the scale.

I've heard that the tapering down from .5 mg lower is the toughest and I would have to agree, as I was able to go from 4 mg (my max ever dose) down to .5 mg relatively easy. It's been a Herculean task to get down to .3 mg, but, after days of shivering, hot baths, forced exercise, forced meals and hydration, and a wife who isn't quite sure what to think of this all, etc... I think I've got over the hump. I can at least go out in public now and not be so self-conscious.

Back to the topic of Stopping Suboxone, what can I expect as I look to further taper? Have I already been through the toughest part as I'm hoping or do I have a couple of more months of misery to go and/or huge issues when I jump off? At what level should I jump off? I've read that it should be no more than.3 mg - where I'm at now. As I said, I appear to be doing well, finally and am actually at the point where I think I can reduce even more. My reductions have been .02 mg each, so my next reduction, I will be down to .28mg, and I may do this as early as tonight. What about when I get rid of my bedtime dose - is that going to be a problem as it seems that I cannot make it 24 hours between doses? What have people been taking to combat the fidgets? My pain doc did tell me I can do marijuana, but I'm in a state where it is still illegal and have no contacts on how to acquire. Any help on what has worked for others will be greatly appreciated!!!! And thank God for this forum where people can get some feedback, encouragement and advice on this topic!!

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by rule62 » Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:03 am

You're on so low a dose it really shouldn't be that hard. I have not done it but no one else posted back to you. Read some success stories in this section. We've had several stop from about .25 or .125 and have almost no negative withdrawals. It won't hurt to try. You can always take a little bit if it gets bad.

With me, withdrawals don't seem to be too bad. Mostly it's in the mind. We tend to make it worse that it really is. Once you stop, try not to constantly gauge how you feel. Just keep busy and let the days go by. If you focus too much on how you feel the slightest discomfort will be multiplied much worse than it really is.

Do you have some kind of measuring device to let you know the amount your taking? The best I can do is cut my films down to very small pieces and guess how much it is.

Let us know what you decide.
Don't take yourself so damn seriously

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by D.K. » Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:24 am

WOW, I am impressed that you are on such a low dose of Suboxone that I don't see how you could even get any benefit from this medication. The anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia that you get before you take 0.3 mg of Suboxone could probably be resolved with meditation or with non-opioid/non-benzo types of medications. (Since I am not a doctor, I can't be any more specific than that.)

I just started Suboxone a few months ago, so I am at a different phase of treatment than you. But my doctor at CARE Clinic for Drug Addiction in Central Mississippi tells me every visit that I will be tapered me off Suboxone, which is what he does with all of his patients. He takes small baby steps when decreasing the Suboxone dosage in order to allow the person's body to get used to the lower dose before he drops it any further. This way, he can avoid any one going back to using opioids because the taper is too rapid or too large of a decrease.

I have not started the tapering process yet, because he wants me to be stable on the medication first. But I look forward to getting to the stage that you currently are at. Congrats.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:42 am

rule62 wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:03 am
You're on so low a dose it really shouldn't be that hard. I have not done it but no one else posted back to you. Read some success stories in this section. We've had several stop from about .25 or .125 and have almost no negative withdrawals. It won't hurt to try. You can always take a little bit if it gets bad.

With me, withdrawals don't seem to be too bad. Mostly it's in the mind. We tend to make it worse that it really is. Once you stop, try not to constantly gauge how you feel. Just keep busy and let the days go by. If you focus too much on how you feel the slightest discomfort will be multiplied much worse than it really is.

Do you have some kind of measuring device to let you know the amount your taking? The best I can do is cut my films down to very small pieces and guess how much it is.

Let us know what you decide.
Thank you for your response. I am stunned at how such a small dose still affects me - maybe it is all in my head, but as I approach 24 hours without bup, I start fidgeting, can't sit still, and feel I need to vigorously stretch out my limbs and within 90 minutes after taking my dose as enough of the bup starts kicking in, I am calm enough to sit still and even go to bed. This is at at .16 mg dose! I intend to stay at this dose for at least another week or two and then reduce down to .10 mg for a week or two and then get off.

