Buprenorphine for Codeine Addiction

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a few  weeks ago I finally decided to address my codeine addiction that has ruled my life for the last 5 years. i’ve tried tapering many times but just cannot stay disciplined.

i found the courage to speak with my GP who referred me to  a local service. I attended yesterday and spoke with of the addiction therapists. after telling her my story, she has recommended Buprenorphine.

Has anyone used this to get off codeine? to be honest, I didn’t really want to substitute one substance for another but i really want to keep withdrawals to a minimum. 

just looking for some feedback from anyone who has went through this.

thanks 

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Andy, after battling with addiction to codeine for nearly 10 years, I was put on Buprenorphine and it did help me in the first six months but after that I started taking codeine as well as taking the Bup. After three years of being on both my Dr wouldn't give me either so I went cold Turkey, spent 2 weeks in hospital due to the withdrawals. Came out and I was clean for nearly one year and then made the mistake of taking just one tablet for a migraine and have been on it again now for 6 months. I considered going back on the Bup but as you said it is just swapping one drug for another. I would suggest you be on it for six months and at the end slowly taper down, don't go cold Turkey unless on the Bup, its probably worse than stopping the codeine.

    Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Hi Andy,

    I was in a very similar situation but my local drugs and alcohol team wouldn't prescribe bupronophine as they said it was giving me an addiction which is harder and worse than codeine. I kinda agree now. I was given lofexidene to help with the withdrawals and I can honestly say I didn't have one. I took it for 10 days increasing the dose and then eventually decreasing to nothing. I was clean for about a month but have now found myself back to square one unfortunately so am thinking of giving lofexidene another try. Good luck

    Emma x

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  • Posted

    Thank you both for taking the time to share your story, all advice helps!

    I’m currently on the waiting

    list to discuss the treatment with a doctor, so between then and now, i’ll try again to work with a taper plan, although it starts well, i always seem to find myself back to square one. 

    When i meet next with the doctor of the substance abuse team, Ill go over what all my options are. when i had my first meeting on a self referral to the service, i was basically given the options of Methadone or Buprenorphine.  Hopefully once i sit down with the doctor I can explore all the options available and make a decision from there. I just want to be few of this horrible addiction! 

    wishing you all the very best on your battle 😊

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  • Posted

    Hi Andy

    Last year I did the same as you and addressed my codeine addiction I went to my gp and they prescribed me codeine tablets on their own to try and taper off but of course I failed as I was an addict gp then referred me to my local drugs and alcohol clinic where I was prescribed bupernorphine daily pick up my heart sank as I realised I would have to go in everyday and be supervised taking the tablet I was embarrassed and couldn't belive this happenwd to me as I am not the typical addict I failed several times at picking up the bupe everyday I was missing doses and still taking codeine (Although you feel no effect of codeine what so ever while on bupe) so it is pointless even taking them bupe is fantastic for withdrawal and stopping the cravings for codeine you just have to give it chance and stick to it every single say fast forward a year and I'm very close to coming off it for good I've got my life back and feel amazing I know people say don't substitute one drug for another but for me it has made a huge difference to my life and im so glad I gave it the chance and stuck to it.

    I really hope this helps and if you have any questions or anything through out the process please post on these forums I found reading and talking to other people with the same problem really helped

    Good luck

    Marnie

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  • Posted

    hi andy,

    hope my story helps you!

    im 34 years old, i was First prescribed 30/500mg codeine for a back problem 15 years ago. as the years went by i became addicted. the doctor prescribe me 100 tablets every three weeks. However, it was never enough! So I started searching the Internet, started going to local pharmacies, and when that wasn’t enough I would travel 30 miles plus Just to get some Over-the-counter medication i.e. Co-Codamol. It was basically taking over my life, I would wake up in the morning and the first thing I would do is take eight tablets in one, two hours later I will take another eight and so on... I started getting into debt I was spending roughly £14 a day on over-the-counter medication (nurofen plus) as well is having 100 tablets prescribed from the doctor per month....My mood changed I became depressed and I even left my job as i didnt have time in the day to go and find more codeine.. About six months ago I decided enough was enough and I made an appointment with my doctor. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done admitting I was an addict. The doctor told me I could either slowly decrease the amount I was taking (tried that) or refer myself to turning point (NHS drug misuse clinic) so that’s what I did, I referred myself to Turning Point and I’ve never looked back . I spoke to a practitioner in Turning Point about how much I was taking and it was decided that buprenorphine would be the best course to take. In order for buprenorphine to work you have to Withdraw from codeine for 24 hours once you have withdrawn you are then prescribed buprenorphine. I started on 12 mg per day the first couple of days were difficult however once it was settled in my system, I then started to feel a lot better. you have to Withdrawl from codeine for 24 hours, once you have withdrawn you are then prescribed buprenorphine. When you our prescribed buprenorphine, you are supervised by The pharmacist and you have to attend every day until your practitioner at turning point feels you’re able to be put on collections. I was Supervised for 6 months. I haven’t touched a codeine Tablet since day one of the 24-hour withdrawl. The buprenorphine changes the way your body reacts, it makes you think you’re taking codeine when you’re not and helps with the symptoms from withdrawal. Today I have started my buprenorphine reduction I am reducing half a mill every two weeks to make sure that I don’t relapse and dont feel the withdrawl symptoms.. I am 100% committed to never touching codeine again. I nearly lost my family, my home and my own sanity. Buprenorphine is only addictive if you miss using it. You’re practitioner will put you on the right amount so that you don’t become dependent on it. ANYONE CAN REFER THEMSELVES TO A MISS USE DRUG CLINIC

    i hope this helps 😃 and good luck!!

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