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Old 10-02-2005, 11:11 AM   #1
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katkat HB User
tapering off

I tapered off to 20mg of Kadian a day. Doc gave me methadone to take two times a day for five days, then one, one time a day. Today I started the once a day routine. So far I have not had any withdrawal symptoms. When I was getting the Kadian (morphine) down to 20mg per day I had some hot and cold flashes, chest congestion , runny nose, chills and aches but now I am not having any. I am so relieved.
Tomorrow will be the test as I won't take another methadone tablet until about 3pm. If I don't have symptoms I am going to go a little longer than 24 hours before I take the next one. AFter five days of once a day, I'll then do half a pill a day.
When pray tell are they going to come up with any pain relievers that are not narcotic? While I feel good about what I am doing I am still suffering from increasing pain, but to me its worth it. I am starting to feel different inside.......alive!

 
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Old 10-04-2005, 04:13 AM   #2
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Re: tapering off

I wanted to say I hope your doing okay and that your withdrawl is over.
I don't think I'll ever be able to come of the meds but if I could I don't know what I'd do as methadone is what I'm on.
Good luck..
Linda

 
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Old 10-04-2005, 04:41 AM   #3
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Re: tapering off

Linda my pain doc said that if I have symptoms I can use loratabs or vicodine for a few days afterwards. My husband has a script for Loratabs and I have three held back just in case. I plan to cut them in half. From the way I hear these drugs are like stepping stones. Morphine is stronger than Methadone so I used it as a stepping stone, but if you are already on methadone then something weaker is used. If you are dependant on loratabs or vicodin then you would have to taper off to the lowest does, then maybe to to ultam. I do not have any kind of addictive traits what so ever so it is easier for me than most people.
One thing I've noticed this week since I'm no longer on the morphing.......besides more pain.....lol.....I feel better inside........its hard to explain, clearer? Its really hard to explain. I just feel more alive! I know that the pain issue is still there, the morphine was not working anymore and I didn't want to keep adding more drugs to my body so why take it if it isn't working. I just didn't realize how little it was working until I went off of it. But I feel tons better in my head.

 
Old 10-04-2005, 04:59 AM   #4
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Re: tapering off

It is good to know that you are doing alright in tapering off your meds. I just wanted to let you know that morphine is definetely not stronger than methadone. methadone is much stronger than morphine but some docs like to use it to help a person wean off of their pain meds.
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Old 10-04-2005, 05:23 AM   #5
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Re: tapering off

Not in the strength I am taking. I am taking 5mgs of methadone now (the first five days I was on 10mg per day of methadone), I had systematically reduced my morphine to 20mgs.
I guess I should have said that the strength I am taking is less for pain relief....not that I am getting any pain relief you understand.
I lowest amount of Kadian, a time released morphine is 20, so I couldn't go any lower than that, thus the reason for switching over I guess.

 
Old 10-14-2005, 12:04 PM   #6
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Re: tapering off

I'm having a heck of a time trying to get off Ativan. I was off it for 68 days last summer but the pain came back and i got on it again. Now i can't seem to sleep without it and i get spasams when i try to withdraw.

 
Old 10-14-2005, 01:12 PM   #7
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Re: tapering off

That is not a pain killer is it? I thought it was an anti anxiety medication. I suppose getting off of it would be the same as a narcotic. First things first, you have to want to get off of it. Second you have to slowly reduce your dose every five days or so until you are down to about 1/4 of a pill. That is what I did. The last time I took morphine was more than two weeks ago, and the last time I took methadone was Monday evening. On Monday I took 1/4 of a 5mg pill. I decided that was it, I was done. I counted the days as I chilled and hurt......although it was not nearly as bad as going right off the morphine, tried that and fail. Today is Friday and I have no symptoms at all. I feel pretty good. I still am not sleeping very well but that will eventually come. Last night I had a severe pain issue that rears its ugly head every once in a while as it did last night. I had some methadone and loratabs here but I did not take them. I suffered it out as I am today. Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow (the pain) because I am not getting back on narcotics.....now way.