I do have a small measuring device that I got on-line from PowderCity.com. It weighs things down to .001 grams. You can also get other inexpensive ones here: https://purebulk.com/collections/scales . For those that are on the tablet bup and are tapering, these scales are accurate enough to help in the tapering process. rule62, there is a suboxone film cutting guide here : http://www.rxfilmcuttingguide.com/. One thing that I have noticed (maybe also in my head) is that the distribution of bup in the tablet form is not evenly spread through the tablet. I would bet that this is also true for the film.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:02 am

D.K. wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:24 am
WOW, I am impressed that you are on such a low dose of Suboxone that I don't see how you could even get any benefit from this medication. The anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia that you get before you take 0.3 mg of Suboxone could probably be resolved with meditation or with non-opioid/non-benzo types of medications. (Since I am not a doctor, I can't be any more specific than that.)

I just started Suboxone a few months ago, so I am at a different phase of treatment than you. But my doctor at CARE Clinic for Drug Addiction in Central Mississippi tells me every visit that I will be tapered me off Suboxone, which is what he does with all of his patients. He takes small baby steps when decreasing the Suboxone dosage in order to allow the person's body to get used to the lower dose before he drops it any further. This way, he can avoid any one going back to using opioids because the taper is too rapid or too large of a decrease.

I have not started the tapering process yet, because he wants me to be stable on the medication first. But I look forward to getting to the stage that you currently are at. Congrats.

D.K. (my initials too : )) Thank you for your response. My wife and I have largely been on our own through the bup quitting process. My pain management doc knows how to get people on meds, but not how to get them off. His comment was to jump off when I was at the .5 mg dose. I tried and that was a big mistake - I was climbing the walls. I thought that I would have to go to a detox place (which scares me to death as I've been to one of those places in 2006 (Dallas) and their treatment of patients was absolutely medieval). Maybe they're not all that way now, but I'm still apprehensive. Then I found this site and started the VERY slow taper which I now believe is the only way to go. I am now at a .16 mg dose. At this low of a dose, it takes less that 60 seconds for the bup crumb to dissolve once its under my tongue. As stated, I plan on getting down to .10 mg before I get off entirely. Good luck on your tapering process.

BTW, for all of those quitting and having a rough time. There came a point at the .3 mg dose level when my body finally started feeling well enough that I was able to reduce .02 mg each for 5 days in a 7 day time period - without feeling any worse at all. The best thing I can tell you is to listen to your body. If its too uncomfortable to reduce, then don't until your body catches up.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by jennjenn » Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:11 am

Davek I truly truly think you’re so amazing and determined to be at this point in your taper! Good job man good job! Seeing ppl like yourself is inspiring. Keep up the amazing work and PLEASE keep us updated!!!!!!!
Jennifer

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:31 pm

Just to update people who may be in the same boat or any other reason, I was having too hard of a time at the .16mg/day level and went back up to .20mg/day. This is done in 2 doses per day of .10mg each. I intend to stay here for a bit and then try again. My target is to get to .10mg/day and then get off.

I would appreciate anyone's $.02 on what meds and what doses help when one does go off entirely. Like many others, I seem ultra sensitive to any wd effects and wish they could just put me in a coma for a couple of weeks.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:12 am

Hi after researching other threads I chose this one because my husband is also 62 and been on Suboxone for I believe about eight years now we’ve tried several times to taper him off but he always ends up taking more when I get him towards the bottom I’m his wife and I’ve been helping him but I’ve gotten pretty frustrated when I go through all the work of giving him shavings at the end and then it doesn’t follow through so I decided to join a forum and we are on day one he’s at 8 mg of the tiny orange pills I think they’re 2 mg apiece

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:11 am

Dehaven6 - Does your husband really want to get off or are the cravings just too intense, accompanied with the wd symptoms? That's so unfortunate that he gets so close to the goal of completely getting off and then he relapses. Is your husband maybe tapering too quickly to the point his body has not gotten used to a lower dose and then it is lowered again? In the taper process, you can feel so miserable at times that you just want to get back on bup again so you can feel normal and function like a normal person. I know, I feel like that every day and it is a huge fight not to go backwards.

