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    Old 04-25-2005, 03:05 PM   #1
    momofsix
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    Terrified of Methadone

    For those of you using methadone. I have not been able to find relief for my pain (central pain - similar to phantom limb but in my mouth). I've tried oxycontin, patch, hydromorphone, and they just don't work - in fact, on higher doses the pain got worse. The doctors keep bringing up methadone, but I am terrified to try it. I've heard so many horror stories of how terrible it is to withdraw from. My biggest fear is that I'll try it, and like the others, it won't work, and then I'll have to deal with excruciating withdrawal on top of the pain I already have. I'm also very frightened because I've heard it makes you very, very tired and nauseous all the time. What would your answers be to those fears?

    Linda

     
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    Old 04-25-2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    [QUOTE=lindawainwright]My biggest fear is that I'll try it, and like the others, it won't work, and then I'll have to deal with excruciating withdrawal on top of the pain I already have. I'm also very frightened because I've heard it makes you very, very tired and nauseous all the time.

    Hi Linda,
    First of all, different people react differently to different meds. Many people are thrilled with the pain control they receive from methadone.
    I wouldn't have a fear about the addiction concern...try it for a week and you should see if, by the end of a week, there is any good reaction. If not...discontinue and you shouldn't have any problem with w/d. If it helps...tweak the dose to where it helps just enough but don't go overboard. You can always detox later with sub. if needed.
    SS

     
    Old 04-25-2005, 04:32 PM   #3
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Linda -

    I am glad you wrote and asked your question. I had the same fears before I went on it. I had tried every pain med out there, and though oxyC worked, no docs would Rx it. Everyone had wanted me to go to methadone. Finally I gave in and have been on it for 2 straight months. I only take 20mg (10mg/BID).
    It has worked very well and I am very happy with it. I am not 100% Ok, but my pain levels have gone down alot. Practically no sciatic pain now, and my BT meds have decreased to almost nothing. The only side effects have been constipation and some tiredness. Both I have gotten used too and are not too bad at all.

    I don't know why so many worry about withdrawals. If it works, feel lucky you have finally found something that does work. You can take it the rest of your life if you need, and the dosage increases are relatively small compard to anything else. Most side effects go away with continued use anyway, and for me the tiredness is such a small price to pay for decent pain relief.
    As for withdrawal, if you have ever had to withdrawal from a high dosage of any narcotic, it can be hell. But if you do it over time, slowly in small steps, most do fine. I hate when I see others post and try to scare people from a medicine becuase they themselves were addicted or just stopped cold turkey or their experience was so bad, so now it will happen to everyone taking it. Thats bull!
    Methadone if used safely, corrrectly, and wisely can be a great med for pain relief, especially when most others have not worked. I only suggest the one main rule I would say to anyone starting methadone. That is too start low, then go slow! Have a doc really familiar with Rxing methadone so he knows about half life and how many days it takes to get into your blood stream at a steady state, knows about proper conversion and titration going up and down, and then weaning off if neccessary. It doesn't have to be as bad as your fears are leading you to believe. It may just be your last med which works the best. write if any questions or hesitations.

    Peace,
    Ken

     
    Old 04-25-2005, 04:54 PM   #4
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Hi Linda...I'm also really glad you posted. I am on Methadone for my chronic back pain. I take 50 mg. a day. Before I was on the meth, I was on every narcotic known to man and nothing gave me the pain relief that methadone has given me. I didn't experience any nausea from meth. I started out on 30 mg.l a day and titrated up until we found a dose that gave me good pain control. I really like the meth because it's a drug that doesn't give you the "high" that most of the other narcotics do. I can function like a normal person while taking it. On the other drugs I was always feeling drugged and spaced out. Also, the other meds never seemed to last as long as they were supposed to. I would say that you should find a doc who is really well versed in prescribing methadone and realize that it will take a little bit of time to get the right dose. If you find that you aren't getting any relief or you don't like the side effects, you can stop with very few if any withdrawal symptoms. I'm sure the doctor would see to it that you were weaned off the methadone properly. Good luck and keep an open mind! Methadone has been the answer to years of chronic and disabling pain for me. Kathy Mac

     
    Old 04-25-2005, 05:27 PM   #5
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    Post Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Linda,

    Once you learn more about Methadone you will snicker at some of the concerns that people raise. I don't mean snicker in a demeaning way though. Lets get to some basics. The biggest concern is that isn't this for drug addicts? Yes! They use it for addiction, but the bigger question is why?

