Long-Term Effects of Suboxone

A note from a reader with a question about Suboxone:

Suboxone has really worked for me in getting off vicodin. But I have been unable to stop taking suboxone. It occurred to me recently that this may turn into a lifelong dependency. If so, what are the long-term side effects of suxone?

Thanks so much,


My Answer:

Hi ‘A’–

Suboxone really is best thought of as a long-term, perhaps life-long medication. Your attachment to pain pills will in all likelihood be life-long as well; most people who stop suboxone are surprised at the cravings for opiates that they have. I don’t think suboxone increases the cravings at all, but rather it is just so effective at eliminating them that people forget how attached to opiates they once were. I generally recommend that people stay on suboxone ‘forever’, or until something better comes around– they are much safer on suboxone, as it helps them avoid an impulsive relapse that can put them in jail, kill them, etc…

We do not know of many long term effects from suboxone. Long term opiate use in general can lower testosterone levels in men and cause things from that, like reduced sex drive and I suppose even infertility. I assume that buprenorphine will do the same. There are the other short-term side effects that over time become long-term side effects– dry mouth (which long-term can cause an increase in tooth decay), constipation (which could lead to hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, anal fissures or perirectal abscess), sweating (which could lead to… problems dating?). The opiate antagonist naltrexone can cause liver damage, and it is related to naloxone, which is a component of suboxone– in general the naloxone does not get absorbed, and so the chance of liver damage is likely minimal. It may be a good idea to check a set of labs once per year, though, to check the liver, kidneys, thyroid, and blood cell system, just for safety’s sake.

Probably the worst thing about long-term use is that some docs insist upon keeping everyone on suboxone in endless therapy. I do not think that therapy is generally required, and I do not think that ‘forced therapy’ is very helpful. But it is hard to find a doc who will treat with suboxone as they would treat with any other treatment for a chronic condition– that is, to prescribe the medication without placing a number of other requirements on the person.

I hope that answers your questions–

Take care,


More Suboxone Information at subox.info.




About jjunig

Psychiatrist in solo practice with additional training and experience in pain treatment, anesthesia, and neurochemistry.
This entry was posted in buprenorphine, opiate, side effects, suboxone and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

110 Responses to Long-Term Effects of Suboxone

  1. rachel d says:

    Hi my name is Rachel i have been on suboxone for almost a year as of OCT 1st, and I have become the person I guess I am to be. For so long I really didnt know who I was because i was always wasted. From age 11 to 36, so whatever long term side effects Suboxone has on a person is totally well worth it for me. Anyone with a long history of drug use that has only been clean for almost a year, is sooooo greatfull for this medication. I actually have a life know. So I think those side effects which could happen from any medication even narcotic used for recreation, could have those effects. Im better off. Well thats all i have to say thanks

  2. scott says:

    suboxon is a mirical drug i suggest any person who has questions to contact ur local doc and find out where it is avail.

  3. yvonne says:

    i have been on Suboxone for 4 years and it is extremly effective at keeping me off of drugs or even thinking about getting high. Yet, the last year i have experianced elevated levels of anxiety to the point of major heart palpitations, high blood pressure and puls over 120 bpm. I am not sure if this is due to the Suboxone but another woman in my group who is in her early 30’s like me had suffered a stroke and the doctors dont know why this happened to her. I am very interested to know if this is a long term side effect. is Suboxone doing something to our heart , rythem of the heart beat and blood pressure? i have yet to find any answers or anyone else experiancing this same situation so for the time being i am not blaming the Suboxone on my symptoms of what may be an illness unrelated to the use of this medication. I did have a full work up on my heart and the doctors found no reason for the raised bp , pulse and rythem other than extreme anxiety. now treating the anxiety is very hard since you can not mix Suboxone and Benzo’s or so my doctor doesnt approve of and reading some back ground information on Suboxone no one else would recomend it either. I am at a loss, but if anyone else out there has been on this as long as i have or longer please let me know if you have these symptoms as well.

    • tim says:

      yvonne, I think alot of these side effects are largely to due to naltrexone bup has been around for 30 yrs. haven’t heard of as many {side effects} – i know people on buprenex and subutex no complaints there? might be worth looking in to……………………. god luck ……………god bless Timi A…………….

    • Mike says:

      Ive been on subds 4 years too, and i love that i never have cravings and can actually get threw life without feeling left out of that horrible Junky lifestyle, but anyways im concerned aswll as you. I dont feel like i get any heart problems but i do feel like i can stomach problems maybe due to always being backed up literally.

    • Erin says:

      They recommendation from Doctors about mixing the Benzo’s with Suboxone is based on the theory that since you are a addict you can not be given Valium (benzo’s) because you will take more then prescribed. They base this on the fact that when u take any thing from the Benzo family it will not affect you in the same way as it did before being on Suboxone. The Suboxone in someways blocks part of the “euphoric”feeling of the benzo. Sadly theirs always some person( idiot) who will continue eating them like candy because they are lacking in the total experience. When the benzo’s are OVER taken in combination with Suboxone it can cause pulmonary distress, overdose, and a few other deadly or very unpleasant situations. I’ve been on Suboxone for 5 years now and also have panic attacks. I was given the same line of from my Doctors and really didn’t believe it so I had built a pretty good relationship up with my Doctor in the 5years I’ve been seeing him and I brought up the subject with him and he explained that they are very scared to prescribe Benzo’s to addicts because of the reason’s listed above but that if the medication was taken as prescribed the risks would be very low and it would still help with the panic attacks. I have taken Klodipin for my Seizure disorder and suboxone together for years now with zero issues. What people don’t understand is doctors are scared to treat addicts because we are liability’s and already known to be untrustworthy when it comes to any Narcotic drugs. So if your having a panic attack take ONE pill it will help and it won’t kill you either, but if you think that the one pill may kick start your addiction again and you don’t think you can handle it then stay far.. far.. far.. away from doing this. Or have a trusted person hand you” ONE pill” and “ONLY ONE pill” when it is absolutely needed.

    • Chastity says:

      This is very interesting. Within the last 6 months I have had higher blood pressure with no good reason for it. I have been taking suboxone for 4 years now (wow I didn’t realize it had been that long). Since taking suboxone I frequently have anxiety problems that are also unexplained. I would be very interested in finding if suboxone has any link to high blood pressure. Also I have frequently thought of hoping to get off of suboxone but I don’t know if there is hope for that. The problem I have is I have been taking suboxone 4 times longer than I was addicted to pain pills.

      • freudian55 says:

        I’m trying to decide which of your posts to approve– they are all pretty similar.

        People, by nature, look for things to blame for ‘unexplained’ problems. Many people have anxiety; I rarely meet someone who feels their anxiety is ‘explained’ by something. It just ‘is’. Chances are your anxiety is from unconscious conflict– the same reason all of the other people out there struggle with anxiety, whether or not they take Suboxone or any other particular medication.

        Likewise, hypertension, for most people, just happens. It is sometimes something that runs in families, but usually it just happens. Sometimes it can be reduced by daily excercise, losing weight, and taking steps to reduce stress. If you are not doing all of THOSE things– regular exercise, a personal stress-relieve program, etc– then THOSE are the reasons for hypertension and anxiety. It is tempting to blame a pill– as it lets the person off the hook for THEIR role in things.

        Suboxone is not ‘new’– the two medications in Suboxone have been around for almost 40 years now, and used in the current form for almost a decade. Well over a million prescriptions have been written for the medication. Frankly, if one looks at the side effects, it is better-tolerated then pretty much any medication I can think of.

        As for taking it for a long time– Suboxone did not get you addicted to opioids. YOU got addicted to opioids. It is your responsibility to stop opioids. Suboxone relieved your obsession to take Vicodin; an obsession that you could find no other way to relieve. That is what it does– and it sounds like in your case it did it well. We don’t know where you would be without it— the relationships you would have lost, the criminal charges you would be facing, the overdose you may have experienced. Many people who get addicted to opioids face those things; You, luckily, did not.

        You have not taken the last step and stopped Suboxone. You had withdrawal when you tried; you would have had the same withdrawal if you stopped the opioids you became addicted to, BEFORE Subooxne. It stinks to have to go through withdrawal– but that was the condition you ‘brought to the table’. Suboxone did not give that to you; YOU did.

        It is up to YOU to do it– there is no magic dust, in or out of Suboxone. But I strongly urge you to stop looking to blame other things; people who do that never move forward. Opioid dependence is YOUR illness; YOU developed tolerance, and YOU will have to do the hard work to lower your tolerance, by doing the hard work of tapering– something that other people have done.

    • Pauline Lamas says:

      I was only on Suboxone for a short time for pain from herniated C5 and C6. I stopped taking it because I had a lot of symptons. Anxiety, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, dry mouth, sweating, rash on my face, itchy, extremely constipated (even with lots of water, stool softeners,and ect.), sleeplessness, emotional, kidneys swelled, dark urine, cold chills, unable to focus, stumble on words, and felt too out of control to drive. I was taking half a film of 8 mg. I don’t have a history of drug use and was not taking anything for pain prior to the suboxone. I did not like the way I felt and stopped taking it on my own. I see the Doctor today and don’t plan to take anymore Rx. Acupuncture has been real good so far. A little slower than I like but making progress.

      • cscott says:

        A little unclear why you’re telling this story. Suboxone is ONLY given to patients for opioid addiction. That’s it…no ifs, ands or buts. Clearly, you are really lying to yourself if you’re even going to be dishonest in a post. Suboxone would NEVER be prescribed for back pain.

      • freudian55 says:

        Actually, buprenorphine and Suboxone are used more and more for pain treatment. The San Francisco Chronicle had a story just last week about this great new ‘non-addictive’ treatment for pain. I take issue with some of their comments…. but there is no doubt that Suboxone is becoming a common tool for pain clinics.

      • lori36 says:

        Yes sub.can and is prescribed for pan.not just opiod dependency.just like anti depressents.are prescribed.for other things other than depression.

      • KELLY says:


      • freudian55 says:

        Naloxone is added for one purpose– to reduce IV diversion of Suboxone. There is some question over whether it actually competes effectively with buprenorphine. But when taken sublingually (through the mucous membranes of the mouth), there is no significant difference between generic buprenorphine and buprenorphine/naloxone (or Suboxone).

    • maldridge says:

      my name is melissa and i have been on sub for 4 yrs as well. My husband wants me to get off badly and every time I try to wean down, I am so fatiqued all I want to do is cry and sleep i cannot even function!!!! I have the same fear, thinking what am I doing to myself? Will my brain ever be the same?? I am now 42yrs old and Im scared to get off!!! and Im scared to stay on it???

      • freudian55 says:

        It takes about 2-3 months to completely recover from opioid withdrawal. You would get back to normal…. But the relapse rate is well over 90%. But if you feel better on a medication, you ave the right to be happy. You didn’t ask for addiction, and you have been punished enough.

