Transitioning from High Dose Opiates to Suboxone for Chronic Pain

Posted by faithgirl30 @faithgirl30, Nov 25, 2020

Hi! My name is Melanie and I’ve been on high dose opiates for the last 5 years due severe degenerative arthritis in my neck. I’ve undergone 5 spinal neck surgeries in the last 4 years, the last of which was October 2019. I am now fully fused between C2-T2 and have rods in the back of my neck for stability that run the full length of my fusion. I suffer chronic daily headaches and have just undergone the first round of Botox for headaches and cervical dystonia. My pain specialist and surgeon agree that I will more than likely suffer long term chronic pain for the rest of my life. They have recommended that I make the jump from high dose dilaudid to suboxone to manage chronic pain, which is an off-label use for suboxone, but which has been shown to successfully manage long term chronic pain.

I am writing to find out if others have made the jump successfully to suboxone, and if so what your transition from opiates to suboxone was like? I have been nervous about this transition, because it requires that you go cold turkey off of opiates and enter into full blown withdrawal before it’s safe to start the ramp up onto suboxone. So, if you have made the jump, what was the withdrawal process like for you, and has suboxone been effective in managing your long term chronic pain? Would you recommend others make this move? Why or why not?

I haven't had opiods for several reasons. Several don't even come close to dulling the pain and the one that works is Percoset but no one will write a prescription any of these. One doctor did mention Suboxone. I am interested to see if anyone noticed a difference in pain? With or without having to cut off the opiods.


I have never heard of suboxone ?


Suboxone is an opiate that was traditionally used in addiction and treatment centers – similar to methadone. It is less addictive than most opiates, doesn’t cause respiratory issues like other narcotics, and doesn’t need to be as closely managed as other narcotic medications. Doctors were surprised when many of their patients who were switched to suboxone kept mentioning how it was also effective in treating long term chronic pain. So, it is now sometimes used off label to manage pain in patients who will need to be on narcotics long term. I’ve met a number of pain specialists here in Wa state who are recommending patients give suboxone a try to see if it will work for them.


Hi Melanie, my name is Carol and I had to cold turkey off morphine. Can't say I was on high doses, just 15mg x 3 a day, but was on for over 12 years. I didn't have any bad withdraws, but the pain was hell. I went 3 weeks without any pain meds, still took my muscle relaxers, Cymbalta, Lyrica, etc. Found s Dr that wrote me script for Tramadol which I honestly think works better than the morphine. Years ago they tried methadone, it didn't do anything for pain, just gave me horrible headaches.
I've never heard of Suboxone, but never hurts to try. Everyone's body is so different on what meds do or don't do.
Is going on this med a permanent thing? Will they give you something else if doesn't work?
Wonder if they would do pain pump for you??
I wish you the best of luck.
Let me know how goes for you.

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