Is It Possible To Taper Off Suboxone?
Posted: October 5, 2011, 9:55 PM

I am on a low dose of sub. 4mg per day. I want to stop. Is it possible to take less and less until i am down to a crumb and not go through withdrawl symptoms? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Posted: October 6, 2011, 10:26 AM

Posts: 15
Joined: October 4, 2011

hi Im currently on subs 12mg per day but I just started 6 weeks ago my doc and I have a plan to ween me all the way down in 6 months. yes it is possible to ween down to crumbs then its up to u to take that leap, youll probably have some chills and find it hard to sleep for a bit but thats all good luck to ya!!!!!!!!
Posted: October 6, 2011, 11:27 AM

Posts: 20396
Joined: February 12, 2004

Are you working with a dr? Best to have them help you with weening. If not, well, yes, you can ween down, maybe 1mg at a time. See how you feel..when you get to those crumbs and are sucking on dust, make the jump and do NOT go back up.

What do you have to keep you from not using once the sub is gone? Got a backup plan?

I used Drugs to forget, I got clean to remember.
Posted: October 6, 2011, 8:04 PM

I am planning, hoping and praying that once I taper off all the way down to just one small crumb, that I am strong enough (which I know I am) and mentally centered to just deal with whatever comes my way. If I must be uncomfortable for a few days or weeks than I will tough it out. I sometimes feel it's all mental. Like if someone handed me a peice of an orange chewable baby asprin and told me it was suboxone, i'll bet you I would feel great! Just like when I was having a panic attack one time and all they gave me was a sugar pill and ten minutes later i was calmed down. I trust in God girl, he won't give me anything I can't handle...i just wish he didn't trust me so much! lol! thanks for the in-put. you're a good person
Posted: October 6, 2011, 8:39 PM

Posts: 6728
Joined: September 15, 2005

Judy just a suggestion use a pill cutter--the way I weaned was from 4 mg--I cut all the 2mg into 1mg and cut 1mg into .5---I started at 4mg and would cut every month 1mg until I Hit 2mg.

then cut .5 every 2 weeks so 2mg to 1.5 to 1mg to .5 toff in 2 months finished--All I can tell you is I made many changes --diet lost a lot of weight--nutrition is very important --lots of water banana a day veggies least amount of coffee I was exercising and most important I was in AA--i have always been in denial--about my addiction--to alcohol--its been day 11 and it works for me--I have been in a dry drunk on and off for 6 years--F-that ---My mistake was being in denial--and fear /anger that I messed up not going back to AA-

as I got sick right after being totally off the sub--this time the second wean Did its like 4-5 months?--but I quit the meetings and my disease slowly waited like it always has and well another bottom--I should be dead 2 weeks ago--went nuts--

-You cannot understand my story but all I have finally figured out is without-AA-will die eventually--Hope this helps

I suggest you get into the meetings --Keep up the good work--


Judy if you try this weaning above it will take 4 months and YAY ZERO--A lot of people think they can get off this drug fast well I have succeeded 3 times in7 years as once tried using sub for pain management --did not work so weaned 4 months as I was on 4mg the last time

This post has been edited by Suboxman on October 6, 2011, 8:47 PM

It is Just Not worth it.

"Inside every older person is a younger person
wondering what the puck happened."