    • kelly skaggs says:

      im thinking about going on suboxone so im trying to educate myself,i am now on 85mlg of methadone a day for two years and i never had a heart problem until now i went into cardiac arrest and now have a pace maker and a difibulater and im scared to death my dr said the methadone caused it so he wants me off of it and onto suboxone or something else so i know methadone is bad for your heart i thought id share that with anyone wanting to listen,now i have a heart problem for the rest of my life i believe these clinics need to inform us more on these things i read where the clinics are supose to tell you these things can happen before you take methadone and there supose to do some kind of heart test every three months on there patients that has never been done at the clinic i go to and if it had this would not be happening to me.so please everyone need to educate yourself about anything to get help with cause noone else is going to tell you thats for sure.

      • ggray1956@yahoo.com says:

        I agree. This (like many drugs) appear at first to be a miracle, yet like a lot of drugs the side effects can be extensive, dangerous, or both. Like most I started at 16mg and worked my way down to a minimum tolerated level needed for pain. I have to take 4mg every 24-30 hours along with Excedrin to help with my basic pain management. What I do not like is the constant anxiety, constipation, sensitivity issues, and issues related to my teeth. I take very good care of my teeth. I use Pronamel by Sensodyne twice daily and sometimes as a rinse and a light brush at a 3rd time during the day. I also do not understand why it is still so expensive and only a few doctors in my area will even prescribe it. Sometimes I think the manufacturer is not telling the entire story when it comes to side effects and what potential problem could arise by using this drug. I also believe if anyone did any really deep study may find some serious issues with this medicine even at the lower doses.

    • lance calabrese says:

      I have had the same exact thing happening. Been on subs for 2 years. Get off this drug immediately. In my opinion this is the worst drug known to man. It is great for detoxing, but this drug is not meant for long term maintenance. There are no long term studies. I’m telling you, I know there is something very wrong and dangerous about this drug. I know it in my heart.

      • freudian55 says:

        Well, if you ‘know it in your heart’, we should ALL be concerned!

        Buprenorphine/Suboxone are intended for long-term use. As for long-term studies, I don’t know where you got such an idea; there are studies dating back over 30 years on buprenorphine, and buprenorphine has been used for treating addiction, starting in Europe, since the early 1990s– so we have 23 years and counting of ‘long term studies’ and long term experience with the medication. We have much more experience with Suboxone than we do for, say, cholesterol lowering drugs— which BTW have known risks and side effects far greater than Suboxone.

        I would refer you to an electronic library of a medical school, if you truly wanted to know about ‘long term research’ about Suboxone and buprenorphine (same thing, essentially– naloxone is another old, well-known medication). Or just go to clinical trials.gov and search ‘buprenorphine’== you will get a sense of the amount of research on buprenorphine, or any other subject.

        After treating hundreds of patients, I’ve found that the people who have ‘problems’ are the people who struggle with ‘life on life’s terms’– who never learn to take Suboxone as directed (once per day, in the morning), or who take benzodiazepines, smoke pot, or drink, rather than put in the effort to learn how to tolerate life. Of all the medications I’ve prescribed over the years as a pain physician, anesthesiologist, and psychiatrist– medications for neuropathic pain, bipolar, psychotic disorders, depression, etc— buprenorphine and Suboxone have the lowest side effect profile of all of them.

        I know that in MY heart.

      • Geo says:

        How can they approve a drug without long term studies. I have the same problems along with severe constipation, possibly Protalgia Fugax or Levator Ani, and horrible bladder issue which creates even more depression and anxiety. The biggest problem is the makers of Suboxone do not admit to any of these that I have seen. Even other side effects show only small percentage of side effects, yet I am hearing more and more these adverse side effects. P.S If you do not take “EXTRA” care protecting your teeth, its know for that also.

      • freudian55 says:

        Every year, hundreds of new drugs are approved. All have been through clinical trials of varying degree. At some point, the safe medications are approved. There have been a few examples of meds that had effects that the FDA missed— but those cases are extremely rare when placed IN CONTEXT.

        It is fairly common for groups of people to ‘feel in their heart’ that a med is unsafe. The whole mess over silicone breast implants is a perfect example of how far the hysteria can go—- millions of women blamed all sorts of vague symptoms on their implants, and Dow Corning paid 2 billion dollars in settlement. We learned AFTER the lawyers left that there is no connection between silicone breast implants and fibromyalgia or other auto-immune disorders. None. The implants were quietly re-approved and returned to the market.

        Proctalgia fugax has been around much longer than buprenorphine. It is a disease of unknown origin that causes severe rectal pain. It has been linked to sexual abuse and to constipation. Suggesting that it is caused by Suboxone is getting silly.

        Levator ani is the name for one of the muscles that creates the sling around the anus.

        It is ‘known for affecting teeth’ by you, Geo— but not backed up by any studies. People wrapped up in heroin addiction tend to miss brushing sometimes.

        Depression and anxiety are fairly common. It is also common for people to look for something to blame their ‘anxiety’ on. I would suggest that every time the obsession comes up to post about Suboxone, you go to the local gym and walk, run, or lift weights– whatever you can tolerate. I promise you that your anxiety will improve.

      • freudian55 says:

        Sticking with facts– that’s the whole point. Show me a paper or study that shows a higher incidence of dental caries in people on Suboxone and I’ll talk about it.

        But EVERY symptom in the world can be found on some message board, with a host of people convinced that it was caused a med, a substance, a corporation… SOMETHING. Never mind if there is no evidence…

        I receive news feeds about the science of buprenorphine– I follow feeds for toxicology, med alerts (reports from the FDA if they hear about a number of cases of a certain side effect), diversion reports…. go to my side suboxonetalkzone.com and look at the ‘diversion’ section to see an example. I’ve done grant-supported research for my PhD, and I know how the system works– trust me, there are many people looking for connections to ANYTHING, as that would result in the research that they need to complete their thesis. I am a referee for several academic publications (meaning I read submissions and comment on the strength or weakness of the research, and then I’m one of several votes on whether it gets published). There is much bad research out there— but I haven’t seen even BAD research showing a connection to tooth problems. There was one case report a couple years ago in a second-tier journal, by a doc who reported that several of his patients had tooth decay. but in his write-up he talked about the science of tooth enamel– and how damage adds up over many years, and tends to become apparent when the person stops obsessing over opioids. If a study ever suggests otherwise, I’d be happy to write about it; I have no stock in Reckitt Benckiser or other buprenorphine companies, and it really doesn’t matter to me– although if it did cause harm, I would share that with patients, who could balance that risk against the risk of relapse (which includes death).

        Dryness of the mouth can play a factor– and all psychotropics have effects on saliva production, including buprenorphine– and including oxycodone and heroin. Saliva serves as a buffer and lubricant, protecting teeth from harm to some extent. Acid reflux can also hurt teeth– as can the repeated emesis in people with eating disorders. People who ‘nod off’ from heroin may ‘urp’ up some acid that hurts teeth– although at that point, death from aspiration is often not far behind.

        Your first comments about constipation— most of my patients experienced constipation for a few weeks. None have had to do anything excessive, such as enemas or ‘colonics’; adding fruit to the diet usually does the trick, and if not, a short course of Amitiza takes care of things. By the way— MANY people have trouble with constipation who have no connection to opioids or buprenorphine. But like the other side effects of buprenorphine, constipation goes away with tolerance formation. There are other ways, though, to avoid constipation from Suboxone. A med under development by biodelivery sciences releases buprenorphine directly under a patch attached to the inside of the cheek, so that much less buprenorphine is swallowed; the med appears to cause much less constipation. Along the same line, if people ‘spit’ after dosing, they will find that the constipation is greatly reduced– because they won’t swallow as much of the non-absorbed buprenorphine.

  4. James says:

    Well, I have been taking Suboxone for about 2 and a half years now. I am down to 1/2 tablet a day but I find that I sometimes take more than that to counter a random “craving”. As far as long term side effects go, since I began Suboxone I have suffered from MASSIVE tooth decay. Now through all my research and experience I have found this to be a very touchy subject. If you talk to a healthcare professional, they respond with “I have never heard anything about those side effects…”. But talk to 3 long term Suboxone users and usually all or 2 out of 3 agree. Also most suboxone users were once “drug abusers” or “junkies” in which case proving that their old D.O.C. (drug of choice) isn’t the cause of their tooth problems is a tough sell.
    But in my case, my drug dependency stemmed from prescribed Oxy Contin from a 2X L5-S1 Spinal Fusion, and I wasn’t dependant for longer than two years. I also NEVER even had a cavity untill I began my Sub treatment. Now I have had 3 teeth removed, and am in constant turmoil w/ my teeth. I brush like crazy, go to all the health websites, use Biotene Toothpaste for dry mouth(which opiates can cause), tea tree oil, gargle sea salt ect, ect.
    So the question is. Why am I still on suboxone?
    I’m working on that, but between the physical/psycological dependancy, it’s an argeous up-hill battle. Hope this helps.
    (Any one with Sub related tooth problems…www.paridisenow.net is a HUGE HELP!)

    • Robert says:

      James, I was reading what you wrote about Suboxone and tooth troubles. I have been taken Sub. 21 mg daily for over 2 years and my whole mouth is falling apart. I do brush and do the daily mouth care, but prior to Sub. I had fairly good teeth.

      • freudian55 says:

        Be sure to visit us at the new blog, Suboxone Talk Zone, and share your experiences at Subox Forum (also known as Buprenorforum). Thanks for sharing your experience; I have not seen any literature citing increased dental problems with Suboxone, but I could see where the dry mouth that some people get would increase the chance of cavities.

      • jaime says:

        Hi guys realize you posted a while ago , but wanted to respond. I have been on sub for 3 1/2 yrs. I think its a miracle worker, but anyway my understanding is that the tooth problems are caused by the dry mouth. Ive read a study that suggested that many of drug addicts tooth decay problems are also caused by dry mouth; caused by whatever the drug of choice is. Is this 100% true? i dont know for sure but i believe it. Dry mouth of course equals little saliva, whose enzymes protect the teeth. I have it pretty bad- must always have a drink with me At All times.My biggest help has been BIOTENE mouth spray at night,i dont know what i would do without it.They also make a Gel & liquid,i highly rec’ this esp for night time. My teeth have def improved, i had been having major problems. I still have some issues but overall the teeth situation is better.Good Luck Everyone!

    • Jerry Maguda says:

      James, I’ve been taking Suboxone for a couple of years. After a few months of taking a daily dose, I’ve had one tooth pulled and most of my teeth now with cavities. My dentist was totally shocked. After 30 years of clean checkups, I now have a mouthful of cavities. I did not share this with him, but I am convinced this is the reason. Maybe its something about a sub lingual medication? My doc was opiates and suboxone did totally work. I don’t know what I would have done without it. Maybe brushing directly after it’s desolved? I wish I knew to do that (or was told to) before I got a mouthful of cavities!

    • Geo says:

      I rarely had problems with my teeth until I got on Suboxone. I’ve been on it 11 month’s and I have had 2 crowns, and I brush and floss at least twice daily. What does seem to help is Pronamel toothpaste that strengthens and re-hardens the enamal. I use it before and after I take my Suboxone and with that said, I have had no problems lately with my teeth, but I still have irrations where I do place it under my tongue. I never put a dose in the same place twice, and that has somewhat helped that issue. That irritation issue started around month 8 or 9.

