Crumbing Suboxone Films

Yesterday, a busy day in my office seeing mostly Suboxone patients, I had seven patients mention that the Suboxone films were crumbly when they opened the foil package. I’ve had a patient tell me this last year, and I asked the Reckitt-Benckiser drug rep about it. She said the film should not be crumbling, and that my patients should return defective films to the pharmacy.

It’s odd that patients started mentioning this all on the same day. I wonder if the recent heat wave has anything to do with this crumbling. Maybe the 90-plus degree heat in our area has affected the films while they are being shipped. I don’t know if the drug company has done any testing on films – or tablets – to see what they do when heated.

Beginning when the Suboxone films were first introduced, I had some of my patients say that the films aren’t as strong as the tablets. Initially I wrote this off as resistance to change, but some of these patients were stable and active in counseling. Then I’ve had so many people write comments on this blog, saying the film is weaker. Now there’s this problem with crumbling. I’m not entirely comfortable with prescribing the film, and plan to talk to the drug company to see what they have to say about crumbling films.

I’ll keep you updated.

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55 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I have had first-hand experience with this. When I got a prescription at one pharmacy ALL of them were like this. I never went back to that pharmacy again. Never had another crumbly one. The date on them was the same as the other, so it isn’t an age issue.. though could have been a ‘batch’ problem. I have seen others complain online.

    That pharmacy DID do something different that the other one — they put them in a large bottle. This causes them to bend slightly, putting pressure on them that may cause this sort of crackling. The crackling is actually them STICKING to the sides of the packaging, and when removed they easily tear due to the ADHESION.

    So, pressure on package from putting in large pill bottle (or other pressure) as the cause? My theory ..

    Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 12:21 am

      You can TEST my theory by simply SLIGHTLY BENDING one of them in a large size pill bottle, maybe adding a little extra pressure as if it had 30 more on top of it. If you think about how this would affect the contents, it would cause it to stretch – likely exposing some of the inner layers to the packaging and resulting in adhesion. Then open it, it will seem a little stuck — when you try to pull it out, it will RIP EASILY, very easily. That is what they see as crackling.

      Reply

    • I currently take the suboxone film medication and have it is much weaker then the pill form. I honestly believe that the the company wants to capitalize off of the market with there two bit scheme to remake a medication that worked and have the users spend more money because we the consumer have to take more to get the effect of the crappy chemical that no longer does the job. Just saying. Open to any doctor challenge me. I know this first hand as a user of Suboxone.

      Reply

  2. Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Pretty sure I’m right on my theory BTW, though heat could cause this ADHESION too.. anything that would cause adhesion would be the problem.

    Side note: Oh, and other the weaker issue, I can say for SURE that these have WORSE bio-availability in *some* situations … what I was stupidly rambling about the other day (its me, different random alias ;p). When I switched, I had big problems with this… seriously. It was like I cut my dose in half. I didn’t want to sound like I was begging for more, so had to just live with it, as I was tapering anyway. They seem more susceptible to certain factors of what is going on in your mouth. I have researched the heck of out of this, and tried to remove subjective factors since it is hard to ‘know’ all the time. I have physical tests similar to the tail-flick tests in rats. Like I may have said, don’t ask ;p.

    Reply

    • I would have to disagree with your theory completely. Most of the time mine are flexible, meaning that after removing them from the foil packaging I can even take it fold it directly in half and then procede to unfold it again without the film cracking even the slightest bit. Now I have gotten the crackly ones before from walgreens and I notice when I do them that they also appear to have some discoloration in them like little white spots. I believe the white areas are signs of ‘drying’ which is what causes the cracking. I’m pretty certain the loss moisture is not of concern because I don’t really the dry films as not being effective the same as the normal ones. It is probably some sort preservative (not the actual med) that is drying.

      Reply

  3. Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Lastly, I’ve also wondered what affect the adhesion has on their bioavailability .. is any bupe left sticking to the packaging? Hard to say … the packaging still smells strong. I’ve meant to get a bowel of alcohol and float the torn open packaging on top of it. Let it evaporate to a low level, then dilute with water. Let that evaporate, then use a baby oral syringe to suck it up. Then try this liquid sublinqual solution days after last dose to see if this is true.. probably just the addict in me on this one .. but I will test this one day. Of course, any left in the packing would probably go through reduction in a short amount of time, so it would have to be fresh and/or take a lot of packages.