One Day At A Time
Posted: October 7, 2011, 9:11 AM

Hi! I wanted to give you some support in your attempt to wean off suboxone. It can be done without much discomfort. I know this because today is my 9th day without subs. It is important for you to read success stories, of all time lengths. If you surf around the internet on a google search, you will find many discouraging posts from people who haven't done so well or people who claim Suboxone is not a good way to treat opiod dependence and addiction. The way it seems to me is that those who have a tough time with the wean down and detox are very prolific in posting their stories and negative results. Those of us who have been successful and have positive things to say aren't always as prolific. I believe that misery prompts us to complain and that may be why you read a lot of negative stuff and once we feel better, we aren't as motivated to publish reports...maybe because we are now out there living life and not scouring the internet for relief from our anxieties and discomforts. :-) Anyway, here are the cliff notes of my story...
I started abusing painkillers back in 1997. I had no medical reason for taking them. I simply had the misfortune of trying them for fun, loving them, having a "friend" dealer with unlimited quantites to sell at all times and I had a sizable income with lots of spare cash to spend on pills. A perfect storm, if you will. I was lucky that I never had to do anything very risky to acquire my supplies. I found them, I paid for them with cash earned at my work and I did them with wild abandon. To compound matters, I couldn't just be a normal pill junkie and eat the things...oh no...I snorted them. It didn't matter if they were oxycontin or percoset with tylenol in them. They all went up my nose. The massive perforation in my septum is a whole other story. So, I snorted away, all day, everyday (even would get up in the middle of the night, 4 hours after going to sleep, to snort a small amount in order to return to sleeping after mild w/d's set in). It was bad. I continued this routine more or less until March of 2003, with a few cold turkey detoxes in the interim, which never lasted more than a month or so before I would relapse. In March 2003, I quit again after weaning down on percs for a few months. I managed to stay clean a little over 4 years before I relapsed again.
That relapse was my last relapse and although it didn't last all that long, it was severe. In March of 2008, I went to a local Psychiatrist for Suboxone treatment. It was my first attempt at any sort of replacement therapy. I was very motivated to quit and excited about a method that would allow me to recover at my own pace, with compassionate medical support and lack of discomfort. The day I switched to Suboxone, it was a miracle. The switch itself was seamless and painless for me. I maintained on a dose of 8 mgs. for 2.5 years, more or less. In the late summer of 2010, I started weaning off, with my Dr's support. We made a one year plan. At the time, that sounded sooooo long but I am glad I took it very slowly. Every 4 - 8 weeks (depending how I felt...some drops were easier than others) I reduced my dose anywhere from 25% to 50%. As my daily dose got smaller, my percent went up. At first I went from 8 mgs to 6 mgs, then to 4 mgs, then to 3 mgs, then to 2 mgs, then to 1 mg and finally to .5 mg before stopping 9 days ago. You said you are on 4 mgs now and my advice is to NOT go to zero from that. Take your time with it and drop down slowly. 4 mgs is a large dose, IMO. My Dr refused to give me any prescriptions to help with w/d's when I went to zero because he thought I would have absolutely no symptoms at all. He was wrong about that but I will say that they did not even come remotely close to full on w/d's when I went cold turkey off percs & oxy's. No comparison at all. The reason for that is that Suboxone, when used properly and for the proper amount of time will allow you to break the reward pathways in your brain that using your drug of choice created. That can take 6 months to a year. When I went off subs, I only had to really deal with relatively mild physical discomforts. When I went off percs & oxy's cold turkey I had physical withdrawals and what I call (pardon my phrasing but there is no other way for me to put it) the "mind f***" of psychological withdrawals. I did not have that happen when detoxing off the subs. Instead of scheming and obsessing on how to find more or something else...anything relieve my condition, I simply wished to get beyond the first week and feel better physically. To me, this is miracle of Suboxone. I even found a stashed away Sub yesterday and I got rid of it. I had to desire to take it. That mental hunger aspect just wasn't there. I had and still have no mental cravings for opiates and now on day 9, I have almost no physical cravings or withdrawals at all. My GI track is still a little bit, um...enthusiastic :-) and my sleep could be better but that's about it. My sleep is improving every night. I got 5 continuous hours last night!! Historically for me, my sleep is pretty much normal (7 -8 hours straight) by day 12, when I have detoxed from percs in the past. I did some research before my sub detox and was armed with some amino acids, B-vitamins, lots of Smart Water (for the potassium and magnesium), 5-HTP, and small amounts of immodium during the 3 hardest days, which for me were days 3,4 and 5. I was able to time detox with being able to do nothing but lay around on the couch if I so needed and I did need it!! It is so important that you eat meals, as much as you can and drink a lot of water. Force yourself to eat if necessary.
My other recommendation is to switch from the Suboxone tabs to the strips. I switched to the strips last fall and they are so much easier to portion out into smaller doses. The tabs tend to crumble and just cannot be split with precision. You end up with the "crumbs" and it can get hard to keep track of your progress and dosage. I could have easily split my .5 mg dose into .25 mg for a while, if I wanted to but I was ready to quit after stabilizing on .5 mg. I went to .5 mg 4 weeks prior to quitting.
The most important part in successful Suboxone tapering is to really want the end result and not go in the wrong direction. Some people have a hard time with step downs and they tend to waffle up and down in dosage depending on their social calendar or other circumstances. This more often than not happens when they just haven't been on Subs long enough to break the reward pathways in their brains which addiction to the opiate of choice created. Seriously, if you have not been on subs 6 - 12 months yet, you may have a hard time with psychological withdrawals. Don't rush your suboxone therapy. Many people say to use suboxone in a rapid detox manner and not draw it out to a year but I don't agree with that. It took me over a decade of abuse to get to Suboxone. A year or two is not a long time to spend healing before going without Subs.
Best of luck to you. You can do this! Believe in that. Write anytime. I will look for your posts. xxoo
Posted: October 7, 2011, 7:43 PM