 
Old 10-15-2005, 12:30 AM   #8
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Re: tapering off

Quote:
Originally Posted by tucker73
I'm having a heck of a time trying to get off Ativan. I was off it for 68 days last summer but the pain came back and i got on it again. Now i can't seem to sleep without it and i get spasams when i try to withdraw.
Ativan is a benzo, and is not the same as withdrawl from opiates. If your having problems getting off the Ativan successfully you should ask your doctor to help you. The doctor might substitute it with Valium, which has a longer half life and might be an easier way to ease down the taper. Once your off and the w/d symptoms are gone that is the toughest time. Benzos stick with you for years, and they are very difficult to stop permanently, but it can be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katkat
That is not a pain killer is it? I thought it was an anti anxiety medication. I suppose getting off of it would be the same as a narcotic. First things first, you have to want to get off of it. Second you have to slowly reduce your dose every five days or so until you are down to about 1/4 of a pill. That is what I did. The last time I took morphine was more than two weeks ago, and the last time I took methadone was Monday evening. On Monday I took 1/4 of a 5mg pill. I decided that was it, I was done. I counted the days as I chilled and hurt......although it was not nearly as bad as going right off the morphine, tried that and fail. Today is Friday and I have no symptoms at all. I feel pretty good. I still am not sleeping very well but that will eventually come. Last night I had a severe pain issue that rears its ugly head every once in a while as it did last night. I had some methadone and loratabs here but I did not take them. I suffered it out as I am today. Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow (the pain) because I am not getting back on narcotics.....now way.
I can't tell you how much I wish I could live without these medications, as I'm sure most if not all the members on here would agree. I am glad to see your doing well, keep it up, its worth it.

I have come off of these medication more times than I can remember, only to find that my life is miserable in pain without them. There will be a much higher level of pain experienced for months after tapering off the opiates, so expect to have quite a bit of pain for awhile. The elevated level of pain following the elimination of pain meds is normal and can last for months, its part of a long withdrawl that the body goes through, much longer than the mental and physical w/d's of the meds. In my case, I simply could not walk without pain meds. Its been a couple of years now since my last surgery and I think I might make another go of trying to get off the meds, but I am going to be much more prepared this time. I know what to expect, and how the pain is going to increase, so I will be off my feet and using everything I can that might relieve pain.

I've heard that hot baths can really make a world of difference. You might just have to schedule that in as a daily routine. One might need to spend 20-30 min with some ice or heat everyday. Meditation. TENS, accupuncture, etc. Personally I would do all of those things every single day if it would free me from being bound to medications that cause so many distractions from what I want to do with my life.

I am only offering what I have experienced to help in what you might endure, in your goal of being opiate-free. Again, I appreciate the fact that you are doing so well. I just hope that you are prepared for the times when the pain will get bad, because it will. I'm sorry if I'm bringing too much of my own experience into this, but its just because I wish you the best and hope that it works out.

Every time I come to this board and read what CP patients have to endure to get through the day, the more I feel that I'm not alone in dealing with it. I will continue to learn from everyone and keep trying new things to help with the pain. I wish that someday science can provide us with a much better tool to control pain and live through a day without looking at a clock to see when the next pill can be taken to knock off a tiny bit of the pain.

Sorry to go on rambling, but I am really glad to hear when CP people are able to take control and leave the meds aside. I just hope that I still have that option. I don't know what your past experience has been in attempting to get off of opiates, so I assumed that this might have been a first attempt. Just remember that you will experience a great deal of clarity when you have gone without the meds for say a few weeks to a couple months. That clarity will make you feel great and you'll wonder why you ever continued on the meds. But then after that initial clarity your pain will return and with the clear head, in my case anyway, I had made a clear decision that I needed to go back on the meds. That is the toughest point, and I know I will face it again. I just wanted to warn you of it. That is when you need to be your strongest and alert everyone that is aware of your desire to be off the meds for good that you are in pain and need help. Help can come from the meditation, friends, hot baths, etc. Just don't leave yourself in your own company at those times because the mind is a powerful thing.

Again, this has been my experience and I hope that in some way you get something from it.

Good luck, God Bless.

 
Old 10-15-2005, 06:55 AM   #9
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Re: tapering off

Don't worry about rambling, I think it helps us all. I have indeed experienced a great deal of pain since being drug free. I pulled out two loratabs and put them away again. I flushed all the morphine and I think I will flush the methadone today. That way I won't get tempted. My feet are the bane of my existence. I've been talking with another person who suffers from the same problem and she is getting a more radical surgery in the next week or two. If this is successful for her then I will be on the search for a doctor that will be willing to do the same thing. I remember a doc numbing my feet with Cortisone injects and numbing meds, for three hours I walked around pain free. My God it was wonderful. I had forgotten how good it felt to feel normal. It makes me want to cry remembering it. Now that I am drug free I have to make sure I don't allow myself to fall into depression again. I might take a couple asprins today, I wonder if it would help at all. I told hubby that I think I need to hire someone once or twice a week to clean the house, he was up for it. Cool. I can keep up the dishes and laundry and cooking and save the rest for hired help.
I was wondering if insurances will ever start paying for botox injections for pain. It seems to make sense to me that it could help me in my situation. Now here I am rambling.
take care, and thanks for your post.

