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    Old 01-28-2007, 03:26 PM   #1
    msdeconstructed
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    Taper plans??

    I am currently in the midst of a taper program. I suffer from chronic pain due to an car accident 4 years ago, but after having countless procedures with little success, and building up a tolerance to opiates and Valium, my doctor and I decided it was worth a try to stop the meds because of the side effects. The meds don't help like they used to, and it seems pointless to keep taking them. My body chemistry is definitely messed up, and I want to see what life is like off all of this medication. I'm hoping it improves!!!! I was taking 5 mg 3x a day of Valium, and am now down to 5mg once a day. I've just recently stabilized at this dose and am feeling halfway human. This is the only drug I am tapering off at present, but in a month's time my doc and I have a two week detox planned. I also take Kadian 30 mg 2xday and Norco 5mg 5x a day.

    He has told me that I can try and taper the remaning Valium myself, or simply wait until the scheduled date (Mar 3). I was also told that if I can, I should try and take the Norco dosage down, because it will make the detox easier. Is this the case? And if so, what is a reasonable amount to get down to before the 2 week taper? I won't be getting a schedule until our planned day. Also, I'm unsure how to get off of the last 5 mg of Valium. Do I do it 1 mg at a time?? Should I wait until we start the home detox, or will that make it more difficult? My doctor has said that he will provide a clonidine rx for the opiate withdrawal, which I've heard helps with some of the discomfort. Will it also help with the benzo withdrawal, or am I better off dealing with the rest of the discomfort before I get off of the opiates?

    The reason the doctor wants to wait for the opiate detox is because I won't be home much in the next month, and he wants to keep me monitored. He also says the withdrawal will probably increase my pain sensitivity to a large degree, and I'll want to be home in a comfortable environment. I am eager to get the process over with, obviously, but I trust my doctor's opinion- and I'm getting off this medication come hell or high water.

    Can anyone offer advice about tapering off the last of the Valium or trying to start a slight opiate withdrawal? The doctor left it up to me... I can just wait until March 3rd, but I'd like to help myself however I can. I will be in Jamaica ( a surprise gift from my father in law) with my husband from Feb 20-28...I would like to enjoy our vacation without too much discomfort; as soon as we return I begin the detox.

    I feel fairly prepared, but I want to make sure I'm doing things RIGHT. Though my body is dependent, I've never done anything to indicate that I'm addicted- the meds were always taken as directed, from the same doctor. I don't get any sort of high from them. Help, anyone??
    Thanks so much in advance.

    Alli

    Last edited by msdeconstructed; 01-28-2007 at 03:27 PM.

     
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    Old 01-29-2007, 05:44 AM   #2
    reachout
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    Re: Taper plans??

    Hi

    Read your post and wanted to stop in and welcome you. This is a great site for those of us coming off various drugs fro various reasons. Like you, I have been on different opiates as well as benzos (tranquilers). All started ten years ago after many surgeries for cancer that left a lot of scar tissue and pain. I am currnetly tapering off the opiate oxycodone and when I finish, I will taper off the benzo Xanax.

    For me, the taper from oxycodone has been a long, slow one. I started in early October and am now nearing the end. I was at 9-11 tabs(5mg) a day and am now down to 3/4 a tab, split into 3 doses per day. I was already in severe depression as I began the taper. The doctor and I decided we had to go slower after a disasterous start. At first, both the Xanax and oxycodone were cut by about 30% each.... it was way to steep and I went into full withdrawal. After consulting with a psychiatrist, it was decided to taper first from the opiate and then the benzo. After the tough start, I began to taper down by 1 tab every two weeks or so. It took me a long time to stabalize after the first episode. The depression worsened greatly, but at this point has eased up quite a bit. Still with me, but better.

    As the taper went on, each cut was beginning to be a larger and larger percentage of my dose and became increasingly difficult. So we modified again and my doses started to be cut by 1/2 tabs. Now I am finishing cutting by 1/2 tabs. When I finish, I will take a 6 week break and then start the taper off Xanax. It will work the same way.

    You have done well coming down on the Valium. You are accomplishing a hard task! If the plan you and the doctor have worked out, I would stick with it as long as it is working for you. We are all so individual in our approaches, but each must do what works for them.

    The thing about the pain... it is funny, as my body built up more and more dependence on the opiate, my pain kept increasing. In hindsight, I realize that that had been happening for a long time. As I began my taper, I did have increased pain, but it was really my brain's way of trying to get me to take more of the opiate it was used to. Rebound pain. Now that I am almost off the opiate, I have far less pain than I did a few months ago. Oh, it is not totally gone, but within bearable limits for sure. This is not uncommon I have learned.

