Tapering Off Suboxone: Three Patients’ Success Stories






















This year I’ve had three long-term patients taper off the buprenorphine products I was prescribing. All three are doing well and are happy with their treatment outcome. Since tapering off buprenorphine products can be challenging, I thought I’d share their stories, to help other people who wish to taper off buprenorphine. (Note that when I say buprenorphine, I mean to include all the brands and generics: Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail, generic combination product buprenorphine/naloxone and the generic monoproduct buprenorphine.)

The first patient had been on buprenorphine for over ten years. She saw one of the first physicians to prescribe buprenorphine, and I inherited her from this prescriber after he retired.

When she started Suboxone, which at that time were only available in tablet form, she stabilized at eight milligrams. She stayed on that dose for about four years. She saw her prescriber monthly for the first year and a half, then every other month. By the time she started seeing me, she had cut her dose to 4mg per day without too much difficulty. When the suboxone films were available, we switched to those, both because that’s what her insurance would pay for and because I thought she could taper more easily with films.

Over the first year with me, she brought her dose down to 2mg per day, reducing by a half milligram every three or four months. I then switched her to the 2mg films, and she continued to cut off more and more from her films. I gave her some guidance, but she largely managed her taper on her own.

After a year or two, she asked me to prescribe only fifteen films per month, since she was taking half of a film per day. A year later, she had dropped to only a forth of a film per day, and needed only eight films per month. This slowly progressed until she had brought her dose down to one-sixteenth of a two milligram film which she took every other day.

That’s right…she was taking .125milligrams every other day. Her urine drug screen still showed positive for buprenorphine at her visits. I told her I thought she could stop taking that dose and not have any withdrawal symptoms, but she told me she still felt withdrawal if she missed her every other day dose. I didn’t push her; I didn’t mind prescribing only one 2milligram film per month!

She continued at this dose for over a year. When she missed a visit earlier this year, I asked my staff to call her. Sure enough, she forgot to take her dose for several days, and didn’t feel any withdrawal. I offered to see her one more time, to talk about relapse prevention and options to give her insurance against a relapse (Vivitrol), but she didn’t want another visit. I congratulated her and told her if she had questions or problems in the future to call us.

During her last year or so, we talked regularly about relapse prevention. We made plans for what to do if she had a catastrophic medical problem that required pain medication (broken bone, surgery, etc.). We discussed other big relapse triggers, such as strong negative emotions, and being around people who had opioids or other drugs.

This patient was very involved with 12-step recovery. Even after so many years of recovery, she went to three or more meetings per week. She had a sponsor and served as a sponsor to newer members. She had relatives in 12-step programs, and most of her friends were members of 12-step recovery groups.

The second patient also tapered her dose over years. I knew her for around fifteen years, first as a patient at an opioid treatment program, where she dosed on methadone. She did well from the start, though she had some slips with non-opioid illicit drugs.

She didn’t care for the restrictive nature of the opioid treatment program, so when she’d been doing well there for several years, I told her about the new option of buprenorphine treatment through an office setting. She decided that was what she wanted to do, and proceeded to taper her methadone dose, slowly.

Once she was down to 30mg, which took about six months, she made an appointment with an office-based physician, who started her at suboxone 16mg per day. When that physician retired less than a year after she started Suboxone, she transferred to my office-based program.

By the time she transferred to my office-based program, she was down to 12mg per day. Just like the first patient, she steadily tapered her own dose. She reduced her dose by an estimated milligram of Suboxone every four months.

I say estimated because cutting the Suboxone films is largely guesswork, and the manufacturer says there are no studies to show buprenorphine is evenly distributed over the film. While that’s true, buprenorphine is so long-acting that I wonder how much variation patients get in their blood levels, even with uneven distribution.

Just like with the first patient, we switched her to the 2mg film once she got to a 2mg per day dose. She continued to reduce on her own. She would cut her dose and wait for a month or two before going down again. I saw her only every two months, given her stability. She had negative drug screens, always kept her appointments, and lead a productive life. I gave her as much advice as I could, but I was impressed that she was able to listen to her body and taper only as fast as she was comfortable.

Once she was taking one-eighth of a 2 milligram film (.25mg), she stopped her medication. I saw her for one last planned visit, and we talked about how she felt. At that point, she’d been off buprenorphine for four weeks. She noticed aches and pains more intensely than in the past, but said it wasn’t anything ibuprofen or Tylenol couldn’t fix. It took a little longer to get to sleep, but she was still functioning well as a mother to her four children. She was ecstatic to be finished with medication-assisted treatment, and she knows that – heaven forbid – if she does relapse, to call quickly and come to see me to get back on buprenorphine.

Again, we had been discussing relapse triggers for months. We also discussed naltrexone, available as a once monthly shot called Vivitrol, as insurance against a relapse but she decided against it. She felt she didn’t need it.

She did individual counseling while she was a patient at the opioid treatment program, but hasn’t done much counseling recently. She saw a therapist many years ago, after a traumatic life event, but didn’t feel she needed to continue with this. She tried 12-step recovery but didn’t feel it was right for her.

Initially I worried she wouldn’t make progress in her recovery without continuing to see a therapist, but when I saw how well she was functioning in life, I decided not to push the issue. The only counseling she got was with me, during our 20-minute office visits. I’m not a trained therapist, but I like to think I have developed some skills over the years.

Her life changed completely over the past ten or so years she’s been on medication-assisted treatment. Early on, she let go of drug-using friends and acquaintances. She became focused on what was important to her: her young family and her extended family. She got a part-time job after her youngest child started school, to afford some extras for the family. Her husband is in his final stages of taper from buprenorphine, and she hasn’t rushed him, letting him take his own time, just like she did.

Drug use holds no allure for her; she hasn’t had any cravings or desires for any sort of drugs for years.

My third patient to taper off this year just saw me several weeks ago. It’s been over eight years since she used any illicit drugs. At her last visit, she declared this to be her last visit, saying her last buprenorphine had been taken six weeks prior, and that she felt fine.

She has been at a dose of less than 8mg for about two years, and less than 2mg per day for at least the last eight months. She tapered on the generic combination tablets, buprenorphine/naloxone 2/.5mg, cutting them into quarters. Once she got to one-quarter per day (.5mg), she took one of these quarters every other day for several weeks and then stopped completely.

Again, we’ve been discussing relapse prevention for literally years. Again, she decided against starting naltrexone as a safety net against relapse, feeling she didn’t need this medication. She was happy and smiling and was very kind when she thanked me for helping her these past years. I told her it was truly my pleasure, and I was honored to be even a small part of her success.

These three patients have common themes in their successes. All three had very support families who didn’t rush them to get off buprenorphine or shame them from being on it. I also didn’t pressure them. I said I’ll do everything I can do to help you taper off this medication, but there’s nothing wrong with staying on it either, if that’s what you prefer.

This left the decision in their hands. All three said this was important, since they had control over when/if/how they tapered. Once I told one of these patients to listen to her body, since she was the expert on her body and how it felt. This resonated with her, and she thanked me for saying that. She felt that took the pressure from her to try to meet someone else’s expectations.

