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Unread 12-13-2015, 12:48 AM   #1
Shalalagirl
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Posts: 34
Default Daily withdrawal symptoms after taper 3 months, is it possible?

Need some advice:
I have been on Suboxone films for approximately 6 years, started at 24mg daily, tapered down about 4mg at a time, now I have been on 4mg (half 8mg film) daily for about 3 months.
I don't know the exact date, but my symptoms started before my last taper. I am wondering if these symptoms could be some type of "chronic" withdrawal or symptoms of not taking enough or needing a higher dosage. ?? The symptoms are feeling awful in the morning when I wake up for 1 to 3 hours - nausea, anxiety, I'm very slow moving, can't sit still, like akathesia, depressed, and I have between 1 to 3 bowel movements within about 45 minutes time, like my body is forcing me, not like normal ( not diarrhea). i cannot function at all until I had my dosage, then after I take my Suboxone, I start to gradually feel better, but not completely. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, I could barely do what I absolutely had to do. I felt like I had to push myself just to do even the most basic of tasks. I was traveling a lot for my job, and couldn't take the time to see my regular doctor, it was hard enough to get to my monthly appointments with my doc who prescribes the sub, who is a psychiatrist.

Up until about a week ago, I thought it was maybe low blood sugar, or depression, or stress, and it went on for so long, that I just got accustomed to it, didn't think about it having anything to do with my sub treatment, I had a very demanding job, and wasn't taking care of myself, like eating or sleeping properly. Sometimes I would feel so bad in the morning that my husband would have to help me get dressed, I was moving so slowly and feeling so terrible. I was so busy and stressed that I did not take the time to go to figure out what was going on.
Also, the longer I slept, the worse my symptoms would be. If I slept for 5 or less hours, the symptoms were very slight. This is another resonance why I thought it was low blood sugar. The amount of time sleeping had a huge impact on how I felt when I woke up, and how long it would take me to recover.

The job I was working on for over 2 years ended, and the past week or so I've been able to relax a bit, take care of myself, and listen to my body. I had blood work done, all is fine, and I purchased a blood glucose monitor, and I definitely do not have low blood sugar, not even in the mornings, which I was sure was the problem - I would eat soon after taking my sub, and thought that the food was what was helping me with my symptoms, but have since proved that wrong.
So, I thought about the suboxone, and started taking 6mg a day vs 4mg, and I feel totally fine now, after about a week of doing so. My doc is on vacation, but I have an appointment with him soon, and will talk to him about it. I told him about my sleeping problems and feeling like I had low blood sugar at my last appointment, that's why he ordered bloodwork, but at the time, did not talk about possibility of sub withdrawal because I really didn't think that was the problem.
I had a really hard time when I tapered from 8mg down to 4mg, so much that my doc prescribed 6mg daily which was "in between" a half and full film per day.
I started thinking about things I've read and what I've heard that a person can't or shouldn't have withdrawal symptoms until about 3 days after discontinuing suboxone, due to the long half life...... but I would think that if someone wasn't on a high enough dosage, that they would have symptoms, like if they weren't inducted properly at a high enough dosage. But, I have been on this dosage for 3 months, and my symptoms started before this taper...???

I wonder why my body hasn't gotten accustomed after this long, unless, maybe I tapered to quickly on the previous dosage??? After all, I was having a tough time tapering between 8 and 4 mg previously, but according to what I've read about the science and pharmacology, this shouldn't happen???
All I know is how I feel. There is no mistaking it, I feel like a new person, I've been feeling awful for over a half a year, and taking just 2 more MG per day has changed me so drastically. It kind of scares me that a drug can make or break how I function. I have more energy, a totally better outlook, don't feel depressed hardly at all.

I am wondering if there's any facts about suboxone withdrawal that would account for my situation. I've read that people think they're having withdrawal, but others have replied that it's not possible unless you've not taken any for about 3 days. And, if a person was not taking a high enough dosage, wouldn't their body get accustomed to the lower dosage after a while?

Advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
I feel like I'm going backwards by having to take an increased dosage, rather than tapering down. But, in the past, I think I've been a little too eager to taper, due mainly to the stigma of being on this drug at all, and due to having been on sub for so long. My doctor is really good about tapering slowly, because he knows that my body was tolerant to opiates for such a long time, due to lots of surgeries and pain meds. I'm sure he will understand when I ask him to up my dosage, I just wish I did not have to, as I said before it's scary to be so dependant on a drug to be able to function like a normal human being in life.