At the bottom of this attachment http://www.rxfilmcuttingguide.com/downloads.html is a taper chart that shows how much bup remains in your body over the taper time. Show your husband and if he really wants to get off, maybe he can set some goals. Again, I can't stress enough that, if he is to be successful, that it is a long term process, Doing it too quickly too often ends in failure.

Dave

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:21 pm

I think all the other times we went too fast...
He came to me for help again but I want to review your taper attachment bc to be successful something needs to change. I even ordered a scale so when we get low I can be more accurate bc at one point he got down to 0.5 but all it took was biz stress w our family of 6 and he went right back up! He is able to work exercise at the gym and eat healthy and take care of all of us it is the only thing in his life he does not have control over I know he’s a survivor because it’s never taken him to the point where he’s completely given up so that is why I always want to try and help but I am starting to get burned out as well. I will do my best, we are married 25 years this November and really want to make everything work
Thank u!

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:47 am

Dehaven6, I know how hard that this must be on you as I have a wife who has dealt with me in this tapering process. She's been very supportive, but on a bad day, I'd still bite her head off for no other reason than I was feeling horrible. And then afterwards I feel like a heel for snapping at the person who is helping me the most. Here is another link that might help you and your husband understand what is going on, as well as some supplements he can take to help the w/d symptoms: https://www.pbod.org/blog/2014/01/13/de ... knowledge/ Some of this information is very medical, but its one of the better sources that I've found - and the doctor writing this professes to have been in the same boat as well. He advocates using quite a bit of clonodine, but I'm not sure if that is the right thing for me.

I found the hardest taper to be the .5 mg/day to the .25 mg/day level. I felt REALLY crappy (no appetite, constantly cold (and I'm in Dallas in the summer), no sleep at all, terrible fatigue and irritability, and the jitters) for about 7 days and then my body finally seemed to adjust. If your husband can just maintain the .5 mg level for a few days, I think he can get over the hurdle.

I think you're on the right path with your scale. I weigh all of my bup crumbs and then put them in 2 of my weekly pill dispensers and label the daily partitions filled with crumbs from .001 to .0125. This makes it very easy to be extremely accurate over how much I am taking because the tapering reductions are so small. Again, I am still not done with my tapering process and I have hit plateaus at times and am currently on one right now at my .20 mg/day level. Every day I think how much I'd love to increase my dose to be 100% "normal" again but I fight that feeling as I know that I have gone too far in this process to go backwards.

It's great that your husband goes to the gym and can eat - this is vital to helping his body produce the chemicals in his brain that will make him feel better once he is through with bup.

Keep trying and persevering - you've made great progress.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:25 am

Thank u! I am going to read the link you sent
He was at 8mg for a couple of weeks we just made it to 6 now and he is up/down w symptoms like sad, antsy, no sleep. Not as much energy and appetite is getting a little worse but he is the cook in the house so he tried to eat. I know there are meds that help others ironically he won’t take them but I feel towards the bigger drops he will need something for sleep. That is so so awesome at where you are w your taper!!! It’s strange to look at this tiny orange pill and think of the giant control it has...
Your encouragement is helping a lot and my husband is a great guy, father it’s just this one darn thing in his life but I know for long term health he has got to get clean of Suboxone
By the way our journey started when we owned race horses and he and a friend drank horse cough syrup to relieve a hangover after a night of celebrating a win and the opiate hell began! Ugh that was 21 years ago, so first Vicodin then the “savior” Suboxone started 6 or 7 yes ago when he knew he wanted to stop Vicodin. He tried to do the right thing but Subs are more mentally addicting so I feel they’re worse :(. Ok thnx again I am going to read the link

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by rule62 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:23 am

As long as you take your sweet time tapering it should work out. A very small drop every 2 weeks should do it.

