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Problems with Fioricet Dependency




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Old 12-25-2008, 06:30 PM   #1
flopsy
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Problems with Fioricet Dependency



I was searching on the web and my story is so similar. I have had migraines for over 10 years. I have been on so many meds it is not even funny. Now I am down to Zomig and Fioricet. I am down from nine medications to two. I am pretty proud of that. I am however concerned about my Fioricet use. I take 90 a month. My neurologist says it is okay, but most of the time it is not because of a headache. I feel horrible if I don't take them.

In the AM I must drink a Coke or something with caffeine. Then I have to have a 1/2 of a tablet of Fioricet. I have been trying for about six months to lower the amount I take and it isn't working. So I have been cutting them in half. That still isn't working. I am on the low doseage, 5/325.

When I do get a migraine usually I take a Zomig, 1 whole Fioricet, and lay down with an ice pack on my neck and sleep. It usually always works.

I have had every test known to man and 11 procedures and 3 surgeries.

This is keeping my life going and I have actually been going to college to get my nursing degree.

When I take Fioricet I have no loopy feeling at all. My body is so used to it. I would really love some help.

I want to have a baby in two years and I want to be Fioricet free or at least as little as possible.

My neurologist has told me that I am okay. I have told him my wishes, but he feels like that I should address this when I am done with school. I would like to not have to carry a pill bottle in my purse all the time. I already have a young child and I don't want her to ever see this.

Any advise you have would be awesome.

Last edited by mod-anon; 12-25-2008 at 10:18 PM. Reason: starting a new thread with this post.

 
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Hi flopsy!

I don’t post here often (mostly just read), but I really related to your post. My situation is VERY similar to yours.

I have had migraines for about 15 years. When I was living in L.A., my doctor gave me both Vicodin and Fioricet, but in small amounts, to be used in moderation. I never had a problem with dependence.

Then my husband got transferred to Tucson, AZ. My new neurologist gave me TONS of both medications, said it was a quality of life issue to remain pain free. I did have a need for more medications, as my migraines are severe and I don’t tolerate triptan drugs (like Imitrex) well, but I don’t have the migraines every day. Unfortunately, my doctor never warned me about rebound headaches. After taking the pain meds too frequently, I started getting rebound headaches, and now have a headache or migraine every single day.

I’m currently taking 2-3 Vic a day, and usually 1 Fioricet. My doctor insists that this is okay, but in my opinion, it’s NOT. I’m taking these meds every day to ease the pain caused by the meds. I also have withdrawal symptoms if I don’t take a dose. My doctor says that I’m not taking enough to be addicted, but I know that I am. I'm not imagining those shakes.

Like you, I’m also functioning well, pain free, with no loopy effects of the drugs as my body is now accustomed to them. But I too am tired of being a slave to the medicine, having to carry the bottle with me everywhere, etc.

I’ve also tried tapering, and can only get so far. I HAVE to get off, or least get the meds back down to their intended use, which should be 3-4 times a month, not a every day. It’s hard when you know in you heart that you’re doing what’s best for your health, and your doctor keeps saying “you're okay.”

I’m concerned about my long-term health (stomach/liver problems and such). I’m also very worried because I’m going to be moving back to L.A. next year, and the doctors there won’t give out large quantities of controlled substances like they do here. I don't want to wait until the last minute to deal with this.

This probably isn’t what you wanted yo hear, as I have no real advice (I’m stuck with the same problem).

There is one thing you might want to ask your doctor about. I used to take Fioricet, which is Butalbital with caffeine. It gave me the jitters something fierce. He switched me to Butalbital without caffeine, which HAS helped with the shakes. I know it’s not much, but I have to look at every little improvement as a victory.

I want to wish you all the best with this. I understand exactly how you feel. I, too was able to get through college and get my MBA, however, getting a job with narcotics (even prescription ones) in your system can be a problem. My doctor says the same thing that yours does . . . “Let’s address it when it comes to that point.”

If anyone has advice, I’m listening. In the meantime, flopsy, if you need to talk, vent, whatever, I will be visiting these boards.

Take care . . .

Kathy

Last edited by MvingForwrd; 12-26-2008 at 09:14 AM.