    Reply

  4. I do not agree with either theory on the crumbling: heat causes it to stick to the wrapper thereby making it split when opened or the packaging of the film in bottles causing them to bend and break. I live in Mississippi and it is constantly hot and humid here, usually around 100 degrees most days from June thru August. I have never had a problem with crumbling even though sometimes I store my film in a room without air conditioning. I also sometimes put a few films in my wallet, even bending them in half, and working outside with my wallet in my pocket in the extreme temperatures and weight from my body when I sit on them, and have never had a crumbling problem. I would venture to guess it was a “bad batch” from the manufacturer.

    Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      Interesting. These were just theories, so it is nice to hear this. I certainly didn’t want to intentionally try to make one of mine crumble! This causes me to rethink things, and realize I may have been a bit crazy with my worries about bending them. It was strange that ONE pharmacy they were ALL like that, so I am going to AGREE with YOU that it must be a BATCH/manufacturing problem. THANK YOU!

      Side note: I’m considering refrigerating them to prevent deterioration. However, it bothers me that it says to be stored at 25C (77F). Normally this would be due to the fear of condensation when removed from a refrigeration unit. However, in the case of these, I don’t see why they should not be refrigerated to lower the reaction speed of chemical reduction.

      Reply

    • Yes, you are right, it’s a manufacturing issue. The films are sealed air tight and rule of science is that you can’t have evaporation when it’s air tight. The only times that I have seen the cracking films, the films where also considerably dry and since they are air tight leads me to believe that the films are drying before being packaged at the facility that packages them. When they crack sometimes they have dry white areas, sometimes so dry that they become partially transparent. But like I said in the previous post, whatever it is that is drying, it’s not the medication that we need since I have never noticed the cracked ones of being any less effective. It is most likely a preservative.

      Reply

      • Posted by anita vaughn on December 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        i’ve just started the films this past week since the suboxone site says they’re stopping making the sub pills over the next few months. i’ve had a headache every day i’ve used these, the films, and i rarely have headaches. these are different. yesterday it started feeling like pins sticking in the left side of my head just beyond my forehead. i can rub it and have brushed my hair to make sure no hairs are crossed or something, it feels so odd. woke up this morning and it’s still there. as for the potency of the films i felt they were stronger than the pills from the 1st one i used, and am going to back off the 3/day to only 2/day today and see if that helps. when i filled mine they were 30 to a box now, so maybe they’re doing that, keeping them all conformed in a box, as a result of some of the problems i’ve read about here? i haven’t attempted to cut them yet, but if problems continue i will either be trying to do that, or call my dr this week since today is sunday.

      • Posted by Kelly on August 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

        I have to agree here, I’ve had several cracked ones with the white blotches, but they don’t seem to be any less effective to me, but I still don’t like the point my insurance is paying a fortune for this stuff & it’s inferior looking and makes you wonder if its going to work….

  5. As for the film being weaker than the pills, I am currently trying a test perscription of Subutex pills in place of the Suboxone film because my insurance, Medicare thru Humana, will not pay for them in Mississippi on an outpatient basis. I could not afford to keep paying the $450 (approx.) a month it was costing me for the film, so my doctor agreed to let me try the Subutex pills which still cost me about $210 a month for the 60 pills in generic form. I have only been taking the pills for the last 2 days, but honestly I can’t tell any difference so far in the pills vs. the film. I would like to hear further opinions on the Subutex vs. the Suboxone, but I may be intruding to ask for them here on your blog. If so, I apologize. I do enjoy your insight and the contributions from your patients and bloggers. Keep up the good work Doc!

    Reply

    • Thanks for writing in with your experience. I’ll try to talk to the drug company and see what they say.

      Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Two days is not long enough to notice any difference. In fact, believe it or not — once stabilized — if you stopped for 2 days completely the largest effect would be psychological. Many people stop and think: Wow, there are no WDs! Then 4 days later, they start feeling it hard core! No sleep. Restless legs. General terrible feeling. It’s all there. When I jumped off before at <2mg per day, it was 2 weeks before I got more than an hour of sleep here and there. That's the worst part, the rest is tolerable. Being 'tired' but not being able to sleep will drive a person insane though. Well, we all know that feeling ;).

