Citation: SacramentoTom. "One Month Opiate Detox: An Experience with Opiates & Buprenorphine (exp113035)". Erowid.org. Apr 5, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113035
One Month Opiate Detox Using Buprenorphine
Some of the information and ideas for this protocol came from an Experience Vault post by Detox Doc on Erowid
, combined with dozens of hours of research on-line.
I'm a 47 year old male, I've been on opiates for pain control for over 15 years (neck/upper back pain). I took between 100mg and 200mg of Oxycodone daily. Over the last few years, I could see the public uproar and media attention would eventually force opiate-based pain management to the point it was near impossible for doctors and pharmacists to continue. My doctors and I discussed it many times - and, at my last visit, he let me know they were moving all their non-terminal patients onto less controversial medications - for me it was Buprenorphine
they were moving all their non-terminal patients onto less controversial medications - for me it was Buprenorphine
. I tried it, but the lack of pain control (even at 32mg /day), and the non-ability to deal with acute pain tipped the scales to it not being worth it, and I thought I would taper off of opiates, and see if I can control my pain another way (or just suffer through it).
I've read from various sources that you really don't want to be on Buprenorphine for very long at all, or it will become impossible to get off of it (much like methadone) - the cure is worse than the problem, it would seem.
First off, detoxing off of opiates is not an easy thing - you need to have a strong mind, and drive to quit. It also greatly helps to be active (job, exercise, people you love around you, support, etc.). Addiction and dependence are very different things - if you don't have a happy life, addiction is much harder to beat.
Before I started ramping down, I started taking precursor chemicals that are used to build neurotransmitters. I slowly ramped my intake of the following:
DL-Phenylalanine - 1000mg 3 times a day
5-HTP - 200mg 3 times a day
I also took my normal supplements - daily multivitamin, Vitamin C, and a Vitamin B complex. And, I ate healthy - shitty foods (sugar, simple carbs, processed foods, etc.) will make you feel even worse.
Then, I slowly ramped down my Oxycodone intake to around 60mg / day, over a week or two. After that, I quit taking any pain medication, and waited until withdrawal symptoms were fairly strong - continual yawning for 5 hours or so - and then placed a 8mg Buprenorphine under my tongue to dissolve. From the research I've read, it [sublingual] absorbs into your tissues, and ends up having a half life of around 30 hours (give or take).
Oxycodone has a MED (morphine equivalent dose) of 1.5 - so 60mg Oxycodone is about 90mg MED; from what I've been able to find, Buprenorphine has a MED of about 10 - so a 8mg pill is around 80mg. The goal wasn't to feel good, just to have withdrawal symptoms at a manageable level.
Buprenorphine certainly didn't control pain anywhere near as well as the Oxycodone, but was enough to prevent most withdrawal symptoms. I started using a topical CBT (cannabis-based lotion) on my neck/back, and my doctor also suggested high-CBT cannabis (edibles or smoked) might help with the pain - it did somewhat, along with OTC medications - Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen.
Then, every 4 days, I would cut my dose in half. I also needed to start taking 1 - 4 Loperamide (Imodium AD) daily for diarrhea. I needed to continue to be on top of my game at work (network architect), so I also started taking 150mg of Armodafinil (Nuvigil) each morning when I got up at 5AM. I also got some nicotine toothpicks (Pixotine) for a mid-day boost. I also took a little caffeine each morning, but it's not really my thing.
I continued a slow ramp down to 0.25mg, (dropping the dose by half every 4 days) and then stopped taking Buprenorphine. The ramp-down month was not at all enjoyable, but it's very do-able.
The ramp-down month was not at all enjoyable, but it's very do-able.
I didn't miss a single day of work, and even had enough energy to take my family out on the weekends. And, I continued to have minor withdrawal symptoms for a good week or 10 days after stopping (lack of motivation, slight depression, and diarrhea). Several times towards the end of this, if I felt particularly shitty, I would take a snifter of Grand Marnier (cognac) - I don't drink for the most part, but it helped raise my spirits, and felt good.
During this ramp down, and for weeks after, sleeping was next to impossible. I tried a number of things, but eventually started taking 100mg of Trazodone an hour before bed - I still only averaged maybe 4-5 hours of sleep, but at least got some, and it also helps with the mild depression. Also, exercise can really help you feel better - I didn't have the drive to work out, but would go for a several-mile walk during lunch at work, and would always feel better after. Also, got a massage - they make me forget I am feeling poorly for a little while.
At the 10 day clean mark, I feel about 80%-90% normal, with no severe PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome). I suspect it will take several months or more before my brain chemistry has sorted itself out completely.
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