Low Dose Subs

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Low Dose Subs

Postby suboxalypsenow » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:20 am

Hello friends I have been reading this site for years but just now registered.

After having taken Subs for years, and being in the middle of a long wean, I am aware that the receptors in my brain which normally release happy chemicals (ie dopamine, endorphins, etc) are "blocked" by the Suboxone. I can feel that pretty blatantly, and ever time I drop down to a lower dose, I feel it even more. However, I've read on this site that after months or even years, these receptors become un-blocked and you feel "normal".

My question is - are these receptors 100% blocked, no matter how much Sub you take? Whether at 20mg or 1mg, will my brain say "Ok, there is no need to release dopamine, this drug is taking care of it".

Or, does the brain start to heal already once you get to a low dose, say 3mg or lower?

For reference here's my druggery in review:
-- After taking opiates (mainly oxycontin) daily from 2005-2009 I got on Sub's 7 years ago
-- In 2010 I did a quick wean to get off subs: Dropped from 24 mg to 0 mg in 3 weeks
-- At that point I spent 6 months off sub's and opiates but was miserable -- couldn't sleep and crazy anxiety. I was still drinking alcohol which didn't help
-- Been back on subs (24 mg) since 2011
-- Early 2015 I started weaning; was at 10 mg a year ago and am now at 4 mg. Still a very long way to go :(

Thanks for listening folks
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby Subblind » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:31 am

Welcome aboard,Very interesting question...lets see who knows the answer to that.theres some knowledgeable people here that will have an answer for you I'm sure...great screen name by the way...again Welcome to the shit show,hope to hear from you again. SB
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby cheeps » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:15 am

Yes, the sub is still blocking everything natural.

I pretty much garantee you'll have a better experience this time. 3mgs is a hefty sum of sub. I hope you'll be able to take your time and get off the shit for good this time!


Welcome to SS. Glad you registered! :cheers:
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby Don_Pisto » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:41 pm

Hello and welcome,

Below is a cut-and-paste that the site owner, Mr. Ratch, wrote which I believe he explains brilliantly about what you're asking. Please read it. It makes total sense what he's saying.

It does take some time to get that sense of normalcy back, but I tell you it is so damn worth it.

ratch wrote:When you do regular opioids on a daily basis, there are peaks and lows in your high. Not always detectable but present. And if you sleep longer than 4 hours a night while using opioids, chances are when you wake up you are reaching for your next dose to fight off the cusp of wd's. To fight the lack of opioids, the brain will fire aminos/proteins to try to get you to feel normal again....until your next dose. These changes gives the brain a small but noticeable point of reference on how you are supposed to feel without opioids, and that is what the slight uncomfortable feeling or slight onset of wd's is, the brain trying to regulate. This is all due to the 4 hr 1/2 life of all SAO's. Your brain still has a tiny pathway to normalcy again and will eventually find its way back to normal in a week or two for most people.

Now take a drug like buprenorphine (Sub) or methadone, these drugs have ridiculously long 1/2 lives, 34+ hours. So not only is the dose you just took saturating the brain for the next 34 hours, but so is the doses you took for the past week. Basically you are getting a "steady high" and the brain has no way to create a point of reference on how you are supposed to feel without opioids. (almost never slight wd's, mental stuff perhaps, but actual wd's almost never) Not only does the brain lose its way back to normalcy so to speak, but the search for normalcy, the brain firing of signals to feel good again is almost non existent... no reason with drugs that are by design made to keep you high "all the time".. So not only does the brain have no point of reference as to what "normal" without opioids feels like, but sparking up the endocrine gland/pituitary to produce the signals/proteins needed to feel good again is fucking rusty with sub or methadone...with SAO's it fires everyday!!!

So when you do a treatment like UROD or Naltrexone for sub, the drug is stripped/blocked from your brain and you are no longer dependent. But your brain is still lost. You may have snuck past the initial wd's which are not only mild at best due to the agonizingly long time it takes sub to leave your body, but you will not only get hit with PAWS which are the brains search for normalcy again, but you just passed the initial mapping phase which IS the wd's that you just avoided with UROD or naltrexone to begin with.

For SAO's I dont see any issues except for the extreme danger and loss of life that UROD procedures have. You are getting a shortcut!

But with sub, you are making things much harder in the long run, because sub wd's arent the rough part. The rough part is how fucking long it takes your brain to find its way back to normal again and with UROD/Naltrexone you just passed step one.


