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benn11 02-23-2012 10:51 PM

Questions after reading alarming info on longterm sub use
Recently I was told at an NA meeting that suboxone is not only the hardest opioid to get off of, but that long term use damages your brain permanitely for life. I went online and did a lot of research and read posts from both sides. But some people really hate this medicine and said that your endogenous opioids will never work again, and that after a couple of years of being on it, it stops working properly due to a tolerance. I am very scared because last month my doctor told me that I may be on this drug for life, (and gave me reasons why, but ultimately my choice) and I didnt think much of it. It has helped me not only stay clean but with my depression and pain as well. Now I am so worried that these symptoms will start happening. And because its such a new drug its hard to find stories of anyone that has been on it for life or longer than 3-5 years. I read that withdrawal can last up to a full year or more, and thats for physical symptoms. I have anxiety issues and recognize I need to talk to my doctor before letting one person from NA and internet posts scare me off of this medicine, because I dont feel ready to get off it at all. Im sorry if this post seems a little melodramatic, but I am extremely concerned. Does anyone know if any of that is true? Or any advice?

nan 02-23-2012 11:11 PM

So sorry benn11 that the "urban legends" are worrying you. Right now I cannot link the things you need to read, but please, relax because the facts are known and none of the garbage that you heard at NA is true! Don't be scared! There are people who have been on this medication for longer than 3-5 years, folks on this site are examples and they are just fine! It is not a new drug. No, w/d do not last up to a full year or more, etc. I know how anxiety levels can go up when we hear misinformation. That is why NancyB and Tim provide detailed medical/scientific information that lets people know the facts.

You are not being melodramatic, it is natural to worry when one hears such things. That is why I wanted to pop on here quickly to reassure you. It is great that it is working for your depression and pain. You will not build up a tolerance for it so it will stop working. Suboxone does not work that way.

I am not so great at posting the links that you need, but they will get on here so you can read actual facts, research, and medical information so you will be educated and not have to be worried about all the "rumors and misinformation" that has scared you.

Don't be scared, be thankful you have found a medication that is helping you.


amber.4.14.11 02-23-2012 11:52 PM

I heard some one say the same thing "long term effects are unknown" and i brought it up at my last doctor appt.
The dr. said that theyve been perscribing buprenorphine as a Pain Control method since the 1980s.
and thats just in the U.S.
apparently, in Europe and other countries, its been around even longer!
I dont have any links either, but I'll look around, and see if I can come up with any.

See? YOU werent the ONLY one worried!!!!!!

Cally 02-24-2012 12:19 AM


Originally Posted by benn11 (Post 412361)

Recently I was told at an NA meeting that suboxone is not only the hardest opioid to get off of, but that long term use damages your brain permanitely for life…

But some people really hate this medicine and said that your endogenous opioids will never work again, and that after a couple of years of being on it, it stops working properly due to a tolerance…

The information you were given is FALSE! You are not being melodramatic, anyone would be concerned and scared senseless after being told this pile of garbage.


Originally Posted by benn11 (Post 412361)
And because its such a new drug

It isn’t “such a new drug”. Suboxone has been on the market for 41 years!

Buprenorphine was first developed in 1969 as a pain reliever (analgesic). Buprenorphine was studied for over 30 years before it was approved for the treatment for addiction. Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®) was approved for the treatment of addiction by the FDA in 2002.

Not so smart people want to spread the urban legend that we are guinea pigs for this “new drug” because they think it came on the market in 2002.

In 2010 over two (2) million people were prescribed suboxone in the United States. I don’t know the number of people in 2011. The number of people prescribed outside the United States totals millions.

No drug is 100% safe. Suboxone has shown to be an extremely safe drug. The most serious, known side effect is constipation.

There is NO documented evidence of what you have described only urban legend horror story’s. If Suboxone had the effects that you have been told, Suboxone would have been taken off the market years ago.

I will always be grateful that the medication gave me my life back. I know I would be dead today without it. There is no reason for you to be concerned about the medication. Relax, take it easy and enjoy the rest of your life!

benn11 02-24-2012 12:56 AM

Thank you everyone for all of your support and CORRECT information. I guess everyone is wired differently, and if it didnt work for someone at NA thats too bad, but I dont feel he had to try to make me promise him I would get off of it. Also one of the links i was taken to was from a website called www.******.com, and they really seemed to hate it over there. A doctor posted something sticking up for suboxone/subutex, and they really laid into him and called him a 'shister'. So whatever. Suboxone has helped me tremendously, possibly even saved my life, and so Im going to stay on it and enjoy my life :)

Cally 02-24-2012 01:31 AM

You go benn11! Use your intelligence.

