9 Comments

  1. kdoumlele

    hmm, where to start: this program is the reason i stopped seeing my sub doc. but here’s some background first.
    i began taking suboxone in october 2007. it has absolutely been a life saver for me to say the least. for 7 years i dealt with heroin/pain killer addiction that i truly thought i would never be free of. but suboxone has changed all that. i’m a loving and commited mom, i pay my bills, just bought a new car, and i’ve held down a good, secure job for almost 2 years now because of suboxone. other than the small nuisance of having to shell over nearly $200 per month for it (insurance refuses to cover sub) i couldn’t be happier now.
    now to the point: a couple months ago my sub doc handed me the “here to help” card and explained that it would help me stay clean. in the back of my mind i was thinking “i’ve never been cleaner and never failed a drug test, i have a good, solid support plan and go to NA meetings once or twice a week…is that not enough for you?” but nevertheless i thanked him and took the card. i did check out “here to help” online but decided the program wasn’t one i felt i needed at this point in my treatment considering i had everything in place support-wise. at my following appointment with my sub doc, he asked me if i signed up for the program and i told him what i had decided. he then frowned at me and said that it was IMPERATIVE that i sign up for it and until then he wasn’t going to write my vyvanse prescription. (i have been taking vyvanse for the same amount of time as the sub) needless to say, i was speechless. can my doc really FORCE me to comply with a program i feel is unneccesary and(to be honest)ridiculous? and now that i read that the purpose of the program may be to keep sub from going generic then i KNOW i want no parts of it! i struggle to afford it as is and look forward to the day it becomes generic!
    so anywho, i am searching frantically for another sub doc in my area before my last script runs out, but is this something i will encounter with all of them? if so, then i hope i’m not doomed after all this time and hard work to remain clean and sober. some “help” that is!

    • Wow— when I hear that, I think ‘thank heavens for generics!’– not the response that R-B wants from their efforts, I would think! Thanks for sharing your experience, and I encourage others to do the same so that I can forward them without your names.
      Anyone have a positive experience?

  2. bones

    I have been tapering off suboxone for a little of over 2 years now. I am taking 1/8 of a 2mg subutex at the moment and I am completely frustrated that I have not been able to stop this. I do believe my doc is frustrated as well although he has been very patient. In an effort to aid me he recommended that I use the here-to-help hotline. Pretty much insisted on it. I was very skeptical. I had good reason to be skeptical. It is completely lame! It is scripted. If I would interupt my person would backtrack a little and repeat word for word what she had said before I was so rude. Responses to most of my questions or comments was “You should talk to your doctor about that.” I got the feeling that she was watched over closely somehow. She would seem to start saying something and then stop and say you should talk to your doctor about that. No help whatsoever!

  3. jaym

    Yes, I enrolled in HTH after my doc, a truly wonderful guy, suggested I try it. I don’t want to believe he has any other motives. However I did enroll and I agree with most of what has already been said. For anyone who has read and researched on the internet, it is old or useless information. Often I know more than they do about suboxone. They are scripted, and every call is recorded. I can often get my guy off track (I specifically requested a male, which for some reason was like asking to move a mountain) by talking about the pharmokenetics or argue about whether sub is an opiate (of course it is). So no more HTH. If they happen to catch me at home I’ll talk to them but not for long. My doc asked me about it and I told him the same thing, he didn’t seem to care and didn’t mention it again.
    I was a bit taken aback by your comment about only receiving a few donations. I donated 30 a few weeks ago (maybe a couple months) ago via Pay Pal for generously answering my questions.
    I know you like newer research so here is one I found. It is about inducing withdrawal with naltrexone then rescuing with sub. My question is, obviously the sub has a higher affinity for the receptors than naltrexone for the rescue to work, but would the same thing work with oxycontin followed by naltrexone followed by a sub rescue?
    http://www.psychiatrymmc.com/buprenorphine-rescue-from-naltrexone-induced-opioid-withdrawal-during-relatively-rapid-detoxification-from-high-dose-methadone-a-novel-approach/
    Thanks