These three patients all tapered their dose very gradually, over periods of not days or weeks, but months and years. While such slow tapers can be frustrating, not to mention expensive, to people who want a quicker exit off medication, maybe slow tapers allow the body more time to adjust to changes in dosage.

Two of the three patients exercise regularly at a gym. The third is also active, and walks nearly daily. Exercise usually helps us to feel better, both physically and emotionally. I wonder if exercise also boosts endorphin, our body’s own opioid. I’ve started recommended patients start a reasonable exercise program in advance of starting a dose taper.

All three of these patients have faced serious adversity in the past and survived it. This tells me they have skills they can use in their recovery. All three had tremendous resolve to do what was necessary to get their lives back. They kept at it, accepted the few setbacks that came their way as part of the process, and kept moving forward, even though progress was slow at times.

I admire all these patients. All have excellent prognosis, and we’ve talked about how opioid use disorder is a chronic illness. They need to be on guard against relapses the rest of their lives, and if relapse happens, I think they will know what to do.

I have another crop of patients who are dosing at 4mg or less of buprenorphine per day, all in the process of tapering. I’ll update my blog with those stories after they taper.


81 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alan A. Wartenberg MD, FACP, DFASAM on October 23, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    I think it is wonderful that people are able to fix what is broken in their lives while they are on medications like buprenorphine. I think it is wonderful that people can do the same thing with being overweight and under-exercised and ultimately get off their medication for diabetes, as well. However, I also think it’s just as wonderful that so many people can deal with their lives while ON buprenorphine (or methadone or naltrexone), even if they may never be able to fix what is broken deep-down, and may need to stay on it indefinitely. Reading so many of the comments on other threads (like the person who congratulated the poster for ending the “nightmare of methadone”), we have this hierarchy that says that a person who can remain abstinent and have a fulfilling life OFF medications is superior to one who needs to continue that medication. What is ultimately important is the quality of life, not whether it requires medication (or whatever else) to maintain it.


    • Yes, which is why I tell patients I’m fine with them staying on buprenorphine indefinitely, if that’s what they want. These three patients wanted to taper off buprenorphine.


      • Posted by Alan A. Wartenberg MD, FACP, DFASAM on October 30, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        I am suggesting that we should celebrate the successes of the many thousands of patients who lead successful lives STAYING ON buprenorphine (or methadone or Vivitrol, for that matter) with as much volume as we celebrate the hundreds of patients who successfully taper off. My experience is that those who are able to taper down and be successful are those who 1) had less severe trauma histories to begin with 2) had more positive resiliency factors and/or recovery resources available to them. Other forums, not as nuanced and balanced as yours, such as the methadone discussion sites on Facebook are full of people encouraging others to taper off (or simply jump off) treatment. Far more often than not, this advice results in tragedy.

      • Thank you, yes, I do agree!!

      • Posted by Fizzer on October 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm

        Hi! I really hope you are still answering comments on this very informative blog post.
        I’ve been advised by my consultant here in the UK that tapering buprenorphine is not effective, and that even stopping a very low dose will cause the same withdrawal symptoms as my dose now which is 16mg. However, I really want to taper and reading this post of yours has confirmed that desire even more. Can you give me your opinion?
        Thank you SO much, in advance…

      • Usually, I tell readers to listen to their prescriber. In this case, all I can say is your consultant is correct in that most patients will do better if they don’t taper but remain on buprenorphine. But I’ve had patients who were in stable recovery for 5-8 years on buprenorphine who tapered successfully. They brought the dose down very gradually, over a period of months to years, and were able to feel well enough to do their usual life activities until they tapered completely off buprenorphine. Most got down to doses of .25mg of less before they stopped completely. I think as time goes on we will accumulate more data about if, when, and how to taper.

      • I’m in the taper process now… I’m down to .16mg a day… I’m so excited to be here in my recovery today! I have a 19 Mo old daughter who is my everyday motivation.
        I was on subutex while I was pregnant, which is very hard but my daughter came out perfect with no withdrawal.
        19 mo after she’s born and I’m finally here. 3 years sober. For anyone looking for a glimpse of hope I urge you to continue the pay off is worth every second.
        Good luck

    • Posted by Terrt on January 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      I have a question I read where suboxone can cause mental issues like not able to care for family, unsociable etc. Now first I’m a former opiate addict who went to one of the most famous addition places there are I was up to 6 narco every for to five hours and they accidentally detoxed me with nothing which landed me on life support with a collapsed lung luckily I’m still here and aftercare terrifying detox nothing still given I stayed 3 months there you think I would not safe relapsed but after a terrible fall and though I takec100%responsibility a terrible ex friend kept offering me one I said no for about 3 days but the pain was incredible so I thought 1 went hurt and well let’s just say I was WRONG now I am on suboxone strips the lowest dose and am starting my taper now. But like I asked in the first part does anyone know if suboxone does have these mental side effects since starting 2 yes ago I have had no craving at all but I did unwillingly cold Turkey from suboxone thinking I don’t need themvatfterca few days I thought I had caught something after 5 days was ready to go to hospital then remembered my suboxone I got one took it and felt better asap. So now I know cold Turkey is not the way to go. Anyway was just wondering if there is a mental aspect to suboxone or is that a lot of nonsense because it has saved my life literally!!!!!!I. I truly recommend it for anyone trying to get off opiates. Thank you for listening if you can answer my ? that would be great even though I dont think it does God bless you for having this forum, for people to talk.


  2. Posted by Brooke Stanley on October 23, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    I would love to hear similar stories of people successfully tapering off of methadone, instead of bup. Maybe another blog for another day…


    • Great idea!
      The ones I’ve seen have tapered kind of the same way – very slowly, only when they are ready, after they’ve worked on relapse prevention.
      I’ll work on that blog.


  3. Posted by Cindy Straub on October 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing the success of your patients, I always wondered how quickly (or long) it would take someone to wean off Suboxone, if they chose to do so.
    I am a nurse practitioner in Palliative Medicine. At my hospital we do not have an inpatient addiction specialist or pain management for patients who do not have end stage disease, so I am frequently called to help with these patients since I have a higher level of comfort treating patients that require higher doses of opioids. I frequently see patients who are on Suboxone, and either the surgeon did not ask, or, the patient did not share this with the surgeon, or, there was no time (emergent surgery). These patients undergo surgery and are now in severe pain. How is the best way to treat these patients? Do I continue their current dose of Suboxone and prescribe higher doses of opioids, or do I stop the Suboxone? If it’s minor pain do I just go up on the Suboxone dose (I guess this would depend on the current Suboxone dose) and can I even adjust their dose, not having the waver?
    if the surgery is planned, how long should the patient be off Suboxone, or how low should we get their dose of Suboxone down before considering a painful procedure?
    Just so you know, I ALWAYS call the treating provider, whether the patient is on Suboxone or Methadone to discuss their patient before I ever make any medication adjustments. If you don’t have time to answer these questions, perhaps you can make it one of your topics to share in the future, thank you.


  4. This is wonderful, thank you for being an awesome doctor. We need more addiction specialists like you! Far too many many people in the field (albeit mostly not doctors) are dogmatically against MAT even when science and anecdotal evidence strongly show higher success rates. Strong support systems and (healthy) endorphin boosting activities are another crucial aspect of long term recovery in my opinion. This was a fantastic read and I’m anxious to hear more success stories!