You should print out the CORRECT information and pass it out to your NA group. Educate everyone so they make good decisions.

BTW, my doctor also told me I may have to take Suboxone for the rest of my life. It didn’t happen, I stopped taking it at 2mgs and I had no discomfort at all, at any time! “Hardest opiate to get off” is complete B.S.

Don’t let that statement “rest of your life” concern you, it means you have a good doctor. It means He/She will not force you to stop treatment, stopping will be your decision. It also means that a very few people will have to take it for the rest of their lives. Why would anyone want to stop taking a life saving medication?

NancyB 02-24-2012 08:07 AM

Hi benn11, have you read through the people who have tapered off thread?

Here are a few 2+ years or more taper experiences:

Mike - tapered off of Suboxone after 3 years:

Sub-Zero - tapered off after 7 years:

jenm - tapered off after 2.5 years:

Henrys354 - tapered off after a little more than two years:

The biggest misconception is what addiction actually is. Addiction is uncontrollable, compulsive behavior despite negative consequences. Not taking a medication as prescribed. This explains it further:

This is a good explanation of addiction by one of the leading addiction scientists:

More links:
"the facts about BUPRENORPHINE"

NIDA "The Science of Addiction"

As was mentioned previously, the medication buprenorphine has been around for over 4 decades. As for it not being studied, this link is to the buprenorphine bibliography:

"This bibliography was last updated on 21 December 2011 and contains details of 11424 publications, most with an abstract.
The topics cover preclinical safety and efficacy, including the use of buprenorphine in analgesia, opioid dependence and veterinary medicine."

NA is notorious for shaming people who take any medications into thinking that they are not in recovery.

This is quote from the NA publication "NA Groups and Medication"

"As outlined in In Times of Illness, the choice to take prescribed medication is a personal decision between a member, his or her sponsor, physician, and a higher power. It is a decision many members struggle through. It is not an issue for groups to enforce."

If going to NA is causing you too much anxiety, think about looking into alternative groups. Even AA can be more forgiving when it comes to medication.

Other support groups:

Dual Recovery Anonymous or 913-991-2702

LifeRing or 800-811-4142

Rational Recovery or 530-621-4374

Secular Organizations for Sobriety or 323-666-4295

SMART Recovery or 866-951-5357

I hope this is helpful.


theswan 02-24-2012 09:28 AM

Glad you got the real "dope" there are elements out there that benefit from other modalities from abstainence to methadone.

Suboxone is a breakthrough and folks are afraid of change. There is a hardcore school in both AA/NA who have a black and white mindset (or so they believe) that total non use is they only way. They yearn for a "pure" sobriety and pure "program" when their very bickering over "outside" issues goes against the traditions (AA/NA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA/NA name ought never be brought into public controversy)

This is not to say we boast about sub use, or antidepressant use or whatever-We have no reason to "lead with the chin" just to spark debate-that is as bad as those who spout off "pure" AA/NA. Keep it to yourself unless it may help another who suffers. Remember someone else's opinion of you is no business of your's!

By the way, I tapered with no WD to speak of

God bless


MicheleJ 03-03-2012 02:33 PM

I am not an AA or NA person. I read a really, really good analogy on this site a few years ago, that summed up everything, but I can't find it now.
Basically, all of the thinking, and working steps and higher powers in the world are not going to ever stop the PHYSICAL elements of addiction, and drug seeking, etc. but, IMO, many people are brainwashed to believe that they will, that if they do their "work" that the physical and mental cravings will go away. Not going to happen. Not for me, anyway. IMO, if people want to do the "steps", fine. It won't hurt. There are even some useful things that I've learned from the AA recovery program. But, I'd rather remain in addiction remission without any relapse, and live a normal life not always thinking about how much of an "addict" I am, and will ALWAYS be, and how at any moment my life could be over because I didn't work hard enough on "my program", or ask my "higher power" to help me get through a PHYSICAL craving. No thank you.
I have been on Suboxone for almost three years, and my life has never been better. I have never had an issue, have never "relapsed", and my life is absolutely normal. I see it as being no different than when I take my hormone medicine each morning that I take to fight off hot flashes from early menopause. No one knows I am on either medication.
The people at NA are the worst for scaring people, and often do not think for themselves, they just listen to what they are told. If more people were on Suboxine, they wouldn't even have a need to go to NA, and they could be living normal lives in addiction remission. This is all just my opinion, of course, due to my experiences with the AA program and with Suboxone.

