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  • Just starting methadone

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    Old 08-13-2008, 09:53 AM   #1
    EhloBuddy
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    Just starting methadone

    I have quite a long story but I will try to keep it short. I was in an accident over 10 years ago, was hit head-on, and it messed up my back pretty bad. I have three herniated discs, degenerative arthritis and all that jazz. Well, I went through the cortisone injections (had four series done) and even had facet denervation, where they burn the nerves out. The Facet Denervation was unbelievably painful. I've also done the therapy and recently had the spinal decompression done. But NOTHING is helping. I still have constant pain. For the last three years I have taken some kind of painkiller daily, Vicoden, Percocet, etc. ALl prescribed and all used as directed. I recently had a conversation with my pain management doctor where I told him I was tired of taking these kinds of pills, that I hated the fact that I was dependent on them. I have a young baby and do not want him to have a father who is a junkie, even if it is all through legal methods. The PM doctor put me on methadone, 5mg in the morning and 5mg in the evening. So far it hasn't done anything to help, I am getting chills and stomach cramps, headaches, etc. Is this normal? Does it take a few days for it to kick in or is this a low dose? Should I ask him to up the dose? I need some help here because I do not want to go back to taking 6-8 Percocets a day to be able to function. Please, anyone, I need some advice. Am I bing too impatient?

     
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    Old 08-13-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Hello,my story is some what the same.I started on Tramadol when I was 17,then changed to hydrocodone when i was 18,stayed on that till last year and am currently on 40mg of methadone a day.It sounds to me like your doc is just staying safe,see methadones half life is approx 18hours(give or take)and oxycodone(percocet)and hydrocodone(lortab)half life is only approx 4 hours i think,basically methadone will linger in your body for several days after ingestion so your doctor is basically just starting you out on the methadone very slowly like they are taught to do,that way you dont overdose and file a lawsuit against the doc. When I started methadone i was prescribed 5 mg twice a day for 5 days then 5 mg 3xdaily then 5mg 4x daily so on and so forth till i got to my current dose of 40mg a day. You will make it,just stick in there because methadone,in my opinion,is much better than having to take 8 percocets a day.Good Luck and I Hope I Helped A Little,Have A Pain Free Night!!!

     
    Old 08-13-2008, 08:17 PM   #3
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Hi Ehlo, What Zfennel said is correct. With a long acting or time-released med like Methadone, it can sometimes take a couple of weeks to build up a consistant blood plasma level. (BPL) There are some docs who will give you a short acting med, such as vicodin or percocet while the new med builds up. Your doc may have thought that you didn't need this. But it does sound like the symptoms you are having might be mild to moderate withdrawl.

    If it were me, I would call the doc and let him/her know what you are experiencing, or maybe see if you can get in to see him/her soon to discuss it face to face. Everyone reacts differently to different meds and it might be that your dose is too low, or you could need the short acting med in the interim.

    Best of luck. Please let us know how it goes. CMP/MM

     
    Old 08-13-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Thanks for the advice/info. I have an appointment Tuesday because the DX machine they put me in really screwed me up (muscles totall spasmed). I think I can hang in until then...I do have some Percocet left but didn't want to take it because, to be honest, I didn't know if it was okay to take it with the Methadone. I really, really hope we can get to a good Methadone dose because that would mean a lot to me and my wife. She has been super-supportive through all this but I know she is concerned I am hooked on these meds (which, being honest, I am. I don't know how someone could take this for two years and not be hooked on it). At first I was upset with my PM doctor because it always seemed like his answer to everythig was pills, pills, pills. Now I kind of understand because we had a talk. He told me these medications were developed for a reason and it is better to take advantage of something that can give me some relief instead of stand on moral principles and be in constant pain. I couldn't argue with that. Anyway, I just found these boards and they have been a godsend. I am now keeping a pain journal and all that so I can keep my doctor and wife up to date with exactly what is going on. Tons of great ideas on these boards. Thanks again for the info...I will make sure to let you know what the doctor says after my appointment Tuesday. It looks like the Methadone, with occasional Percocet when the flare-ups are bad, could do the trick for me. And hopefully no more surgery or injections.

