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Old 05-12-2008, 09:46 PM   #1
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Thumbs down trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

I recently had a discectomy for a herniated disc which I suffered with for 5 months. I was on a progression of painkillers to deal with the pain, starting with Vicodin, to Norco, to, finally, Percocet. At the end, I was taking about 10-12 pills (10mg/325mg) per day.

After the surgery, my doctor gave me only 40 pills of a lower dosage (5mg/325mg). He told me to taper down my usage. With that small of a prescription, I assume he means pretty quickly!

I've tapered down to 1/2-3/4 of a (5mg) percocet every 4-6 hours now but I'm in an almost constant state of anxiety and headache pain. I need to get back to normal FAST for my job - I can probably take the rest of the week off but will have to be back to work a week from today, and can not possibly imagine dealing with what I'm dealing with now, at work.

So I'm wondering if, since I'm suffering already, I should go:
COLD TURKEY (and just sweat it out over the next 5-6 days or so)
or
CONTINUE TO TAPER - either at the same pace, more aggressively, or more gradually (meaning I need to beg my surgeon for more pills which I really hate to do for a number of reasons)

Reading on the net, it seems there are entirely different schools of thought - some people that absolutely think cold turkey is the way to go, others that think you must taper. I don't see any middle ground. And I don't see any reliable information on programs - they all seem to be for-profit detox clinics.

Any advice? Many thanks in advance.

 
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:59 AM   #2
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

Hello post,

How is the pain post-surgery?

I ask this because tapering is alright but I am wondering if your pain needs will be fully addressed.

It is true that there are different schools of thought but my primary concern is your well being.

I would discuss how you are feeling at this juncture with your physician.

Take care.

Respectfully stated,

Phoenix

 
Old 05-13-2008, 05:47 AM   #3
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

Thank you Phoenix1. The surgery was very successful, and I have virtually none of the pain I had before in my back.

The percocet I'm taking now is just to deal with the anxiety, headaches, etc.

 
Old 05-13-2008, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

Hello post,

In that case, I would continue to taper, under your doctors supervision.

Above all else, be up front and honest about your past and present intake of meds.

Take care.

Phoenix

 
Old 05-13-2008, 02:58 PM   #5
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

Well, the extent of his tapering instructions were "taper down your intake of percocet". That's it. (Mind you, he only gave me 40 pills @ 5 mg, too!)

Does anyone have any advice on how quickly you can taper down and not completely suffer the effects of withdrawal?

And, if I decide to go down the Cold Turkey route, how long does withdrawal hellishness last?

(I know YMMV and each person's experience is different, but anything anyone can share from personal experience would be much appreciated!)

Last edited by postdiscectomy; 05-13-2008 at 03:15 PM.

 
Old 05-13-2008, 03:14 PM   #6
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

Hello post,

Could he have meant to take the pills only when necessary and if more is needed to call him?

His medical advice is vague at best.

I would, at the very least, call and speak to either the doc or his assistant to get a clearer picture of what is required.

Just a suggestion.

Take care.

Respectfully,

Phoenix

 
Old 05-15-2008, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

You could go to your regular family doctor and see if they could help you. I know there are things they can give you to help with the withdrawal. If you explain to them you've been taking it because of your surgery and now that you are trying to stop it's causing problems with withdrawal maybe they could help. Really the best thing is to slowly taper down.

By the way I'm having a microdiscectomy next week. I've been taking Ultram for my pain. I'm not sure how hard it is to get off of that stuff but I guess I"ll find out. Then it'll be percocet next week and vicodin after my surgery. Last time I had this surgery I only took the vicodin for 5 days and tapered down and the last day without any drugs I had anxiety but it only lasted for 1 day. Not sure how long it lasts when you've been on narcotics longer.

Last edited by Kari7171; 05-15-2008 at 10:31 PM.

 
Old 06-17-2008, 09:46 AM   #8
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

You need to ween off it. I believe the lesser the dose, the easier it is to come off it. If you're on a high dose, ask your doctor to prescribe a lower dose until you can ween off it entirely. Hopefully your doctor isn't as clueless as mine who has suddenly decided to stop me cold turkey. I'm not looking forward to that withdrawal. (went through vicodin withdrawal about five years ago quitting cold turkey and I was in hell, sweating, shaking, crying, vomiting). You absolultely must ween off narcotics. Any doctor who doesn't get that is an idiot.

 
Old 06-17-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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Re: trying to get off percocet - don't know which road to take

I have tried to quit cold turkey and it was pure hell! I can't go through that again. I've gone off Fentynal patches cold turkey, and norco cold turkey and they both were hell. Ironically, the first time I went cold turkey (from norco) I didn't know anything about withdrawals - I just thought you could stop taking pills and the only thing that I would struggle with were urges. So, being so naive to things, I thought I had the flu during withdrawals, along with insomnia. I didn't connect the "flu" feelings to my stopping the norco for some reason. I learned about withdrawals quickly after that!!

If you can find someone who can prescribe Suboxone (most primary care docs can't), that will make your withdrawals SOOO much easier. At least it did for me. I know there are differing opinions on Suboxone and I'm just sharing my experience with it. However, Suboxone is also something that you can't just stop cold turkey, but for me it's always been a very easy taper. Just a thought. It also helped with the cravings which was really my biggest challenge. You didn't mention if you are addicted or not, or if you just have a physical dependence, so if you're not addicted the Suboxone probably wouldn't be the best route to take.

Good luck with things!

 
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