Kia25 03-17-2012 08:37 PM

There certainly is a ton of great links on here.
I will go through them. I have no clue how long I'll be on Suboxone, I've never spoken about it either with my Dr. And yes, everyone is different. 1 yr might work for one while 3 or 5 might work for another.
What I have learned is not to dwell on when I'm stopping but work on my recovery while I'm on it. !!!
BTW is there a group, like NA that are for Suboxone patients? Like this forum, but in real
life, THAT would be awesome. That's what I love about this forum though. Its my support group online ! I look forward everyday to coming here and getting support and also giving it when I can.

TIM 04-10-2012 01:44 PM

Hi Kia25,
There are some groups around that offer live support and understand modern addiction treatments. Look for groups that describe themselves as "Medication Assisted Treatment" or MAT groups, or groups with "evidence-based" in their name. You'll have to look around to see what's available in your area, but they do exist. Sometimes AA groups have people in them that understand evidence-based treatment and are medication friendly, it all depends on the people more so than the type of group. In general people find AA more accepting and helpful than NA when it comes to today's addiction treatment support. But there are other groups than 12 step available. Hope that helps.

Dan458 03-04-2014 10:50 PM

I was sober from the age of 31 to 48. I stayed sober with the help of a 28 day program followed by a year and a half in a vocational rehab dormitory. During those seventeen years, I was able to abstain from all mood altering drugs, alcohol, I quit smoking on Oct 20th, 1989, and I beat hep c. I worked the first three steps of AA. I was never able to tell someone each and everything that has bothered me during my life. I relapsed on pain meds but I still haven't had a drink or a cigarette since Jan 7th 1988 and Oct 20th, 1989. I am still virus free from hep c. The time I spent at the meetings was time I wasn't doing something less productive. I have no doubt that AA helped me.

It never ceases to amaze me that we go out, make a shambles of our lives, and then we are surprised and chagrined that there isn't a program that doesn't fit our definition of our needs to an exact personal specification.

MattC42286 04-02-2014 08:46 AM

hi dan458. I think everyone deserves a drink or to relax everynow and then just because of the strain and pressure of life. Dnt beat yourself up over that. At leadt you dont smoke. Matt

Sam Bailey 04-03-2014 06:18 PM

Hey Matt,

You wrote,

"I think everyone deserves a drink or to relax every now and then just because of the strain and pressure of life."
I may well be nit-picking here Matt, re: your post, and if so, apologies all around.

However, while I certainly agree that everyone deserves to "relax" every now and then, I strongly disagree with the notion that everyone deserves a "drink," now 'n then or not.

For some people, that "harmless drink" is a death sentence, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Truth is, Matt, some folks simply cannot drink. Not liquor, not wine, not even a small glass of lite beer on a hot afternoon.

To some of us, "drink" is poison.

Again,, not intending to make too-bigga-deal out of your suggestion, cause, really?, you were being a decent person, I think. And thanx for that!

But still. Just saying.....



deanna 04-24-2014 08:47 AM

I agree with Sam, having had a brother die from alcoholism at age 42. He was sober for over 4 years, picked up ONE drink, and two years later died of liver failure. Alcohol is the same as any other drug, if you are an addict, you cant have ONE of anything. Ever.
I reread Dans post a few times, and actually he doesn't say he took a drink, so for that I say congratulations!!
Everyone has pressures, and strains in life. The purpose of addiction remission is to learn coping skills where you dont need a mood altering substance to deal with the pressure.
take care. Deanna

julie48 04-24-2014 10:32 AM

Hey Matt!! We do all deserve to relax!! How about relaxing in the sun with a big glass of ICETEA!! (no not Long Island ;) ) lol!! I never had a "drinking problem", I had a thinking problem and for me drinking was a gateway to use cocaine. After a little buzz on alcohol it was off to the races for me, and off to the dope man. I have been free of cocaine for almost 14 years, but if I was to have a few alcoholic beverages it would open the flood gates for me. So in other words, there are several reasons why one need NOT drink, this is mine. Peace to you my friend!! :rolleyes:

MattC42286 04-29-2014 01:49 AM

Hi benn11. Reading your post had me worried until i scrolled down and read the rest. So far this has been the best thing thats happened to me in my life besides family
And jesus. So to hear it does that was kind of mind boggling. Well talk to u later. Matt!