To regain the lost normalcy from LAOs, you need to be 100% off of them. The "low dose" needs to be 0mg. Not 3mg, nor 1mg, or even 0.1mg ... 0 mg is the only way.
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby CheeZeeAnnDee » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:35 am

Lots of drugs have a staggering range of dose dependent effects. Look at naltrexone, where some opioid users will actually take ultra low doses of it (a couple MICROgrams) with their drug of choice because they feel it potentiates the subjective opioid experience and also decreases or maintains tolerance. But a larger dose would completely wreck them with withdrawals. The brain is a wonky thing and there are many pathways that get activated way downstream from the primary drug pathway, and there are the same shaped receptors, but because they are in different parts of the brain they might eventually lead to different effects, and also lots of drugs get converted to metabolites that have even different effects. And dose can affect all of this and more.

The brain is nuts and trying to puzzle it out seems to me like trying to run a corn maze blindfolded and on lsd.

So, like don pisto said, you are not off bupe until you hit 0. But in my opinion, dose plays a huge role in effects. Even in terms of receptor regulation, I would think slowly reducing to the point of feeling some withdrawal, stabilizing, and then reducing again is the gentlest way to get your brain to re-regulate as close to opioid naive as possible. But, I dunno.

For me, I am tapering and not jumping from a high dose. I certainly have felt different at different doses under 4 mg and get effects that feel more like short acting opiates from it, but I also did not find the 2-3 mg range to be enjoyable like others did. It is all so subjective and I really think the reasons we started taking opioids in the first place play a big role in how our discontinuations go.

All of this is just an opinion though! But if you are thinking of tapering or even just trying to get by on less bupe, I do think that you should go for it!
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby suboxalypsenow » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:09 am

Wow thanks for these informed responses guys! This is what I had feared, but makes sense. Followup question - based on this snippet:
I would think slowly reducing to the point of feeling some withdrawal, stabilizing, and then reducing again is the gentlest way to get your brain to re-regulate as close to opioid naive as possible.

How does the brain 'stabilise' in this fashion? Say I drop from say 4 mg to 3 mg -- on day 1 after dropping, would my brain be behaving in any different way than on day 10? Or is it just a matter of "getting used" to life at 3mg?

Thank yous!
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby cheeps » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:17 am

There are several threads here that address what you are asking. They are the stories of peeps that have come here, asked the same questions, then stayed around to do the work.

This site advocates a gradual taper. The best success rates come when peeps do 20% cuts in dose every 10-14 days. Even people that say they feel every little drop can have success with this protocol....there are times when peeps take longer between drops, no problem. The main basis being keep going down and try never to spike, i.e., go back up.

Any of the longer threads in the Subsux part of the forum have the answers you seek. So, if you have time...read all of ratch's threads and stickies...and the threads of others that are full of pages.
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Re: Low Dose Subs

Postby Don_Pisto » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:19 pm

suboxalypsenow wrote:I would think slowly reducing to the point of feeling some withdrawal, stabilizing, and then reducing again is the gentlest way to get your brain to re-regulate as close to opioid naive as possible.

How does the brain 'stabilise' in this fashion? Say I drop from say 4 mg to 3 mg -- on day 1 after dropping, would my brain be behaving in any different way than on day 10? Or is it just a matter of "getting used" to life at 3mg?


This is a really good question. One thing you must know is that Buprenorphine is a super powerful narcotic. What does this mean? It means that what seems like a small dose, such as 1mg or 0.5mg, is actually still a very powerful dose. There are resources that show a comparison of strength of subs vs other opiates and it's kind of eye-opening, at least for me it was. Hopefully one of the others here will chime in and point to one of these sources that shows how strong subs are compared to other opiates. (Your sub Dr likely won't tell you this information)

Everyone is different, but for me, I did a long taper and I think what it did for me was to avoid most of the acute withdrawals and perhaps once I was off, I was able to reduce the incidence of PAWS. Doing a long taper really takes discipline and it will test patience, plus you have to accept you might feel crappy during the taper for weeks; not acute wds, but lack of energy, some insomnia, etc., and this can last for awhile once you start getting under 1mg. Maybe there is some balancing going on when adjusting to these dropping low doses.

There are many here who didn't taper and they just jumped off a high dose. The majority definitely experienced 10-14 days of hell, but they lived and many are doing great. It's generally not dangerous to do this even if it feels like hell. I don't know if these sub warriors experienced worse PAWS or not, I'm guessing most did, but they "got the worst of it" over with a lot quicker. The tradeoff of a jump vs taper is 2 weeks of feeling miserable and probably missing work due to the high jump, or feeling like you have the flu or other virus for many weeks or months during a taper.

In either case, one really must want to be off of this sub trap before committing to either option and that's personal choice of which path to go.
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