I’m writing to ask about the use of naltrexone for withdrawal from suboxone.
I live on one of the outer islands in Hawaii, not close to any major clinic or medical center. About four years ago I was prescribed Endocet for pain. After about 18 months of ever increasing doses and ever diminishing contact with reality and a loss of my ability to function adequately at my work and in life, I realized I was deeply dependent. I no longer had the pain, but I was thoroughly habituated to the pain killer.
I then met the one doctor on this island who prescribed suboxone. He had only very recently become certified. I started at 16 MG, and that was about a year ago. By last November I had weaned myself down to 2 mg a day. Then when I tried to take it the last step … I went over a week with 0 mg, doing well I thought, until I got blind-sided by a sudden, steep resurgence of the withdrawal symptoms. So I went back on 2 mg for two months and then tried it again. I had the same experience. After eight days off it became unbearable. I started doing research online and discovered that suboxone dependency or addiction is virulent, and very difficult to kick. I don’t know what to do.
I’m not hooked on any high or effect. I don’t take suboxone for pain management. In fact, I frequently forget to take it before bed, and then I wake up in the morning in withdrawal, sick as a dog. It has become a disease itself. I really want to be rid of it…so I can travel again without fear of losing my pills or not having it, and even so I can go to bed at night without first having to dissolve something under my tongue so I don’t wake up ill. My local doctor who prescribes the suboxone keeps telling me the only way is to taper off. But he doesn’t get it, even though he doesn’t have any patient yet who has managed to kick it.
I recently read about naltrexone, which can be taken orally. This seems to be the way to go. The only down side that I’ve read about is if you are truly an addict who requires the high, this won’t work. The literature refers to poor treatment retention and low patient compliance because naltrexone's lack of agonist activity (that means it doesn’t get you high, right?). And it does not provide any drug reinforcement when discontinued (that means it produces no negative consequences or withdrawal symptoms, right?). To me – that sounds perfect. Is it?