  5. Posted by Suena on October 27, 2018 at 12:19 am

    Man, I have so much to say, but don’t know if I really want to get into all of it. I’m a 63yr old woman, who’s been on opiates of some type for over 35 yrs. I can honestly say what your doing as a medical professional is wonderful, I wish I would of had a doctor like yourself years ago. Seriously because the bottom line is your body will tell you how you feel. You have been a great help to your patients, by listening to what they say,maybe you can recommend a doctor to me in the Metro Detroit Area.


    • Thank you. No, I don’t know any doctor in your area, sorry.


    • Posted by Cindy Straub on October 31, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      If you Google “Suboxone” there is a website that takes your zip code and provides a list of doctors who prescribe Suboxone. I realize this does not provide a recommendation, but it’s a start.


    • Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on May 9, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      You can also go on the website for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American Osteopathic Society of Addiction Medicine, who have find-a-doctor links and you can do it by your zip code. It will give you a list of doctors certified in addiction/medicine psychiatry. Going on consumer rating websites (which are numerous) with each name can at least tell you what some people have thought of them, although those must be taken with some grains of sand.


  6. […] insurance would pay for and because I thought she could taper more easily with films. Read this post in its […]


  7. Posted by Christian McNeil on December 9, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    I was on 70mgs of methadone for the last 2.5 years. 11 days ago I quit cold Turkey. I waited 106 hours from my last dose of methadone before I took 16 mg of Suboxone. I waited an hour and felt no relief, so I took another 8 mg, well here I am 2 hours later and I still dont feel any difference or better, What can be happening here?


    • If you’ve been accustomed to taking 70mg per day, I don’t think waiting 106 hours is sufficient to start suboxone with optimal results. Talk to your doctor for advice, but you will likely eventually feel better if you stay with suboxone.
      I had one patient who was taking the same dose of methadone, 70mg, and didn’t tell me before I started him on Suboxone. He had a very rough few weeks, but eventually did well. He just kept taking 16mg per day.


      • Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on May 9, 2019 at 3:48 pm

        It sounds you are doing this by yourself. Taking 16 mg of Suboxone at one time MIGHT have put you into life-threatening precipitated withdrawal. This is NOT a do-it-yourself project. Please find a doctor to help you with this. I am not necessarily a great fan of NA (as relates to their attitudes about MAT), but 12 step programs have some great old sayings, and one of them is “our best thinking and efforts is what got us into this mess to begin with.”

  8. Posted by Michael G on December 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Awesome blog. Lots of interesting stuff. I just wanted to ask you if you knew which of the generic tablets around are closest to the old suboxone tablets? I ask because having to switch to films pretty much ruined things for me in a big way. Some doctors and manufacturers forget that many of us dissolve things in different ways. When I was on tablets I felt like my normal self and was able to have fully productive days – I would let them dissolve over 20-30 mins at most and then swallow saliva. Ever since I had to switch to films, I need to hold saliva in my mouth for almost 3 hours just to feel 1/4 of how I felt on tablets. For me the problem is the dissolving and absorption levels. For whatever reason, whether 1/4 a 1/2 or whole one – it dissolved and I knew I got my dose in that timeframe. With strips, it’s like playing the lottery – I hold saliva in for almost 3 hrs because it dissolves so fast there’s no way to tell how much was absorbed before I swallow – so I wait as long as possible. If I hold saliva in for 30 mins or an hour, I might not get anything. And it’s horrible because I was doing so well on tablets.

    So if you know which current generic is most like the old sub tablets – then I can switch and feel confident knowing I’m getting the full dose. Everyone is different. It sucks that they stoppped making tablets – I’m sure thousands would switch back the moment they came back. But we know they won’t. Yay recovery.


    • Sorry, but I don’t know which generics are closest to the Suboxone tablets. To be approved by the FDA, generic version have to give comparably blood levels to name brands…but as you say, people are different. Maybe ask your pharmacist which type they stock, give them a try, and see how you feel.


      • Posted by Chris on November 7, 2019 at 9:15 pm

        Hi, I’ve been on suboxone for 16 years. I take 32 mg per day. I was told by my doctor to take them all at once in the morning; I put four tablets in and let them dissolve, which takes about 10 minutes. Am I taking it incorrectly? I just read the previous poster’s comment about letting it dissolve slowly, and I didn’t realize it mattered so much. I guess I’m trying to verify what he said? Thank you for a great page.

      • I always recommend patients listen to their physicians, who know the situation better.

    • Posted by Amanda Peterson on November 14, 2020 at 8:13 am

      Please brush your teeth after leaving your med in your mouth for hours (TBH I personally wouldn’t do that). Subs are very acidic and can deteriorate your teeth similar to methadone and methamphetamines would. I personally think it’s in your mind and that’s not to discredit you in any way our mind is a very powerful organ. And what I mean by that is I highly doubt leaving that medicine in your mouth for 3 hours is giving you any more bioavailability than it would leave in it in your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes… Maybe try 45 minutes and see how you feel and do that for a couple days because like I said it might be your mind playing a trick on you. Addiction is in the mind, it’s not just about physical withdrawals. God bless 🙏


  9. Posted by Diana Goodwin on January 23, 2019 at 6:36 am

    I am just now reading this particular blog entry, it is Jan. 22, 2019. My son has been thriving while on Suboxone; he got his life back and is rapidly advancing with the company he works for. He has been tapering and is now at about 1/2 the dose he started at about 2 years ago. His new addiction doctor (in GA where he now lives) and his previous addiction doctor (different state) both said there is DEA pressure to taper patients off Suboxone, and therefore he would have to continue tapering, even though he began to experience symptoms of withdrawal with the most recent taper and stated he wanted to remain at his current level, at least for now. Both doctors said he had to continue tapering because of the DEA. Have you heard anything about this, Dr. Burson? I am not letting anyone or any government agency put my son’s life at risk.


    • No, I have NOT heard that the DEA is pressuring physicians to taper patients before they are ready. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I haven’t heard of it. Since a metanalysis released last year that shows patients continued on Suboxone ( and like products) have one-third the risk of death from overdose compared to patients who stop treatment, physicians should be even more careful about if/when/how to taper patients.


    • Posted by Carol O’Brien on September 4, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      I am in the nursing profession x many years and we see many patients on suboxone and I have never heard such a thing. I am also in Georgia .


