Warren began experimenting with drugs during high school. He tried a little bit of everything, but opioids became his drug-of-choice. During college, his active pill addiction turned into a heroin habit.
Prescribed Suboxone® for Curbing Addiction
Now older, Warren met a girl and wanted to start a life with her. A life without drugs. He went to a treatment program and was prescribed Suboxone® which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. His starting dose of 8mg three times a day was not unusual.
Suboxone® and a Recovery Lifestyle
Warren also adopted a recovery lifestyle including 12-step meetings, a sponsor, and refraining from alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. He even began meditating daily.
His work paid off and he married the girl and had a daughter. After eight years on Suboxone® and with their second child on the way, Warren was ready to be off all medication.
The physician at his treatment center did not support his goal of being off all medication. Warren was told that his addiction was a life-long affliction, and he should plan to take Suboxone® for the rest of his life, too.
Trading One Drug for Another
Warren was nervous about not having his doctors’ support to stop this medication and was even worried that, if his doctor found out how determined he was to stop using Suboxone®, he would be asked to leave the program before he was ready. But he pushed forward and began to do some research about stopping it himself. Warren reduced his 24mg daily dosage down to 8mg per day without any painful side effects.
Self-Detoxing Off Suboxone®
Then, Warren was able to get his daily consumption of Suboxone® down to 3mg daily. This is when the side effects started and he found himself in a perpetual state of withdrawal.
This scenario is one of the most common we see at Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine. Buprenorphine, the component of Suboxone® that occupies the opioid receptor, is a tough and resilient compound. That’s why it is a powerful part of many people’s successful opioid use disorder detox…but it’s also why it is so difficult to stop taking it Suboxone®.
The Coleman Method
To end reliance on Suboxone®, you need to remove the buprenorphine from the opioid receptors gradually, over about a week. When the buprenorphine is removed from the receptors, you can then begin using naltrexone, which is a pure opioid blocker. We specialize in the long-acting naltrexone implant, which is placed under the skin in the abdominal area.
The implant lasts approximately two months and slowly dissolves, completely populating the opioid receptors and alleviating cravings for the drug.
Free From Suboxone®
Warren’s detox wasn’t easy. Even with our comfort medication, booting the buprenorphine off the receptors caused some withdrawal symptoms. But Warren was determined to be free from this medication that, while providing an escape from all the complications of being addicted to heroin, ultimately ensnared him in another cage.
If you or a loved one is ready to embrace a life free from opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or tramadol (or even kratom or loperamide), please request a callback today.
Joan Shepherd, FNP