  5. Matthew says:

    I have been on suboxone for 2 and a half years and thought that it was my life untill recently. The treatment gave me my life back which i am very great full for, however it also gave me massive tooth decay. It it is just on my lower teeth where the pill would go. Another “side effect” was that i would have the worst anxiety since i started the treatment, which my doc had me on benzos for which i didn’t know where not supposed to mix. I am not in the clear yet but it’s been 7 days with NO Subo the anxiety is gone 100% and things are looking good. Good Luck to All

    • Jessica says:

      I started having heart palpatations and high blood pressure which I have never had b4. I am 27 yrs old and the Dr told me my heart etc is just fine. I’m thinking the subutex could b the cause now that I’ve read other ppl’s stories so as of today I’ma try my best to stay off and stay clean for real this time. (nothing to help me) Can u tell me how u came of subs and is there any advice u can give me to get to day 7 as well?

      • ryan says:

        Hello ,Jessica and I am 29 i have experienced the same probs with bp and heart rate and never had any probs b4 subs !Are you off yet, do u feel better?

  6. Randy says:

    Hello everyone I to have been taking Suboxon for about 2 years after becoming addicted to opiates for chronic pain due to having 5 back surguries. Now my teeth are decaying and braking off at the gum line. My teeth are falling apart. I brush my teeth 4 times a day but I still am having problems with my teeth. I really think it is the Suboxon. Before taking suboxon I had great teeth with just a few cavites in my life time. My son is on suboxon also and he is having the same problem. I think we should take out a Class action law suite against the companies that make suboxon. Because they should have caught this before putting it on the market. I know several people that is having tooth decay after taking suboxon. So lets contact the class action law suite web site and file a claim. They will send a letter to all the people that takes suboxon and ask them if they would like to be part of the class action, and I bet there are thousands of suboxon users with the same problem. all we have to do is Google Class action law suite and call the attorneys and get one started, so we will get enought money to get teeth inplants because it is so embarrassion to smile with several teeth missing.

    • Zexter says:

      That would be the downfall of them. Suboxone us already in tons of heat with the D.E.A. The last thing we need to give the d.e.a. is more reasons for them to take it off of the shelve. It’s saving peoples’ lives.

    • Chauncey Lipton says:

      This is an old post but I still have a need to reply. Did taking suboxone not give you a semblance or life compared to how you weere living? I know personally that I would rather have a mouth full of dentures than be living the way I was. I am divirced and totally broken up over where my life went but I am alive to change that. take some responsibility, stop blaming, I don’t like to judge because I’m the person who has been a scumbag liar thief and cheater, however I think your an idiot for wanting to sue a company that most likely help save your life. If someone save you with the heimlich from choking and broke your rib, I bet you would sue them and go out and by dope with your son from the settlement monet. Then get strung out and when the money ran out…. back to suboxone.

      • freudian55 says:

        It’s geo again….
        That’s a big ‘if’. But again the logic is twisted… So if something really effects TEETH, then it must really be bad in the rest of the body…. So other things bad for teeth, like… sugar… are horrible on the stomach?

        I know I lost you, geo…. But the reasons for the shortage of docs are less complicated. 1. There is a shortage of general psychs, so there is an even greater shortage of psychs who specialize; 2. You need extra certification and paperwork– and why would an already busy doc do the extra work when all it means is the right to do the least profitable type of medicine? 3. To be certified, docs agree to surprise DEA audits– enough said.

        My question for geo–I’m here because I enjoy helping the people who are the most desperate for help…. Why do YOU lurk here? If you don’t take the med, get a life!

  7. Pingback: Suboxone Talk Zone: A Suboxone Blog

  8. J AS says:

    Add me to the tooth decay club. I have been on SUboxone for three years and before I started the treatment I had healthy perfect teeth. I had a cavity every once in a while but nothing like needing 10 teeth worked on and $6-7 thousand worth of work needed. My dentist is stumped to why my yeeth are “melting”. Now I know why. I am not sure I would have gone into the Sub treatment if I had known that I may lost my entire set of real teeth to tooth decay like a Meth addict. I am now going to a consult next week with a sedation dentist who puts you under so you can have multiple hours of treatments at once. Instead of one root canal he can do four. If anyone wants to begin the lawsuit, I am all about that.

    • freudian55 says:

      I’m keeping an open mind on the issue. I have seen how easily people, society, lawyers, and even scientists can get this type of thing all wrong. The silicone breast implant/autoimmune disorder lawsuits were the largest recent medico-legal fiasco… for those too young to remember, women with silicone breast implants believed that their aches and pains were symptoms of a wide range of autommune disorders. The press wrote about the connection, finding a few scientists and physicians to go along with the idea. Eventually the connection became almost a certainty. The only problem was that it was incorrect. A very large study finally put the idea to rest, AFTER the implant companies shelled out two billion dollars into a trust fund to pay for all of the illness that they didn’t cause. Implants were even taken off the market by the FDA for awhile. Eventually the truth prevailed.. of course there were few newspaper stories about the TRUTH– a fraction of the stories that were incorrect years earlier. The implants came back on the market with little fanfare, and now they are used again without any problems.

      I have 100 patients now on Suboxone, and over the years I’ve had about 450 total. A few people out of that group had tooth problems. I know a family with no members who take Suboxone; a family that for some reason suffers from a great number of tooth problems. They will be ignored by the people who are convinced that Suboxone is the cause of their problems. Then there are many others– 95% of my own paitents– who take Suboxone and DON’T have tooth problems and THEY will be ignored as well. But every time a person on Suboxone has teeth problems, he or she will think it is from the Suboxone. That is called ‘selection bias’ and it has a very strong effect on opinion.

      To form an opinion, there are several things I’d like to know. First, what are we proposing is causing the trouble? Are we saying that the Suboxone promotes bacterial growth and acidity? If so, how fast can bacteria and acidity destroy teeth? If a person has had their teeth for the past 30 years and during that time exposed them to all sorts of toxins and junk food, is it reasonable to think that a short year or two would cause so much destruction so quickly? Is it possible that the destruction of enamel occurred over the past year or two, and it is only being identified now?

      I think that the biggest risk to teeth from psych meds is the dryness that many medications cause. In healthy conditions, saliva buffers the mouth and rinses the teeth, and has antibacterial properties. Is it reasonable to think that a couple years of dry conditions can cause so much damage, so quickly?

      I recommend that anyone with a change in the health of their teeth take a look at the FDA web site and find a site to report what has happened. Eventually, if there is a problem, the facts wiill come out.

      • N B says:

        I agree. I have been on sub for 10 years now – hard to believe. I have seen, by the Grace of God, and by science, no long term affects. My teeth are occasionally getting a cavity, but I attribute that to my sweet tooth. I do have dry mouth, and realize that that is a side effect of opioids and plan to now start addressing that. I do have slightly diminished sex drive, but I am also in my late thirties and I attribute the majority to that. I have been on 1.75-2.5mg a day for ten years now and no tolerance has developed. I sometimes go up and down on my dose based on my health by .5mg based on activity level, self inclinination to lean on it (yes, I know but it has worked for ten years and I have not crossed going above 2.25-2.5mg with that “lean”), and diet. I plan to get back down to 1.5-1.75mg which is what I held at for many years. I actually felt more energetic at lower doses; I find the winter to be harder to keep that goal living in cold New England.

        What I am frustrated by is the forums on the Internet that tell us that this medication is destroying our lives and taking our emotions away. I feel anxiety reading these posts. I just had a small surgery and have 60 Vicodins I have not touched and asked my wife if I should create some 3-4 week alternating detox (2 weeks Vicodin, 3 days sub, 1 week Vicodin) and get down to .25mg 2x day on sub before doing it. I did get down to .25mg 2x a day early in my treatment, but found I had cravings and felt a vacuum of body chemistry that I could not fill. The minimum dose for me seems to be .5mg – below that I feel wrong.

        So what is so bad if I stayed on this at .5 to 1.75mg day for the rest of my life, occasionally spiking to 2.25mg as needed? I know this is a high dose of opioids – equal to probably 4x percs … But in the bup space, I am told it is on the low end of doses by my doctor. I have permanently messed up my receptors, and I don’t believe, without blocking the memories that are bound to those receptors in some way, that I can repair them. I will either seek out filling those receptors or live in misery for 1-2 years and become addicted to benzos and antidepressants to correct it.

        Dr. Junig, I think the first post you wrote about possibly being on this for life is pragmatic and that for most people, due to the recidivism rate of 97 percent, it is a reality.

      • freudian55 says:

        I’ve been a physician for over 20 years, and I can’t think of any medication that treats something as serious as opioid dependence with as few side effects as buprenorphine. People accept far more side effects from meds to lower cholesterol! And for life- threatening conditions like cancer, look at the toxicity of the chemotherapy drugs…

        I do think that eventually there will be less stigma; that buprenorphine will be seen as the useful, non- evil med that it is. Until then, just ignore the people who don’t get it.

        Take care,


  9. Tammy says:

    I am a recovering opiate abuser with 7mo.+ sobriety! Clean of ALL substances including suboxone! I became dependent on opiates due to back problems following the birth of my 2nd child! I was prescribed vicoprofen (sp) 7.5mg/500 take 1 every 4hrs, which amounted to 180 pills a month! Also used percocet, methadone, and oxicodone of which I bought offthe street! This lasted four long years! Until I sought treatment through suboxone therapy! I was on subs for a little over 2 years, initial dose was 24mg, which “I” chose to decrease over time (always informed doc b4 refusing dose)the last 8mo I maintained on 4mg, then 2mg for 2mo! I, like many thought the subs. were a miracle drug, it seemed like the answer I’d been looking for! Over time my perception of the drug changed significantly! Though I do think this med. can, will, and does save many lives, however imo the research into long term post sub. Maintenance is lacking, and needs to be established as a patient seeking treatment must be able to make an informed decision on whether the benefits outway the risks! The claims that withdrawals from subs are les severe than that of other opiates is deceptive, to say the least! Each person experiences w/d symptoms differently. Many factors come into play as far as w/d goes. I.e. DOC, length and extent of addiction, level of physical/psychological dependency on their DOC (drug of choice) etc. I am not a doctor and hold no phd, what I do have is 1st hand experience with opiate abuse and sub. therapy! I weened myself off subs roughly 7mo. ago! It was not under my doc’s supervision, as I owed him $150, and he refused to see me until paid in full! Therfore I was left to figure it out on my own! I successfully weened from 2mg to 0 and am thankful for everyday I live without subs! I experienced w/d’s of great significents, I’d say equal to short acting opiates, but lasting well over a month (short-acting would have been 7-14 days at most)! Over the course of the past 6mo I have experienced many chronic, mysterious symptoms and only recently started to link thhem to sub. detox! Due to the fact that these symptoms began after withdrawal of medication! Here is a partial list of my chronic symptoms; swollen tonbsil (right only), sore throat, swollen lymph node in neck (right side also), sinusitis, burning mouth, tongue and throat (all on right side, same side I disolved SL subs) ear itching and burning, facial swelling and numbness along chin/jawline, tooth decay and abscess, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, infection in tonsil, sensation of lump in throat, hay fever, allergies (never had b4), weight gain, sluggish metabilism, rapid resting heart rate, and fluctuating blood pressure (low lot of time), memory loss, mood swings, lack of concentration, brain fog, etc.
    There are nore but those are the main symptoms! Have seen 6 doc’s an allergist and ent specialist! None of which can pinpoint a diagnosis! A good friend who was also on subs.for almost 2 yrs has similar issues, she too is 6mo. Sub. Free! The symptoms above are relevent to liver dysfunction, as I have found in my research! I have yet to find a doc competent enough to recognize the link and order the proper bloodwork etc. I have suggested the possiblity of subs. being the cause and liver dysfuntion being the effect, to no avail. As the doc’s seem put off by my suggested theory! As if I am stepping on their toes? It is frustrating to have the stigma of being a recovering addict get in the way of proper health care! My credibility is “0” as the doc’s aparently find me untrustwrthy! The facts are ; there is little known of long term health effects, and in order to establish that knowledge, we have been used as guinea pigs for scientific & med. Fields to make that determination! I will continue my quest for a diagnosis! Hope this makes sense, sorry so long! I may initiate an online survey in the future, will provide link when I have completed it!
    God bless,