      The good news is that once you finally make it off Suboxone, as I am aiming to do this year.. despite being on them for years now, and despite whatever anyone thinks, you will feel wonderful.

      It is nice to FEEL again. Imagine it… feeling. Touching. Having a libido. No more constipation. Your body returns to 'normal'. You may no longer be superman, but you'll be human, and you can truly appreciate *something* that you just can't connect with while on Suboxone. (IMHO)

      Reply

  6. Posted by Jason on August 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve had this problem with crumbling films, and it first happened when the temp here in Las Vegas changed from nice and cool to hot. It also seems that Walgreens’ films were crumbly and CVS’ always seemed fresher. I never noticed the films being weaker when the were crumbling, but I too think the pills were stronger than film.

    Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Funny you mention Walgreens — THAT was the ONE pharmacy where I had the problem.. Hmm.. maybe something with their shipping? I dunno

      Reply

  7. Posted by Jason on August 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    dbc192 Your last post about jumping off Sub was inspiring and something I needed to hear. I’ve been dreading the day of no Subs, and the “superman” comment hit home and made me laugh.. I hope to be able to do it..it’s been 2 years for me.

    Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Glad my rambling and ranting is useful to someone ;). Trust me, it is like a new world out there once you are off it. After years of being on it, I tapered down and got off, stayed clean for 6 months. It was so great… I screwed up on another drug, got scared, and slooowwwlly got back on Suboxone (huge mistake). Now I am married, have a business, and I’d not relapse again (I hope). The temptation is always there though, to try to increase performance, etc…

      The one thing that helped tremendously was that I did physical labor during the months after I’d come off it. I am a software engineer, so doing construction one summer was a big deviation. I believe exercise should be a part of any tapering process.. speaking of which, I need to get off my own butt and get to it!

      My biggest regret is now that I have my wife, she has gotten dependent on Suboxone. I didn’t force it on her, discouraged it as much as I could, but over a few years it happened… One of my biggest motivations is getting off it so I can make sure she doesn’t ruin her life. I would rather die than think that the remainder of her life, or my life, would be spent on Suboxone. The whole idea of ‘staying on it for the rest of your life’ is just not what anyone should do in my opinion.. no matter how long you’ve been on opiods. It may take a lot of time to get back to ‘normal, normal’.. but it doesn’t take THAT MUCH time to get back to feeling in touch with parts of yourself you long forgot about. No more numbness, no more dullness. No more … ugh ;). Life becomes beautiful again. You feel your spirit. There’s something intangible I can’t describe… Trust me. It IS great!

      Reply

    • Posted by dbc192 on August 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      BTW, when tapering — go lower than ANY DOCTOR would tell you need to — and do be prepared for a couple weeks of bad/no sleep, but just remember the beauty waiting for you at the end ;)

      Reply

      • Posted by Jason on August 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

        This is really the first time that I’ve even thought about going off. I was/am the patient that always ran out of my Subs early and asking for refills way too often..Luckily I have a very understaning Doctor that would tell me it was WAY better than abusing the vicodin. I never relapsed in the 2 years of Subs, but alwas ran out early until the last 2 months..My Doc put me on Zoloft which seemed to help almsost immediately. Now I just got an email from the pharmacy telling me my Sub is ready for pick up and I have 3 left! This is definitely a first for me. And today after reading your post, I started thinking maybe I caqn do this. I will also try the physical part you mentioned when I take that step..hopefully soon! Thank you!

  8. I’m definitely not ready to quit buprenorphin, I’ve only been on the program a few months, and it has been a life changer for me. I don’t even have the urge to do other opiates since I’ve been on the buprenorphin, and I have a 35 year history of addiction. It has definitely been “a miracle drug” for me. However, I do wonder why more doctors and patients aren’t inclined to the Subutex vs. Suboxone, since it is considerbly less expensive and just as effective, being it has the same amount of buprenorphin. My doctor certainly did not have a problem swapping me to the Subutex, and I’m grateful for that. Has anyone else here changed and was there any noticeable difference? I guess I haven’t tried to understand what the difference in the 2 are, except for the cost. Is the other ingredient in Suboxone helpful to some people, or is it just the buprenorphin that does the trick in curbing ones appetite for other opiates?