    The worst for me has been the emotional aspect. Coming off will induce some depression and mental anguish. But it does go away eventually! because I have done a long, slow taper, my brain and the depression are healing as I go along. My life is better now in that I am enjoying more than I was. I did not realize what a slave I had become to the opiate until I started coming off.

    One of the best pieces of advice I found here was from a man named Phil who said, "Once you lower a dose, don't ever go back up." It is a hard rule to follow, but an important one.

    I wish you well... keeep us updated and shout whenever you have a question or comment.

    Enjoy that vacation!
    reach

     
    Old 01-29-2007, 06:40 AM   #3
    msdeconstructed
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    Re: Taper plans and withdrawal??

    Thanks for replying reach.

    To be a little more specific, I have degenerative disk disease, disk herniations, facet disease, long thoracic nerve damage, reversal of cervical lordosis and occipital neuropathy... Lots of trigger points, muscle spasms and constant headaches. I've been to PT, Chiros (bad idea), neurosurgeon, phsysiatrists, pain mgmt docs and had so many different treatments.The last procedure we did was a nerve ablation from C2-C7, and it provided little relief.

    I have dealt with depression and anxiety since adolescence... The initial Valium taper had me in emotional overdrive. I think my biggest fear is the mental anquish... I had been under a psychiatrist's care, but he moved out of network and I'm now waiting for our new insurance plan year to start (which, coincidentally is March) so that I can find someone else. I'm also seeking counseling alone, and my husband and I are seeing a marriage counselor. He is incredibly supportive.

    I keep going back and forth about dropping the remaining benzo early, and at least getting down the Norco. But because I wasn't given specific instructions, just told to do what I could handle, I don't know what the right thing to do is. On one hand, I feel like, I'm coming off this medicine in a month- it's already set in motion, so I might as well bite the bullet and deal with the discomfort now. I think that it's a strong possibility that my pain signals are working overtime and that the opiates have worsened my pain perception. I have read countless stories about people like me who got off the medicine and felt better when it was all said and done. On the other hand, I wonder if I should just wait the month out as I am, so there won't be any nasty surprises. It's frusterating. I know the inevitable, but will I be in for a worse detox if I stay stabilized where I'm at?? Sigh, I know that everyone is different.

    The thing my doctor kept drilling into my head was how physically painful this process would be... So again, what to do? I don't want to spend my vacation dreading the following weeks. It will be a fairly fast taper. So it seems smarter to do what I can beforehand. But WHAT is a reasonable plan for the next month?? I realize no one on here can say what is right for me, I'm just venting and trying to work it all out in my head...

    This board is great. I'm grateful to have found it.
    Alli

     
    Old 01-29-2007, 07:25 AM   #4
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    Re: Taper plans??

    Hiya Alli

    In my honest opinion, I believe staying on the benzo will help you to taper down from the opiate. My understanding is that the benzo is actually the tougher class of drug to come off, so you have done remarkable well in coming down so far!

    Personally, I would taper just a little at a time from the opiate. Just from my own experience. Oh, Lord, do I understand the mental anguish. I went to Florida for ten days in the midst of this taper. I did have some good time, but as soon as I was not actively engaged in physically moving around or on the computer engaged with my mind, I would break down crying with the anguish. And as you know, it is impossible to stay engaged totally all the time we are awake. My vacation was visiting adult children who are totally aware I am coming off opiates. And like you, I have a wonderfully supportive husband. It was good that I went (I was so hesitant to do so), but not as enjoyable as it might have been had I not been withdrawing at the same time.

    My mental anguish has certainly diminished, but I am also 3 plus months into the taper. I would not advise you to stop the valium completely before your trip if your doctor does not feel it is an absolute necessity. There is no race here. It is more a matter of discipline. Drop a dose and when you do, never go back up again. Just keep progressing and you will finally have success. When I taper off the Xanax, I know already that towards the end, I will be breaking the last tab into as small a piece as I can and do that at intervals. If I have to, I will crush it and scape the crumbs as I finish up. It is not because I want to stay on the drugs at all...far from it. I just know now that the slower the better.

    Also, while my family doctor is supervising my taper, I also see a psychiatrist. He is the one who said not to taper both benzos and opiates at the same time. He explained that they are two different drugs that work on two different systems. To try to do both at once was too much. When I relayed that info to my family doctor, he agreed that one at a time was a better choice for me.

    Not sure if I covered all you wanted to ask about. Please feel comfortable putting out any questions you have. I will certainly try to offer anything from my experience and I know others will also.

    Good wishes
    reach

     
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