  10. Posted by Tiffany on February 19, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you for posting these stories. I am a 34 and became addicted to prescription pain medication in my early 20’s which led to heroin use. I also was trying to overcome a couple of traumatic events that had happened in my childhood and then again in my early 20’s. I think I just didn’t have any idea how to cope and simply couldn’t handle what I was feeling. Then I was put on opioid pain meds as well as some potent anxiety meds. I found out quickly that they made all I was feeling disappear. I never believed I would ever become a drug addict. My family is very well respected and so it wasn’t something that I could ever go to them with. It was after 2 years of being on the pain and anxiety meds that I realized I couldn’t get off of them. I started having withdrawals when I would try and my life didn’t allow me to take time to deal with it and so I just kept taking them. At least at that time I didn’t believe I could deal with it. The thought of telling anyone what was happening was just to horrible. Flash forward 10 years and 2 overdoses along with countless nightmarish days and nights where I would pray to die verses having to wake up that next morning and I have been on Suboxone for just under a year and a half now. It literally saved my life! I was blessed to find a wonderful place with wonderful addiction doctors who like you don’t push me but let me decide when and how much I taper. I have gone done half of dose these last few months and now I am about to go down another half of a dose. They told me what you told your patients that staying on the medication is also an option and nothing to be ashamed of. I cannot tell you what a huge difference this choice has made. I know that I still have alot to go but in almost a year and a half I have stayed completely clean! I am so over using though and I think that makes a difference. Just the thought of going back to that old life makes me physically sick to my stomach. Suboxone has also allowed me to live a full life! It doesn’t make you feel “high” it simply allows you to be fully functional when normally you would be in awful withdrawals. I don’t even think about using. So many people don’t understand addiction and withdrawal. My own husband who is a doctor doesn’t even really get it. He had learned since we have been together through my own experiences and things I have tried to educate him on but he is an emergency room doctor and that’s scary to me how little he understood about addiction considering how many times addicts end up in hospital ERs. I am just so grateful for people like you and my own doctors. It’s the reason I am alive today! So I do hope you continue to share these success stories because it adds to my hope. I know I will be a success story one day soon and in many ways I already am. 😊


  11. First, a “thank you” is definitely in order! Theres a thick stigma associated with MAT & I sometimes see no rhyme or reason to educate & sometimes agrue with those who attack MAT & demean those who are in MAT. Insight from Doctors such as yourself shedding light on real success stories help supply ammunition needed to make the ignorant aware that there is proven hope!
    Also these stories of detox give me hope. I, myself have been in suboxone treatment since 2008 & methadone from 2002-2006. Thank you for all you do in your profession and for sharing the knowledge that can potentially change countless lives, including mine. This makes me hopeful for the future & gives me confidence to finally share my story. Keep up the posts! God bless from WV,


  12. Posted by John on May 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I’m an RN. ankylosing Spondylitis. 2 years on Suboxone. The first 2 mg fill most of the receptors. so little difference in dosing over 2mg. weaning off last 2 mg I just couldn’t. brutal depression. went too fast. chronic pain life unbearable. Indocin helps me. I used to be incredibly driven, more than anyone I’ve ever met. Suboxone has me in a continual state of being sedated. I’m like a normal person and that ambitious drive I had for 45 years is sedated. that I miss. I function normal at 1 mg every four hours. 6mg/day. I could easily wean to 2mg. but am bitchy. to wean off I’d need to hide in a cabin for probably 2 months. Christianity is the only thing that keeps me going. even though 2mg fills most receptors I was brutally depressed one day I only had 2mg instead of 6mg.
    alcohol free for 12 months. I need to wean off caffeine. it makes suboxone worse. dosing varies hugely depending on how fast disolved tablet in mouth. films not available in Ontario, Canada. Ive the best MD. who is patient and supportive. she saved my life. I asked her for suboxone and the first to do so. I’ve had many patients on methadone and they are stoned for the first few hours on methadone. b/c its an opioid. suboxone barely changes mental status. if i take too much at once it does cause a mental euphoria. doctors are very wrong to Rx once a day suboxone. q4 hours is much better. divided doses. it takes one hour to kick in. My extra drive is destroyed. thats the ONLY reason I want to wean off. otherwise perfectly safe drug except for brutal depression when weaning off too fast. emotionally bankrupt if wean too fast.


    • Posted by John on May 9, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      I forgot to mention: 2mg pill cut into 4 pieces i find equally powerful. disolve only 0.25mg under tongue very slowly. I find no difference between disolving 2mg or 0.25mg. Trust me: its worth at least trying. I had forgotten this truth and have been needlessly taking 6mg a day. I’ve switched back to taking 1/4 pill at a time instead of 1/2 pill and zero difference. I know that maybe other people are difference. The most important thing was to deal with my psychological problems first. Taking the drug to deal with stress means a lot more spiritual work is required. With my chronic pain, i’m still finding it brutally depressing if I take less than 2mg a day.


      • Posted by Amanda Peterson on November 14, 2020 at 8:51 am

        I’d like to say Amen first and foremost… However sweetheart it’s not Christianity that saves it’s Jesus Christ who saved you! Amen! To be frank, Christianity has fallen..now it’s preaching love and tolerance instead of love and REPENTANCE (actually reverse that to Repentance and love). The mainstream Christianity is lukewarm and full of idolatry, self-serving ways of the world. We need to set ourselves apart and you being determined to get off subs is doing that. God knows your heart and keep praying for his intersession and pray with supplication and pray without ceasing. Anything you feel it’s rough, pray for Jesus to show you what you need to get through and open your Bible to whatever book\chapter and he’ll give you wisdom and the strength to keep fighting for what’s godly and just. I’ll pray for you (I’m going through the same thing). I’m on 1mg of suboxone and am determined to be free of being a mental slave to big pharma and their medications (tbh I want off all medications but I need to strengthen my faith and relationship with Christ). I have a lot of medical problems and want to see if they subside once totally fee and clear of bube. I’ll worry about that more once I get their bit it’s still a goal to rely solely on Jesus. I’m praying for all of us. God bless you sweetheart!

      • OK, I understand people don’t want to take medications for chronic illnesses and prefer to be able to do without them. But I do feel God gave us many medications that improve the length and quality of life.
        For example, I have a familial type of very high cholesterol. If I eat right, exercise, and maintain perfect weight, my cholesterol is horribly high. If I do all those behavioral things and also take atorvastatin, my cholesterol comes down to nearly normal. I feel grateful that there is medication that can help me. I don’t see anything wrong with taking medication if it improves my health. In fact, I think it’s irresponsible to my loved ones NOT to take medications that help. Just how I see things…

      • Posted by John on November 16, 2020 at 7:13 pm

        I understand the word christianity usually represents religion instead of the worldview of JC. I have zero religion and only relationship with Him. You are completely correct. I need to embrace pain, discomfort, fear, anxiety and accept it as part of the process of ever getting off and that is only possible if I fuel getting joy, peace identity from what our souls were made for and that’s God’s perfect love as the sole focus of desire. I need to wean off very slowly, never use it for anxiety, make a schedule. quit caffeine and of course no alc. I finally have a new less stressful RN job starting soon I’m still stuck believing I can’t wean off until I minimize stress first. I HATE MY JOB AS an RN and am finally getting off of my horrible jobplace.

  13. Posted by DrugzRUs on June 11, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Hey this is great I successfully tapered down off 70 mg of methadone back 2 or so years very very slowly. It took about a year to get all the way to 0 mg, I have been clean since. I have also posted a good post about tapering off methadone, if you would like to check it out. Could help you!



  14. Posted by Venicia Mantecon on June 19, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hello I don’t see anything in your article about ANY withdrawal symptoms, unless I read over it? Are you saying they stated that with tapering they didn’t have any?