    A few things...

    Methadone has the best side effect profile of all narcotic analgesics..hands down! This drug has a lower incidence of everything across the scale. If you can get your hand on a Drug Facts and Comparisons book they have a little chart that will show you for yourself. By the way, this low incidence of side effects is one of the prime reasons for using this in addiction. Drug addicts live hoping to avoid feeling "sick". If part of the cure involved taking a drug that had a high likelihood of making you feel ill, you might not be as sold on sobriety.

    Secondly, Methadone is inexpensive in comparison to other analgesics. Once again, hands down less expensive. It isn't even close. This is one of the primary reasons is it used so extensively in addiction. A significant portion of drug addicts will not likely have health insurance. The cost effectiveness and therapeutic effectiveness makes it a perfect fit.

    So why can this be a good drug for some people with chronic pain?

    1.Low Side Effects in comparison, especially constipation.

    2. Affordable

    3. Methadone is a very potent analgesic.

    4. It tends to not create the euphoria that some other opioid analgesics do. While some consider this a benefit, because some people get used to that effect, when it does not occur they feel that the drug isn't working. This probably causes some people to demand a drug change before actually giving Methadone a full chance.

    Everyone's experiences may vary some but Methadone is a great tool for some in the treatment of chronic pain.

     
    Old 04-25-2005, 05:36 PM   #6
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    [QUOTE=KathyMac If you find that you aren't getting any relief or you don't like the side effects, you can stop with very few if any withdrawal symptoms. I'm sure the doctor would see to it that you were weaned off the methadone properly.<

    ok, just for the sake of argument here I will take issue with the statement Kathy makes about w/d having very few symptoms. Kathy I am not trying to be a roaring ***** here, k? It's just that methadone didn't get it's rep. for being horrible to detox off of for no reason. It is a "gluey" med and gets into every bone and joint and everywhere else and because of it's very long half life detoxing can take a very long time. If you are on methadone for longer than a few weeks at the most, detox can be a bear. Some docs know how to detox you corectly...many do not. I have read that going down a milligram a month is not unreasonable...unless you are going to another med. and it's not goot to go to Sub until you are at 40mgs or less of methadone.
    SS

     
    Old 04-25-2005, 05:47 PM   #7
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    SS,

    I agree with you in part. However, most problems with weaning off of Methadone are due to poor wean schedules. The extended half-life actually makes it easier to wean. It is sometimes just done so hastily and without thought that this is where the stories come from.

    I can hear the conversation now.

    Patient...I really want to get off of this medication as I don't think I need it any more.

    Doctor... Ok, why don't you just take 1 pill less every three days.

    Patient....Ok!

    Good docs and patients can spend weeks trying to find the right dose for good control but sometimes we only give seconds to the wean.

     
    Old 04-26-2005, 09:23 AM   #8
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Hi Linda...I wanted to add some encouragement to what some of the others have expressed. Methadone is a drug that requires some careful planning and a slow tapering to come off of, but it can be done. I have done it twice years ago after extended periods of chronic pain after nerve surgeries on my leg. Currently I am on Methadone again and I am at 180 mg a day. I have built up a tolerance being on opiates for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Chestwall pain from lung surgery for removal of tumors. The tolerance came from being on Oxycontin and Fentenyl (Duragesic patches), plus several short acting opiates mainly used for BT pain control. Oxycodone was the drug I was on the most. When I made the switch to Methadone and we got the dose right it made pain control much easier. This is because you have over lapping control of the pain and when the clock says six hours have passed you aren't waiting to take the next pill. With Meth you have the long half life which gives you added coverage and you can take it two hours or fours late and not really notice it most of the time.

    I highly reccomend it to you and although you will most likely not be at the high dose I am, the lower doses most people are on, gives excellent pain control. Give it a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and glad you switched over to Meth.

     
    Old 04-26-2005, 11:30 AM   #9
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    undefinedOne more ;pro methadone here!!Many years ago I had a addiction to several opiates,went into a meth clinic and was on the max dose for that facility,100 mg. One day I just quit cold and never other that a little fatique had ANY wd symptoms!!!Now years later Ihave developed several physical prblems causing severe pain and I take methadone 40 mg for my pain control daily with no sideeffects,as far as wd if I am ever able to since there is a liquid form,the dose can be decreased very easily.Best of luck and prayers to you!!!