    Reply

    • Posted by Jason on August 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      I did try Subutex about a year ago and I felt it was a little better than Subs, but my Doctor wanted me back on the Subs for some reason. I thought it was due to him getting kick-backs from the drug reps, but as Dr.Jana has said in the past, that is not the case. I never injected anything, so I don’t know why my Doc won’t prescribe it any more.

      Reply

    • Posted by Edwin on March 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      The reason most doctors won’t switch people from Suboxone to Subutex is because you can inject and snort the stuff. Same reason Suboxone pills are more expensive than the film, because people snort and inject it.

      Reply

  9. Posted by sammy on September 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Ciao,good blog,
    Thankyou for yr thoughtfulness jana.
    Sorry long one,first time on subx discussion for years.

    Im swapping to subx film soon, is not at my chemist yet.
    Will return any crumbly batches-thanks for the heads up.

    Tests show film absorbs dose much better than tabs.

    But the 50% of pple on subx that divert it, i.v etc, will be complaining
    to their docts bigtime for obvious reasons-the film cant be diverted easily..

    Also why subutex is so restricted; some selfish people sell their sub
    for big profit to batcrazy junkies who inject them.shudder.

    I live in Australia and have been on subx tabs & totally off a smoking heroin addiction for approx 5 1/2 years.
    It saved my life Subx….lifes not easy but getting there.

    (n.b: Also i was totally clean for 2 years with n.a, pre-sub availability,but relapsed after mother died)
    I have concluded that my past extreme self medicating was instigated by severe trauma,ptsd & peer influence.Then habit took over….

    Ive managed with the help of just a few others to build some healthy fear,sanity & self respect into my thinking/actions at last.
    Mainly by not associating or living near any active heroin regions/addicts.

    (It costs me alot to live alone in a safe,very snobby,old school suburb but it has protected me.)
    I had to reclaim my space in a healthy environ,bigtime.

    For the first 3 years of subx,my next door neighbour here,was a federal policeman. (i know ,im luckily in live in oz-most good cops.)
    That was one reason i chose this cottage to live in.
    It was great motivation not to relapse.

    Back to subox:
    Time for me to come off it,
    I dont like the stigma of still been on a “drug replacement”.i dont have any physical illness or chronic pain-yet-im very lucky.
    -my blue retracted pupils betray me & my n.a acquaintances tend to treat us-subx maintenance people- differently.
    I have a social worker of late, thats guna help with reduction transition.
    She comes to my house for sessions which is great, as she works from a
    nasty front line health centre-shes a city angel.

    My Sideaffects frm Subx:
    I get bad dehydration/constipation.(ive tried everything,believe me!)
    cant travel freely (yes realise my probs are improving!)
    Mentally i get a sketchy speediness even on a 4mg dose-for some reasons subx
    feeds my hyperactive disposition.

    Am looking forward to trying the subx film to taper off.
    Cutting it up to taper will be easy-have seen a placebo sample film at my chemist.

    Although when i searched google,for info on “subxone film reduction cutting”,
    i was horrified to see all the first up links were for diversion.

    The Reckitt & Benckiser brand 2mg subx.tablets we have in oz just crumble,
    when i or anyone try to cut them in half or smaller.
    I dont want to be stuffing around like a addict again with crumbs and dividing/storing crushed powder.
    Tis not a good look trying to dose crumbled powder at my work either.

    Has deterred me often from tapering.
    I find it insulting that they dont make .5mg subx tablets.
    ( i prefer dosing twice daily-suits my metabolism.
    n.b subutex isnt avail. oz takeaway doses b/c of diversion)

    With subx in oz i have to pick up tabs 2 days a week frm chemist -they give me 5 days t/away.
    If i travel overseas they give me 8 days takeways plus i save up extra days doses.)
    luck to all.
    namaste. Sammy.