 
Old 12-26-2008, 11:20 AM   #3
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Fist off, let me start this with, I am not a medical doctor and this is just my opinion, okay? I think one thing that you of you have to understand is that there is a very very big difference between Addiction and Dependancy. Some medical conditions require daily medications and there is just nothing that can be done about it. If you were to quit taking the Fiorocet, you probably would start having migraines more often. The meds are working as a preventative most likely and this is the reason your Neurologist is not concerned. He is right, you are worrying about something that at this time you don't need to, you are not on that strong of a dose. One 5/325 pill a day is not that much med. and he is recognizing this, and when you do need to detox from these meds when you get through school and want to conceive he will work with you to devise a plan to do so. Right now the extra worrying you are doing is not helping the migraines. As long as you do not start taking more of these meds for recreational use, you are okay, if this does happen, tell your doc immeditaly. You are following protocal to the T, you are staying in constant touch with your doc, keeping him apprised of the stituation, and just continue to do so. Let him know of your concerns and fears, don't keep it bottled up, thats the way to go. If you feel you need to get more support, talk to a counselor, thats not unheard of for a migraine patient, I am a sufferer of Cluster Migraines, mine can last for 10 - 16 days at a time, and I feel as if I will truly loose my mind. On top of that I am a Chronic Pain patient, and have endured 20 surgeries in the past 10 years, with my last being 4 months ago and my 21rst in 5 months, I take 150 20mg Oxycontin a month and 180 10/325 Percocet a month, I know that sounds like an extraordinary amount of Narcotics and for an addict it would be, but it allows me to get my pain down to a 4 so that I can walk and function without being racked with immearsureable pain, and like you I don't get any kind of "buzz" or "high" from these meds, the way I manage the dependency is a strict rotation schedule, and yes I know someday if my conditions become manageable I will have to detox and that is a terrifying prospect, but I try not to worry about it at this point. Most likely I would have to be hospitalized for a rapid detox, just to manage the onset of withdrawals.

So honestly you seem to be doing everything properly, keep in touch with your neurologist, try not to worry, let him know if you increase your daily dose, get through school, and then concentrate on a detox plan. I really applaued you it's not easy to go to school with severe migraines..and nursing school, that takes a lot of study and concentration, your situation speaks of a very strong person, I'm sure you'll be fine in the end.

 
Old 12-26-2008, 02:43 PM   #4
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Katlin, thanks so much for your post. I feel better knowing that I’m not the only one here battling migraines. I also appreciate your comment about there being a difference between addiction and dependency. I’ve never looked at it that way before. Actually, it’s never been explained that way to me before. I suppose rebound headaches are a form of dependence, as the body is reacting to the absence of the drug. And rebound headaches can come from the overuse of ANY pain reliever, even OTC meds like Tylenol or aspirin.

Unfortunately, the only way to stop rebound headaches is to endure at least a week of unbearable pain. My neurologist’s exact words were that it involves “a lot of white knuckling.” So I keep taking the Vic because I just can't bear the thought of going through that until I have to.

I’ve never taken any of my Vicodin for recreational purposes because I don’t get any kind of a buzz from it. I guess it can have that effect on some people, but not me. Different people have different reactions to different medications. When I take Vicodin, I always feel really, really crummy. But like Flopsy said, I also feel crummy when I DON'T take it, and when that happens I definitely feel like I’m hooked and in trouble.

I suppose that I’ve managed to convince myself that I’m an addict, because so many people have a stereotyped image of those of us who use narcotic pain relievers. Certain drugs are associated with addiction, and when I tell people that I take Vicodin, I get that “look.” Also, most people who have never experienced a migraine really don’t know what one is. Whenever I tell someone that I’m a migraine sufferer, the response I usually get is, “Yeah, I get really bad headaches too.” But a migraine is NOT a “really bad headache.” Until you’ve been there, you can’t imagine headache pain so severe that blowing your head off starts sounding like an option.

I don’t want to ramble. But thanks for your insight. It helped me a lot.

Last edited by MvingForwrd; 12-26-2008 at 05:07 PM.

 
Old 12-27-2008, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Wow you all have my exact same story!

I guess my doctor is right about the medicine. I have been with my neurologist for nearly 10 years. I do have a very good relationship with him and I tell him everything. I too have the same fears about switching doctors because of moving, so I drive over an hour to go see him for a five minute visit.

I don't tell anyone about my medicine that I take either. My family knows, but they have also seen the pain and all the ER trips too. When I go to the ER I tell the doctor exactly what I need. IV Decadron 9 MG and Reglan. They love this because I don't want pain meds. Since I discovered Zomig I have not been to the ER for a migraine in probably five years.