WOW, thank you sooo much for your post. I really do want to get off this stuff. Today I took 2mg. and even though I don't feel so well, I am not going to take anymore till bedtime. In order to sleep I will take the other 2mg. I am still on 4mg every 24 hours. So when should I drop to just 2mg. per day? I have a full time job and that is my biggest fear. Feeling sick and low energy at work. I can''t take time off to get through the W/D. I am scared to say the least but it's my own fault for abusing opiates. I started out because of severe back pain due to a car accident. Then started taking percs or whatever I could get (never heroin) just for fun because I loved the high and was going through a terrible break up, so they took the pain away. Oh how stupid I was, because now that I am over the break up, I now have a new set of problems...getting off this sh**. I appreciate your shedding some light and I pray it works. My biggest problem is the anxiety. I have such horrible anxiety that I feel I can't cope when I think about bills and my kids and life in general, I get overwhelmed. I pray for the day that I am completely substance free. Thank you and keep posting, please.

Posted: October 10, 2011, 9:35 PM

Posts: 267
Joined: September 22, 2011

yes its possible to taper - but must be done by Dr very slowly like 1mg at a time over months.
TOO rapid detox leads to relapse.

Dr. Irab
retired psychiatrist
freebaser of cocaine for 2 years +alcohol
c/s 12 yrs thru 12 step.
Former Medical Director:
Methadone Maintenance Clinic.
Posted: October 11, 2011, 11:07 AM

