Citation: wisedup. "Worst Fear Came True, Surgery: An Experience with Buprenorphine with Naloxone (Suboxone) (exp104966)". Erowid.org. Jan 8, 2017. erowid.org/exp/104966
I'd been on Suboxone for several years after decades of on-again, off-again (pharmaceutical) opiate dependence. It seemed like the way to go when detoxing from Oxys and morphine got rough. I'd kicked dozens of times but never stayed kicked if there was anything around. Suboxone was new on the market, highly touted by the psych pros (read: big pharma). I was started on 4mg by a private doc who used subs strictly for detox. I couldn't afford him, so off to our mental health clinic I went. The subs shrink promptly jacked me up to 16mg, recommending I stay on suboxone for life.
For some reason, 16mg puts me into instant withdrawals, so I stayed on about 8mg for several years. This is the equivalent of about 240mg of oxycodone, a pretty big dose. My worst habit was only about 60-90mg oxy/day. I was suspicious about the ease with which the clinic was handing out this super powerful stuff, and had the feeling it was too good to last. My docs all assured me that I never have to worry about that. Nevertheless, I really didn't like being on maintenance of any kind.
As time passed, so did my ambition, my desire to socialize, and my creativity. I had become a suboxone ghost. I decided to take a long, long taper. I was also becoming more and more nervous about the possibility of surgery under its opiate-blocking influence, a valid fear. After tapering for a year or so I was down to 1 or 2 mg a day with no discernible withdrawals, but that's just me. Due to the drug's long, long half-life, I could go a week without subs with no withdrawals, I never felt even a slight withdrawal, who knows why; I don't clear drugs as quickly as most people.
To make a long story short, I took a very bad high impact fall and broke numerous bones, arm and shoulder requiring multiple surgeries. Waking up during surgery was a fear, but is not a problem on suboxone, as it doesn't interfere with propofol and other anesthetics, just opiates. Pain after surgery was a HUGE problem; the residual suboxone blocked all opiates
Pain after surgery was a HUGE problem; the residual suboxone blocked all opiates
(dilaudid, morphine, etc.) for at least a week and the only relief I got was from an IV nsaid called toradol, which can only be used for a couple of days because it will trash your kidneys. I cried and moaned disgustingly, all the time.
The docs were not overly knowledgeable about subs, but much more willing to work with me than I expected, especially after the opiates started working at 8 days post subs. When they finally tried to cut my pain meds off (I'm still in fairly severe pain after several months), it seemed as if my only option would be to go back on subs. I didn't want to, and surprise! It was no longer an option.
Public opinion about the program had taken a sudden 180 degree turn during my convalescence, and the mental health clinics in my state had all decided to cut their suboxone programs with no warning. Luckily for me I found a pain management doc who'll give me almost enough weak pain meds to keep me sane. I go through hydro withdrawals every month, but that's nothing, thanks to benzos. All I do is sneeze.
The moral of my tale is this: suboxone is great as a short term solution to opiate addiction, but I got talked into long term use. I would get off it as quick as you can if you're anything short of an old geezer heroin addict. Expect severe pain in the event of serious surgery or accidental injury, at least until your surgeons can figure out what works, or until the subs wear off.
Take the lowest possible dose, and never believe anyone who tells you they'll give it to you forever. The docs can cut you off cold anytime they want. In the current political climate, it seems like a good bet they will, too.
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