  15. Posted by Andrew on June 22, 2019 at 4:36 am

    Great to hear about these success stories, I know the posts a bit old however just wanted to tell you thanks. Seems your one of the good doctors in a sea of ones in it simply for the money. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate my doctor being available and can say this medication probably saved my life. With that said hearing that you got to know your patients and helped them taper is amazing and far from what most of the experiences are locally. Lucky if they remember your name here so I’m very happy to be tapering on my own now as well. Also doing so with a supportive family and all my old friends in the rear view.

    These meds are truly life savers, but I fear these kind of places will keep giving the wrong impression to society since even as a patient my office feels like little more than a legal dealer these days.

    Side note I was forced to switch to zubsolve from the sub strips by insurance and honestly have felt better ever since. Also having more luck tapering and living healthier overall since the swap. Could just be coincidence, but thought it’s worth mentioning in case someone reads this that it may help. Heard they’re a bit easier to come off of as well, but can’t comment on that just yet. Anyway great article


    • thank you.


    • Posted by Amanda Peterson on November 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

      Thank you for your comment, it gives me hope. I’m on 1mg of suboxone strips and was just switched to zubzolv(sp?). This was a decision I made with my doctor , nothing to do with insurance and if that doesn’t help with side effects I might go to subutex. I’ve been going down .50 every month or so and if I’m in withdrawal I’ll go back up for one day and back to my schedule as of now and I’ve made great progress. Do you notice any blocked glands under your tongue when using the pill form? I was on suboxone pills for a short time and it made my mouth get sores, inflammation and blocked glands. Just wondering if you had that side effect with it? I’ve heard horror stories of zubzolv but keeping an open mind. My brain defeats me sometimes(not in a literal sense but more so just fighting against my brain and what it thinks it wants. I never have cravings. I’m 6yrs clean) but seeing your comment gives me great hope. God bless 🙏


  16. Thanks for sharing. I like reading success stories since I’m on a taper. I’ve been on suboxone for 3 years. Took my last dose of .025 3 days ago.


  17. Posted by Carol O’Brien on September 4, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    This blog has given me hope. I’ve been on suboxone for five years and never should’ve started it. I’m 61 years old and had been taking a lot of prescribed Percocet for my dissolving knee joints that I have recently had replaced. But when I tried to come off of all that Percocet it was brutal and I craved it so I went to a suboxone clinic. If I had known then what I know now I never ever would’ve done this. I have been taking 2 mgs for awhile now . I weaned myself because my addiction doctor doesn’t seem to be interested in weaning me. He says he is but I go every month and remind him and he continues to write for 8 mg strips. So I started cutting them myself. Last Friday I decided that was my last piece. I’m so sick of it I can’t see straight. Well it became so brutal yesterday which was day 4 so I took about a millimeter of an 8 mg strip. I’m off again today . But my question is if I need to take that millimeter every five days or so to ward off the worst of the symptoms will I eventually be able to be off altogether? Right now my plan is not to take even a smidge unless I feel absolutely terrible. I can stand the yawning, sweating, and runny nose but I can’t stand the restless legs. So far I haven’t had that. I desperately want to be successful at this. You know when I first went there that doctor said that his patients weren’t older women who were on narcotics for joint pain. He had heroin addicts and methadone addicts. I wish that he had counseled me to just wean myself off of Percocet instead of going through this. On the other hand the good news is that I have zero craving for narcotics anymore . So if you can give me any advice I would much appreciate it.


    • THe patients I’ve had who were most successful spent months at 2mg per day or less. Based on that, I’d recommend you have a heart to heart with your doctor and make him understand that you want to taper and need for him to prescribe the 2mg film to do it.


      • Posted by Carol O’Brien on September 4, 2019 at 9:06 pm

        Thank you for replying. I will try that .

      • It’s easier if you can get your doc to write you a script for the 2mg. Then from there start tapering that. Eventually 1mg, then .5, then.25, then .125. The easiest way it worked for me was doing that taper for about 4 months. So, if you are at 2 mg every 24 hours, star doing 1mg every 24 hours, but on day 3 go back up to 2mg, then do 1mg again for 3 days and keep tapering like that until you’re ready to go down agin. I did that all the way to .125 and eventually got off 4 months ago. I was on suboxone for 3 years. By the time I ended I had mild anxiety, body aches for a week. Then the only symptoms was depression for a month. I’m good now though.

    • Posted by Laura on September 14, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      You can taper down but you should know that to do it right you need to take your time in order to not feel the withdrawal. It could take months or even years but if you do it slowly it will work!
      Hopefully your Dr. is if the same opinion? If not you can find plenty of info on how to ween off of subs effectively online. Just be sure to find the valid, truthful info online and stay away from the drug posts that give advice in abusing Suboxone etc.
      It will be fine, steady and slow and you will get away from all of it in time:)


  18. Posted by Carol O’Brien on September 5, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I appreciate your input so much. In the last 24 hours I took a piece that was barely visible to the human eye. I felt great yesterday but this morning I feel kind of badly. I think I thought I could go faster than this. Although I will admit my symptoms could be worse. I can’t stand my legs needing to stretch and endless sneezing and my eyes are watering down my face. I just want to be done so badly. But if I have cut the 8 mg strips into 8 which is what I have done than those are 1 mg pieces. I’m not even taking an 1/8 of a one mg piece . I’m trying to take just enough to ward off the worst of the symptoms. But I will try to do what you’re suggesting. Thank you.


  19. Posted by Laura on September 14, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    This article is very beneficial to women like me! I just transitioned from Fentanyl for 7 years to Suboxone 10 hours ago and the feeling of accomplishment is great! I have been a prisoner to the drug for too long! While some me say it’s just a change in “drug dealers” it’s so much more than that! This was my 4th attempt to take Suboxone and I’m so happy it worked this time! This new Dr. I’m seeing knows what he is doing! The other 2 doctors I saw were only trying to get rich off of us! They told me I would stay on Suboxone for the rest of my life and neither explained the importance of waiting as long as possible before taking Suboxone…I experienced precipitated withdrawal twice because of them! It took me 4 years to get the nerve to try again and I’m so happy I did! Today is the first day of the rest of my life!!!


    • Posted by Ray Vac on September 20, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      I’m not usually one to point this sort of thing out, but why is it beneficial to “women” like you and not just as beneficial to “men” like me as well? Did I not get the memo that trying to stop opiates and withdrawing is easier for men than women? Wish someone would have told me that because last time I checked withdrawing is horrible for both sexes.

      I have no idea about your situation, maybe you are a stay at home mom and that is why you are separating the sexes out? I can tell you that I would much rather be at home, even dealing with my children, then having to go to work and sit through meetings that can last for hours and have to think at a high level and accomplish at a high level while also withdrawing. It makes it almost impossible. I’m going to try Suboxone and do a nice, long and sloooow taper. I won’t let a doctor screw up and give me bad advice about how much to start taking or how long I need to wait to take it because I’m doing my own research to be certain I give myself the best chance. I won’t be coming back a year later blaming the fact that I couldn’t handle switching because doctors gave me bad advice.