  4. sweetpea

    Well…I have been addicted to heroin/painkillers for the past 8 years…ever since I was 12. I’ve been to rehab…which worked for awhile…but mostly I believe it was the 12 step meetings that kept me sober. Of course though, I go back to using. So about 3 years post rehab, I hear about suboxone and think to myself ‘hey this might work, let’s give it a try!’ I call a doctor and it was like bam! easy as one two three. you’re in the door with your first phone call. Seemed to easy to me, I don’t know about it though. So I go to the first appointment and she says to me, “You must take the pills correctly, and call the number on the back of this Here to Help card TONIGHT!” So it seemed fishy to me. But I listened, because if not I wasn’t allowed to be in her program. Also, if I don’t bring my here to help book to my appointment EVERY time. I won’t be allowed to get my medication. I am not happy at all, with HTH. I only muddle through it because I have to. The HTH program is ridiculous, and it’s also ridiculous that my doctor is so worried about the money that she refuses to treat patients if they don’t comply with her rule on participating in the HTH program. These people do absolutely no good talking to me on the phone about things that I ALREADY KNOW for twenty minutes a week. It poses absolutely no benefit to me or my recovery, except for the simple fact that I have to do it. They talk to me about a goal, how I can achieve it, and anything that might be a danger to my recovery in the upcoming week. Then they repeat the exact same things that they say week after week. Just randomn statements about suboxone in general and then like a safety statement or something. I completely agree with everyone else. I go to a twelve step meeting, where the people aren’t paid to give advice or anything and I get WAYYYY more out of that than I every will with HTH. The HTH program is nothing but a bunch of robots talking over the phone that are supposedly called “care coaches.” It sure doesn’t seem like they care when they barely listen and just say “okay now i’ll tell you a little bit about this….” then continue reading the next thing they are required to say! One could almost say that they were going to go postal and shoot someone, and I’m not sure if they would even CARE, they would just keep on reading. This pharmaceutical company could save a lot of money and just have an automated system that talks to the patients because thats basically what this care coach stuff is anyway. Any and EVERY question I have ever asked my HTH care coach, the answer has been, “I’m not sure… maybe you should talk with your doctor about that.” So what’s the point!? It’s a waste of my time and their money! But I’ve spoken with someone else who goes to my same doctor…and they called the first day of their treatment to the HTH number. HTH sent this person their book and has never contacted him since. He must have slipped through the cracks and someone forgot about him. But he has no complaints. The doctor never asks about the program or how it is going. She just makes sure her patients have their book, and she flips through it a little bit just to see if you’re writing in it. She (the doctor) refuses to go through any insurance for any of her patients that are on the program. She charges 100 dollars per visit (which in the beginning, one has to go every two weeks). Plus pay for the prescription. It’s too much! When I read that subutex is much cheaper, I thought…why am I not on that?! Oh and the urine samples that one is randomnly required to give cost the patient $99 a piece! It’s all a money gimmick. The next time I go I am without a doubt, asking about being switched to subutex! But I’m sure, I’ll be turned down…hmmm. But what can I do about it?! I feel as though it’s hopeless. But I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who finds it pointless.

  5. sumiink

    I recently went off Suboxone after 4 months on and tapering off a (n average) 8 mg dose. I had a good, supportive doctor, who recommended calling HTH. I registered on their website first, and eventually called and got assigned to one of their phone counselors. I talked to her once; the only question I had was about withdrawal from Suboxone, and she said there would be none if I tapered according to the doctor’s directions (wrong). After playing phone tag with Here to Help for a few weeks, I stopped calling.
    One of the reasons I think my doctor wanted me to be in touch with them was something about getting free Sub prescriptions if I wanted to remain on a long-term maintenance dosage (I didn’t). I figured it couldn’t hurt to have all the support I could get, but I’ve had success with 12-step meetings and work, and kept busy in other ways. My opinion is that Here to Help could be a small supplement to the rest of an addict’s treatment, but not helpful on its own.