    • julie Mey says:

      Hi T. I too have been on Suboxone for a while… about 3 years in fact. This after about a 10 year addiction to hydro’s 10/650’s about 8 to 10 a day. I felt like this was the answer. But lately have been feeling bad. My voice is almost always hoarse and raspy…not in the good way. My lips get sooooo chapped and swollen. I feel like I am in a fog and can not put my words into sentences. Also, very moody and quick to be negative. My B/P 156/110. I am 5.7 and 125lb but feel so slow. Is this all related to the drug? Please advise…..Jam0521@hotmail.com Thanks, J

  10. Dennis says:

    Hey everyone! I have been on Suboxone for over a year now and i now need so much dental work too. My teeth started getting bad when i was on Methadone first.. It seems like all the lower back teeth are the one’s I’m having problems with. Basically i have no back bottom teeth anymore. I have always brushed my teeth twice a day. I admit i don’t always floss but do more than twice a month. I’m so ashamed of how bad my teeth look that i don’t even want the dentist to look at them. I just made a apt with one though. I got 6k put back for my teeth. I was hoping to get two dental implants four veneers and a bottom plate. Idk what he will do yet though. The thing that bothers me is that the Dentist can’t put me under because of the suboxone. I asked my sub doctor and he said i would have to stop taking my subs for 3 days before i could get put under. So yes i am with you guys on the lawsuit…

    • freudian55 says:

      People can read my prior comments– I also invite people to bring the discussion to SuboxForum.

      By the way, it is not necessary to stop buprenorphine or Suboxone in order to be ‘put out’ by a dentist. I have had many patients go through dental or regular surgery (and I was an anesthesiologist for ten years). Suboxone does not interact in ANY way with midazolam or propofol, the medications used to induce amnesia; the only thing affected is the opioid, which is not usually an issue, as the dentist blocks the pain through use of local anesthetic.

      Suboxone DOES get in the way of post-op pain control; I usually have patients reduce their Suboxone dose to 4 mg per day, and it takes a much larger dose of narcotic to get pain relief than in people not on Suboxone. You do NOT get sick from adding pain medication to a person on Suboxone– only the reverse situation causes withdrawal

      I sell an e-book for about ten bucks, explaining the best way to handle pain during surgery– and this is discussed for free at the forum.


  11. angela says:

    i have been experiencung chronic pain in my extremities and knees, i nhave been on sub for 5 mnths now and its like arthirtis or something in the joints and bones . can anyone tell me about this , cause it gets worse by the day.

    • freudian55 says:

      I have not heard this complaint from any of the 400 or so people I’ve treated with buprenorphine over the years… but I’ll leave it here in case someone else wants to comment.

      • freudian55 says:

        Geo, Suboxone patients are a small part of my practice. If you try to find a psychiatrist, you will quickly realize that there is no shortage of patients; it will take you weeks or months to be seen. I have a wait list of 80 people. The thought that doctors ‘need Suboxone patients’ is silly. So Geo, does your logic apply to all specialties? The docs advocating screening for breast or colon cancer too– all just wanting more patients? Or is addiction the only specialty you use your logic on?

    • Sue says:

      Hi Angela,
      I have been on Suboxone for 2 years now. I was addicted to pain meds after taking them for 2 years due to a neck injury. I never had cravings for pain meds and have never had drug issues before but couldn’t handle the withdrawals so suboxone was the fix. I have to say that I am with you on the joint pain. Knee, elbow, wrists and feet…It has gotten increasingly worse over time and I am convinced that it is a side effect of suboxone. Another “side effect” is hypo-thyroidism…I have never had the first health issue until I about 8 months into taking suboxone, and it seems to have all gone downhill from there. I am at a point now that I want to come off of it but my doctor “doesn’t think it’s wise”. In the eyes of the medical community, “once a drug addict, always a drug addict”. I am going to start the tapering proces against my doctor’s advice because I dont like taking meds…which is why I tried to stop taking the pain pills in the first place. Hopefully, the joint pain, weight gain and thyroid will straighten out in time after I am off the drug.

    • Gina says:

      I feel the same issues. I have seen a chiropractor and it didn’t even seem to help. It’s weird… Not in the muscles but feels like its in the bones!!? Anyway, I hope u feel better. 🙂

    • lorraine says:

      I have.noticed art.type.swellining.on nm my hands.espevially my.thumbs.i think sub.has something to do with it.along with.my.teeth.being distroyed.

  12. Stacy says:

    I have been on suboxone for a long time now. Actually, a really long time. I don’t know if it is more mental or physical but I feel like it is the only thing that allows me to function and I fear not taking them. I guess I figure that I know how bad my addiction was and will do anything to avoid getting back to that point. I was just curious if there is anyone out there who has been on suboxone therapy for more than 5 or 6 years.

    • Greg Foster says:

      I am a long term Suboxone user I was on it from 2003-2007 and now from 2011-present. I think it is wonderful as it has allowed me to continue on in school and work for a Phd at a major univeristy, get married, andI have a great job. To be honest I am on 6 -8 mg a day and though I may cut down maybe to 4mg at some point but other than that I have gone off of suboxone and I know what happens- relapse. I think of suboxone as insulin. If your body does not make insulin you have to take it everyday until you die. Once an opiate is introduced to your body your body wants it everyday until you die- you can fight it and go back and forth sober-using or just say this is a lifelong disease anf I am using Suboxone to cure it. The tooth issues are equal to what I call methadone mytholgoy. When we were ‘using’ we paid no attention to our teeth- and then when we get off and on suboxone we have issues not because of the suboxone per se but because we have neglected our teeth for so long. This is my take on it and you may disgaree but again this drug has allowed me to do all the things I mentioned and I am happy to respond to emails if anyone has questions. Also, I had heart problems from ODing on methadone and xanax- suboxone would have prevented that!

    • karen carignan says:

      Hi my name is karen and I have been on suboxone for almost 7 years. The worse side effect for me is hot flashes and sweating. As you, I fear not taking them. In no time I’d be using again.

      • Lord Void says:

        I have been on suboxone for 9 years. I am on 20mgs which i take thru out the day as needed. I have a very profound psychological dependence on them as well as physical For example if i try to take only 8mgs one day i notice it if i try to do it a few days in a row i will begin to get minor with drawals. That being said suboxone has saved my life, i would no doubt be dead in a gutter long ago if it wasnt for this medication and the care and insight of my doctor and recovery team. The biggest side effect i get is hot flashes and sweating buckets of sweat and i will take that any day over where i was. I was strung out for 7 years before goin on the suboxone.

  13. Mike says:

    Like the doc said, Suboxone is probally not the root cause of teeth decay. Ive been on subs and clean from all other drugs for 4 years and have to problems with teeth decay ( cross my fingers), but i do think that it my effect my eating habits and sometimes my stomach from crapping out bricks all the time. its a side effect and if i wana stay on them i have to deal with it, unfortunately if my teeth were falling out i would be devestated, but it seems all the people that are claming tooth decay on this forum have been on subs for such a minimal time under a year or so . I was a heroin addict and i no for a fact that causes tooth decay and most sub users are still heroin users when they have extra cash in their pocket. I know that when i was using i never went too the dentist and didnt care about my teeth very much, wasnt a top proreity too me. getting the drugs was more important. Just think maybe your teeth were already decaying , you just never noticed.

  14. HenryP says:

    K. I read from the top all the way down. I’ve been on bupe for 1.5 years and it has saved my life – best thing that ever happened to me. Cures my heroin addiction and cures the reasons why I started taking opiates. Deathly afraid of living without it. I’ve been off it for a week and everything goes to hell, quickly, after about the 3rd day. It’s scary..

    Sorry, got off topic – I have always suspected there may be downsides to dissolving so much drug content sublingually – especially since I take 3 8mg subutex pills a day (I recommend switching from suboxone to subutex, saves me $250-$300/month).

    I have no tooth decay problems yet, although I haven’t been to the dentist in a year+. Never had a cavity in my life. What I have noticed recently, however, is my gums have retreated somewhat (I have gingivitis as a pre-existing condition) and my teeth are beginning to hurt extremely bad when I chew on anything hard. This just started a few months ago. When I bite on a very thick piece of hard sourdough bread, for example, or maybe an unripe apple, the roots of my teeth begin to feel a dull pain that continues until it is very painful and then subsides in about a minute – all that from just one bite.

    The above few posts suggest that bupenorphine may not be the cause of tooth decay. Regardless, I’m going to try to keep any dissolving medication as far away from my bottom teeth as possible, from now on. I will have to tilt my head back to do this. I may also have to cut back on subs, the only side effects I have currently are constipation, tiredness, slight lack of libido, inability to consume alcohol without feeling like crap. Loosing my teeth would just be too much.

    Wikipedia does NOT mention tooth decay as a drawback, however. Wiki “Sublingual administration”: “One drawback, however, is tooth discoloration and decay caused by long-term use of this method with acidic or otherwise caustic drugs and fillers.”

  15. Steve says:

    Are there any thoughts in using Suboxone for pain management in lieu of extended release oxy or short acting for break through medications. After multiple surgeries I am still in pain it seems crazy to keep increasing the dose of opiates to cover the pain and increasing tolerance.

    • freudian55 says:

      That is the madness of opioid agonists– they seem so magical, but there is no way (at the present time) to use them without inviting destruction into one’s life. Some day there will be a ‘cure’ for tolerance, and things will change… but not yet.

      I do use buprenorphine to treat chronic pain, both in the form of Suboxone or in the form ‘Butrans’, a skin patch with buprenorphine for chronic pain. For severe pain, there are special things that can be done; for example I will have a person take Suboxone or buprenorphine, and give an agonist in high doses on top of it. The buprenorphine appears to ‘anchor’ the tolerance, allowing the agonist to work for an extended time without losing effect. I typically combine 4-8 mg of buprenorphine per day, along with 15-30 mg of oxycodone. I consider it to be a high-risk approach, but it can be a miracle for people with no other option.