    Reply

    • thanks Sammy,
      it’s always interesting to hear how people are using suboxone in other countries.
      I’ve had a few patients be very successful at tapering using the 2mg films. One patient had a sharp pair of scissors and was able to cut it into 8ths. So he went down to .25mg per day and was able to stop with some symptoms but not too bad. As far as I know he’s still opioid-free, does work a great 12-step recovery program and has lots of support.
      Jana Burson

      Reply

    • Posted by revamped83 on November 29, 2011 at 4:13 am

      Sammy, if you find NA isn’t supportive of your decision to take Suboxone, then why keep going?

      A person should taper when they feel ready, not because of outside pressure.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Justin on November 5, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I just had a lengthy conversation over the phone with a Reckitt Benckiser rep, and I would encourage you all to call them as well. She told me that they get complaints of cracked and crumbling films regularly and they are trying to identify the problem at the manufacturing level. She also acknowledged that when a Suboxone film strip is cracked, the chemistry of the embedded buprenorphine/naloxone mixture is compromised… Meaning that if you open a packet and have a film that sticks to the inside of the packet, is cracked, or is rigid and crumbly, the chemical composition of the film has also been altered.

    We need to keep track of the lot numbers printed on the packet if it contains a defective film. I just got 90 films (8mg/2mg) and ALL of them are cracked in half.

    LOT C11GW105
    EXP 08/2012

    Over the past few months I have received these defective films from both CVS and Wal-Mart pharmacies. The Reckitt representative told me to take the defective units back to the pharmacy and they would replace them with new ones, which I promptly did, only to find the NEW ONES were all cracked in pieces as well! Unfortunately I did not write down the lot number of the previous defective films I have received.

    Since I do not have medical insurance nor do I qualify for their assistance program, I am paying around $700 per month for this defective product, and I can feel the difference. The cracked films always make me feel nauseated and they make me sweat like crazy. The normal films never did this.

    We really need to pull together here and please post the lot number on the packet here to this forum if you open a Suboxone film and find it to be rigid, cracked, in pieces, or firmly stuck to the inside of the packet.

    I am more concerned about the chemistry of the medication being defective than I am the physical integrity of the film itself! I am taking this issue very seriously because my sobriety and health are a matter of life and death, I am thankful for Suboxone, never had to deal with this when it was in tablet form, and this medication is just waaaayyyy to expensive to accept anything less than a chemically pure and consistently stable product!

    Sincerely,

    A concerned Suboxone patient

    Reply

    • Thank you for writing. I agree. I have called the drug company and they told me they thought they had fixed the problem, and that the film had the same amount of active buprenorphine even if crumbled. The drug company also said patients should bring crumbling films back to their pharmacy for replacement.

      Nearly all of the patients I have on films report getting crumbling films. I’ve offered to switch back to the tablets if they prefer. Clearly, the films shouldn’t be crumbly, and until/unless they are fixed, I’d prefer to have patients on tablets.

      Reply

      • Posted by revamped83 on November 29, 2011 at 4:19 am

        It’s not the buprenorphine that’s concerning. Naloxone decomposes into toxic compounds, and has been proven to be more unstable in film form, hence the earlier expiry date.

        It’s an insane world when we’re willing to prescribe people a a medication that’s proven to be more harmful than its predecessor, with only tenuous claims of benefit.

        I just sincerely hope that those of us who have tried the film without success, will still have the option to remain on the tablets. There are rumours circulating that RB plan to stop production of the tablets in the future. While I would take the film in such a situation, I don’t understand why I have to put by body at more potential for very little benefit.

      • If naloxone decomposes into toxic compounds, it’s news to me. Where do you get this information?

      • Posted by Kelly on August 31, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        This is 9/2013 and still getting cracked films.

    • Justin I totally agree with everything you said. They are waaay to expensive to be this compromised..And I look forward to the day I can open my sub and not have it crumble on me. You don’t live in San Clemente Ca. by any chance, do you?

      Reply

      • Nope, in North Carolina

      • Posted by Justin on December 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

        Erica,

        I am in Michigan.

        After talking with my doctor about this problem (which is not getting better, the films are worse than ever) we have made some changes. My doc put me back on the sublingual 8mg tablets. They take forever to dissolve, taste bad, aren’t quite as strong, but I am happy because I know what I am getting and it is consistent.