Yes, being on a small dose has its advantages. Only need to take a little more to help with pain and it works really well. My only fear is being forced off it down the road some day. Luckily, my doctor is younger than me. :D If you're considering getting down low like DaveK and me, go for it. It will be worth the taper time. I suffered no ill effects tapering down as long as I went slow. If you feel discomfort then you're going to fast or cutting too much off. 5-10% reduction every 2 weeks. Who cares how long it takes as long as you feel okay.
Don't take yourself so damn seriously

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Jumped off Sept. 6th

Post by DaveK » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:24 am

I took my last dose of bup on Sept. 6th. I was down to .12 mg. The first 3 days were bad. I then had a good day and that has been followed by mediocre days. I did not sleep for the first 4 days and walked around like a zombie. I am still not sleeping well - even with assistance from melatonin, trazadone and ambien. One thing that seemed to really help was HOT baths and showers. That helped with the burning skin and the fidgetty-ness. Overall, they seem to relax you, for a bit. My advice for those contemplating jumping:
- it will take more than a weekend for you to get off. I'll let you know when I am finally "normal"
- taper down as much as possible. The larger the dose you are on, the more issues you will have when you stop
- keep a spouse or a friend on hand to help you get around
- keep hydrated, Drink lots of gatorade or other sports drinks
- force yourself to exercise each day, even if its just a good walk
- force yourself to eat everyday ( remarkably, I always had a bit of an appetite)
- take hot baths and showers everyday- as hot as you can stand. At my peak, I was doing 5 - 6 each day. Take these especially before bed/naps. They seem to help your body regulate its temperature
- take immodium as needed for diarrhea. This really never affected me other than one time
- if you can't sleep at night like me, try small naps during the day.

My "war chest"
- Immodium AD
- Trazadone (50 - 100 mg). This will make you groggy the next day
- Ambien (5 - 10 mg). This did not help much the first few days
- Melatonin
- THC (didn't help as much as I wanted, but did help the tapering process)
- Vitamins B, C, D
- Gatorade (lots!)
- L-theanine (supposed to relax you)
- Gabapentin (not known if this helped at all)
- CBD oil (I just got this and started taking it yesterday, so the jury is out)
- Clonodine - this will wipe you out, but it's better than the alternative

Some of the items in the war chest did not help or the help wasn't noticed. Your body will revolt when you stop taking bup, especially after being on it for years like I was. But you CAN power through it if I can.

Good Luck to all.

Dave K.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:27 am

Oh my gosh I haven’t been on in a while and I was just going to ask you a question today when I just read your post it gave me goosebumps I am so excited for you!!!
Jeff is down from 12 to 4 MGs since August 4 so now I’m wondering when to take the leap down from 4 he’s been on for two weeks Monday
Symptoms have been OK a little bit of nausea SNES definitely no sleep in the mood swings can be bad but he tries to maintain being that we have the teens around
I know he has the gab stuff I forget the name to help him sleep...

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by DaveK » Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:09 am

If Jeff has been down to 4 mg since Aug 4th, he could probably reduce any time that he feels he is ready. What pushed me to jump were the crappy feelings I was having daily from the reduced dosages. I figured let's just get it over with - how much worse can I feel (answer: a bunch!). I think that Jeff may need to reduce his dosage more before he should contemplate that move, though.

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by rule62 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:35 pm

It's odd that people experience different symptoms from tapering. With me, as long as I did it slowly there was no discomfort at all. The only time I felt w/d's was dropping from 2mg down to 1mg. Way too much of a drop so I went back up, stabilized, then went to 1.75mg for two weeks before dropping again to 1.50. The slower you go with the smallest decrease seems to keep the w/d's away. At least for me it did. (I use the 2mg films)

It's not a race. The body will adjust better if done slowly. I applied the same concept getting off of Effexor. My doctor told me I'd never get off of it. Yea right! Was on it for 3 years and have been off it for 2.

