Long-Term Effects of Suboxone

A note from a reader with a question about Suboxone:

Suboxone has really worked for me in getting off vicodin.But I have been unable to stop taking Suboxone.It occurred to me recently that this may turn into a lifelong dependency.If so, what are the long-term side effects of Suboxone?

Thanks so much,

My Answer:

Suboxone really is best thought of as a long-term, perhaps life-long medication.Your attachment to pain pills will in all likelihood be life-long as well; most people who stop Suboxone are surprised at the cravings for opiates that they have.I don’t think Suboxone increases the cravings at all, but rather it is just so effective at eliminating them that people forget how attached to opiates they once were.I generally recommend that people stay on Suboxone ‘forever’, or until something better comes around– they are much safer on Suboxone, as it helps them avoid an impulsive relapse that can put them in jail, kill them, etc…

We do not know of many long term effects from Suboxone.Long term opiate use in general can lower testosterone levels in men and cause things from that, like reduced sex drive and I suppose even infertility.I assume that buprenorphine will do the same.There are the other short-term side effects that over time become long-term side effects– dry mouth (which long-term can cause an increase in tooth decay), constipation (which could lead to hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, anal fissures or peri-rectal abscess), sweating (which could lead to… problems dating?). The opiate antagonist naltrexone can cause liver damage, and it is related to naloxone, which is a component of Suboxone– in general the naloxone does not get absorbed, and so the chance of liver damage is likely minimal.It may be a good idea to check a set of labs once per year, though, to check the liver, kidneys, thyroid, and blood cell system, just for safety’s sake.

Probably the worst thing about long-term use is that some docs insist upon keeping everyone on Suboxone in endless therapy.I do not think that therapy is generally required, and I do not think that ‘forced therapy’ is very helpful.But it is hard to find a doc who will treat with Suboxone as they would treat with any other treatment for a chronic condition– that is, to prescribe the medication without placing a number of other requirements on the person.

I hope that answers your questions–

Take care,

J

3 thoughts on “Long-Term Effects of Suboxone”

  1. I have to say that I was addicted to Vicoden and Oxycontin or any drug that I could have on a schedule to buy. After going to the proper medical facility I was introduced to Suboxone. It is the wonder drug. I have been on it for two years now. I need surgery and refuse but I do not feel it takes the pain away. I just was speaking to my doctor today and he increased me dose to 3 8mg a day. One time I was short for a week because someone had taken the medication from my purse. I went through the worse withdrawals anyone could imagine. I went to the ER twice and they rushed me to the hospital. I did not tell the doctors because I figured they would think I was lying. So when they asked me if I was on any medication I said no. They said that I was a very sick girl. I did not sleep for a week straight. I vommited and kept shoving my fingers down my throat because that gave me relief. I felt so out of it. I do not ever want to feel like that again. If anyone says that Suboxone is not addicting they are full of it. You definately have to ween off properly. I couldn’t believe in two days without taking it my legs ached so bad and vomiting etc. It was like an out of body experience. Believe me I work in the medical field and I will never do that again. I still take it and will not take my medication in a hand bag etc. I think it is a great drug but then again what is the difference? I think it was worse withdrawls than coming off of Vicoden or xanax. I do not know what the future holds but I did abuse Opiots for years so the dopamine that you normally produce has been effected. For now I will stick with it. I do not want to leave a negative effect on anyone. If you are a heroin addict or Cocaine etc. It realy does work. It worked for me. I did not do heavy duty drugs but just to wake up I would take at least 4-5 750 vicoden to start the day. Then it continued. Well I am glad those days are over and have been for two years. Good luck and I would reccomend Suboxone to anyone. I think sometimes it just might be a more legal bandaid to the problem.

  2. I have to say that I was addicted to Vicoden and Oxycontin or any drug that I could have on a schedule to buy. After going to the proper medical facility I was introduced to Suboxone. It is the wonder drug. I have been on it for two years now. I need surgery and refuse but I do not feel it takes the pain away. I just was speaking to my doctor today and he increased me dose to 3 8mg a day. One time I was short for a week because someone had taken the medication from my purse. I went through the worse withdrawals anyone could imagine. I went to the ER twice and they rushed me to the hospital. I did not tell the doctors because I figured they would think I was lying. So when they asked me if I was on any medication I said no. They said that I was a very sick girl. I did not sleep for a week straight. I vommited and kept shoving my fingers down my throat because that gave me relief. I felt so out of it. I do not ever want to feel like that again. If anyone says that Suboxone is not addicting they are full of it. You definately have to ween off properly. I couldn’t believe in two days without taking it my legs ached so bad and vomiting etc. It was like an out of body experience. Believe me I work in the medical field and I will never do that again. I still take it and will not take my medication in a hand bag etc. I think it is a great drug but then again what is the difference? I think it was worse withdrawls than coming off of Vicoden or xanax. I do not know what the future holds but I did abuse Opiots for years so the dopamine that you normally produce has been effected. For now I will stick with it. I do not want to leave a negative effect on anyone. If you are a heroin addict or Cocaine etc. It realy does work. It worked for me. I did not do heavy duty drugs but just to wake up I would take at least 4-5 750 vicoden to start the day. Then it continued. Well I am glad those days are over and have been for two years. Good luck and I would reccomend Suboxone to anyone. I think sometimes it just might be a more legal bandaid to the problem.

  3. I was assulted in ’03 and almost lost my life; I had to have emergency surgery removing my Spleen and 20% of my Pancreas, along with 30 staples in my head and a face like rocky IV from the injuries . During my stay at the Hospital for four weeks, I was INTRODUCED to Morphine at first, then Oxycottin after. I was released and sent home for recovery four another four weeks, in which during the time I was to take Vicodin and Percoset. When I could safely say that I felt better, I noticed that when I woke up the first thing I wanted before breakfast was my medication and this is when the problems began. After I was given no more meds from my doc, all these medications where easaly available, so I began taking them on a regular basis. After my personal, work, and financial situation took a downturn, is when I seeked help and placed on Suboxone. I called it the miracle drug because all the cravings, withdrawals, and crappy feelings went away so I began a treatment. I’ve been on Suboxone for years now as my Doctor insists that the recovery process takes this long, as I been wanting to end this because I felt fine. I shortly was transfered by my job making it impossible to continue treatment, at the same time after taking it for some many years, I really wanted to stop. Against my Doctor’s request to seek another Doctor near me to continue treatment, I decided to play Doctor and taper down myself; I stretched my last refill for months and ended with just little chuncks of it. A week has passed by without taking any Suboxone and althrough I felt great thinking I finally beat this… I feel horrible right now! I’m being taking back to the withdrawal days and is as bad as if I’d never was on treatment! Suboxone was a great medication to bring me back to “me”, but I came to the conclusion that it is nothing than going from one addiction to another.