I guess besides the pills....I really want another child and I feel like this is stopping me. When I got pregnant the first time I never had a migraine. I didn't have another migraine for nearly two years after the baby was born. My doctor says that sometimes that happens.

I going to try to at least lower my dose from 3-4 to 2 pills a day. Then when I graduate in a year then I want off this stuff. I will take the rebound headaches and deal with it. I will just have to take off work for a week and plan to be miserable.

Having a healthy baby is too important to me.

Thanks for everyone's advise.

 
Old 12-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #6
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Katlin, I've tried Topomax, but had terrible side effects, so my doctor took me off of it. It's unfortunate, because I know some people who have had very good results with it, but I wasn't able to tolerate it, even at a very low dose.

Flopsy, good luck with that taper. I have been able to go from 4 pills a day to 2 with both Vicodin and Fioricet without too much discomfort. Two seems to be the place where I get stuck. My body just won't let go at that point. My doctor did say that if I want to try to break from the rebound headaches without going cold turkey, that I could try a very gradual taper, like breaking the pills into fourths, or even smaller. It's just very hard to stop rebound headaches when you're a migraine sufferer. My neurologist says that it takes two full weeks to get the drug entirely out of your system, to where you can start taking it on an "as needed" basis again. The problem is that the odds of going two weeks without a naturally occurring (not rebound) headache are very slim. Ugh . . . there's just no easy way to do it.

 
Old 12-27-2008, 12:32 PM   #7
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Flopsy,

If you want to try and taper down from the 3-4 pills to 1 or 2, then what you could do is cut the pills in thirds or halves. Take 1/2 of a pill less for a week, then 3/4's of a pill less for a week, then 1 pill less for a week, and so on untill you get to where you want to be. If this is too short of a taper then lengthen it, go 2 weeks at a time for each decrease, the idea is to let your body adjust. I mean hey, you're not in a hurry and you'll be getting toward your goal. You might still experience some slight w/d symptoms but they should be really really slight if at all.

Good luck, and let us know how you're doing and what you've decided.

k

 
Old 12-31-2008, 09:40 PM   #8
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

I went from 6 fioricet down to 0 a day in two weeks after taking them for 20 + years. No withdrawell but I also take neuronton for RSD. That drug is non addictive and was once used for seizures but helps with pain also . It is not hard at all to stop fioricet and I really thought it would be and that is what took me so long to stop. My doctor also gave me a large amount 120 pills every month. Believe me it is not as bad as you think. I have had migrains since I was 8 so I do know what you are going through. I now take 2 500 mg of Tylenol every few hours just before one hits me plus strong black coffee. The pain is still bad but i am fioricet free. I still have a bottle of 120 that is two years old almost expired just in case it gets way to bad. I have 80 left.
Good luck

 
Old 12-31-2008, 09:47 PM   #9
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Loriem,

Your Neurontim probably helped you not to have w/ds as bad. And be careful of doc's telling you it's not "addictive". I also take Neurontin for BiPolar, and my pdoc has told me that when we change it, as we BP'ers frequently have to adjust our cocktails, we will have to tritrate it down slowly because of the dependency that builds up.

 
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:18 PM   #10
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

Quote:
Originally Posted by katlin09 View Post
Loriem,

Your Neurontim probably helped you not to have w/ds as bad. And be careful of doc's telling you it's not "addictive". I also take Neurontin for BiPolar, and my pdoc has told me that when we change it, as we BP'ers frequently have to adjust our cocktails, we will have to tritrate it down slowly because of the dependency that builds up.

I know that Neurontin should not be stopped and has to be adjusted but all I did was take one extra a day with out any side effects. I think that drug is amazing since it does help in so many ways. As a warning though any one taking that drug enhances the other drugs you are taking at least that is what one doctor told me. It does help to certain degree with the pain of my RSD and now migraines as does my propanenal that I have been taking for years for a rapid heart rate. That drug is also used for migraines.

 
Old 01-01-2009, 02:51 PM   #11
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Re: Problems with Fioricet Dependency

I think that your doc telling you that the Neurontin enhances that other drugs that you are taking was meant for the drugs that "you" are taking. It doesn't enhance "all" other drugs and would vary on a person by person basis. I take a total of 13 meds a day, and the Neurontin doesn't enhance any but 1 of them.

Last edited by mod-anon; 01-01-2009 at 09:30 PM. Reason: do not instruct members to do outside searches

 
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