      In this world you are responsible for yourself. Doctor’s advice/instruction, and anyone else for that matter, should be viewed as opinions that need to be independently verified. For instance, I knew darn well when I was prescribed vicodin for pain way back in the day after my car accident that there was a danger I would become addicted and I CHOSE to take it anyway. I also chose to keep on taking it and the doctor chose to keep on subscribing it until I was addicted. I don’t blame anyone but myself and I am not relying on anyone but myself to get out of this mess.


  20. Posted by Melissa on September 16, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you for posting this, I consider it very useful in trying to help plan my taper. What I find interesting is that the every other day dose is exactly what I feel I can do. I have been skipping maybe 1 or 2 days a week while in a 2 mg dose. This was very helpful


  21. Well here’s an update but I have a question not that anyone can help me because I don’t have any suboxone to fall back on at the moment. But I flew to Washington for a week and only brought one strip with me because I don’t take much anymore. But it’s thursday and I fly out tomorrow night and I have only the tiniest of pieces left. If I skip several hours I guess I’m wondering if I’ll be okay? I hate worrying about this and I want to be off so badly. The piece I take as I’ve said before is barely visible to the human eye. When I get home I’m going to start skipping days but at what point can I jump off?


  22. Posted by Mary Morgan on October 27, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve been taking suboxone for 10 years. Started at 16mg/ day but started tapering myself the past few years down to 4mg/day comfortably for the past 2 years. Two weeks ago I decided it was long past time to finish the last mile of this journey and got back to the business of tapering. I easily tapered to 2 mg the first week and for the past three days I have been taking 1.5 mg/ day and noticed only very mild anxiety and occasional sweaty periods. My thinking is since I was at 4 so long it was easy to go to 2, so if I take my time and stay at 1.5 till I’m symptom free then I should be able to bump down again, say to 1, with little discomfort. The plan would be to bump down till I feel the same mild withdrawal I am currently feeling at 2.6 and then hold at that level until I once again am symptom free before tapering further. I’m hoping to avoid any substantial discomfort when I finally end at zero. Do you think it is possible to avoid withdrawal by this slow steady method? Did any of the 3 patients you discussed mention what their experience was like as far as withdrawal symptoms once they finally stopped taking any medication?


    • Yes, I do think that if you taper slowly enough, it’s possible you won’t have significant withdrawal. I do not think it’s true for every person. some patients seem to have withdrawal no matter how slowly they taper. I don’t know why it’s different for some people and not others – probably genetics.


      • Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on October 28, 2019 at 3:52 pm

        Another way to manage this is with the supplementation of clonidine (or if you are rich and/or have GREAT insurance lofexidine) plus “comfort drugs” (treatment of the major symptoms) for the final leg of the taper. This requires a PCP or psychiatrist who both cares and knows what they are doing

    • Posted by john alexander on October 29, 2019 at 1:00 am

      I’m just another person who has taken suboxone for around 3 years. between 2 and 6mg. your comment reveals that you are unaware that the first 2mg fills nearly all of your receptors. Going from a million mg a day to 2 mg means very little. countless people’s experience is agonizingly difficult going from 2mg to zero. they take many months and go from 2mg to 1.5 then 1 then .75 then .5 then .25mg or .5mg every second day. do you see what i’m saying? your understanding and expectations are way off and that is going to hurt you big time. spend a lot more time reading hundreds of people’s experience with the drug. i tried twice to wean. i went way too fast. I personally take .5mg whenever I feel a little bit sick or stressed. if i have no stress then i notice i only take 2mg in 24hrs and that’s only because i take it to get out of bed and struggled with alc which makes suboxone worse. so far alc free now and only take it to prevent anxiety. i suspect taking 2mg then weaning down10% every 2 to 4 weeks would be safe. Clonidine i tried and caused brutal depression for only 3 days when i quit taking it after 2 weeks. it didn’t help much for anything for me


  23. Posted by Eric on November 2, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you so much…I am in the same process and found this blog very helpful


  24. Posted by Jos on November 5, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I have found exercise and NAC very beneficial during my slow buprenorphine taper, there where I couldn’t manage my first attempt.
    Like many of you might have experienced, most attempts to go from more than 0,1 mg to 0 will result in withdrawal symptoms. When you feel fine at 0.1 mg (or less) per day for at least a month (preferable even longer), you probably will be fine without, and when not, stay on half of that (0.05 mg) for another month (or longer when needed).

    Jana is so very right! Many patients (and most physicians) want to go too fast.


    Good luck to all of you!
    Jana, you are an amazing physician and a true blessing for your patients!


  25. Posted by Jason on December 10, 2019 at 4:04 am

    Thank you so much for these success stories. It’s so hard to find anything positive on the internet or anywhere else for that matter about Subutex tapering. I hope to be a success story some day. As I have hurt my family enough with other addiction problems, I have kept the fact that I am still using Subs a secret between the Dr and myself. Many times I dream of being drug free and look for positive reinforcement on the internet. It was reassuring to find this blog. Thanks for taking the time!


  26. Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on December 12, 2019 at 2:46 am

    There is a theory that has some significant support in animal models, but no data in humans (and I doubt there will ever be, because I cannot conceive of an experimental model that would be ethical and/or approved by the committees that approve such studies in the US and most western countries.) The theory is that 1) there are people who are born without endorphins (the bodies own opioids), or develop some condition where they don’t make enough endorphin, and don’t have normal mood, don’t enjoy things the way other people do, are depressed and really don’t feel ok in their own skin. This is also something that does happen in animals if they are given opioids in adequate doses for long enough. When such a person without adequate endorphins is exposed to opioids from the outside, they feel more “normal” than they ever have.

    This may be the reason that 90% or more of people relapse to opioids, rather than their being weak, immoral and just don’t have the “right stuff.”

    If an individual can feel normal long-term on a medicinal opioid that does not cause them significant harm, and allows them to enjoy life, be functional, have relationships, stay out of legal trouble, maintain a job or school, there is nothing wrong with that.

    If people with severe depression believed that someday they should be “drug-free” and that the people who can be successfully treated with psychotherapy are somehow ” better” than they are, we would be hearing the same arguments as given above.

    There are people who can live drug-free lives off opioids, and that is great!!! There are also people who cannot, and need these medications indefinitely, but on them they do equally well. That is JUST AS GREAT!!!!!!


  27. Posted by Jos on December 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    To comment on Allen Wartenberg’s post:

    A lack of endorphins was the exact same reason for me to start self medicating with buprenorphine about ten years ago. I was suffering from depression and anxiety for many years (most of my life), and for that I had more than a decade of psychotherapy and many of the the regular antidepressants, without having any positive result. I found on the internet that a lack of endorphins might be the reason for my condition, so I gave it a try.
    With bending the truth a bit I managed to persuade my gp to prescribe me 5 0.2 mg tablets of Temgesic (buprenorphine) per day (1 mg total), and this did miracles for me.
    My depression lifted within a few days, and so did my anxiety. I was saved!
    But the downside from using neurotransmitter agonist medication (of any kind) is that your receptors will become less sensitive (down-regulating) over time, and because of that you will develop dependency and will have to take a higher dose to have the same effect. Over the years the mood and energy boost I got from buprenorphine slowly disappeared and even turned into fatigue and a lack of motivation (among other withdrawal symptoms), and even by raising my dose I wasn’t able to manage like I used to anymore. I also found in the literature that lifelong buprenorphine is becoming less and less an option because of the issues I was experiencing, and in that manner I have to disagree with Allen that long term medical opioids is the answer for people like us.
    It will help you fore some years, but ín the end dependency will spoil the ‘fun’.

