So, if you have read my previous posts, you know that I was on Suboxone for chronic intractable back pain caused by herniated discs from L3 to S2, along with retrolisthesis at L5/S1, S1/S2. I was discharged from my pain management group because I continued to take my Klonopin, which was prescribed by my psychiatrist here in town for panic disorder. In short, I do not respond to Zoloft, or Paxil when it comes to anxiety. I have been on as much as 200mg of Zoloft, daily, with no real progress. My klonopin is something I was told I would have to stay on because I’m prehypertensive, and can’t afford to worry incessantly. When I do worry, it’s bad. Really bad. I’ve punched holes in my wall, kicked a brick, barefooted, into another wall. So, I had no intention of getting off of my klonopin. Had I known then that the next 2 and a half years would be this bad in regards to my pain treatment, maybe I would have discontinued the drug. However, that was then, this is now. And now, I am getting the most asinine excuses from my Drs as to why they do not prescribe Suboxone for pain.
My latest clusterfuck of a problem happened about 3 months ago. My pain Dr, who has me on Norco 7.5/325 TID told me point blank, “we do not prescribe Suboxone for pain because the street value of the drug is too high.” Really? So, because a bunch of heroin addicts want to keep Suboxone close to them in case they can’t score, I have to suffer? There are so many easy ways to make sure I, as a patient, am not diverting my meds. Namely, have me retain all of the film wrappers, and present them to you at my next appointment. Hell, have me come to the office to get my 3 strips per day. In the past few years, I have tried not to be judgmental about others situations, but when someone makes the conscious decision to begin heroin, and essentially, give themselves the disease of addiction, those of us who can benefit from a certain drug that just happens to be your pharmaceutical of choice solely due to it’s ability to halt a person’s withdraw, we have to suffer? Bullshit.
I want to admit something here, right now, to help people understand why I liked being on Suboxone so much for my pain. There was no high with it. There was no side effects from it. It killed the pain, and not one damn time did I start having withdrawal symptoms between doses. I am on Norco now, and have been for the past 2 and a half years, and I hate it. I hate it with a passion. If any chronic pain sufferer, whose treatment consists of immediate release medications only to treat their pain, will tell you the truth, they will admit that in between doses, we experience mini-withdrawal symptoms. Are we addicts? No.We are simply not receiving the proper treatment. I am not saying that Suboxone, or any buprenorphine products for that matter, will work for anyone else. I only know what I experienced. For almost 4 and a half years, I experienced no mini-withdrawals while on Suboxone. I felt normal. My pain was the lowest it ever was, for the entire time I was on Suboxone. Yet, I can not get it prescribed because of the street value? Honestly, had a doctor not told me that the street value is so high, I probably never would have even thought about it’s street value. I do not care about it’s street value. I only know what worked for me, and that was Suboxone.
Another reason I was given, from a different doctor, to not prescribe Suboxone for pain was “because of the naloxone in it, I would not receive adequate pain relief.” That statement was one of the dumbest things I had ever heard in regards to Suboxone, and as a result, I left that practice to be taken care of somewhere else. Yes, it is true, Suboxone does indeed contain naloxone. What the doctor failed to realize was that even though Suboxone contains naloxone, the naloxone remains inert (inactive) so long as the medication is taken the appropriate way. I understand that since the films were released, junkies have found a way to shoot up the strips. However, that should be expected. Junkies will fine a way to abuse anything. It’s the nature of their disease. When a doctor fails to take that into consideration, I can’t help but question the doctors ability and knowledge of pain medications, and specifically, Suboxone.
I am not going to deny that there is an opioid problem. However, doctors need to realize that some of us actually do take a vested interest in our treatment, and be honest with us. If you do not fully understand Suboxone, that’s fine. Admit it. Do not give me a cookie cutter response as to why Suboxone will not work. The opioid problem is not being driven by pharmaceuticals, or pain patients. The FDA, DEA, and CDC seem to make sweeping generalizations about persons on opioids for pain based on the heroin addicts and drug abusers. They (the government agencies listed two rows above this) need to realize that we simply want pain relief, and to not be treated as though we are drug abusers. Yes, we are dependant on narcotics in order to live a somewhat normal life. However, the only drugs you have OK’d to treat pain are full opioid agonists. You took what Reckett-Benckiser told you about the drug as truth, and limited it’s availability. In a way, you are sort of fueling the epidemic. By limiting Suboxone, which by itself, is not as much of an overdose risk as every other opioid on the market, you are forcing us to become slaves to our medicine, which you know we will become tolerant to, requiring an increase in dosage, or frequency, and continuing this ridiculous cycle.
If, by chance, any doctor happens to stumble upon this, please post a response to this question: wouldn’t you rather your patient be dependent on a drug that really can’t be abused by opiate tolerant patients versus having them go through withdrawals all damn day?
Of course, I am extremely biased. I have had adequate pain relief, and want it back. However, thanks to the CDC, FDA, and DEA, I can not get relief anymore. I am being forced to choose between “some” pain relief in exchange for full-fledged panic disorder not being treated, or I can have my panic disorder treated, but not my pain. Why do we have to choose? Especially those of us who are both opiate and benzodiazepine tolerant. I feel like has gotten so much worse since doctors became so worried about prescribing anything.