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mic32 02-09-2004 11:47 PM

tapering off vicodin
I had bad tension headaches and migranes several months ago and started taking 2 vicodin a day for about four months. I have tapered off to about 1 a day. I get headaches if I don't take one, but I'm wondering if at this point the headaches are coming from the pills themselves.

I've noticed that I get sinus headaches and headaches in my temples. Is it the vicodin that is doing it. My doctor tells me that my sinuses are clear. I think I am slightly hooked, but I know if I don't take one I will have a really bad headache. How long will the headache side effects last when I quit taking them all-together.

I need to end this vicodin roller coaster, but I don't want to do it drastically, like jumping off a cliff. Any suggestions?

kindaunwell 02-10-2004 12:35 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Hey, Mic.

Welcome to the Board.!!! I am sure other people will be posting to ya also. I would say to you, NOW is the best time to stop altogether. The most you will expierence is only a few days of discomfort, and mostly mild at that.!
This way you will be able to tell if you are having Headaches naturally. If so, maybe you can get by with Tylenol or Excedrin. Taking Vikes for long periods, usually leads to an esculation in the amount of pills needed to maintain the same effect. Tolerance build-up and all that kinda stuff. And before you know it, they will jump all over you, in a "New York Minute."!!! Its happened to soo many good people here on this Board already. I advise you, Mic, to listen to their stories. They are "for real".....

Well, Take Good Care, Mic, I,ll be here most any time...


Banker 02-10-2004 03:00 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Hi and welcome - I agree... If you just stopped taking them now, you would not feel major, full blown withdrawals. Just mild discomfort for about 3 or 4 days. Then, after a week or so, you will be able to know if the pills are causing the headaches, etc. They are SO addicting and i started out just taking one here or there for pain and then before I knew it, I was taking 20 pills per day. I'm a VP at a bank with three children. It can happen to anyone. And it can happen to you so I would just stop completely. If you are still having headaches, your doc can prescribe a non narcotic for you that will work just as good if not better than the vikes. Trust me, I've been there and now I'm an addict for the rest of my life.

lisaaahubb 02-10-2004 04:10 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Go to your doctor and ask for Imitrex, i have taken it in the past for migraines and it is non-narcotic....don't fall into the false sense that those vikes give you. You are probably not even going to be sick when you stop taking them. Go see a doctor and see if there is an alternative to help w/the headaches.........that little pill will eventually destroy your life. I started out on one or two a day too. That changes w/out you even realizing it. Try to find the source of your headache.

Philster2003 02-10-2004 04:45 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Mic; I think the advice you gotten is very sound. I would be highly surprised if the vicodin was the cause of the headaches. But if it was by chance withdrawal symptoms hang with you for 3-5 days and in your case I would think 3 days would be about it if any. Not sure of the strength of the vic but you should not be in to much distress.

I would taper down to zero, start taking 1/2 pill for 3 or 4 days, then 1/4 pill for 3 or 4 days then just stop. Go to the Dr as advised to get an alternate headache med such as Imitrex. Taking one pill a day is really a good situation to get out of. If you think you are leaning on these pills or in you’re mind you are becoming dependant on them for more then possibly a headache it would be imperative to stop taking them and find an alternate non narcotic medication for the headaches.


Toribelle 02-10-2004 08:20 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
I agree with everyone else - and I'll second Lisa's comment on Imitrex

Just one thing to add - you may be having rebound headaches from the hydro's. Also - a little known fact - some 80% of migraines are misdiagnosed as sinus pain (or misunderstood by the patient) The same nerve that is involved with sinus pain is also triggered by certain migraines. It usually hurts on one or both sides of the nose .

Good Luck!! And get off the Vikes - they certainly contributed to my migraines.


TrampyG 02-10-2004 01:30 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
I agree. You will not have a hard withdrawal at all and you should look into Imitrex or another triptan drug for headaches. Narcotics are normally not the best route if triptans work for you.

dsny 02-10-2004 03:47 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Hi mic32!The problem that you are describing is from the Vicodin's and they will get worse with time as you start to take more.I had a 30 to 35 a day habit and my sinuses was just one of the problems that I encountered.Try to taper off the Vicodin's and avoid them at all costs if you can because it can turn into a nasty habit.They have other none narcotic options for migrane's and I would try that route.Good Luck


Mart7 02-10-2004 04:36 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
[QUOTE=dsnyken]Hi mic32!The problem that you are describing is from the Vicodin's and they will get worse with time as you start to take more.I had a 30 to 35 a day habit and my sinuses was just one of the problems that I encountered.Try to taper off the Vicodin's and avoid them at all costs if you can because it can turn into a nasty habit.They have other none narcotic options for migrane's and I would try that route.Good Luck


Welcome Mic32 .. I completely agree with Ken. I have had migraines for many years. Initially, Doctors were treating me with narcotic pain relievers and they seemed to only worsen my migraines. I am now take a non-narcotic Maxalt and actually have seen a substantial reduction in the migraines I experience. From my experience narcotics just treat the pain, and often cause rebound headaces (and for me vomiting), other options are available that actually treat the condition. I hope you get some relief from your migraines very soon.

