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    Old 08-17-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
    MvingForwrd
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    Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    A few years ago I had to relocate from L.A. to Arizona (hubby's job transferred him). I started with a new neurologist, who put me on Vicodin for my chronic headaches and migraines. (I'm unfortunately not able to tolerate triptan drugs, Topamax, etc). Anyway, he didn't warn me about rebound headaches, and I ended up taking the stuff every day for almost two years now. The doctors out here prescribe narcotics like they're skittles, so he just kept giving it to me and citing "quality of life."

    Well, hubby's job is now taking us back to L.A. in a few months. The doctors out there won't hand out opiates like candy, so I HAVE to get off the Vic. (Neurologist tried to talk me out of it - sorry, I WANT OFF).

    So far I've managed to taper from 3-4 pills a day to just one, but the rebound headaches are relentless and severe. The Dr. gave me Fioricet to help with the pain. I hate to take it, feel like I may be trading one addiction for another. But I've kicked Fioricet before and it's MUCH easier to get off of. My doctor in L.A. used to give me Fioricet for my headaches, so there's a chance that I may be kept on that anyway.

    My battle right now is getting off of this Vic. I AM having some withdrawal symptoms. When I wake up in the morning I feel shaky and generally wonky until I take some, but I'm down to one pill a day now, so I think I can taper off and end the withdrawals. The issue is the pain. I'm just dying here. Has anyone else gone through this? I'm wondering how long this will last. I've read that you need to have the drug completely out of your system for a good week before it stops, and I'm still not off the drug. I'd really like to hasten the taper, so I can end the pain. At one pill a day, is it safe to now taper quickly?

    Any suggestions, words of encouragement, ANYTHING would be appreciated. I'm stuck out in a hick town with no friends or support groups, so I'm having to go it alone. Unfortunately not getting any support from my husband. As long as I look fine, he thinks I'm fine, and just doesn't get what I'm going through.

    UGH! Okay, I really needed to vent. Thanks.

    Last edited by mod-anon; 08-17-2009 at 09:31 PM.

     
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    Old 08-17-2009, 02:38 PM   #2
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    pb,
    welcome! I don't have experience with headaches though I have LOTS of experience with vicoden/norco/hydro in general. It seems like you are taking a therapeutic dose and haven't been abusing like many of us have. I was up to 180mg sometimes 200mg per day for almost 2 yrs. You are only on 15-20mg of vic if you were taking 3-4 pills daily. So, now that you are down to one, i think you're pretty safe to taper quickly. Like perhaps half a tab for a couple days then half every other day for a couple days then jump off. Just a suggestion but it sounds like your doing pretty well with the exception of the rebound headaches?
    I hope someone else can give you some advice re: the headaches b/c I just don't know about that part....Good luck!

    KEW

    Last edited by mod-anon; 08-17-2009 at 09:31 PM.

     
    Old 08-17-2009, 02:46 PM   #3
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Kew, thanks so much! Even though I feel like an addict, I've never exceeded my prescribed dose. But when you start to get the shakes, and HAVE to take that pill everyday, it's hard to not feel like an addict.

    Okay, so I'm going to start with 1/2 tab tomorrow. For the first time in ages I actually have two entire weeks with a clear calendar - no appointments of any kind, so I can stay home. This is the best time for me to be fighting this. Hopefully this board can give me the support I need to get through it.

    Last edited by mod-anon; 08-17-2009 at 09:39 PM.

     
    Old 08-18-2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    I'm going to keep posting in this thread, sort of like journal keeping. I need a place to just write about this.

    It looks like I may have to go a little more slowly on the taper. Last night I woke up having withdrawals. Kew, I didn't experience the symptoms that you mentioned - it was more like a severe anxiety attack. I was just shaking all over, really anxious and restless, jittery. I took 1/2 vic and the symptoms stopped. I hated having to do it, but at least I was able to stop it with only 1/2 tab. Maybe next time (if it happens again) I can try 1/4 tab.

    I'm feeling positive that I'm down to very low doses, but I'm impatient. Want off NOW. But it looks like I may have to go a little more slowly. I'm okay with that. Just have to stay strong and not give in to the drug - keep the tapering going and hopefully I can end this within a week or so. I've cut all of my pills into 1/2, and have them in one of those pill organizers, to keep me away from the full bottle. I have a plan - just gotta stay strong.

     
    Old 08-18-2009, 10:43 AM   #5
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Thanks guys! Having people to talk to helps SO much.

    The headaches are a BEAST. The worst of it is knowing that all I have to do is take one vic, and I'll feel fine. But CAN'T go there. Gotta keep fighting.

    My neurologist said it takes a full ten days for the vic to completely leave your system, so rebound headaches could last that long. I just have to keep reminding myself of how good life will be when I get past that point. Only a few weeks of my life, vs. a life stuck on pills. It's worth fighting for, but dang, it's one heck of a fight.