  16. JD says:

    This question is for the doctor. My husband has struggled GREATLY with substance abuse since his mid 20’s and he is now in his mid 40’s. My husband is the kindest sweetest man and he is the BEST husband and father. When he is using he becomes someone he is not….same story for all I am sure. We have run the gammet from jail to overdose you name it. 6 years ago a friend intoduced him to Suboxone and it LITERALLY gave him his life back. He bought it off the friend for years and it was very very expensive. Finally I brought him to a doctor a bit over a year ago. She is pretty adamant about weaning him off of this. And all I can do is speak from experience and know that given 2-3 months after he stops suboxone he will relapse. I strongly beIieve it IS a MIRACLE drug! I agree in the sense that if a diabetic needs insulin to save his life then you give it for a lifetime if needed. My husband over the lat 6 years has been the man of my dreams, the man I always knew he was. I personally have extreme anxiety because I know this doctor is just doing her job and trying to follow guidelines however my husbands LIFE is at stake! That to me is just wayyyyyyyyy too important. It’s not like if he stops this med he could have depression as an example, rather he could end up in jail, or worse. He has his life back. He is enjoying his family life as he should. If this is what it takes for him to live a normal life then why not? He has 20 years of proven history behind it. When we ask her she says her concern is we don’t know the long term effects. She doesn’t want to keep anyone on any med without knowing what it could do. She says it hasn’t been on the market long enough. Also my husband had a SEVERE opiod addicition. He was taking 10-15 Oxycontin 80mgs a day and then ended up switching to 400mgs of methadone before he switched to suboxone. He has found that he is comfortable with 4 8mg pills a day of suboxone. I believe it is because he was used to taking such high doses of opiods. He has tried really hard to decrease suboxone for his doctor but I see the anxiety build in him. She says no one in her practice is on that dose. To be honest he was taking more when he was buying them from a friend but brought himself to a stable 4 pills 8mgs a day when he started with the doctor. He and I both REALLY like her and would like to continue treatment with her. However I wish I had a DVD of little clips of our life from before suboxone and with suboxone. I am positive she would be floored. I am positive she would understand my concern. In my eyes my husband is back. He is such a beautiful soul and I hate to see that taken away from him yet again. Doctor I read up at the top of this blog that you agree with a lifetime use. He currently has no noted side effects. Do you have any suggestions that I may present to his doctor. I dream of the day that she says it is alright for him to continue on this until maybe he chooses to wean if he so chooses to do so. I would alliveiate SO MUCH stress on both of us. Please let me know what you think.
    Thank you very much!

    • freudian55 says:

      I will be replying on my blog at http://www.suboxonetalkzone.com, and also on http://www.psychcentral.com at the blog called ‘an epidemic of addiction’– please change your bookmarks to the other Suboxone Talk Zone site.

      Also, be sure to check out the forum, now 6000 members strong, at http://www.suboxforum.com .


    • SonicD says:

      Hi JD,
      I know your post was 11/21/11 but I was touched by your story and compelled to reply! I just wondered how your family is getting along and I hope the best for you and others on here. I hope your husband is stable and all is well and that your Dr is able to understand and that you have gotten the help you need. Can you update us? I feel very much the same about my husband- him being a really good guy, and good father. It is so expensive to get the care and help you need, and I am grateful my husband is able to work and function though I worry a lot about his health and well being. We are struggling with a slightly different struggle in that my husband has been on methadone for 20+ years and he could get better work if we relocated but the nearest methadone clinic is 60 miles 1 way and he would have to drive daily. So the cost of Methadone for him is just over $400 and the cost of gas- $5/ a gal. Makes it pretty hard to get the better paying jobs. I understand there has to be guidelines. Someone with his track record should be able to get carries for 2+weeks at a time. Anyway I am sorry to get off track. I hope things are good for your family.

  17. sthprtlndlori says:

    I recently stopped taking suboxone after five years. I took my last miligram exactly two weeks ago today. I still feel like crap. i feel depressed, sore legs, restless legs at night, not sleeping well, chills, and just over all crap. Any ideas on how long this is going to last??? Please Help. i am not sure If I can feel like this much longer!!!


  18. Justin says:

    Don’t kno if you will see this but I two have stopped subs after four years 24 mg. it will suck for a long time. I am now at six months and am feeling so much better. This was the best decision I have made in a long time. It took a lot of work onmy part, however. I had to start exercising and eating healthy and relearn how to do simple things. At 3 months it ws better but miserable. My body hurt, and was very depressed. I had to get my endorphins working again, and my metabolism up as well. At 6 months, if you exercise and eat right you will start to feel human again. Don’t get me wrong, suboxone saved mylife, but for me, I would be dead long before my time if I didn’t stop. You don’t realize how much it fucks with your body and mind until you stop completed. I do not recommend stopping cold turkey, like I did, but I suggest finding a sober living house and detoxing there and staying for. A few months after it starts getting better, depending on your situation of course. Suboxone doesn’t,t have to be life long, my quality of life is so much better without it, it will take perserverance though. God bless and good luck to all.

  19. Gina says:

    Where to begin?? Well, I (as most) have always had great teeth. Maybe 2 total filings my whole life. But now, after just over a year of taking suboxone, my husband and I both have seen a huge difference in our teeth & gums. I don’t even want to know what it would cost to fix.
    I do Love what suboxone has done for my oxy addiction. But I don’t want to loose my teeth!
    I REALLY want to get off of the Subs but have so many fears. I am so glad it has saved so many others from their own addictions.
    The teeth issue does need to be investigated. I’d like someone to Actually do studies and figure out a way to fix the problem. Sure we are addicts and they could care less about our teeth as we chose to use in the first place, but what non-addicts need to understand is that we are no different than them. We are your brothers, sisters, children, parents, friends.
    Ok…. That’s enough ranting. Just wanted to express graditude and also my not so uncommon “side effect”.
    Good luck with it all!

  20. Jane says:

    How are you paying for this expensive medication? From my understanding this drug is NOT MEANT to be used long term. Explain please

    • freudian55 says:

      Not sure where you heard your information- but multiple studies show that short-term use– less than a year– only result in relapse. The medication is usually used chronically– for multiple years– to put opioid addiction into remission and keep it there. As for paying— it is about the same as any med for depression, or for high blood pressure, or for diabetes– any similar chronic illness. Insurance covers it in most cases. People without insurance can use the generic of subutex, wish costs about $2.70 per tab– or about $85 per month. That is MUCH cheaper than the life most active addicts WERE living!

      • Jamie says:

        Is anyone else losing hair? I have been taking subs for 2 years and noticed my hair is falling out alot! I also get these massive headaches all the time. And I am down to 2 mg a day and tried going off of it but I didnt sleep at all for a week so I started again.

  21. justme says:

    Hi everyone!! I have been on Suboxone for 5 yrs and I really want to get off of Suboxone just don’t have the nerve to do so. I have a 5yr old whom I want to see get married and have children of his own and i am afraid if i dont stop i will never see that!! I see very few people who have been on suboxone as long as i have and it makes me nervous. do we really know what it is doing to our bodies??? I dont know what I am looking for, i guess just some support and some more knowledge about what Suboxone is really doing to my body?? All these people say that they went through wd’s for months and it was so horrible. I know wd’s are no fun but does it really last as long as they say or are they looking for some self pitty. I just want someone to be straight up with me!! I hope someone reads this and can give me some advise!! Good luck everyone and God Bless!!!

  22. Bob jacobs says:

    I have been on suboxone since 2004 and came off it for a short time twice, both time I went back to pills. and the last time, I almost did not make it. So I decided to stay were i am safe and that is on the meds. i go between 1 pill and sometimes as many as 4 depending on how i feel. I am grateful. and we all should be. I have left a 12 step program i have been a member of for 25 years, because they refuse to open there minds.

  23. Chaz Cripps says:

    Hi I’m Chaz, trade name in the uk is Temgesic (buprenorphine) but its the same thing, I’ve taken 200microgram subliningual tablets for 12 years for pain control due to trauma to nerves in my arm, I find the tablets don’t help the pain but I’m addicted to the tablets. Come evening time I have to have one the irritability in my body is immense. I wish I could stop taking them, I wish I’d never started. Any advice?

  24. Christian says:

    Hi. First off, sorry if my english is a bit off, swedish after all. =) This site is new to me. And boy am I happy to se others with the same long term side effects. I´m in the process of asking my doc fot a switch to methadone. In 2007 i started with 8mg, now I have 24mg. And my apathia is increasing. The nurses say depression or that I need to eat right/better. Well, if I don´t have apetite, how can I eat more? I got my drivers licence as a gift, well the money for it. I have not even started, It´s been like 6 months or something. I have had trouble sleeping. My pulse is never under 90bpm, (measured in the mornings as well) On top of this, all the men in my family, both on my mother and fathers side have had heart problems as their common denominator. I dont want to DO anything. The spark is gone. I know that benzo makes this dissapear, like it was never there. I also know that I will NEVER get such a perscription. This spells out anxiety in my book. And when I see everyone else talking about the same symptoms, it gives me hope that methadone could give me my life back. I´m sooo tired, and I´m only 29. My brother and mother are both from sub to meth patients and they have none of my side effects…..

    • SonicD says:

      Christian –
      Hi There! I understand that there are difficulties with either choice. You at least have the opportunity thru your mother, and brother to see the pros and cons of Suboxone vs. Methadone. I wish there was an easier way for you- us.! My husband having used Methadone now for over 20 years he(we) have been able to be self employed and have been able to work/paint jobs at a cost from homes valued $500 to 10,000,000+ because of him being able to have a LIFE being on methadone and using it the way that it should be taken. Even at this the costs can be outrageous because we don’t have insurance. It costs my husband just over $400 a month, plus having to go every day or once a week depending on what the clinic offers. We have trouble being able to attend things out of town because of being tied down to the clinic. He tells me it would be so nice to find a doctor to prescribe him enough medicine for a month – or even two weeks at a time. You can’t get a doctor here, you have to go to a clinic. Someone could look at his files – a doctor- and see that he has not had more than 2 dirty UA’s in 20+ years and that was from Marijuana. This is quite the track record. Thank for sharing, I truely hope your able to get help. Good luck.

  25. SonicD says:

    Has any one been on methadone for MORE than 5 years at 140mg, and switched to Suboxone? What did you prefer Suboxone or Methadone? Trying to find answers or advice as my husband and i are relocating to an area where the closest Methadone clinic is 60 miles. He has never tried Suboxone, but he has been on methadone for over 20 years. Also we pay just over $400 a month for his Methadone. So if Suboxone works and is $85 a month that is a huge difference in cost, although there is wellbeing above costs!
    would really love to find out your personal experience and opinion between Suboxone/Methadone. Thanks~

    • freudian55 says:

      I think he would be at least as happy to be on buprenorphine, in regard to blocking interest in opioids, compared to methadone. The problem would be GETTING him to the point of transitioning. Buprenorphine has a ceiling effect, that is about equal to 40 mg of methadone. He would have to get his tolerance down to that level, either by tapering down the methadone first to 40 mg, or stopping methadone for a week or more, and then starting buprenorphine/Suboxone (his tolerance would come down if he stopped for a week or two). Both of those things are very difficult, but if he didn’t do them, Suboxone/buprenorphine would YANK his tolerance down, causing severe precipitated withdrawal. It would be like ‘rapid opioid detox’ but without the anesthesia.

      Once on Suboxone, the med is usually covered by medicaid or insurers, although some limit treatment to 2 years (I guess they expect people to just disappear by that point?!). The prices for doctors really vary by area; some demand to see patients more often than others, depending on addiction severity and practice patterns.