Philster2003 02-10-2004 05:47 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin

You really think its the vic's? Hmmmm not sure there

I know you get a pruritus (severe itching) reaction to the opiates but headaches from taking hydrocodone I have not read of but I'm no expert by any means. I remember my nose and had would constantly itched when I would take the pills in the beginning.

dsny 02-10-2004 06:45 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Hey Phil...I was commenting on the sinus part of it and it did in my case make them feel worse but I didn't have a sinus infection.I had it where the pain/pressure was not only in my sinuses but also in the back of my neck which is a sign of sinusitis.I went to so many different dr's about it before I realized once I started to go through w/d's that it was actually from the pills.I dont say every case is the same but it did sound like my experience.


mic32 02-11-2004 06:17 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
Thanks a lot for all of your advice. I only have about 20 left and I will just slowly taper off down to 1/2 a day and then stop. I think I will be a groutch for a few days, but I will get over it.

I need to concentrate on going back to the gym and exercizing again to switch my way of thinking. I've been locked out of my job with Ralphs in the southern california retail strike after working their for 15 years. We are still on strike and the mediator and the companies went back to the bargaining table today. I can't wait till this stress is over.

I will look forward to talking to all of you in the near future. Great support and experience!

God Bless,

sherm8 02-13-2004 05:07 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
hi mic. I had a similar problem with the headaches. I've been tapering off norco and had gotten down to 1 or 1-1/2 a day. Then the headaches!! I also thought they might be a w/d symptom. I would start off the day with just a threat of the headache and by the end of the day could not function. The pain was not only in the sinus area, but the area around the bones at the base of my skull/top if neck was incredibly painful when I touched or rubbed it. Also the bones above and behind the temples. The only thing that helped the pain was taking about 1/2 norco but the pain would be back in less than 2 hours. I talked to my doctor about this (as well as some other stress related problems). She prescribed me skelexa, a muscle relaxant, to take at night. It took a couple of days to kick in but it the headaches stopped. I've read that there are different kinds of migraines and one is called a muscle migraine. The description of where the pain is for that type was just what I was experiencing. You may want to ask your doctor about that. I just know for me the muscle relaxant seemed to work.

Hannah'smom 02-14-2004 10:53 PM

Re: tapering off vicodin
How quickly can you have the rebound headaches? I am pregnant and I get severe migraines. Since many of the medicines like maxalt and such are not tested on pregnant women, all they know is that tylenol 3's and vicodins are ok. I have taken the tylenol 3's and at the best they take the edge off. However, I just got a script for 30 vicodins and I took 2 yesterday afternoon and one before I went to bed. It FINALLY killed this headache I had had for about a week. However, today it seemed to come back. This evening when I layed down my head was pounding so bad so I got up and took another 2. Could this headache of been a rebound from my headache yesterday?

floweringshrub2 08-17-2004 09:29 AM

Re: tapering off vicodin
I was reading peoples stories about taking vicodin.And then how to taper off of them.This is taking alot for me to do but here it goes.In nov.of last year I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.I seem to have it pretty bad.I hurt everyday.
My rhuematologist does'nt believe in using narcotics to help the pain.So he's been giving me alot of different pills to try.Which none of them have helped.So I took things into my own hands.My husband has a bulging disc and arthritic degenrative disease in his back.His doctor gave him vicodin 500mg to start with in march of this year.30 a week.Then 60 a week Now he's been taking lortab 10/5 60 for 10 days.Well my husband knows how much I hurt so he said I could take them to.It's ended up I have been taking them for 6 months now.Sometimes more than I should.He's not addicted,I am.I'm so afraid of withdrawls,because I have had them recently for 3 days.Everyday they just got worse.I have 3 kids and alot of stress amongst other problems like back pain of my own,IBS,tension headaches,etc.The vicodin's really helped me but I have more problems taking them.I just had 2 tumors removed from my arm and have been sick with everything it seems since then.I know my immune system is shot.I want to get off of these pain pills not only because of my health but for my husband to be able to have them when he needs them.We only have a few left.And I need to know how bad and how long these withdrawls are going to last.Please help me.

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