    Reader, I'm going to go look for your thread. Thanks.

    Last edited by MvingForwrd; 08-18-2009 at 10:44 AM.

     
    Old 08-18-2009, 02:33 PM   #6
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Is it normal to feel completely wonked out of your mind when going off of Vic?

    Now that I've cut down to a low dose (what I feel is the final step in the taper), I've felt just awful, like I have some kind of weird flu. I can't concentrate, can't get anything done. I just want to go to bed and hope that I'll feel better when I wake up in the morning.

    Granted, a small amount of this may be from the Fioricet that my doc gave me to help with the pain, but I've taken Fioricet before and not had this feeling.

    Is this my body trying to cope with not having Vic in my system after two years? I feel like total crap. Just hoping that there is an end in sight, and that I'll feel "normal" again soon.

     
    Old 08-18-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    do not give up!!! i i took vicodin for one year for chronic and debilitating migraines- i usually took them for 7 days in a row during the worst time of the headache then went off for 3 weeks- the rebound HA's at first were not that bad but months into the vicodin they were excruciating along with the nausea and exhaustion and feeling like well i just suffered through my migraine and now i have another just as bad headache :-( after going on like this and the rebounds only getting worse my doctor took me off the vicodin cold turkey and i was sick as a dog for about 10 days but at the end of 2 weeks i was a new person- the sun was bright- the air smelled clean and i was lovin life again- luckily the fioricet worked perfectly for me until i had my surgery and i have not taken another narcotic since (16 years ago) hang in there- come to the boards often and remind yourself- YOU CAN DO IT!!!

     
    Old 08-19-2009, 06:58 AM   #8
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Thanks, ritualangst, for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel. My neurologist told me that vic can actually intensify the pain when taken for too long, so the longer it's taken, the more severe the rebound headaches.

    For the last two days I've taken 1/2 tab to help with the withdrawals. I think today I will try 1/4. I have a good pill slicer, so can try going in small increments like that. Hopefully that will work for me.

     
    Old 08-19-2009, 09:54 AM   #9
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    Smile Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by readerroz View Post
    Poozy
    Won't it be interesting to finally see what life on the other side will be?
    Absolutely. I have that to look forward to. That's keeping me going . . . wanting to know what it's like on the other side. It's been so long since I've been a "normal" healthy person. For the last two years, the vic has been my "normal." I start to feel WDs, and the vic makes me feel normal again. THAT isn't normal. I want the drug-free normal that I used to have. It's this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that I need to see. Kind of exciting, really.

    BTW, I know that we're not supposed to go off topic, but I feel this is necessary to avoid confusion. The mods DID change my user ID. They gave me something different than requested, but hey, it works for me. I will continue to sign my posts as Poozy for now, so that people aren't confused by the thread, and wondering about the references to this Poozy person.

    Again, I know the mods frown on OT comments, but I'm trying to clarify what happened to avoid confusion, so no one is left wondering where Poozy went.

    Now back to my regular posting . . .

    Last edited by MvingForwrd; 08-19-2009 at 09:55 AM.

     
    Old 08-20-2009, 08:43 AM   #10
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Dear Moving, I, too, have had rebound headaches. I have prescription strength ibuprofen, 800 mg, that definitely helped. I took them one to two times a day for a couple of days. I'm 15 days post-cold turkey and they have definitely begun to abate. The ibu was so strong that I didn't want to overuse fearing a negative impact on my liver.

    During the early days of WD, I found myself taking baths as hot as I could stand late at night and in the early, early hours of the morning . I'd ordered 30 pounds of Dead Sea salt (for a lovely case of psoriasis I developed over the last few months), and I'd pour in two or three handfuls. It was a soothing experience. Perhaps you could find something similar to be gentle with yourself.

    Be kind to yourself, live moment by moment, and hang in there. You're braver than you realize.

     
    Old 08-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #11
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    I have a question. For those of you who have experienced rebound headaches, maybe you have some insight.

    I made it through an entire week at 1-1/2 vics. Considering that I was at 3-4 last week, I think that's pretty major, so I'm feeling REALLY happy about that. But the rebound headaches are absolutely disabling me.

    I'm wondering if the rebounds will cease once my body adjusts to the lower dose of vic. If so, then it might work better for me to stay at the current level for a few weeks to give myself a rest before starting the next taper level. I hate to prolong things, but I can't live my life with this level of pain. I need a break for at least a few days so that I can get some things done. I've just been sitting here all week,a blob, not able to get out my chair. The pain is SO bad. If I could get a break for even a couple of days, it might energize me and help me prepare to taper down to the next level. Right now, I'm so desperate to stop the pain, that I'm afraid I'll break down and take a pill.