  6. myopinion

    It seem short-sighted to dismiss the benefits of any disease management or health management program. As treatment providers we are unable to predict who will benefit and who will not. Patients I have worked with on Suboxone have been reluctant to participate, but those who did, said they liked the program. Being suspect of R-B’s motives for the creation of the program does not mean it is not effective. Also, to look at only the info they present is to ignore the mountain of evidence that supports these types of programs in other chronic disease states such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, etc. We ARE trying to have addiction accepted as a real disease state aren’t we? Would you rather have them not offer a support program? To call into question their motives would be to call into question all companies that offer any good or service. Do you think Wal-Mart is offering goods to help you out and not for profit? Are Amazon and Google just trying to make the world a better place with no profit motive…no value motive to maintain your loyalty to their services? Who criticizes a product or company where an effort to increase VALUE is a bad thing? I would recommend people check their own biases and how they might be a factor in maintaining a attitude of skepticism, distrust and negativity in your own life or recovery.
    As a healthcare provider who also has family in the pharmaceutical industry I see the other side too. Generics are cheaper, but do you think the generic companies are making these drugs to help you out? No, they make them to make money, and in fact, make bigger marginal profits than the original companies that spent the time, effort, money and risk to develop them. Do you think Walgreens, CVS, etc. offers generics so aggressively to help you out? No, they do it, again, because they have bigger profit margins. Did you know that most retail pharmacy managers get bonuses based on profit margin, so they have an incentive to switch you to the generic? Not always a focus on your health or what’s best for you.
    I take generics too when appropriate, but remember this; if you think real pharmaceutical companies will continue to research and develop drugs for free, you are mistaken. Generic companies do not create new drugs, so be warned about taking the development of new treatments like Suboxone for granted; it may not always happen. Has anyone considered that R-B might be working on new drugs for alcohol, benzos, barbituates, cocaine, meth, etc.? Where do you think the money for that research and development comes from? Not from the generic companies.

    • You are preaching to the choir on ‘profit motive’– I am pure capitalist on the idea of making money from one’s discoveries, and I am aware, as are you, of the cost of drug development. To be fair, though, R-B did not ‘invent’ buprenorphine; it had been around for 30 years, and was being used for opiate dependence already in an awkward way (using liquid temgesic). Someone at R-B, formerly a floor cleaning product company in the UK, had the foresight to see the profits available in creating a dissolvable form. They have had that product for a decade now, with FDA approval for 7 years— and they have made plenty of money. They have done some good things, and some bad things. They are the only pharmaceutical company I know, for example, that limits patient participation to TWO patients per doctor– up to a generous 4 patients if you treat 100. That is pretty pathetic; Astra Zeneca, for example, has no such restriction on the number of my patients on Seroquel, which is a much more complicated medication than buprenorphine that took a lot longer to develop!
      Your comments about pharmacies are not relevant to this discussion so I won’t say much– accept that in my state, as in many others, pharmacies are required by law to use generic in all cases where a generic is available– unless the doctor specifically writes otherwise.
      As for HTH specifically, I think that RB should make up their minds over what they do. If they want to make pharmaceuticals, then spend time making pharmaceuticals, and get some help from the ‘big guys’ so that it doesn’t take 7 years to educate the physician community about the drug! There are still large areas of the country where doctors have no idea what ‘suboxone’ is; in other areas, people who take suboxone are told by even the prescribing doc that ‘you can only take it for 4 weeks’. I have such fools in the county treatment center here in Fond du Lac– the psychiatrists see buprenorphine as a short-term bridge. I don’t know what they THINK they are bridging to, but in reality it is only a bridge to further use, the way they use it. I have been around for three years, one of their ‘advocates’– they used me a few times to talk to one or two docs, when they should have been holding lectures every week at every grand rounds in the state. Their excuse is that they had limited resources…. but they could have done what other companies do, i.e.pair up with another company to roll out the product in a way that the physician community can quickly learn about the medication. The efforts they are spending on HTH are clearly needed elsewhere. And going by the comments about HTH, it does not sound like the program is the answer to the counseling needs of addicts.
      My main frustration comes from the total lack of access to anyone at RB beyond their marketing people. For three years I have asked, or waited ‘on hold’ to ask, about applying for an unrestricted grant to fund educational efforts about buprenorphine. For every other company I know of as a psychiatrist, the application is on the web site; I know that because as Chief Resident in psychiatry residency I applied for and received such funding for our educational retreat each year. RB has no such web site, and for some reason I cannot even find a person who will discuss the issue. And yet there are sites here and there with their brand prominently displayed that disclose being funded by RB. What’s THAT all about?

  7. Kevin5115

    my problem with this is I can’t find a doctor anywhere in MN. I got a list of DR.s that supposedly take patients. I have 1 out of 30 that might be a possibility and that is a 9 month wait. About a third of the numbers I got are either disconnected or don’t know what I’m talking about. What gives? I now have a NABBIT ID number that you use when you call a number, and than they tell you if a DR. has an opening. What a farce, as far as I’m concerned this program is a joke.

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