How do I go about getting off Suboxone?
First of all, you should only do this under the supervision of your doctor. However, it does not hurt to have a conversation about it first. After all, it is you who will go through the taper. So, what should you discuss with your doctor about getting off Suboxone?
There is no rush.
When an airplane lands, the pilot begins the descent far from the airport. They do this to make the landing as pleasant and comfortable as possible. While the pilot could go down at a much faster and steeper angle, there is no need to make the passengers suffer. The same holds true for tapering off of Suboxone. There is no prize for racing to the finish line. Take your time and go slow. Ask your doctor to make a plan that allows you to step down gradually and slowly.
Don’t drop off too soon.
Here is another analogy. Imagine that you are parachuting from a plane down to the ground. Would you remove your parachute straps 30 feet from the ground? 60 feet up? Of course not! You are going to let the parachute gently drop you to earth all the way down. While 1mg or 2mg of Suboxone does not sound like a lot, it is most likely too high a dose to finish at. In a way, it is like removing the parachute 30 or 60 feet off the ground. You will make it, but it is not going to be pleasant. It is far better to plan for reducing to a fraction of 1mg. It is possible to go down as far as 0.0625mg daily before finally stopping buprenorphine. This is possible with compounded buprenorphine troches described here.
What else do I need to know?
Finally, you should have a plan for staying clean after you stop taking Suboxone. When it comes to getting off Suboxone, having a recovery support network is important. This network can be a group of close friends who are also recovering from addiction. If you get involved in a recovery program, such as NA, AA or Celebrate Recovery, you will meet new friends whom you will be able to call anytime for support. It is also important to see a psychotherapist regularly. In fact, you may want to consider continuing with naltrexone. This is another medication that can help to reduce your risk of relapse. Unlike Suboxone, naltrexone is not an opioid. It is just a blocker.
There are many things to discuss with your doctor. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go perfectly as planned. The important thing is that you make progress over time. Most importantly, you must avoid relapse. If this means staying on Suboxone a little longer, do not feel bad about it. It is far better than the consequences of going back to opioid addiction.