  26. Jason Smith says:

    I want to weigh in on a couple things. First: Blood pressure. I’ve had very low blood pressure for 30 years, then all the sudden I was shocked to hear my dr say that I needed BP meds because I had 3 high “readings” in a row. This was in the midst of my opiate addiction, before I ever heard of Suboxone. I tend to contribute my high blood pressure with yrs of opiate addiction and not suboxone. It’s important to note that I have asolutely no family history of high BP in any of my family and I have 3 grandpartents well into their late 80’s, almost 90. Also, I’m a ‘health-nut’ when it comes to food, I eat salmon,nuts,etc. and mostly avoiid junk. I also work a very physical job so I don’t lack in exercise and all of this was true even in the worst stage of my opiate addiction. Of course, my high BP could be because I’m entering my mid-30’s and I realize that but given all the circumstances listed above, I tend to associate it with yrs of opiate abuse, not Suboxone. Just my story.
    Okay, this is a question for the Dr.: I have been on Suboxone for two yrs now. The first yr I was buying them on the streets because it was cheaper (I had no insurance) because I was soooo tired of the “chase.” I literally had the same “to do” list for 5 yrs and when I finally got on Suboxone, I not only “knocked” out my to do list in the first two months, I enrolled back in college and have almost finished my degree. Here’s the issue: Suboxone give my BAD headached every single day. I know this is due to the Naloxone (sp?) because I”ve bought Subutex before on the street and the headaches vanished. My Dr. refuses to switch me to Subutex because of the potential for abuse. I find the same answer when i call other Dr’s. I explained to my Dr. that this isn’t fair. I’m am suffering because the image that Subutex has for it’s potential for abuse, which I think is false. Their is a ceiling effect and I personally know people who “shoot” suboxone strips which is my Dr’s main concern. I’ve never ever used a needle and never will so this isn’t an issue for me. Plus due to the fact that I got off traditional opiates myself for the first yr and bought Subs on the street, I think I”ve proven that I”m over the lifestyle of addiction. I don’t understand why i have to suffer these headaches, not to mention the other possible long-term effects of Naloxone, when there are other options. Any advice?

    • freudian55 says:

      I completely agree with all of your comments. I have had patients admit to ‘shooting’ Suboxone OR Subutex, and they tell me that they can’t tell the difference (this is what they USED to do!). That did not surprise me, as naloxone binds much less tightly than buprenorphine, and does little to block the effects of buprenorphine.

      I don’t have a way to get the doc to change, though. There ARE docs who prescribe buprenorphine, but I don’t know how to get the ones who don’t, to change their minds. One thing to try— naloxone is very poorly absorbed through the oral mucosa; about 3% of the naloxone is absorbed that way, and the rest gets absorbed at the intestine after being swallowed. The vast majority of that is then destroyed at the liver– unless the person, for some reason, isn’t metabolizing naloxone well– maybe because of interference by another med?

      Anyway– I’ve suggested to people to ‘spit’ the saliva that remains after dosing, rather than swallowing it; that eliminates the possibility for absorption of most of the naloxone. Some patients tell me that they have had success doing that.

      Good luck!

  27. Karen says:

    sorry last post wrong email. looking for others who have unusual amount of dental problems after using or still using suboxone. Contact me please

    • lorraine says:

      This is for karen I don’t know Joe I am supposed.get a hold of.you.but I have ther same problem with sub.my.teeth have decayed and.i.nred.dentures.along.with.artitis like.pronlems.in my hands.please contact.me.

      • ggray1956@yahoo.com says:

        You are in the right spot, but it’s just a real hard sell here because manufacturer is using the obvious stereotype scapegoat analysis and the Doc seems to agree with their data. All we can do is ask the Doc or anyone else that has the resources available to take an independent study done on product as it relates to tooth and gums disease where the manufacture is not involved. The findings will tell the story.

      • freudian55 says:

        Not sure what the ‘obvious stereotype scapegoat analysis’ refers to…

        It took about 6 years of lab work to get my PhD, G; one thing that I learned was that a true scientist must learn to accept the data that is found, even if it doesn’t fit with his emotions or theories. Laypersons are quick to attribute all sorts of blame to all sorts of causes…. but the scientist looks at the data, and in the absence of data recognizes that he knows nothing.

        There is no data showing a higher rate of dental problems in people taking buprenorphine or Suboxone. As a physician, I’ve seen people lose teeth who take one med or another– and I’ve seen no increase in the group taking buprenorphine. A study would be interesting– but difficult. You would need to find a way to make the Suboxone group similar to the control group, and that is very difficult to do– since people with addictions have many other variables that differ from controls. You could compare, say, meth addicts to opioid addicts— although meth addicts are known to have more tooth problems than opioid addicts, so that would make such a study worthless.

        sometimes the lack of study is not because of a global conspiracy, but rather because a valid study just can’t be done. That may be the case with this issue— for reasons that are difficult to explain in a paragraph.

  28. freudian55 says:

    I certainly care about honesty– and I have no reason to be anything but honest about this situation. The truth is that I have 100 current and many former patients on Suboxone/buprenorphine. Some of them have horrible teeth; most of them have minimal tooth problems. I also have many patients with other conditions, who do not take buprenorphine or Suboxone; some of them have horrible teeth; most of them have minimal tooth problems.

    Your main problem, Karen, if you were to ever get to a courtroom, is that radiation therapy to the head and neck is known to lead to significant tooth decay down the line. I have a patient who had XRT for cancer of the tongue/jaw; he lost all of his teeth by the age of 40, and he continues to struggle from the loss of bone in his cervical vertebrae.

    The material in Suboxone does not support bacterial growth (there are no natural sweeteners or other products that bacteria can feed on), and there is no chemical reaction between buprenorphine and tooth enamel or bone… the one case report I’ve found related to teeth and buprenorphine wonders if the opioid effect reduces the immune response in teeth. Dentists have written to me about earlier posts saying that such a mechanism does not hold water.

    In other words, you have an uphill battle ahead of you.

  29. lorli says:

    This is more of a question than a comment for which I am in desperate need of help, advice, and answers please! ! ! I am a 30 year old single mother of 3 children ages 10,8,and 7… I recently met my soul mate and got engaged about 4 months ago for which my fiance asked me to move in with her around the same time she proposed to me and gave me my ring. We had been living together her and I for about 3 months and she decided she wanted us to move into a bigger place so that we could have my children move in with us and we could begin sharing our lifes together as a family. She gave her 30 day notice and we began looking for a new place of our own. Upon doing so she also decided she wanted to get off all medication she had been on for years for which he pain management doctor had been prescribing her for several years after being in a horrible car accident that also forced her to have to retire from her career at a very young age and consider disabled. She decided to do so because she didn’t want to have all these medications in the home once we moved into our new home with the children, she was afraid because she didn’t want the children to accidently ever get a hold of the medication. Another reason for her decision was that she wanted us to have a baby, for which we would go through the whole envitro process and I would carry her egg and give birth to her child, which means the two of us would have to prepare by making sure we were in the best of health. Upon going to an appointment and discussing all of this with her pain management doctor, they decided to start her on suboxone and discontinue use of all other meds. She began taking the suboxone but for different reasons (which I still am completely unsure of) she failed to fallow the doctors strict “formula” (which he called it) and when she hit her 30 days of treatment and ran out of the suboxone she stopped taking it for 1 day. During these initial 30 days she began having many different mood swings became very constipated to the point where it became very painful, her memory had been a tiny bit affected but enough to notice until I now look back on certain things, in addition to all of these things all of these things, her and I had began house hunting with my children at times her parents also had joined us. We began shopping for new household items to furnishe our new home and began packing in which case there wasalso alot of stress on both of us.
    Once she hit 30 days and ran out of suboxone that very next night she suddenly became very ill, I believe at first it must have had to have been withdrawal of some sort, and seemed as tho she began literally losing her mind, there were two times where she disappeared on me and found her hours later in the emergency room at two different hospitals for which the police had taken her to the e.r. Because she became combativewiththem after they tried to approach because she was doing off the wall things and seemed to be disoriented. The last time this occurred I was so scared at her behavior that I had to call her parents and involve them. For which they have now taken her from me, she is being forced to live with her mom (her parents decision) this due to the fact that she has stroke like symptoms and at first wasnt even able to shower on her own, she can now, but her speech has also been affected, her memory is pretty bad, little by little she is starting to remember certain things but very seldome, she has terrible fits and mood swings, stares off into space and is quite most of the day etc… Her parents demanded I give them the key to our apartment for which she had given me upon asking me to move in with her, and where as they were allowing me to speak with her and visit and spend the night with her at her mom’s and stay with her while her mom would go out and go have time to herself, they now haven’t allowed me to see her or talk to her at all for the past week. It’s tearing me apart I’m so depressed, they said we can no longer move in together, and where just last month the two of us were as happy as ever before in our lives, beginning and taking the steps we wanted to take to begin our future together for the rest of our lifes making our dreams become our realities. . . From the day we up until last week we had spent every single minute of every single day together happily never leaving eachothers side. The last time I saw her she was sobbing asking me why we couldn’t just go home b together to our house just her and I telling me all she wants is to be with me in our home because she no b longer wants to be living at a her mother’s without me, she has since gown back on the suboxone and taking it as prescribed. My questions are how long will it be before she goes back to her normal self, how long til she regains her memory? Can her parents really be doing all of this, making all of these decisions for her forcing her to live with her mother when she doesn’t want to be there and wants to be with me, granted she does need a lot of help at this time but I’m more than willing to help her and care for, is what her parents are doing legal, this has all been so horrible her parents are being so horrible they are even taking about putting her in an institution of some sort where she’d b miserable not even once even taking into consideration that i am her fiance and want her to be with me so I can take care of her instead of some institution. Never once have they asked her or I how we feel about the decisions they are making or have already made never once have they asked either one of us what we want or our opinion. . . I am so depressed without her and I know she is equally depressed without me. Please someone I need answers and advice. . . I need help. . . I committed suicide once recently because I can not b live without her please someone help us save both of a our life’s please

  30. lorraine says:

    I don’t know who I contact about my.sub.problems and.tooth, lose.or.who does this website.do we all get in touch.please respond.to.me.thanks.

    • ggray1956@yahoo.com says:

      I agree with you Lorraine. I do not know why they did not mention it in the side affects/adverse side effects, but there are a high percentage of people complaining about Teeth and Gum problems and extreme constipation. Thanks for your comment. Hopefully the manufacturer will come out and cover these problems with people taking Suboxone.

  31. ggray1956@yahoo.com says:

    Everyone one I have ever asked about Suboxone always says that they had great teeth before they started Suboxone…NOT now. I Brush and Floss at least twice a day and I still have problems that can only lead to the Suboxone. Why is the manufacturer not admitting to this obvious and expensive side effects?…thanks. Second comment: If Suboxone is so highly liked by doctor’s in this field, then why is there only a handful that will prescribe it in the Gulf Coast area near Galveston, Tx?