 
Old 10-16-2005, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: tapering off

Well, well I was doing so well in getting off the drugs. I've been off completely since last monday when I took 1/4 of a 5mg methadone.
Here are the symptoms I am having.
1. sleepless nights........how long does it last?
2. extra amount of pain.........how long does that last?
3. I am so flipping cold all the time, chilling even if I am a bit sweaty......does that make sense? Today is my sixth day without drugs.

 
Old 10-16-2005, 09:07 PM   #11
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Re: tapering off

Quote:
Originally Posted by katkat
Well, well I was doing so well in getting off the drugs. I've been off completely since last monday when I took 1/4 of a 5mg methadone.
Here are the symptoms I am having.
1. sleepless nights........how long does it last?
2. extra amount of pain.........how long does that last?
3. I am so flipping cold all the time, chilling even if I am a bit sweaty......does that make sense? Today is my sixth day without drugs.
That is great, keep it up as every day you will get better and better.

#1. Sleepless nights are to be expected, and I'd say in about another few days to a week your body will finally be done with physical withdrawl. That will follow with nights that your body will probably need long hours of sleep, could be 8-12 hrs. Its your body getting back to normal in being without the stimulus of the medication. Even though the opiates don't have too much stimulant effect, other than oxy which has quite a bit of stimulant type effect. The body will start developing a normal pattern of sleep and activity based on your natural energy as opposed to being supplemented by the meds.

#2. The pain all depends on how fast your body can adjust to being without the meds. As soon as you start getting normal sleep, and feeling like normal again, this pain will start to decrease. I think much of it is mental pain, with the onset of your body being totally against the idea of having to deal with pain without meds. This is the toughest of everything you will experience, and as long as you recognize that and accept that you will have pain for awhile in exchange from being free from the meds its worth the struggle. You will probably need to give it a good couple months before your body can start processing pain like most people(you will have a higher tolerance for pain because of what originally started you on the meds). It will require taking much more time to create a daily schedule that keeps the pain from flairing up beyond control. This is the toughest part for me because one slip during this stage, taking any medication ruins almost the whole battle because of how well such a minimal dose works. My mind would tell me that I have done so well in getting myself off the meds, and now I can get by on a much smaller dose every once and awhile. Nope, not quite. Soon after that every now and then dose, I'm back to being dependant on them.

#3. Cold sweats , completely normal. They are annoying because you can't get comfortable. Best thing to do is take showers/baths and keep washing your bed sheets because you will sweat alot during this time. Nothing much more can be done unless your in alot of pain and then you can try using ice/heat , elevating, massage, meditation, etc. Drink lots of water. Try to eat good , healthy meals so that your body has as much strength to fight this as possible. Getting rest is important, and in the evening have a cup of Chamomile Tea. If you've never heard of it, just do a google search on Chamomile and you will see its benefits.

Your doing great at 6 days. I would say around day 14 and you should be feeling great. Your taste and sense of smell will come back, and you will really enjoy food so treat yourself. Also, this is a good time to read some books on spirituality. As you are getting off the meds, you will really gain alot from the reading and it will help with the struggle. Being free from meds is a luxury that if you can have its up there with being a millionare but instead of having money its having freedom. I envy people that can live without this dependance and I'm working on trying everything I can to become one. Its a personal decision with the meds, and I just much prefer my normal self as opposed to my opiate dependant self.

The more time you spend with others the less time you are left to dwell on the pain. I would like to know if there are pain specialists / psychologists that specialize in pain mgmt without meds. That would be an ideal person to help in telling you what you are likely experiencing and how to deal with what your body is going through.

Good luck, God Bless.