MattC42286 05-27-2014 04:04 AM

Hi deanna that was a nice piece of input. You have to be ready in yout own mind to change. If that change isnt present then there is ntn anyone or anywho can do its all on you!

Carlos 03-12-2015 11:54 PM

We live in a society that according to Carl Sagan is 90% science illiterate. Each every one of those claims made by your 12 Step buddies has no scientific foundation. I learn a long time ago that most claims (not all of them obviously, once in a while they guess it right) made by NA members are based on wishful thinking or outright guessing.

Unfortunately, mental health clinicians don't bear any better, a survey by Butler and three of his graduate student found that only about 28% of clinicians ever read any science and I suspect probably since they left college. Thats alarming to me because that means that substantial majority of mental health clinicians ARE also science illiterate. That is a profession who pays lots of lipsservice about science but are basically practicing pseudoscience. Give that substance use treatment is dominated (92.1% in Florida much larger nationwide according to SAMHSA survey is dominated by the 12 Step program). I can assure you whether you want to believe is religious or spiritual, non of it has anything to do with medical science.

I would say that reading different post in message boards could be a gracious waste of your good time because most of what you going to get are personal opinions usually having nothing to do with medical or otherwise any science at all. You wouldn't take an antibiotic or allowed any medical procedures on you unless you would be somewhat sure that has been rigorouslying tested, but you are worried about some quacky nonsense opinions from someone who knows zilch about science.

I suggest that if you which to be stop being bamboozled by people's personal quackery that we start learning more about science and it's procedure. You don't have to become a mathematical brain, all you need to learn is about science processes and perhaps a little history about how it came aabout. You learning experience is not ggoing to happen overnight, but if you don't you are going to continued to be confused by people who are merely full of rubbish you just don't know it.

I can assure you that even with it's limitation, science is the best tool we have against human errors.

GirlGettingOffSubs 03-13-2015 05:40 AM

Hey I know I am probably missing your entire point here, but I will tell you I definitely enjoy science. I have recently been watching some documentaries on drugs, and I had no idea where a lot of them actually came from, as in the times in the years past when I went to raves and rolled and loved everyone, I was destroying rain forests in Asia because they needed sassafras oil? WHAT? That's not cool! I could go on and on.
I never thought that far in depth when I was out there only thought, hey, I am only hurting myself, well I was doing crazy damage to the universe because of awful awful things people did to make, transport, ship, whatever the substance. Ugh.
Anyhow my best friends daughter is turning 8 this weekend and wants to be a scientist, she asked for and is getting a telescope and microscope, so thats awesome.
I don't know how to address some of your other concerns, I am a registered nurse, and I wil be the first to agree the healthcare system is broken terribly. Do I have the answer? No. I do know that there is something to be said about people being there for each other in recovery, sometimes people talking about their experiences is helpful. I have been to AA/NA meetings when people said "you need to" or "this is what you are doing wrong" or something of the like, and I just tuned out. No one likes to be told what to do. This is a majorly complicated disease, and needs to be handled from a number of different angles. Not all of them are perfect which is why it may seem like not much progress has been made to some people.

At least we are no longer performing lobotomies with no idea what wouid happen, or chaining people to walls, soaking them in ice baths, etc to cure mental illness. Who knows what the future holds? Science may seem to be the future, but it can take a long time to put into practice. I would love a miracle cute but short of a brain transplant (joking) I will stick to the old fashioned ways that I know work for me. But maybe in the future, our children's children's children's children may know of a better way, a cure, or something in between. Who knows.

Anyhow, have a good day!
Oh, I think Carl Sagans numbers may be off, or his definition of "science literate" a little loose. Just my opinion.

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