Last edited by Shalalagirl; 12-13-2015 at 01:14 AM.. Reason: Added info. Added symptom.
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Unread 12-13-2015, 04:48 AM   #2
NancyB
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Hi Shalalagirl, it could be that your body never got accustomed to the drop to 4mg and 6mg is where you should be. Please try not to think about the amount you're taking. You should go by how you feel. There are a lot of variables with the medication that make it so different for everyone. Absorption rate is a huge one. 8mg to one person could be like 2mg to another person because everyone absorbs the medication differently. Not sure if you've seen the tips that have helped people get better absorption:

• Tips for taking Suboxone.
-No caffeine or nicotine for at least 30 minutes before taking your Suboxone – both may constrict the blood vessels that the medication is absorbed through.
-Right before taking it, rinse your mouth out with as warm water as possible – this may dilate the blood vessels for better absorption.

Because of the long halflife, it can take 2 to three days to feel a reduction. But then again, there are variables with that too - the amount that is actually absorbed and the patient's brain chemistry.

You mentioned that since increasing 2mg it helped with the depression. Are you taking any anti-depressants? I wonder if part of the equation is that bupe is also working as an anti-depressant for you; and if you're not taking an A-D, would adding something like Wellbutrin (a dopaminergic rather than SSRI/SSNRI) would possibly help you to lower your dose.

It will be interesting to see what your doctor says.

Nancy
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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Unread 12-17-2015, 01:14 AM   #3
Shalalagirl
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Posts: 34
Default Thanks, will post after I see doc today

Thank you..... What you said makes sense to me, and I am going to talk to my doctor about the antidepressant. Also, since my original post, I feel even better, like I've really evened out. I've noticed that I'm not having chills then sweating, I'm not gritting my teeth, my appetite is better, I'm not craving sweets, and mostly I can't believe how calm I feel.

Another thing I did not mention previously is that I think I was splitting up my daily dosage too much.... I've never been able to take the whole dose once a day, I've always split it up, I would take one fourth in the a.m., then when I would start feeling bad, take another fourth, etc. I know that's the wrong way to do it, but it was a habit. So now, I've been taking half in morning, half at night, (of the increased dosage of 6 mg), and it's much better.

I will post again after seeing my doctor today. Thanks again for your reply!
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Unread 12-17-2015, 05:37 AM   #4
NancyB
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Hi Shalalagirl, I think you're onto something with changing the way you take your medication. I love that you made it morning and evening so you weren't conscious of how you were feeling all day. Good job!

It's so nice to hear that you're feeling so much better! I'll look for your post after your appointment.

Nancy
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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Unread 10-19-2016, 05:54 PM   #5
Shalalagirl
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Posts: 34
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Sorry it took me so long to post the outcome. My doctor did increase my dosage, and noe, i am back up to 8 mg per day, when i had weaned down to 4 mg a day. I feel awful that i could not stay at the lower dose, but i have to be able to function.
When i first wrote the above post sbout my symptoms, i also seen the therapist at my doctors office. She did not believe that my symptoms were due to the taper, but all i know is that when i took more, my symptoms disappeared, immediately.
I truly believe that a person can have withdrawal for a long period of time after reducing dose, but the therapist does not believe that is medically possible. She thought i was just "craving" more due to my stresses in life. She said she knows a lot about suboxone, and has had experience with many patients. But i do not crave it, i had physical and mental symptoms.
So i will go from here, and taper down soon, andi will pay more attention to how i feel, and make sure i am doing everything right for proper absorption. Thank you.

Oh, i forgot to add, when i talked to the therapist, she said that i had to be willing to feel bad for a while after tapering. I told her that i agree, but for how long? A couple of weeks of feeling bad is okay, but when its so bad that i can barely function, cant work, i dont think that is right. She thought i just wanted to avoid some discomfort, but this was much more than that, i could not function.

Last edited by Shalalagirl; 10-19-2016 at 06:00 PM..
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Unread 10-20-2016, 06:24 AM   #6
NancyB
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Hi Shalalagirl, it's likely that your body just wasn't ready to be at 4mg. Don't feel awful about it, it's better that you feel good and can function than be at some 'number' that isn't comfortable for you. It will come with time. When you feel ready and strong enough to taper again is when you try. And go slower. You could alternate taking 8mg one day and 6mg the next, which would average 7mg. But only when YOU are ready.

Thanks for the update!

Nancy
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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