Please keep posting your progress.
Don't take yourself so damn seriously

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:57 pm

Yes it makes sense that everybody would experience a different tapering response we are going to drop down to 3.5 today which for him would be 1 3/4 of his pills so hopefully it goes rather smooth. It is usually bad news in business or if he and I get in an argument that causes the most stressors and he has told me in the past those are times when he went back up so I am using my patience wisely even if I need to leave and go take an extra long walk! As far as symptoms go it’s definitely tossing and turning with sleep and I don’t think the Gaba stuff is working well ..:
By the way excellent job on getting off the Effexor that’s awesome!!!

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by Dehaven6 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:20 am

Jeff went down to 3 mgs on his own 2 days ago. So far so good
I bought a scale but I guess measuring will become for important from 2 down?
He is working out at the gym again which is great otherwise just moodiness and sleeplessness are his only symptoms....I was thinking it’s kind of odd he’s handling it so well, sadly I look forward to a little bit of withdrawal signs bc it brings me comfort he’s coming off. I know that won’t make others feel good I say that but I’ve been through this so many times 🤷🏼‍♀️
He takes no other meds at all, just vitamins and minerals and testosterone/prostate support so maybe the cleaner the system the better w withdrawal. Who knows. I’m nervous but happy

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Re: Still in the tapering process

Post by superhappyman » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:42 pm

Congrats to the OP and subsequent posters in the midst of their crazy taper battles. Lots of great info on this thread I thought I'd share my experience and hope with you all...

I've been on subs for almost 12 years (I’m 33 years old)— currently taking .35mg of ZUBSOLV once daily in the morning (equal to .5mg subs). I've been tolerating 50% reductions every two weeks and will make the leap to ".25mg" in a few days. After stabilizing on this dose I'm planning to enter inpatient treatment to finish up. I know I need all the help I can get and having the option to do such a program is something I’m blessed to have and can't pass up on.

The idea of coming totally off of bup is terrifying to me. I am hoping another run in an inpatient setting (where things like feeding and cleaning up after myself are less challenging) is what will help me get through those first couple weeks with the highest chance of success.

I'm personally electing to forgo the micro-taper— my PERSONAL concern with powder-weighing is that it may trigger my neuroses/addictive behavior (i.e. “did I get the right dose”) and make it harder to take the final step while I’m motivated to do so. This is just me however, and purely based on my experience. I survived a hellish benzodiazepine withdrawal after 8 years of Klonopin and acknowledge that no matter how low I go, ultimately stopping will cause the type of pain I need to prepare for. It’s also something I feel I NEED to go through if only to have a future reminder of the consequences of picking up again. Just praying that .25mg will be a tolerable jumping off point and trying to keep up badass-type thinking whenever I can.

A previous poster had his toolkit for WDs and i agree with everything on their minus the Ambien in my case at least. I’d also like to give a shout-out to my friends Zofran aka Ondansetron (miracle sublingual tablet for nausea), Ice Cream (tasty, easy-to-eat source of fat and protein), and comfortable headphones (music is life).

Lastly— I recall finding the original SuboxoneTalkZone website more than 10 years ago. It was a revelation watching Dr. Junig on the new invention called YouTube. The first doctor I ever heard say "hey-- it's okay to be on maintenance... stop worrying how long you're on it and go get better!” Watching him made me realize that it is silly to wage a war you don't know how to win. Pretty groundbreaking stuff at the time and thankfully the thinking on Bup has evolved despite drug companies doing their best to slow that down. Praying that those who haven't reached the point we've reached will have better, low-dose options when they're deciding to come off. All the more reason I'm grateful that we have such outlets to discuss these not-so-fringe-anymore issues. Wish me luck and best wishes to all of you!

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