     
    Old 08-13-2008, 11:06 PM   #5
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Ehlo, There are several good threads on this board (you can do a search at the top right corner of the main page) about addiction vs. dependence. It is a given, as I'm sure you know, that anyone who takes opiates/opioids on a regular basis, will eventually develop a physical dependence. But this should not be confused with addiction. They are two very different things.

    An addict takes more meds than prescribed, to achieve a high or feeling of euphoria. Dependence just means that your body gets used to the med and will go through a period of withdrawl if you stop taking it cold turkey. There are many other non-narcotic meds out there that people can become dependent on. So, it isn't the same thing as addiction.

    I'm sure your doc will explain it to you better than I can, if you ask. He sounds like a really caring doc. I have one of those and I thank God for him every day. I see so many here, who don't have that. It really is a sad thing. I would trust what your doc is telling you. And from the way you describe him, I'm sure he would be willing to listen to your concerns about breakthrough pain. Take care and again, good luck at the appointment. CMP/MM

     
    Old 08-15-2008, 04:59 PM   #6
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Yes, my doc is great. He proved it again today. I was at work and at about noon started getting a full-fledged panic attack. I took 5 mg of Methadone this morning and by noon felt like I was going to pass out. I tried to hang in there but by about 1:30 I really couldn't deal with it...so I called my doc. His receptionist told me he was in with a patient but she would tell him what was up. He called me back within a half hour. I explained everything, that I was trying to go primarily with the Methadone, that I had cut way back on the Percocet. I told him I had only taken a few this week. He told me to cut back drastically like that would cause this reaction, that I had to ease off it. Told me to take one or two and see how I felt, that it would give me 6-8 hours to fight off the breakthrough pain and the anxiety. That's what I did when I got home from work and I do feel much better. He told me to maintain with that, then we would probably up the Methadone dose a bit and, hopefully, things would be good to go. I hope so. I'm so glad I have a PM guy who is willing to listen to this and call me back to help me work through this. Anyway, appt. Tuesday. Thanks for all the great advice. I think I am dependant on it, not an addict because I don't take the Percocet for the euphoria effect...heck, I don't even drink because I don't like how it makes me feel. But I can't wait to not have to take it anymore, that's for sure.

     
    Old 08-20-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    I went to see my PM doc and things are much better than before. When I actually got a baseline of Methadone the pain eased quite a bit. When I spoke to him on the phone, when I had my anxiety attack, he talked about increasing the Methadone dose (I take 5mg in the morning and 5mg at night). At my appointment I told him I didn't think that was necessary so we kept it at 5mg 2x a day with 5/350 Percocet for BT pain. I actually have had days recently where I did not need any Percocet, just the Methadone, and I never, ever thought I would get to that point. It breaks my heart to read all these horror stories about people who can't find meds that work...and I feel kind of guilty about possibly hitting on a combo that works out for me. I do want to thank everyone for their input and words of encouragement, hopefully this will last. Thanks again everyone and let's all feel better!

     
    Old 08-20-2008, 10:54 PM   #8
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Ehlo, I'm really glad that your doc handled the situation with a professional and caring manner. He's a keeper in my book. Just keep in mind that with increased activity (which is natural when you suddenly have good pain relief) there will usually come more breakthrough pain. Try not to be the strong silent type and not take the BT meds. The longer you wait and your pain escalates, the more BT you will need to get your pain back down to a manageable level.

    Also, with time, comes tolerance. So, there may come a day (if you are chronic) where the Methadone and/or the BT might have to be increased, because of building a tolerance to the doses you are currently taking. This is just one of the trade offs for decent pain relief.

    Hang in there and keep us posted as to how you are doing. Take care, CMP/MM

     
    Old 08-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #9
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    Re: Just starting methadone

    Ehlo,

    When I reached a stable methadone dose I no longer required BT meds, somewhat similar to your situation.

    I found that methadone was the very best PM med I ever used.

    steve

     
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