    I decided not to go down the road of raising any further but decided to wean myself off of it. Now being sober I feel better than I did before I started doing buprenorphine, but that also might be because I do my exercises and take NAC, so I guess I might have some more natural endorphins now. But I have to be honest that I miss the feeling I had during my first years on buprenorphine.
    So I guess eventually we all will be facing withdrawal, but this is manageable if you just take it (very) slow, and I’m sure that doing some exercise and NAC will help as well.

    Take care!


    • Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on December 24, 2019 at 5:31 pm

      Joe: It may not have been the answer to you, but I (and thousands of other addiction treatment professionals) have had patients on long-term opioids for 30+ years who have done very well. It sounds like there is a long term major depressive disorder in your picture, Many things, including exercise and perhaps n-acetylcysteine, may give some help, but psychotherapy, often with the addition of antidepressants also may be helpful. Good luck in your search.


  28. Posted by Jos on December 24, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Sorry Alan, but the literature supports my theory that long term opiate use does more harm than good, simply because your brain adapts to the opiate use:

    Click to access pain_Pleasure_into_pain_White.pdf


    And like that I can make an endless list proving you wrong.

    If there would be thousands of people doing well on opiates after 30+ years then that would have been documented and researched for sure, but again, literature supports the opposite. Slowly but surely there are more publications warning for long term buprenorphine use as well, there where first was thought that buprenorphine would be safe for indefinite use, and that while buprenorphine was considered one of the safest opiates for long term use of them all:

    Please let me know if you know a ‘safer’ opiate than buprenorphine, because as far as I know other opiates will get you into trouble way faster than buprenorphine.
    And it doesn’t make a difference if you have less endogenous endorphins, taking any opiates sooner or later will get you into trouble, no matter what reason you take them for.

    If you would have red my post correctly then you would have seen that psychotherapy and conventional antidepressants had no effect at all, even after ten years.
    I’m still convinced that a lack of endogenous endorphins caused my problems, but I also found out that taking opiates is not the answer, at least not in the long run. And alterations in your brain, dependence, addiction and withdrawal might be a good reason not to mess with them.

    Next time please show some links to support your claims, and be careful with your search. Mine has come to an end, I know (more than) enough.


    • Posted by Alan Wartenberg MD on December 27, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      All but 2 of your links are not accessible. One of those links is to an article on long term opioid use for CHRONIC PAIN, and the second one confuses the word addiction for physical dependence. Another link you gave in a previous posting was basically an advertisement for an abstinence-based treatment program, where every ill effect they ascribed to buprenorphine was NOT from its use, but from its withdrawal. The treatment of opioid use disorder is not the same as treatment of chronic pain. The true issue is that between 85-95% of people who either stop treatment with methadone or buprenorphine relapse to street opioids, and have a highly increased risk of death.

      My personal belief is that if better treatment for trauma effects were available and accessible to people (such as EMDR, use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, use of esketamine, in combination with trauma-focused psychotherapy) that more people could successfully taper and discontinue chronic opioid treatment. However, they are generally neither available nor accessible, as well as the tranportation, child care and other obstacles to obtaining them. And in some people, the level of chronic trauma was both too severe and too prolonged to be successfully treated, even if the individual was motivated to have it treated, which they are often not.

      I have successfully tapered more than a thousand people from opioids, where they had done the work necessary to succeed, and most of them have succeeded. However, many have not and ultimately relapsed or needed to return to MAT to avoid relapse. I have treated more than 15,000 people, and a large number of them either walked out of treatment, tapered too rapidly, and tapered without doing the work necessary for sobriety, and few of those (although some) succeeded.

      You have a right to your opinion, but you do not have a right to your own facts.


    • Posted by Glenn on July 1, 2020 at 9:50 am

      You realize you are linking to a recovery center don’t you?? I found myself getting so frustrated when I was reading those comments from someone that benefits from people staying sick. Of course drug rehabs don’t want people to stay on subs!! They will loose 70% of their clientele. What we should really be talking about is how is it okay for those places to charge thousands and thousands of dollars and literally have upwards of 80% relapse. I would argue that rehabs aren’t a solution. At least with subutex or suboxone you can fell well enough to get your life back on track. At that time you can decide what is best for you and where you are at. I have been reading all of these comments and it is all really positive stuff and something about your two comments just rub me the wrong way.. Suboxone has been good for me and I am tapering now. I don’t like that I am still at mentally and physically addicted to a drug but 3 years ago I was shooting heroin and cocaine. I moved to a new city, started 8mg of sub a day and now I am down to 4 a day. I have been able to become a business owner and improve all the relationships I was missing out on all those years I was so heavily addicted. Subs have been an amazing thing for me. I am sorry it wasn’t a good thing for you but don’t scare people with opinions from rehabs and pawn them off as facts. I spent 12k for 26 days of rehab about 3 years ago and went back to using a week after I left. Since I started subs I haven’t had one dirty UA.


    • I agree that without treating the underlying (psychological) conditions relapse is a serious concern, and that cessation of opiates should go hand in hand with psychotherapy, and when necessary in combination with pharmaceutical support other than opiates.
      Not all people addicted to opiates suffer from chronic trauma, so there’s a good possibility that they can be cured.
      But appropriate help of course is crucial to succeed in long term adstinency. ,that’s why I wrote ‘when the time is right for you’.
      For that matter in Holland addiction therapy goes hand in hand with psychotherapy.


  29. Posted by Jos on December 26, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Sorry for my double post, but most of all I wish everybody a merry Christmas, and I wish you all will be freed from opiates by Christmas next year!

    There is one more thing I want to add as a comment.

    Many people wonder how it can be that after cessation of what they think is a small amount of Suboxone, they still experience quite some withdrawal issues.
    In Europe we have an opiate painkiller named Temgesic for moderate to severe pain with buprenorphine as the active ingredient, just like Suboxone. Temgesic comes in 0,2 mg sublingual tablets and the dosage is 1 or 2 tablets every 6 to 8 hours.
    When I started out as opiate naive taking Temgesic I didn’t feel comfortable when taking 2 tablets at the same time because this probably was too strong for me.
    Most people on Suboxone are on a dose between 8 and 24 mg per day, and this is the equivalent of 40 to 120 Temgesic 0.2 mg tablets. Can you imagine taking 120 very strong opiate painkillers every day!? This is like a whole jar full of pills ,..
    So when you wonder why quitting the last mg of Suboxone is that difficult, just remind that you still are quitting 5 very potent opiate painkillers, and I experienced myself that this isn’t walk in the park. This took me more than a year.