    • freudian55 says:

      Of course another way to say it is “if prescribing Suboxone is a way to make the big bucks, why is there only a handful that will prescribe it?’ The truth is that few doctors have the patience to treat addiction– a field where a doctor must get used to being lied to by patients, since dishonesty is part of the disease of addiction. Many docs don’t want ‘scary’ people in their waiting rooms; they worry that their middle-class patients will be scared off by sitting next to someone with track-marks, sweating from withdrawal.

      Doctors do not like the provisions required to prescribe Suboxone; they must spend a day taking a course and submit a pile of paperwork, and then they get to treat THIRTY people(!). After a full year they can submit another pile of paperwork and increase to 100 patients. To prescribe Suboxone, the doctor MUST sign papers that agree to allow the DEA open access to their offices; the DEA randomly comes to the offices and cancels the doctor’s day, inspects the premises, interviews the employees, and goes through the patient charts. Does THAT sound like something that many doctors would WANT to sign up for– to gain a few extra office visits for $200 each, when insurers will pay thousands of dollars for doing relatively simple procedures?

      The tooth issue has been examined by the FDA; every drug, including Suboxone, is monitored for side effects. There have also been a couple case reports about the issue. The conclusion that has been made is that people don’t care for their teeth during their active using, and the problems from ignoring one’s teeth take years and years to develop. A person ‘not brushing’ right now won’t have cavities for a year or two— and by that time, the person might be on Suboxone. The damage occurs long before people start Suboxone; they just don’t notice the problems, because all of their focus is on preventing withdrawal.

    • Mike says:

      Well i was reading yals posts about the tooth decay, an maybe there is something with the subs but, i know when i was a full doper i didnt take care of my mouth they way i should have, then once i got clean a a sober look my teeth were then were bad, had alot dental work done still more to come, but iam here alive to be able to do so,

      • Geo says:

        Hey Mike, that’s exactly why they will not admit it. I have always taken care of my teeth and never had tooth problems when I was taking other pain medicines. I think it is because you administer it in your mouth under the tongue and it drains between the teeth and gums. Anyhow, what I do is use Pronamel toothpaste after I take my medicine. Its suppose to strengthen the enamel. Because of the timeline and the way my teeth went downhill, I would bet that its the suboxone. I use it for pain management and to stay off other pain medicines. My dosage is 4-6mg or around a 1/2 a strip every 24-28 hour timeframe. Are you taking Suboxone? Or are you making a general comment to response to my posting?

  32. ggray1956@yahoo.com says:

    I appreciate your honesty. I could not have said it better myself, yet addiction continues to grow at an alarming rate. Yes, like alcoholism it is taboo and hidden in most part from the public. Next time you are in a room of 100 people just look around. At least 30% are alcoholics or addicted to some sort of drug. Yes, the percentage could be much higher especially if you include my ADD and ADHD and Hormone buddies on their Adderall, Ritalin, and those Low-T jelly bellies. I have studied this phenomenon destroying our country for going on 10 years now, and most of the reason why we have a new generation of kids that do not have a clue about history or geography is because our schools only want to teach the very basics so they can go home to have a drink or pop a pill. That Atta-boy generation is turning into the Adderall generation. I know this sounds terrible, but it’s the only way out of the war on drugs. Legalize them and treat the sick and medically addiction nature that surrounds it. It’s all about the ole mighty dollar, and that mentality will do nothing but bring our country down. So how does a person that has sacrificed almost everything with over 20 years with NASA and about 10 years as a GSM at an Investment company have to learn from this experience. It starts out from the innocent in a hospital bed and grows with every step afterwards into every moment into every day. No one is immune to this hell, even the ones that have said it will never happen to me. Well Doc…I once said those very same words and that innocent comment that says take once every 4 hours as needed for pain turned into a nightmare. So you tell me where does the sacrificing end. I am trying to do the right thing, yet I do not want to be in pain anymore then I have to be physically or emotionally. Tell me Doc, what do I do now?

  33. Germs says:

    SIDE EFFECTS? I have been taking this medication since the beginning. I started on subutex then went to SUboxone when it came out. I did not know this was happening because of suboxone until i switched to buprinex. I got a rash on various parts of my body that itched so intensely.. i would scratch the skin off my body. It started to get on my face after 5 years. I had to use very strong topical steroids to make it go away.. then it would come back 2 weeks later. so, I have had to use the steroids for 6 years now. Extreme fits of rage! I punched my computer monitor.. punched holes in my walls.. over the most trivial things. This behavior was very new and out of the ordinary. last but not least, I have and i am not exaggerating, a head ache for the past 7 years! My DR wa aware of all these things that started happening to me. She sent me to a skin dr, skin dr sent me to allergist, allergist could not figure out what was causing the rash. Dr said that my mood and rage problems were from age and stress. my head aches must be from allergies and gave me allergy pills. it did not work. I continued to have a minor head ache every single morning! The head ache was however..minor.. it was hectic in the morning but became manageable after a few cups of coffee and a Motrin 800. So, that’s what my life became.. steroids and Motrin and an attitude problem.. I thought it was just me getting old. Then I was reading up on rashes and allergies one day and came up on this forum about a girl who was having similar problems.. wouldn’t you know she somehow figured out that Naloxone was causing her anger problems, rash problems and constant head ache! I switched to buprinorphine (generic Buprenex) Suboxone is buprenorphene and naloxone. with in 2 days my head aches were gone! I have not had a fit of rage since! my walls and computer monitor are healing and are hole-less! It is too soon to tell if the rash is going away because the steroids work so well that all traces of the rash are gone 3 days after using it just 1 time. I will know in 2 weeks. But.. Do you know what it is like to wake up EVERY SINGLE DAY with a head ache? maybe you do but more than likely you do not.. To wake up and say ” holy shit I dont have a headache… am i dead?” I am so much happier now.. I can not believe i have suffered through this for this long and never made the connection. If my embarrassing rash is cured I will be golden.. it is very painful and itchy>.. this being said… I hope if any of you have these side effects…. this will shed some light on your situation. I simply told my DR what my side effects were, explained what I had read.. he agreed to switch me.

  34. freudian55 says:

    The comparison to cigarette companies requires some loose logic…. although your entire premise is off. Pain clinics make 99% of their revenue from procedures (I worked at one for 10 years), and have no interest in managing people on Suboxone. SOME pain clinics have tried moving to meds like Butrans (transdermal buprenorphine), to avoid the inevitable disaster of schedule II opioid agonists… but that type of ‘low-dose buprenorphine’ is completely different from the high-dose buprenorphine in Suboxone and used for addiction treatment. BTW– the effect on cravings is due to the pharmacodynamics– i.e. the ceiling effect. I won’t graph it out, as I’ve done that elsewhere….. but it is the DIFFERENCES in buprenorphine== the partial agonist effects– that block cravings.

  35. Geo says:

    Please research before you comment. Suboxone or generic (buprenorphine) without naloxone is also prescribed for Pain Management.

  36. Jo says:

    Im on Subox, for PAIN!!!!! been on it since June, And I have had nothing but problems, constipations, to the point for vomiting,even with stool softeners , lots of fruit and water.I was just Hospitalized for a few days, and they found out I have an ulcer, it took me 3 days to finally go to the bathroom, and that was after 5 days of crapping 2 little tirds at a time. I went to a pain clinic for 10 days, and they decided to put me on subox 8ms twice a days. Im just waiting to get to my family doctor because im asking to go one something else because I don’t want to have these issues my whole life,

    • freudian55 says:

      Not sure what the exclamation points are about; buprenorphine has been used to treat pain for over 30 years, and is often used in the form of Suboxone or just plain buprenorphine for that purpose.

      The symptoms you described (vomiting and constipation) show that buprenorphine is too strong for your tolerance level. If you had been taking, say, 80 mg of oxycontin twice per day, buprenorphine would not cause those symptoms– but if you were only on a couple Vicodin each day, buprenorphine would predictably cause nausea and constipation.

      There is no connection between buprenorphine and stomach ulcers.

  37. SubPatient says:

    In the 4-5 years I’ve taken Suboxone/Buprenorphine, I have experienced very few side effects. No teeth problems but sometimes there is anxiety when starting up on treatment or shifting your dose up or down. Wait a few weeks for the medication to level out in your bloodstream. Starting at 16 mg and titrated down to 2 mg over a two years. I’ve taken generic buprenorphine/Subutex tablets as well as Suboxone with naloxone and there really is no difference between the two, especially in the long term. I’ve also taken Methadone, but I prefer Buprenorphine, because the hassle of a clinic is really not worth it when there are many doctors with licenses to prescribe the medication and because it is only a partial agonist, while Methadone is a full agonist. Buprenorphine is also a great pain killer as well I noticed people asking but you want Duragesic low dose formulation and not Suboxone. Great medication over all.

  38. Geo says:

    Freudian55, You seem to be the public relations for Suboxone. Have a few questions for you. If Suboxone is so great why are there only 5 doctors in my Gulf Coast region that will prescribe it. Why is there many more side effects including adverse side effects of this drug then posted in the data? When I bring this to my medical insurance plan including my GP/PCP, Neurologist, and Pain Management staff they seem more comfortable prescribing me other narcotics before prescribing drugs like Suboxone. My medical plan flat told me they will not prescribe it, so I had to go to one of those 5 people (almost 2 years ago). Who was one of those 5 people? The same atmosphere/drug den I was trying to get away from, but I had no choice. The other 4 are not taking any more patients. Why is that, if its such a miracle drug. I take 3-4mg to help with chronic pain and it lasts 24-30hrs, yet I still have the adverse long term side effects. What do I do? Is there a 3rd alternative?

    • freudian55 says:

      No– I have no love for the makers of Suboxone. If you read my current blog at wwww.suboxonetalkzone.com , you will find a number of articles where I criticize the manufacturer of Suboxone for a variety of reasons. Or just Google ‘Suboxone’ and ‘blood on their hands’ and you’ll find one of them from a year or so ago. I write to correct the misinformation that causes death. I’ve been med director of residential treatment programs, Geo– and I’m in recovery myself. I got sick of reading the obituaries of patients that we had discharged in good shape a few weeks earlier. In 10 years, there have been 400 deaths connected to Suboxone or buprenorphine– where it was one of the drugs in the person’s system. In the same time there have been over 300,000 drug overdose deaths. That’s 400, vs. 300,000. About ten times more people died from Tylenol than from Suboxone over the past ten years– 4000 for Tylenol, 400 for buprenorphine.

      Why so few docs? Because to be certified, doctors must sign off on a number of things that were mandated when the treatment was approved by an act of Congress called ‘DATA 2000’. Docs can have a max of 100 patients on Suboxone for addiction. Docs must sign a statement that has a number of provisions, including allowing the DEA to do random inspections of the office and review patient charts, for no cause. Not many docs are willing to give up that privacy. Many health systems do not allow their physician employees to prescribe buprenorphine because they don’t want to get their hands dirty. They don’t want ‘drug addicts’ in their lobbies. The shortage of prescribers has cost a number of lives.

      The reason docs are ‘more comfortable’ with other pain meds is because most docs are busy enough already, and not interested in taking a course to get certified so that they can see people who tend to have little money. That will change, I suspect, as the use of opioid agonists continues to get squeezed by regulators.