     
    Old 04-26-2005, 01:23 PM   #10
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    I had a really bad time with Methadone, but I didn't kill me. I had all your fears and that's not exactly how it went. we added it to my base medication which is MS Contin. I gave it two weeks and it takes awhile to build up in your system and work at all. I had a lot of side effects and felt flueish. I thought I sick afterwards too, but nothing horrific.

    Do not stop what you're on and switch to the equivalent dose of Methadone. Tapered down on one and start on a little bit of Methadone so that you can see how you react to it. Then coming off of it isn't so bad, because you have been on a high dose. I gave it a little more than two weeks and decided it wasn't for me. I didn't have some digestive problems for while afterwards. It wasn't as scary as I thought. It wasn't for me, but it might work for you. My mistake was to try new drugs and the middle of a flare up. I should have stuck to what I know I can tolerate. However I am not sorry I tried it. All these drugs are very different and you really don't know what might be the best for you tell you try it. I did get quite a lot of side effects and I know some of come down my the itching. You may get very little side effects and I didn't feel is out of it as I expected. I didn't feel that much.

    I would say try a small amount and don't give out what you're on.
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    Old 05-01-2005, 12:38 AM   #11
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Hi Linda,

    I have had 3 spinal surgeries and now suffer from nerve pain, radiculopathy and low back and leg pain. My PM put me on Methadone last June. I have had very good results from the methadone.

    The cost is so much lower than Vicodin or any other pain relievers. It does not cause liver damage like most of the other pain meds can do. Don't be afraid to give it a try. It doesn't give you a buzz, it just reduces pain. Although we all are different, it may work for you too.

    Good Luck

    Kay

    Last edited by kay1946; 05-01-2005 at 12:39 AM.

     
    Old 05-02-2005, 04:13 PM   #12
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    I just started methodone. I fought every drug for yrs, side effects and just tried to tuff it out. Well, after 2 spine surgeries, failed cervical fusion and total back osteoarthritis, degerative and more herniations willing to do anything for help. The day I tried methodone imagined side effects and stopped. Well Sunday went back to it and I had a great day!! I actually could stand outside for a period of time talking with neighbors! My life since my last surgery has been my "recliner", today, I walke around my mountainess roads, 2 #!! I still have pain but it is tolerable! The only side efffect so far is trouble falling asleep, staying up later and take xanax to fall asleep. Also I am sleeping in later, trouble waking up. But if I become addicted so be it, atleast I feel alive now, anti d's are terribly addictive even though they say otherwise! I went thru hell getting off paxil yrs ago. So for now I am opting for what works. Best of luck, chronic pain is a living hell.
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    Old 05-03-2005, 09:28 AM   #13
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Howdy my fellow CPer's!

    I used Methadone along with the Duragesic Patch for about 3 months. I was prescribed 10mg 4 times daily. I found that I didn't like it. It was like the med was riding "on top" of the pain. I know, it makes no sense, but that's the best way I can describe it. I too felt "fluey" and that it didn't help the pain, and I was more tired than usual, and I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so I don't need to be more tired! LOL The best med I found was Percocet as far as b/t meds, but with my new insurance the price of it climbed sky high, and I had been on it for over 2 years and was building a tolerence to it, so my PM doc and I are trying other meds that are less expensive for me to use for b/t meds. I am now on hydromorphone, and I'm not sure how it's working yet since I've only been on it a couple weeks and coming off the Methadone is interacting with my whole system. I didn't think I would feel any w/d effects after being on it for a short time, but I am. Nothing horrible, just enough to be a pain in the butt. My first day on the new med, and my first couple days without the Methadone, I finally took one tablet at bedtime and noticed immediately that I felt better. I had been feeling "sick" all day. It didn't help my pain, but it made me feel less sick after I took the Methadone. So....I am assuming my body was missing it's med. I have been splitting the pills and taking just a half a dose during the day along with my new med, and it seems to be getting better.

    Now my psyc wants me to wean of Klonopin and switch to Trazadone for sleep. I have been on Klonopin for over 3 years, and he said that coming off will be a little "raunchy". Oh Goodie! LOL So I'm to take one Klonopin with the Trazadone every other night for a few weeks. YIKES! My God, I hope I wake up in the morning! LOL I begin my weaning off tonight, so wish me luck!