        I will stay on the tablets until the issue with the film is resolved (even though I am paying over $8 each for them out of pocket and I take 3 per day).

        Hope you are well,
        Justin

  11. Posted by DDM on December 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Revamped I think may have overstated things.. Naloxone breaks down just like morphine or any other similar compound – glucuronidation, 6-keto reduction, N-demethylation… Naloxol, naloxone-3-glucuronide & sulphate, noroxymorphone, etc… Even if the contents in your film had “decomposed” simply by cracking, none of this product would be any more toxic than taking the parent drug itself (which would just break down into the same thing you’re claiming is toxic).

    That aside, my films have been doing this for months now – Every film from both pharmacy’s I go through. Not only are they crumbly, but the film itself is WAY too thin. This is not just my imagination – I’ve come across one or two good one’s during this time, and compared them with the duds; the flaky ones are about half as thick as they should be – the color is not consistent. I realize they’re supposed to be somewhat transparent, but rather than a creamy apricot color, these have a dark, aged, overly transparent appearance, like when you get paper wet.

    I’ve had enough of the film, and I’ll be switching back to the tabs next week.

    Reply

    • I don’t like what I’m hearing from most of my patients about the film. The problem with crumbling has continued to the point where I ask patients if they want to stay on the film or switch back to tabs. I think the drug company’s making a mistake by not making some sort of statement acknowledging the problem and explaining what they’re doing about it. Or if they have talked about it, I haven’t heard.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Jeff and JoAnn Jackson on December 9, 2011 at 4:39 am

    My husband and I are both on the 8mg films, at the moment we are paying up to $8 per film until Insurance starts again. We have notified the pharmacy numerous times and given them the 3 lot #s we have had problems with. I even called the Suboxone back East and was told to return the films to the pharmacy. Not only will oour pharmacy NOT exchange the films, they are still dispensing the lot # we told them was bad. The Suboxone Co. Phone rep I spoke with informed me that ..”Laboratory and chemical tests show that even though the films are cracked or dry they still have the same active chemicals and ‘should work just fine’ ” this is not what we are experiencing. Some are stuck to the foil and as it is peeled off it is cracked and crumbles. When put under your tongue in pieces (very carefully, and if a piece touches your tooth or try to place it better it it sticks to finger tip and is already dissolved) Some are dissolved in just a few seconds and never taste it. The extremely thin cracked which I have photos of also require 2 or more to equal the effectiveness of 1 proper film. At this point we found this web site. So where do we go from here?? Why is pharmacy still dispensing bad lot? We have to use what we have, no one will exchange them and we cant go w/o the medication. 4 yrs on it, and has seriously changed our lives for the better, except financially it is destroying us now. The choice is to go back on tablets, I just seemed to have more problems w/my teeth on the tablets, and improved w/the films. The Lot #s we hve had w/ bad (and some good) are : B11GW101, D11GW102, and E11GW103 (currently being dispensed to us). Any advise for us out there??

    Reply

    • When I called the company, they told me to tell my patients to take back any films that were crumbled. So that’s what I’ve been telling my patients, only they are met with hostile pharmacy response, and are told films can’t be exchanged for other films, and even when they are, there’s no difference.
      I’m going to call the company again.

      Reply

  13. Posted by carl lee on December 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t undestand why more people aren’t taking the generic tablets anyway. They are much less expensive and work just as well as the film. Cost less than half as much. Just sayin.

    Reply

  14. I have had problems with films crumbling in half, specifically this batch:

    LOT F11GW101
    EXP 11/2012

    I get 42 every 4 weeks and usually they are put in a big pill bottle or sometimes in a plastic bag. Ever since late October up until a couple weeks ago this January, any of the ones I had with the “EXP 11/2012″ on the back have crumbled into two halves. I received a new batch that is “EXP 01/2013″ and it does not have this problem. Hopefully it is getting resolved because it is just annoying, especially when this medication costs so much. Now that I have lost my insurance, I will have to pay about 10x as much out-of-pocket. My doctor refuses to switch me back over to the tablets (which are much cheaper) because they supposedly have higher abuse/diversion potential even though it is just a different formulation of the same medication. Not fair to me considering I am paying just as much for his services either way.