 
Old 10-17-2005, 06:26 AM   #12
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Re: tapering off

Thanks Amsterdam, that helps a lot. At least it gives me an idea of what to expect. I don't know what I can do about my pain. Part of me says except it and work around it because I don't want to live on narcotics ever again, but ........I know it will be a battle to fight depression. I just keep thinking how unfair it is not to be able to walk to the kitchen for a drink of water without wanting to cry. I want to relax in the evening without having my feet throb and burn like they are on fire. I am praying it subsides a little, but I also remember I got on the morphine for a reason in the first place. I am planning on working with a doc who specializes in strengthening body parts to prevent pain, but that will come later. I have a few other physical things to take care of first.
Last night I took a melatonin and one benadryl, neither are addictive but help with sleep. I keep saying I feel better being off the drugs, and I do mentally but not physically. I"d like to say it and mean it......not just lying to myself, ya know?
I'll check into the tea thing this week, I've never been much of a tea drinker but hear it is really good for you. I was thinking of buying a tea set to make it a special ritual, like it is a real treat for me, then maybe I'll come to enjoy it. lol
I never noticed I lost any sense of smell........I just hope I don't gain weight! I gained 8 pounds last winter but lost it this summer. I sure don't need food tasting better too me.
thanks again, I'll report back next week. In the mean time I'll cook on days I don't have laundry to do, and on the laundry days I'll use the crock pot, less time on my feet. Gotta learn those short cuts when you have two feet that has betrayed you, ya know.
Kat

 
Old 10-17-2005, 12:24 PM   #13
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Re: tapering off

Hey Kit Kat, I'm glad yorur feeling well and congrats on the acomplishment. I think many of us need to test ourselves and see where we are without the meds or using less meds for our own piece of mind.

You may have read where I descibe going from oral meds to ITmeds as going from a very gray or black and white world back to full technicolor. Which is a great feeling and maybe that makes more sense to you now.

Amstrdam is correct though, There are 3 distinct phases of withdrawal. The initial "sickness' fromr the first 2-3 weeks, then there is a period from 30-90 days and finally the last 3 months is when your brain chemistrty truly reverts back to an opiate free persons. Endorpin and Enkephlins "natural pain killers" wind back up and sleep paterns start returning to normal, but with the chemical changs going on you are still not on completely solid ground, where reaching for the pain meds is easy to justify especially when the pain is real.

Depression during withdrawal "the whle 6 months" is for some reason rarely spoken off. Which is strange because it's a very profound depression but it will pass and you know if the pain ever gets too bad you do have options to treat what you can't manage. You have proven to yourself you can put it back down when your ready too.

Anything you can use to help, go for it. Check out the relaxtion techniques, they really can break the cycle of a flair, spend the extra money on orthodic shoes, whatever helps.
I hope you have a good winter and keep us posted
Take care,Dave

Last edited by Shoreline; 10-17-2005 at 12:29 PM.

 
Old 10-17-2005, 01:17 PM   #14
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Re: tapering off

Shoreline, I had went into a real depression for the first time in my life just before my second surgery. I think my brain knew that I was wasting my time with the surgery and my brain knew that the pain was always going to be there. I was one of those smug persons that thought depression was feeling sorry for yourself. ha, boy did I get smacked down for that. I stayed on antidepressants for a year and a half then I told my doctor I had come to except the cards that life has dealt me and I wanted off of the Welbutrin. It did its job when I needed it. That was around the time that I got on the morphine. It was wonderful at first. But the relief that it brings is not worth the side effects for me. I realize that is a personal decision. I also know that most who come to this website are not on narcotics because they like to take them. I've been to those sites, you tell from the post many times who is on them for other reasons besides pain.......personally I've never felt a "buzz" from any narcotics. Yeah I got dizzy, nausea, sleepy, but no buzz. lol
Anyway I don't see myself going back on them. Which is a scary thought because I don't know how I am going to deal with it. Its not like I can not use my feet. I've done it all, the best shoes, inserts, pt, injections, castings.......ugh. I found another website that has so many others like me that it is scary. I don't want to read there, it is depressing.
Whenever I wonder where I am in my withdrawal stage I'll stop back in here and read this thread. Today I was so cold and I looked at the thermostat and it said 72 in here. I was really really cold, my hands felt like ice as did my face and nose........is that withdrawal too? I was chilled throughout my entire body. brrrrr I hate being cold.
Thanks Dave,
Kat

 
Old 10-18-2005, 08:52 PM   #15
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Re: tapering off

**** I am having a great deal of pain, how can I live like this.......waaaaah having a bad day/night here. ~sigh. j
Shoreline did you say that it will be worse, the pain, for three months?
I think I'll go to bed, if I can sleep it won't hurt. Also, what is IT meds?

 
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