Hello Judy! How's it going? I just wanted to say hello and check in with you to see how you are feeling. I saw your post, in reply to my last post. Am I correct in thinking that you are not using the services of an M.D. for either obtaining your suboxone or for a step down plan? Not judging, just curious. I will say this though, I know two people who buy subs from the same person they buy oxy's from, instead of going to a Dr, and both of them have not been successful in staying off opiates. They always end up going back even though they swear they won't buy anything except subs from their guy. Problem is this...their guy always offers them their drug of choice when they pick up their subs. They decline the DOC at first but eventually, after being exposed and asked enough times, they cave in and buy both (subs and their DOC in small qty's, you know...just enough for a fun weekend and then back to the subs) and then, before they know it they are back to just buying their DOC. Anyway, I digress and perhaps you are seeing a Dr. For many of us, that is a crucial element. It was for me. I totally sucked at self-prescribing and self-administering even though I had a lot of experience in it and thought I was good at it for a while. Handing the control over to someone else was a no-brainer for me and gave me that all important accountability to another person. Don't underestimate accountability. :-)
So, to answer your question about going to 2mgs from 4. Sure, you can try it and try doing it like you've been taking the 4 mgs. Split it up into 2 doses. Take 1 mg in the morning and 1 mg at night. The split dose is a totally valid way to take subs. My Dr. told me that I could do that, when I was on maintenance, if I found myself in a situation where I was experiencing fluctuations in symptom control during the later part of the day. I continued to just take it once a day because despite being a pill addict, I am not good at remembering to take meds more than once a day. Everyone's chemistry is different and some of us are fast metabolizers of subs and need to split their dose. Some of us can maintain steady levels by once a day dosing. You find what works for you. If you drop to 2 mgs per day and find that the discomfort is too much to bear or too much to allow you to function adequately out in the world (I realize not all of us can take a week off of work to lie around detoxing) then there is no shame at all in taking a step up to 3 mgs. I did that myself. Remember that your first objective is to NOT relapse on your DOC at all. If you have to slow down your taper to accomplish that, then so be it.
In general, it would take me 2 weeks to adjust to a step down but in the first week of all my step-downs, there were multiple times where I took an amount somewhere between my previous dose and my new dose. For example, I went from 2 mgs to 1 mg and on day 4 of that, I took 1.5 mg and also did the same on day 7. I went by how I felt and what level of discomfort I could tolerate. My one rule for myself is that I couldn't take any more than my previous dose (in my example 2 mg) but anything between 1 and 2 mgs would be ok while I needed to do that. I was motivated to detox though and really didn't do this too often but I did an intermediary amount when I needed to.
I am currently on day 13 of no subs (or any other opiates, yay!) and I am feeling better in so many ways. My only lingering issue is insomnia. It is a little worse than withdrawing off percs only because it is lasting longer than full on opiate withdrawal insomnia did. The lack of sleep is not causing me to feel bad or ill. I am a little slap happy at times. Mostly though, it is only a problem in the middle of the night when I am actually not asleep. I feel all pissed off that I am awake at 2 AM and staring at the ceiling again but that is only while the non-sleeping is occurring. Once I get up and get moving, I am ok.
Let me know how you are doing. I'm rooting for you!!
Posted: October 11, 2011, 11:38 AM

I forgot to comment on the anxiety issue you brought up and it is a valid and important one. It is probably that which causes most people to not be successful in getting off subs. I also have anxiety but I don't take any benzo's (for obvious reasons) or other anti-anxiety stuff like Valerian, Kava Kava or Scullcap herbs because they just tend to change me from being tired and anxious to REALLY tired and anxious. :-) I have found some relief with B Complex supplements and immodium in small amounts (can't stress the small amounts bit and it has nothing to do with constipation...Immodium won't constipate you any more than subs or percs do or did) was super helpful for calming my anxiety. Sometimes we mistake the physical symptoms of withdrawal for mental anxiety when it isn't that at all. Immodium not only reduces the number of pilgrimages I take to the bathroom, it calms that electric jittery feeling I get during withdrawals which untreated cause me to feel really anxious. I also tend to suffer from restless legs at the peak of withdrawal and immodium helps with that too. We have opiate receptors all over our body, not just in our CNS or brain. The receptors that immodium works on are part of the peripheral nervous system and that system has no recreational value nor will it extend your mental or physical withdrawals. In case you didn't know, immodium is technically an opiate (at least it's derived from an opiate) but not in the traditional sense. It doesn't cross the Blood Brain Barrier, regardless of how many you take so, there will be no euphoria nor will it really help with any mental cravings. Those opiate receptors are still going to be empty once you stop your subs. I can't predict this for you with certainty, but you may just find that 4 - 8 mgs of immodium does the trick on your worst days.
I know this sounds hokey but you have to convince yourself that you will not suffer mental anxiety during your detox. The power of the mind is very strong. That doesn't mean you can will all symptoms away, it simply means that there is something to be said for positive thinking. I am a sarcastic cynic by nature and not your typical "glass half full person" but I wouldn't allow myself to believe anything less than total success and a relatively comfortable ride. No matter how bad it could get, I knew this one truth and repeated to myself often..."This too shall pass". Everything is temporary, even withdrawals. Think of it this way, when we are sick with a flu virus or a bad cold, we feel like death warmed over but we don't panic or have anxiety attacks over it (at least I hope nobody does) because we know we aren't going to feel sick forever. We're fairly certain that our present misery will be temporary and we will feel well again. Does that make sense? ;-)
Posted: October 12, 2011, 5:19 PM


I am at work and getting ready to go home. You are a WONDER!! your information has helped me sooo much. I pray and pray that this goes smoothly. I am scared because I do LOVE to sleep and the insomnia will drive me CRAZY. What are your thoughts on OTC night time sleep aids? I can't type much here at my desk.....too many "Eyes".