    Glad someone is writing about this, though. I wish there were more doctors in this field who actually cared enough to help patients get what they need to stay well.

    Reply

    • Actually, a drug rep from the company that makes Suboxone just told me that the company has increased the price of Suboxone tablets to encourage more patients to stay with their still-patented film preparation. However, a pharmacy may mark up the Suboxone films for some reason.
      The only cheaper alternative is generic buprenorphine, which is equivalent to Subutex. And yes, it is more divertable, because it’s far more likely to be injected and mis-used in this way. I don’t prescribe it unless it’s for a very stable patient that I know very well, and one who is agreeable to occasional pill counts so I can prove the meds aren’t being diverted.

      Reply

    • Posted by carl lee on January 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      Nick is right, more doctors should try to help patients who are there voluntarily seeking treatment find alternatives and the cheapest meds possible. What a rip-off for the makers of suboxone to up the price of the pills just because they have a patent on the film still. I’ve been taking generic subutex for over 6 months and it has never entered my mind to inject it. The generic is still expensive if you have to pay out-of-pocket as I do, about $215 for 60 pills. I drive over a hundred miles one-way to see my doctor, and he charges me $240 for about 3 minutes of his time, long enough for him to write a presciption, and make a note in his chart. Guess I’m lucky to have a doctor who is more concerned about lining his pockets, than the care of his patients.

      It amazes me that anyone who seeks treatment voluntarily would go to all the expense involved just to divert buprenorphine. I totally don’t get it. The people who sell it on the street are the ones in treatment by court order, and medicaid is paying for it. Because
      suboxone is so expensive, they can sell it for big bucks on the street to buy illegal dope such as crack so they can get a rush.. It’s a viscous circle.

      Good luck Nick!

      Reply

  15. Posted by Kimberly Szewczyk on April 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I want to know if subutex blocks opiates? I realize what these pills are for. however, I am not a candidate and they put me on these evil pills! I CAN’T GET OFF OF THEM!!!! so yes, I would like to switch over to an opiate, just to wean off. this is only because I have been trying to get off of these pills for 3 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and It takes 6 mos to wean! this is not the right way to do it, i realize, but it’s the only way i know! without pain. I was off suboxone for a month and a half, still sick as hell!!! that right there was proof enough that these things should NOT b given to people for long period of time, they are to me, truly evil and i hate everything about them!!! so i’m on subutex and i’m getting some opiates and I really hope it doesn’t block or i’m back to my world of PURE HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    • subutex is an opioid, although a partial opioid. But it has a high affinity for the opioid receptor, which means it sticks to them like glue. If you wait more than 36 hours after your last subutex dose, other opioids can bind to the receptors and you will feel an opioid effect, and an anti-pain effect.
      When subutex/suboxone works, it’s great. If you need a heavier opioid, you can consider methadone – it’s still long-acting and at the right dose will block withdrawal symptoms for more than 24 hours, once your dose it taken up to an adequate level.
      The trouble with other opioids is that they’re so short-acting, and have to be dosed multiple times per day to prevent withdrawal.
      If you don’t have addiction, talk to your doctor who hopefully will be willing to prescribe a different opioid.

      Reply

  16. Posted by Stacey Falk on May 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I have the absolute weirdest problem with my suboxone film wrappers. After I have brought home my filled script, I can usually only afford 10 a week, I keep them in the ziploc baggy they have come in. I have resorted to not even keeping them in my house. The problem is this, 1 or 2 out of the 10 will literally tear itself open. Go ahead and laugh, everyone else has, but I SWARE it’s happening. I live alone, so nobody is playing tricks. It looks as though a razor blade was ran across the package, because the cut is very straight and fine. It occurs on either the back, front, top or bottom of the pack, but always where the film begins or ends. I have read many forums and blogs, and havent found anyone else, ive talked to other suboxone users i know, they think I am crazy, as you will too, lol. I have 4 cats and have thought maybe something in the air? But i do not even take the meds inside anymore. So I think its something on my hands, but recently I have been sanitizing my hands before I go to take my daily doses. I have double baggied them after leaving the pharmacy, I have worn gloves, I even keep them in an airtight tupperware. Somebody PLEASE PLEASE help me. It actually makes me feel insane, and Ive become completely obsessed over it. And it also costs me money, because when it breaks open, the strip inside will disintegrate. Does anyone have an answer???????

