Monday, June 8, 2009

Addicted to Suboxone

I remember three or four years ago when the drug, Suboxone was being heavily marketed to those of us who worked in Primary Care or Family Practice. Truly it seemed to be a Godsend-the answer for the patient who couldn’t get off prescribed narcotics or heroin.

Suboxone acts as a narcotic, occupying the opioid receptors eliminating cravings for drugs such as heroin, percocet, oxycontin and other opiates-but does not produce euphoria. It also contains a small amount of naloxone, so theoretically if a person misuses it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

We saw many patients who were able to successfully get off their opiates by using Suboxone. The problem seems to arise when a person is ready to be drug free and wants to stop the Suboxone.

At The Coleman Institute, we are seeing more and more clients who were prescribed Suboxone two or three years ago, or even for several months and are unable to stop it, even with appropriate weaning down, because of the protracted withdrawal symptoms they experience.

Last week we worked with a 47 year old man who became dependent on oxycontin 5 years ago following a shoulder surgery. He was eventually put on methadone and finally suboxone for the last two years. He wanted to be off all medications and started reducing his suboxone levels from 16mg a day, to 8mg a day, to 4mg a day to 2mg a day—all under his prescribing physician’s care.

This worked pretty well until he tried to reduce below 1mg a day. He was actually cutting a 2mg tablet into quarters, taking 0.5mg once or twice a day. He found that he could sometimes go as long as 32 hours, but then he got stomach cramps, “creeping skin” sensations and back and leg aches.

He came to The Coleman Institute for a suboxone detox with great trepidation, nervous about experiencing withdrawal. It was an incredibly successful detox. Our patient experienced minimal discomfort and used minimal sedation the entire time. He was so delighted with his experience, he offered to speak to anyone who is considering this program.

Please call Jennifer, our Intake Coordinator at 1-877-77-DETOX if you or a loved one is struggling with stopping Suboxone. We can help.


  1. if hes been addicted for 5 years, you need to ween slower and slighter. doing 0.5..then 0.3 for a couple weeks..etc. if u try doing it to fast, your screwed.

  2. I have a friend of mine who is an addict and has been on suboxone for 2 years now. The problem is that the medication is so expensive and she takes it for a month then she runs out and waits for another month and the fills her is this going to help her if she is on it and off again...she goes through the withdraws very badly and i truly dont know how to help her...does anyone have any advise for me...I truly want to help her but dont know how...because she is using other drugs to kill her pain when she is out of the suboxone and i dont feel that is helping her at all...thanks in advance