    I guess that many subscribers and users of Suboxone don’t realize what monster doses of opiates they are subscribing/using because they don’t now how potent this opiate is, even in smaller dosages, just because they don’t have any reference, especially not in the US.
    I noticed that many people who try to quit Suboxone experience that quitting the first milligrams of Suboxone is rather easy, which means that they could have been using much less of the stuff in the first place. I know quite some stories of people who are/were on Suboxone maintenance and found out for themselves that they are/where comfortable on a much lower dose than that was given to them.
    Being on such a high dose only will make it more difficult to quit when the time is right for you, and the only advantage of such a high dose is that it will take quite some years before spontaneous withdrawal will set in.
    Spontaneous withdrawal happens when your opiate receptors are down-regulated that far that they will start to ask for more opiates and (other) withdrawal symptoms set in.
    So these high doses are mostly convenient for prescribers (like Alan), because like that they can keep their patients ‘satisfied’ for a longer period of time, but as a matter of fact they are harming you as a patient. I don’t think this is a matter of bad intention but more because of ignorance.
    I’m sure that a Suboxone prescriber, when making the conversion from your opiate of ‘choice’ to Suboxone, will titrate your dose upwards to a dosage where you will feel comfortable, but after that few of them will titrate your dose downwards to a dosage where you still will feel comfortable.
    In my opinion your brain will adapt from your d.o.c. to buprenorphine over a period of time, and after this period of ‘healing’ your brain doesn’t need these massive doses of buprenorphine anymore.
    Of course I can’t prove this theory because there wasn’t any research done in that direction, an why would there be? The pharmaceutical industry for sure won’t finance such research, and the prescribers also don’t think in that direction because their patients stay ‘satisfied’ for a long period of time and will be coming back for many years to fill their prescriptions, so why bother? Many of these ignorant prescribers even might think it’s better for you to keep you on Suboxone indefinitely, and if it isn’t good for you then it for sure it is for them.


  30. Posted by Kat Kalkofen on December 29, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Thanks for your blog. I’m a chronic pain patient (not patient in recovery). I tapered off of Suboxone once after being on it for 4 years off label for pain control. It took me a year and I jumped at .125mg. I went back on after not wanting to be on opiates and needing pain control for several pain conditions. Unfortunately it’s not controlling my pain whatsoever this time and so I just don’t care to stay on it. So here we go again with the taper but it’s so much harder this time because I have pain on top of withdrawals. I’m going .5 mg’s every few weeks. My doctor doesn’t support this idea (he thinks it’s working for my pain and I’m just not realizing it) so he’s being less than helpful. After reading your blog I’m thinking I should just slow down and take my time. It’s made me also consider looking for a new doctor as you seem so supportive and perhaps there is someone kinder like you out there!! 🙂


  31. Posted by Anna Montoya on December 29, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Hello, I came across this blog after doing some research about NOT having withdrawal symptoms and I can’t find anything about it. Dr., I had been on suboxone strips 12 mg for about 2 years. One day 4 weeks ago, I just decided to stop taking the strips because I’m tired of being a slave to suboxone and I never got any withdrawal symptoms. This is crazy and unheard of, right? I’m 4 weeks free of the suboxone I never tapered down and I’m completely fine. Mentally and physically. I experienced no withdrawal symptoms as I said and I’m dumbfounded at that. I took no other medications. Have you ever heard about this happening? Has anyone ever heard about this happening? I initially thought maybe it’s the half life.. I really waited for the day when I would feel chills or irritable or like my skin was crawling and Nothing. Don’t get me wrong I’m very grateful, just absolutely dumbfounded. Thank you


  32. Posted by Rob A on January 9, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Can you direct me to a facility to. taper off ? I live in Long island NYt


  33. Posted by PhoenixRisies on February 16, 2020 at 3:33 am

    My story is almost exact. I started off on 8mgs films twice daily a little over 2years ago. Within the past year I have gradually tapered down to 2mg daily and now currently take 1/8 of a 2 mg film every other day. I plan to take my last dose in the beginning of March. So far I have not had any withdrawals at all only a touch of insomnia. I exercise regularly, eat a pretty healthy diet and do attend 12 step meetings. It’s wonderful to find some success stories to give me a boost of confidence. I have herd a lot of horrible stories about coming off Suboxone but really dont know the dynamics. Lots sounded like they did it cold turkey. I am forever grateful for the support I have received from my Drs, family and friends. Thank you for such an inspiring blog.


  34. Posted by Rachel henry on April 25, 2020 at 2:20 am

    Thank you so much for this blog about your patients getting off of sun ozone. I have been on 8mg strips for 5 years and only ever hear negative stories about tapering off of suboxone. I also don’t hear many complain about the horrible side effects of long term suboxone use but I have endured very bad side effects which makes me feel I must get off of it. I can tell it’s getting harder and harder to breath and my partner says I go periods in the night without breathing at all. The constipation is horrible. I feel symptoms of withdrawal every day and especially after waking up. Although I may sleep 8 hours I feel as if I only slept 4. I feel like my REM sleep is effected drastically yet no one else talks about this. When I take a nap it feel like it makes the suboxone dose wear off quicker. If I were to take a dose (I usually break my 8 mg strip up and take 1/4 4x per day) and stay awake for 2 hours I would feel nothing negative if I were to take a dose then sleep for two hours I would wake up feeling withdrawal and very angry. The anger side effect is the worst. If I am late taking a dose I see red. So as you see for me, it is time to get off this medication. My prescribing doctor says I cannot get off of it without rehab but I cannot stay in rehab for years and I truly believe the only successful way to safely stop is over years and you have given me the hope to do that. Thank you.


  35. Posted by Gregory Kraft on July 11, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing your patient’s story. I have been on suboxones since they came out. Today is my eight day without it. Not much withdrawls. Still hard to sleep at night but it will pass. I definitely advise to tamper doses down before getting off and having a lot of support. Thanks for sharing.


  36. Posted by aaron riel on September 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Question? i have been on and off suboxone for years. i finally saw a doctor last nov. to make it legal and he put me on 12mg a day. i needed subs to help with heroin withdrawls. for a year prior i only used heroin or took subs to stop withdrawl. i have a huge fear of withdrawl whice is has made it hard to stop, i have been weaning off slowly for about 2-3 months every time i weaned down i still had some withdrawl, but today i have no more. the last week ive been taken .25 -.50mg and i tried to go 24 hours.
    How bad and how long will i withdraw? will the withdrawl be the same as when i weaned? will the withdrawl be less because i did wean? thank you


    • Alas, all patients are different and I don’t think anyone can give firm answers to how the process will be for you.
      Having said that, I’ve observed that the patients who can down on their dose slowly, as you are describing, appears to have less withdrawal and it appears to be more tolerable.
      Clonidine can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms, and exercise seems to help. OF course, eating relatively healthy meals and a regular sleeping habits also help.


  37. Posted by Kelly Twist on November 13, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    I know this post is 2 years old and I’m not sure if the author will get this. I just wanted to say thank you for writing this and giving me hope. I have been on Suboxone for about 10 years torturing myself with thoughts of never being free from it. I’ve tried to quit several times and the psychological effects were Horrendous. I am not a suicidal person but without suboxone my head is not clear at all. I do have to admit my journey off opiates and on suboxone have been completely on my own with no help at all which is more than likely part of my problem. Without insurance there’s no way I could afford any of it. Nevertheless this gives me hope and made me realize I’m putting to much pressure on myself. My expectations were to quit within a month or two and that’s not realistic without suffering. Thank you again and I wish there were more posts like this one.


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