     
    Old 08-21-2009, 03:42 PM   #12
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    MF,
    I think you really need to go a bit easier on yourself....I'm all for going the "softer, easier way" if possible...call me a wimp but unecessary suffering is foolish as far as I'm concerned. If your taper takes a month longer, or two months longer than you'd like it to, so what? Sitting there able to do nothing in mind-numbing pain does nothing for anyone, especially you. If the only way you can get relief is to stay at your dose or up it slightly, I think you need to do it until you reach another plateau. Your drop to 1.5 from 3 or 4 last week is pretty big.
    Is there anything at all, that's non-narcotic, that can ease the pain of the rebound headaches? I'm not a headache sufferer, knock on wood, and thankful for it but sorry I don't have advice for you on that. Take care of yourself.....I think the more we tough it out thinking we're "so strong" or we have to "suffer the pain" or there won't be any gain, are messages from another generation. Sometimes living with all that suffering leads one to try and end the suffering because it becomes just too much.
    Try to go a little bit easier...you will get there! Way to go on making so much progress!

    KEW

     
    Old 08-21-2009, 06:34 PM   #13
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    Thanks so much, Kew. Yeah, I have to slow down. If I fall off the wagon a few times, then okay. I've been in a panic about getting off the Vic because I'm moving back to L.A., where it's near impossible to get Vic for migraines, so I was fearing a forced cold turkey withdrawal. PLUS, there are support groups out there, and clinics where I could get shots of something non-narcotic, like Toradol, to ease the pain. Where I am in AZ, there's no place to turn for help. In fact, my neuro actually told me that I would have an easier time of it in a big city because of clinics to aid with such things.

    You're not a wimp at all. You're totally right about the foolishness of inflicting unnecessary suffering on myself. I'm being too impatient. I just talked to a friend today who had back surgery last year, and had gotten addicted to Vic. I had NO idea that she had gone through the same thing. But she also told me that I had to be patient. This drug is insanely powerful, and I can't kick it in a day.

    My neurologist did give me Fioricet for the headaches, but that's also addictive, so i have to be careful. Migraine meds (like Imitrex) won't work, because these are headaches and not migraines. So maybe the best way to manage the headaches is to chill out and quit trying to be superwoman, and give myself a little more time. I'm VERY determined, so I know I'll get there eventually. It may end up two months instead of two days, but so be it. The idea is not to frustrate myself so badly that I give up. I have to make this as easy on myself as possible, so I can remain positive enough to keep on fighting.

    Appreciate the words of encouragement.

    Last edited by MvingForwrd; 08-23-2009 at 04:52 PM.

     
    Old 08-22-2009, 11:04 AM   #14
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    I'm at day 16 WD CT and I'm still getting the rebounds. I *really* agree with KEW. Take your time. I tried once to taper and wasn't very successful. Now, I wish I had tried again because I might have avoided all this pain. That said, part of that wish is probably because I'd still be taking the hydro, something that still looks pretty enticing to me.

    I'm glad you've gotten something for the pain, and I'm happy you have enough of the hydro to protect you til you've completed this journey, made it to LA, and have become the phoenix we all want to be.

     
    Old 08-23-2009, 06:38 AM   #15
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    Re: Trying to quit Vic, rebound headaches unbearable

    I *do* think it is possible to deeply, deeply want to quit using, while at the same time just not be ready. These are really not mutually exclusive feelings.

    We all move at our own pace, and for some of us once the realization that we need to quit hits and we're able to stop using quite quickly. Then, there are those of us who use for whom ambivalence and fear make the going much slower, and possibly more tortured.

    A script with enough refills for a year may well be no more than an emotional security blanket. Just having it may give some kind of peace in simply knowing that it's available, and in that one degree of torment is relieved.

    Also, IMHO, we can all bottom out at varying levels of hitting rock bottom. For some it doesn't happen til Johnny Law leaps into our lives, or the fear that he will, for others it may be concern for our physical self, while for certain folk an observed impact on family life may be the inspiration, and then there are those who just can't take the feeling of not being in total control their life; or it may be a combination of any, or all of these.

    Also, I think there are those who can go cold turkey, or taper, and remain 100% commited to staying the course, while others may experience a one-time slip, with others landing at the opposite end of the spectrum experiencing a series of relapses before the final step is taken on the journey.

    As I traveled online here, there were a couple of people who held up a mirror to me about my ambivalence; and while this isn't NA with its stated goal of welcoming all addicts in all the different permutations of addiction, from those still using who keep coming back, to those who have been clean for 30 years, this board isn't far from that goal.

    So, in the end the essence of what I want to share is that the desire to want to quit is a complex one, and this is a safe and secure forum to have on board on the voyage through the turbulent sea of recovery.

    Last edited by mod-anon; 08-23-2009 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Please address the concerns of the original poster.

     
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