    But, about the Methadone, I see that it works for a lot, and not for some. It all depends on how your system reacts to the meds. Every one is so different when it comes to narcotics reaction. They just don't fit everyone. That's why you read so many posts here from people who have literally "tried them all". Different combinations of meds along with the proper dosage can take a long time until you find what is right for you to help treat your pain. Although you will never be %100 pain free, you can find a good mixture of meds that will provide you good relief so you can at least live your life somewhat "normally", it just takes time, more time for some than others unfortunately.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.

    tk

     
    Old 05-03-2005, 09:56 AM   #14
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Did you taper off the methadone gradually or just switch immediately to the hydromorphone? They did a switch like that with me from oxycontin to duragesic saying that because I was switching to the same strength of another narcotic I wouldn't have any withdrawal. Well, let me tell you, they were SOOO wrong. I had terrible withdrawal.

    Also, did you start the patch at the same time as the methadone? The way you describe feeling is how I felt on the patch alone.

    Linda

     
    Old 05-04-2005, 07:17 AM   #15
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    Re: Terrified of Methadone

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lindawainwright
    Did you taper off the methadone gradually or just switch immediately to the hydromorphone? They did a switch like that with me from oxycontin to duragesic saying that because I was switching to the same strength of another narcotic I wouldn't have any withdrawal. Well, let me tell you, they were SOOO wrong. I had terrible withdrawal.

    Also, did you start the patch at the same time as the methadone? The way you describe feeling is how I felt on the patch alone.

    Linda
    Hi Linda,

    I was put on the Duragesic patch first while using Percocet for b/t. Then when the Perc's shot up in price and weren't working so well, I was put on the Methadone. I was using the Methadone for about 3 months and was switched to hydromorphone just the past couple weeks. I was not taking the Methadone as frequently before the switch to hydro, but I did notice that I was starting to feel "icky". When I got the script for hydromorphone I hadn't taken any Methadone for a couple three days and I started the hydro and just felt "sick", so one night I took a 10mg Methadone tablet and started to feel better. I still took the hydro at the same time. Now I break the Methadone tablets in half and take two halves throughout the day along with the hydro when I feel b/t pain coming on. I still feel shakey, weak, and dizzy, and nauseated, possibley from reducing the Methadone. I imagine this will go on for a couple more weeks. Everyone is different.

    Now, my psyc is weaning me off Klonopin and putting me on Trazadone. I have used Klonopin for 3 years ( 1mg ) at bedtime for sleep. Now I'll be taking 50mg of Trazadone at bedtime. But I have been warned by my psyc that coming of the Klonopin will be pretty raunchy. Oh goodie! So I am to take one Klonopin every other night along with the Trazadone until I wean entirely off the Klonopin. I guess when I start feeling okay, I'll know the Klonopin is out of my system. Same with the Methadone. That's why I can't lay claim to how well the hydromorphone is working because of weaning off the Methadone. All this is going to take some time, unfortunately. Doc's are so willing to have you "try this" or "try that" but sometimes they fail to tell you what's going to happen when you come off that med. My rheumy gave me Klonopin when I was first dx'd with Fibromyalgia and never told me how addictive this med was to my system. I didn't even know what a benzo type med was. I had to find out here on the boards! I also didn't know what "half life" meant until I learned it here on the boards! So, now whenever I am prescribed a med, I research it, after I ask my doc exactly what it's going to do to me. That happened with Effexor. I had an awful time coming off that. I read the little warnings about not stopping the med abruptly, now I know why! LOL What's bad is when you change meds, narcotics, you feel the effects of weaning off the old med while at the same time you go through the effects of getting used to the new med, so you don't feel like your new med is working until it's given a chance to work on it's own after you have the old med out of your system. I believe that is why so many folks have such a hard time with narcotics. We try them, we change them. Some work for you but not for me. And I would believe that you would notice some kind of w/d coming off the patch even if you were switching to the same kind of base med. Your body is losing something it was used to having on a regular basis. I imagine it depends on the dosage of the patch and what dosage it was replaced with the new med.

    I feel for you. Changing meds can suck to say the least, for some, others breeze right through it.

    What are you taking now, and what are you looking to change to?

    Thanks for letting me reply. I hope I helped you.

    Good luck,
    tk

     
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