My son had 7 weeks of radiation treatments for cancer in his head and, because of the pain this caused, he was prescribed oxycodon among other painkillers. The pain was quite severe at times, so the dosages were large. He's now taking only oxycodon, 3 doses per day (he was taking 8-10 larger doses daily at one point), but really wants to get completely off the stuff. At least part of him does, but the other, addicted part of him pushes him to stay on it.
He has been on oxycodon for more than a year now, probably about 15 months.
He indicates that he still has some pain but he says he's not sure that he's just not thinking he's feeling this because he's hooked on it.
He's getting counseling from an addiction specialist here in Florida, but it doesn't seem to be making any difference. At this stage, we're kind of lost as to what to do next and, although we're not desperate yet, but we're very worried. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, welcome to the Boards, sorry for what brought you here, but hopefully we can help you some. At this point I doubt your son is having much pain, radiation is not something that usually creates long term after-the-fact pain. He'll tell himself he's still in pain because that makes it okay to continue the Oxycodone.
Oxycodone is a short acting narcotic, has about a 3.5 hour half life. He has been taking it a while, but if he's down to only 3 times a day that's a good thing. The addiction specialist is great and Lord knows you can find them all over Florida, but if he doesn't click with the person, your wasting your money. You don't say how old your son is.
2 things affect how you can proceed, your sons age, and what dosage (mg) he's taking 3 times a day. The best way to detox off of narcotics or opiods is to taper down. He's already done this quite a bit by lessening his daily doses, so it shouldn't be unfamiliar to him. Basically you take a certain amount away each week until you get down to a small enough dose that he can stop from, usually 2 - 5mgs. Without knowing what dosage he's on, can't really give an example of a tapering schedule. The other contributing factor is his age, if he's a minor then you control his meds and buy them for him, so you can taper him down off the meds and he can't do much about it. If he's an adult, he really has to want to get off the drugs or he's not going to, it's that simple. You can't force him because you don't control his meds. Tapering is the easiest way to get off the drugs, you take gradual steps down and by the time you get to a low enough dose to stop, the withdrawal symptoms you will have will be much, much less than if you'd stopped cold turkey.
The Following User Says Thank You to katlin09 For This Useful Post: Leo46 (04-30-2012)
My son is 36 yrs old, so it's entirely up to him as you say. As his dad, I'm just trying to give him some encouragement and advice, but I think he pretty well knows what he must do.
I believe his dosage is down to 5 mg per pill., but I'm not sure. Could be 10 mg.
I'll be accompanying him on his next visit to the oncologist so will ask about the likelihood of his having residual pain from radiation, 10 months later. I think my son needs to hear it from his docs that pain is probably not that likely at this point.
Yes there are many pain mgmt and addiction specialists here in FL. Too many. Finding the right one is the hard part. Trying to get my son to meet again with his primary care physician to get recommendations for both. The pain mgmt doc he has now is interested in writing scripts, little else. The addiction specialist is with the county. Don't know that much about him, but my son does see him pretty often, which is a good thing.
I'm thinking that it might help if my son were to set it up so that he'd have to go into a clinic each time to get the oxycodone pill, rather than having the entire Rx available to him all the time. It would be a hassle, but it would prevent him from taking too much at one time, which is something he has done in the past.
Thank you again for your thoughtful response.
If he's down to 5mg pills 3 times a day, then quitting will not be as hard as he thinks. He's scared. The psychological aspects are making him hold on probably more so than the physical ones at this point. He could very easily taper down off the drugs, even if he's taking 30mgs a day.
Unfortunately clinics don't usually hold taper meds for a patient to come in and pick up. You could hold the meds for him, go to his appt. with him, talk to his Dr. let him know what your doing, get approval for the taper, get his recommendation for a schedule, and you hold the meds and have your son come to you to get them each day. That would be one solution.
Most likely he doesn't even need to be in pain management anymore. If he's down to that small amount of oxycodone, he's not getting any kind of pain relief from it, his tolerance has built up from the higher doses he was on. I can just about guarantee you he doesn't even get a high or any kind or euphoria from it either...the psychological hold from narcotic addiction can be incredibly strong. And it will be...he'll have to be very careful in the future, if he has to take pain meds for anything, he'll most likely abuse them.
I know this is a very hard thing for both of you to go through for different reasons, especially after your child dealt with cancer....but stay tough, the quicker he gets off this stuff, the quicker he can get back to living life.
The Following User Says Thank You to katlin09 For This Useful Post: Leo46 (05-03-2012)
Thank you again, Kat. I was wrong about his pill strength; he's taking three 15 mg. of oxycodone daily. He insists that he's still having some throat pain.
Not sure how amenable he'd be to my dispensing the pills as a way to taper down to nothing, but I may suggest it. Appreciate your advice.