    Reply

    • So you are saying the package looks like it’s been opened before you use it? If that’s the case, I’d ask the pharmacists to inspect the foil packages with you before ever leaving the pharmacy. Could someone have messed with the packaging before you get it, somewhere along the supply line??

      Reply

      • Posted by Stacey Falk on May 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm

        Not exactly. It tears open below where you would open it yourself. Right in the middle of the package. And it happens around 2 or 3 days after purchase. I inspect the packs when i get them and theyre legit. Its occuring when i get them home. I suspect its something on my hands, but like i said, ive taken every precaution i can think of. I even changed pharmacies. I cant imagine what sort of toxin would cause this to occur? I suspect it to be interacting with the med inside the pack though. When the pack is unopened you can see the outline of the med, right? So the tear happens along the top or bottom of the strip. I wish someone knew what was happening, it causes me to feel a little crazy since NOBODY knows whats wrong. And they think its just me. Its only happening to me and it happens with every refill, without fail. I wouldnt even know how to explain this to the pharmaceutical company. I know it sounds like its impossible, but sware to you, it happens.

      • I’m still not sure I understand, but unless there’s someone in your house tampering with them, I have no idea what could be happening.

  17. Posted by Stacey Falk on May 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    yea, i know, lol, thats what everyone else tells me as well, i guess its just me :(

    Reply

  18. Posted by Stacey Falk on May 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Would a picture help to understand at all?

    Reply

  19. Posted by Stacey Falk on May 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    lol, ok cool, do u have an email i can send an attachment to? not sure if i can do it here…

    Reply

    • Posted by Liberator on June 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Honestly, dude..lets think this one out together..using logic. You get your suboxone films from a pharmacy in a baggy. First, I think that is kind of weird, mine ALWAYS come in the box with (30) 8mg films. Now, pay for the shit, and then put it in something stable, something that will not allow the suboxone to move around in the baggy. My suggestion be to put it in one of those tough plastic holders that fits in a 3 ring binder where we use to put our pens n pencils n needles if u start offed early like me, Make sure there is nothing else in there, maybe some cotton balls if that would make the suboxone in the baggy more stable.

      Now, carry it so it doesnt move around a lot, I’d suggest clearing out the space contatiner most cars have right next to the driver seat. Once that area is completely free of objects, place the suboxone in there. Drive home. Once home, tell your cats to fuck the fuck off, lock your door, slowly take em out, n inspect. Are there any open suboxone? Any cuts? If so, it was done at the pharmacy. What MAY have happeded is that they used a box cutter to open the (30) 8mg suboxones to give you only 10 films.

      If there are no cuts, carefully put them back in the baggy, and if u live alone like I think u said u did, put this baggy in a high shelf that nobody but you can get to. Cats can’t open fridge doors.

      If there are cuts in the films after this, we are all your friends. You are a great person. Please go see a psychiatrist. Get my dirft?

      Another possibility is that unlike most meds that are said to be stored berween 50-80 degrees, subocxone is meant to be kept at an even 77 degrees Farenheit. Maybe by keeping them outside, the sun may have baked the film covers, or if its too cold, they maybe have become frail and cracked.

      What I just wrote SHOULD fix you problem.

      Reply

  20. Posted by Liberator on June 22, 2012 at 8:17 am

    The films are NOT as strong as the tablets. Can someone please tell me why it feels like this? Am I placeboin?

    Also, I was laid off and now have no insurance. My 30 day supply of subuoxone, at (2) 8mg films a day, costs about $450 without insurance. Is there ANYTHING out there to help?? I’ve heard a lot about people paying only $180 and need to kknow how

    Reply

  21. Posted by MdL on December 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve been on the Films for over 2 years. Mine stay in the box in a drawer @ room temperature, and ever since I can remember they always se to prematurely ‘tear’ inside the package. The weird thing is that it’s always toward the last half of the 30ct, 8mg box. The first ones out are fine, they seem ‘thicker’, and over time seem to get ‘thinner’.

    Reply

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