I will check back in later. I appreciate your help, I really do.
Posted: November 9, 2011, 1:34 PM

Posts: 78
Joined: June 28, 2010

I successfully completed Suboxone therapy in November 2009. I agree with all of Never Look Back's post.

Unfortunately, I'm back on Suboxone now. But it's not because Suboxone didn't work for me. It because once I got off Suboxone, I was completely clean and sober for 18 months. Then, I started drinking.

Bad idea.

Within weeks, I relapsed on a myriad of other drugs, including marijuana, Adderrall and Percocet.

What am I doing differently this time?

FOR ME, I am an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. But that's my story. No one else's.

Good luck! Suboxone is a wonderful solution to active addiction, if done correctly. Be kind to yourself today.

As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. ~Zachary Scott
Posted: February 22, 2012, 9:40 AM

For me, OTC sleep aids didn't do anything but make me dizzy and not able to sleep. My dr rx'd me elidil (sp?) temporarily to be taken at night and it put me 2 sleep like a baby! I also did the taper method down to .5 then skipped days. I totally agree that it's not as bad as some people make it out to be. They probably come off too soon or at too high of a dose and get really sick. When I tried to jump off at 2 mg's I got the worst jimmy legs of my life, diarrhea, headache, insomnia...the works. So I decided to chill on a smaller dose and wean down every two weeks. So far so good. BTW- I started at 16 mg been on it for 3.5 years and currently off for a month!
Posted: February 22, 2012, 10:02 AM

When I started on subs 3.5 years ago, I was put on 16 mg (8 bid) for a 45 norco a day habit. I quickly weaned my self to 8 mg's per day and stayed there for about 2.5 years. I weaned down to 6 mg/day fairly easy as well. When I went down to 4mg, I hit a bit of a wall, so I went up to 5 mg's for a day, then back down to 4mg's no problem. When I tried to go from 4 to 2mg's I started getting breakthrough withdrawal, so I went to 3 mg's and stayed there for a few weeks. From there I bumped it down a tiny sliver at a time (I'm rx'd 8 mg films). I got comfy on 2.5 then made my way down to 2mg's. Once I got comfy, I tried to jump off unsuccessfully. So I put my self back on after 6 days of misery. Worked my self down to .5 (it took 6 weeks) started skipping days. As soon as I felt comfy skipping a day, I waited a week then skipped a day 1/2. When I got comfy with a day 1/2, I then would wait 2 days. After I could make it 3 days, I jumped. With the help of my dr rx-ing me the elidil for sleeping, I made it painlessly. I had some of the mental anxiety, which can make u feel like its withdrawal, the only difference is that I could think myself out of it (if that makes sense 2 any1 ;) I hope this helps people in need of a suboxone solution. It's not a devil drug like some claim and where some dr's dont know how potent this drug is, others are very knowledgable. Find a dr that is right 4 u. You have the freedom to fire idiot dr's and hire dr's with more experience with Subs. Just my opinion. Best of luck and Godspeed with your recovery.
Posted: March 25, 2012, 6:25 PM

This is for neverlookback and that extremely helpful and hopeful post from October of last year. I have been tapering down and am presently at .5 mg per day heading to .25 within the next week. I absolutely agree that a slow taper with your doctor is the best way to go, but a slow taper is a must. Suboxone builds in the system like any other opiate and it will take some time to work it's way out. What I have found is my anxiety (even though I am not really in withdrawals, at all) that there is not the "action" of dosing it as I broke it up into 3xdaily. I think that boredom has a lot to do with that because when you are not doing anything, I'm not working right now, it's what you begin to focus on - total addicts rationale, but I am sure many understand this feeling. How I have been doing it has definitely aleviated a lot of the uncomfortable w/d symptoms but I do not expect to feel perfect once I make the jump from .25 to .125and then zero. I am hoping to be off this in the next three weeks based on the low dosage I am at. I think it is important to point out that you shouldn;t try to substitute any type of opiate ni the days durnig withdrawal (which some people do), it will only prolong the inevitable or take you back to square one if you do it longer than a day or two.