      There are docs who prescribe Suboxone only ‘short term’– even though multiple studies have clearly shown that such ‘detox’ is a scam where patients pay money, and return to using within hours or days. The docs do that to get around the 100 patient cap. People treated with Suboxone for one month, then tapered off, had 1 year relapse rates of 97%. Patients treated with Suboxone for a year, then tapered off, had one-year relapse rates of 95%. Doctors who truly know addiction have realized that Suboxone is a life-sustaining medication, but only if taken the same way we take meds for most illnesses– like high blood pressure meds or diabetes meds. Like those, Suboxone must be taken long term, for a lifetime for many people.

      The docs not taking people are the ones doing it right– but they are full. My practice has been full for years, and my wait-list is over 90 patients long (and I stopped adding people to it months ago, since it rarely moves forward).

      • Geo says:

        If addiction and other related diseases weren’t considered taboo, we would have a (real) cure in 6 months. Depressive disorders, phobias, and anxiety related issues through environmental, genetic, or both is the #1 problem in our society today as it relates to progress. Since these diseases fall into the realm of mental illness, its treated second fiddle to every mainstream physical ailment. If we attack this illness without this stigma we will develop and prosper so much faster as a society. Advancements in all aspects of life would increase drastically and we would notice a relevant increase in harmony and a much needed decrease in crime worldwide. Thanks for the information and have a great day Sigmund!!!

      • freudian55 says:

        Opioid addiction kills people as much, or more, than any cancer. To treat cancer, people tolerate HUGE risks and side effects. They have limbs or breasts removed. They have their bellies split open. They take drugs that can themselves cause cancer down the road. They put up with severe nausea, fatigue, baldness, and other side effects to save their lives from cancer.

        Opioid dependence is just as fatal, and kills more young people than cancer. Lifelong treatment with buprenorphine or Suboxone is a pretty good deal, compared to the treatments for cancer. You want a cure— there will never be a drug that you take temporarily, that ‘cures’ addiction. Addiction becomes a part of a person, and cannot be erased or removed– in myself as well as in others. Lifelong ‘treatment’ with AA or NA meetings has some success– but people tend to stop going, and the addiction comes back. For a chronic medication that treats a chronic illness, buprenorphine is almost perfect. The withdrawal when it is stopped encourages people to keep taking it– so they don’t discontinue it the way people discontinue meetings. It doesn’t impair cognition; I have attorneys, CEO’s, and police officers who take it, and nobody would ever suspect they are on a medication. It doesn’t cause tumors. It doesn’t make your hair fall out. And when taken correctly, it works. What would make a med ‘better’? I can’t imagine a better medication.

        Buprenorphine is such a safe medication that right now, many companies are investigating other uses for the drug. Alkermes is furthest along, with a combination of buprenorphine and a mu antagonist that is in trials as an antidepressant. I DO, by the way, own stock in Alkermes. I think they are off-base in their continued efforts to promote Vivitrol, but they have a number of pipeline buprenorphine meds, and some will become blockbusters (decades from now). The med that will change the world, in my opinion, will be a combination of buprenorphine and a potent opioid agonist, that will treat pain without tolerance, with a much lower risk of overdose. I’ve given talks about it, but people aren’t ready for it yet, given the hoopla over opioids these days. I describe it here: http://www.slideshare.net/jeffreyjunig/buprenorphineagonistasam-meeting?from_search=1

  39. Melissa says:

    hey there, I am a 22 year old female who has been taking suboxone 6 mgs for about seven months now, I have been doing a lot of research on suboxone latetly because of the pain that I am going through and the reason I am posting this is to see if anyone could answer why I have this pain and is it related to suboxone. When I first went on suboxone program I felt amazing, the best ive felt in years, I also will mention I did not do much drugs mostly opiods is why I seeked help before the addiction got worse. Anyways for about a month now I have been experiencing a lot of pain, at the beginning I was experiencing fatigue at one point I could not get out of bed in the morning, my bones were aching and weak. I whent to my suboxone doctor and told him and he told me it had nothing to do with suboxone and that he will order every blood test I need because he thought it could be do to low iron or thyroid. After my blood work everything came back normal there were no imbalances or anything wrong. So where i live it takes forever to see your doctor again so i had to suffer with low energy and weakness still. BUT NOWW my problem has gotten extreamly worse I have severe like I mean severe back pain in the mid back between shoulderblades and spine, it feels sore to the touch almost like its bruised, but its not. I also feel like I am caring 30 pounds extra on my shoulders and i am only 120 pounds so it feels like alot, I notice that the pain is worse at night when i lay down i notice i cant sleep on my back for long i need to place myself a million times and i cry really bad because of how much it hurts. During the morning i have a hard time getting out of bed because weakness and pain and i need to walk it out and bend until i feel a bit better. I am still in pain as we speak so last week i was reading online, and i know it is hard to read stuff online because you don’t really have a answer but i notice that many other people have been feeling or having the same back pain widespread through their back like me. They have also done every meeting with doctors including spine neurology and MRI CT scan and they are still in pain and results are normal. I finally met up with my doctor a few days ago and told him my pains and he told me it still has nothing to do with suboxone ” even though it is a mild side effect” and that I should meet with my family doctor. I went to see my family doctor the next day and told him everything I was going through and he basically got mad at me because I am on suboxone and he thinks its for the wrong reasons, and he also told me my back pain is because of depression and I have never been depressed in my entire life except due to suboxone I have been having anxiety a lot because of the hole back pain. My doctor is the kind of doctor who doesn’t even look at you he did NOT even touch my back and when he told me its because of depression I was crying yes because I was very mad that he wouldent even touch my back, ANYWAYS … ranting I know but i need to tell the entire story. So my family doctor prescribed backlofen 10 mgs ” muscle relaxants” . I’ve been giving them a try and i still feel the same pain. So two days ago I went against both my suboxone doctor and family doctor and decided to take only 4 mgs instead of 6 mgs and the morning after my pain has reduced by 20 percent, I feel as if the entire time I may be right that its because of suboxone that is creating this, I still have back pain but it has reduced , I read online that it is better to talk to your pharmacist the one who dispense the meds because he has more knowledge on meds then doctors. I talk to my pharmacist today and he told me he would research it and give me an answer . Now I am waiting for his answer, I know no one on this thread has the same “side effect” as me, but if the pharmacist tells me it is not due to suboxone then I need somoene to tell me if they ever felt the same back pain as me and what they thought was the problem and if suboxone was the cause and if they felt better after stoping suboxone. All I know is everyone is different and experiences medication differently, Please I need some sort of answer or hope on here. If reducing suboxone made my back feel a bit better and if a bunch of people post the same pain as i have on different websites there must be some relation especially if they all feel the same and are all on suboxone. Thanks for reading and please reply, no judging I just need answers. Thanks. Sincerely Melissa

    • freudian55 says:

      I am not judging you– unless you think that not agreeing with you is ‘judging’ you.
      There is no connection between Suboxone (actually buprenorphine– the naloxone is irrelevant) and back (or any other) pain, or depression or anxiety, for that matter. None. There is no ‘mild side effect’ of back or any other pain from buprenorphine. None.

      Realize that there is such a thing as research—- using medline or Ovid to search using keywords in the peer-reviewed literature. Reading online forums is not research. I run a forum– suboxforum.com — so I like forums…. but for support for addiction, not for comparing symptoms and guessing what is associated with what. That is not research, and it is very misleading to the person doing it– and to people reading it, who also don’t understand how true research is done. For example, to study a connection between buprenorphine and back pain, you would have to take a sample of buprenorphine patients, measure the incidence of back pain, and then take a matched group (same ages, weight, exercise status, etc) who are not on buprenorphine, and see if they have back pain. The problem, though, is that people who end up on Suboxone are going to have a higher incidence of back pain for OTHER reasons; some people TAKE buprenorphine for back pain itself; some people got addicted to pain pills because of… back pain; and addicts tend to have more physical problems in general– and tend to focus on physical discomfort more than non-addicts, who learn to deal with pain without medication.

      The FDA collects information about unexpected side effects and med reactions. The side effects are risks are extremely low for buprenorphine. Remember that buprenorphine has been in use for over 30 years; it has a very extensive record of safety. People sometimes write, on message boards, ‘it will hurt your liver’… yet there are NO cases of even mild liver damage from buprenorphine used properly. none– ever. There are several cases of elevated liver enzymes in people who injected buprenorphine, who were also injecting other drugs and who all had hepatitis C– so it is unclear if buprenorphine had any role in those few cases.

      You didn’t mention why you are taking buprenorphine— but whatever the reason, it is likely relevant to the issue. Of course, I see people every day who DON’T take buprenorphine, who complain of back pain, fatigue, depression, etc. There is no reason to suspect buprenorphine as a cause.

      The part of the back you describe– between the shoulder blades and spine– contains several small muscles, including the rhomboid muscle. These muscles are not strong, but they have to brace the shoulder girdle when people lift things in front, or do push-ups or bench press. They are very easily injured, and very painful when injured– for 8-12 weeks. They often cause sharp pain with breathing. Treatment is physical therapy, and non-weight-bearing exercise– slow stretching, etc. Realize that back pain is VERY common; one of the most common work-related injuries, if not the most common— and in most cases, the cause is never entirely clear. There are so many muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, and other tissues, moving in complicated relationships with each other, that one rarely finds one thing to be the cause. Your best bet would be to find a doctor in P, M, and R— physical medicine and rehab— and let them guide your rehab. But of the 800 patients I’ve treated with buprenorphine over the past 10 years, none have developed pain from taking buprenorphine.

  40. matt says:

    Suboxone for life is the worst idea i have ever heard!! Ok….yes it has helped me tremendously in short term use to get over the physical withdrawl of opiate, however suboxone is a drug and just like any other addictive drugs comes consequences. I will say that suboxone did not get me high quite like oxy, or dilaudid, but it did get me well or fixed from not being “sick”. And dependence on any narcotic or substance is masking the real problem of addiction. Well doctors can prove that the re-wiring of the brain through years of drug abuse may be accurate, trading one addiction for another is never going to solve the real problem!!

    • freudian55 says:

      It is a nice fantasy to think that we can just cure addiction by talking with people… but decades of work with addicts has made it very clear that non-medicated treatment is simply ineffective. Sure, out of the 100 people who go off for a couple months of treatment a cost of $30,000 or more, maybe 5 or 6 will stay clean for a year. But a 95% failure rate is just not acceptable for opioid dependence, now that it kills more people than motor vehicle accidents.

      The ‘drug for a drug’ comment shows a complete lack of understanding for how partial agonists treat addiction. I used to hear that comment more often, but it was starting to seem like we were making progress at educating people.

  41. Julie Parenti says:

    Where I live Suboxen is only allowed for 1 year @ the nearest town 1 & half hours each way to the Suboxen Dr. I have begun my tapper & I’ve been here before… I wish I knew how to stay on Suboxen. I will be dead in a few days. So far the best help I can find is a rope in the garage.

    • kelly says:

      wow where i live you can stay on it as long as possible just like methadone thats what im on alot of my friends been on suboxen but they say they can still get high on it and some people say it dont work for them so im scared to try it, i live in charleston wva where do you live? here you stay on it how ever long it takes but you can do it taper off go down slow i dont know if this helped you at all but God bless you sweetie i hope it all works out. maybe you can go to a different dr. and get some suboxen when this one runs out.

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