The truth is, other than the fast "dope" sneezing (sign #1 w/d is starting) and my stomach being a little upset, that's about the max of my being uncomfortable. I don't expect it to stay THIS easy when I make the final leap, but I do know that having allowed my body to adjust to this over the course of a few months (the taper has taken a little over 1 year) it will be far more tolerable than any other way to endure it. And it's a reminder of how long it takes to really get better. Lastly, do NOT go up once you have headed down, it will undo any adjustments you have made and just take longer.

I hope this helps anyone who might wonder.
Posted: May 4, 2012, 2:14 PM

Hi. I guess I am a little different than most I see posted on any suboxone blog or forum in that I take my suboxone intravenously. I have gotten to the point of making 1, 8 mill. pill last me 8 to 10 days, sometimes 12 depending on if I am out and about working or what not. If I am home doing nothing and collecting dust I dose myself 3 times a day which is about a third of a milligram a day. If I get up early to go to work then I dose in the morning and then at night when I come home and it holds me for the night.
A lot of it is the addiction. Though I do not get high, I get comfortable and the lower back pain decreases and I am more comfortable. I can get it down to less than a mill. a day, but the finall kick doesn't seam to be less than doing 2 mills. a day. It seams like like no matter how low you go, you still get the hell of kicking although it has to be better than a full blown 8 to 16 mill. habit a day. Not sure . I still am not brave enough to go there and that is saying a piece. I've been shot, f***ed up, and all manor of horrors I've been a part of and witness to due to opiod addiction. I thought that Suboxone was a wonder drug, now I am not so sure. It is like Methadone. It takes longer to kick than doing dope and kicking it. I am actually at the point of going and picking up a script of percs or oxy's to ween myself off the Subs. I can kick an opiod addiction in 4 days. I would lose everything if I tried to work being sick from the subs for a couple of weeks. That is where I am at. Much to consider.
Posted: November 11, 2012, 9:23 PM

Find an NA meeting
Posted: November 20, 2012, 4:24 AM

i just started taking subs again and i am on 16 mgs a day i lowered my self and i went right back to everything so make a plan with ur dr and discuss how u feel and dont hold back if u feel u r decreasing to fast bc a extra month or 2 on subs is way better than using
Posted: December 5, 2012, 2:50 AM

This is for Never Look Back!
I want to thank u for sharing! I had been on opiates for 7 yrs! I have been on subs now for months. Im at 8the mg/ dy the strips not the pills, i was thinking how i wanted to start the weening process, my thought was 2 things 1) i dont want to take anything ive been taking s*** for so long i just want to b done, 2) the longer im on this the harder the wdrawl! ! I have taken myself down to 6mg for 3days now and im doing ok. After reading ur post it helped me to understand y my dr said "a few more months wont hurt u" my thought was great i went from a dr who handed out pain pills like pez to a dr who was going to suck ny insurance dry! I see now thats not the case, i never even thought that my brain and my body need to have time to idk how to put it get on the same page and heal and it took me a long time to mess myself up, im not going to b fixed n a few months! Thanks again for sharing! Btw i took vicoden, percocets, and 100mg fentynol patches! Cold turkey was never an option!! Im fully committed to this i have found u have to REALLY want it, and i really do, thanks again and also for ur updated posts! Merry Christmas or happy whatever ur choice is!!
Posted: December 5, 2012, 2:54 AM

Sorry im typing this from my phone please forgive my typos! Ive been on the subs for 4 months!
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