Discussions that mention methadone

Addiction & Recovery board


I am currently on 3 methadones a day, 10mg.

I started the methadone a few months ago
and he started me on 8 a day, dropping me one
pill every 2 weeks.

I am doing pretty good on the methadone.

Before the methadone I was taking 20+ hydrocodone
a day.

Right now I am also on paxil 40mg a day,
and valium (the same dr. prescribed) 5mg
I usually take 1/2 a pill at night, sometimes a whole pill.

Like I said I am doing "pretty good", but I find
myself anxious, grumpy, confused as to what to do with myself.
I also have quit my part time job right before I started the
methadone.

Can anyone give me some advice?
Any other meds. I could take on top of what I
am taking, or any ideas????

My dr. who gives me the methadone (he is in my opinion
a dick, and a very blunt person, who wants to just give
me my meds. and cares less about how I am doing otherwise),
basically told me, he gives me the meds. and I need to
find a counseler to help me deal with my problems (I agree and I
am going to call someone monday).

I just find myself thinking about the hydros. sometimes.
I know I will never go back though.
Its getting a little harder, every time he drops my dosage down,
and I am just worried about how I will do when I take my last pill.

No negative responses. I know there are some people
here who are against methadone, and I do not want to hear it.
This message is for people who have successfully taken methadone
and have some input for me.

thank you
Hi Blue Julie:

I have been on methadone maintenance treatment for quite a while now, and as I've said in numerous posts....it has literally saved my life. I have to be completely honest (and I wouldn't be doing you any favors by doing anything but be honest). I have never really heard of methadone being given/prescribed in the manner that you've taken it. If I read your post correctly, you started at 80 mg a day? You stay at a certain mg amount for 2 weeks, when he drops the dose by 10 mg, again taking that dose amount for 2 weeks and so on and so on. I'm not familiar with that type of treatment, as far as using methadone specifically for opiate addiction. May I ask what kind of doctor he is? In many states, there are very tight restrictions on what doctors are even allowed to prescribe it. Methadone is an extremely regulated drug, so if he is prescribing it as a "pain medication" he doesn't have to follow the same guidelines as a methadone clinic, but then I wouldn't think he would be privy to the latest and newest information regarding methadone maintenance for opiate addiction. The doctors who are regulated by the state are required to follow very strict guidelines...for example....patients not being able to get "take homes" until certain criteria are met. Are you getting your methadone like any other ordinary prescription? If you are, my guess is this doctor may not be real "up to date" or knowledgable of methadone maintenance treatment. This is only a guess, and I could be way off. When I started treatment, I was always being told that methadone maintenance was considered a long term treatment, a real commitment of sorts. It sounds as though you are going through a treatment so fast, without any regard or consideration to how you are feeling. When on MMT, each increase in your dose should be based on how you are feeling, such as....are you having any breakthrough wd symptoms.....are you having any cravings......are you sleeping......etc. I have never heard of an entire schedule of increases/decreases being all planned out in advance. I think that's why I'm curious as to what type of doctor you are seeing. I do remember another gentleman on this board a couple months ago who described his wife being given methadone by her doctor, and that too sounded a little strange (the amounts and how it was being given). I also remember the husband explaining that their doctor admitted that he wasn't real familiar with methadone, but he would try to help her. Yikes.

Anyway, I am probably just confusing you by now...(sorry if I am)...but I have to close with this....if in fact you truly want to quit the opiates, I would look into changing doctors, or at least finding out how often your doctor treats opiate addicts. If you are having these feelings you described, anxiety, grumpy...the methadone dose being decreased is certainly not going to ease your anxiety. I haven't had to take any other medications with the methadone, with the exception of Trazadone (for sleeping) in the very beginning of my treatment, before I had reached my "stable dose". As soon as I was at a stable dose, I didn't need the Trazadone any longer. Every individual is just that...individual and different than anyone else. We all respond to things differently, I am only sharing my own experience.

I wish you the best, and I truly hope you can find someone who is capable of prescribing the methadone in a manner that would be beneficial to you and your recovery. Hang in there, if you want to make a change for the better, you can, and you will. Fondly ~ Jen
This is a regular MD.

You are so right, he is NOT familiar with alot of things about methadone and is not up to date at all.
Alot of side effects I had, I had to search the internet to find out about things.
Such as dificulty urinating (he did not think it was the methadone),
Swelling of my feet (thought I was drinking too much coffee)
and on and on I am sure I will think of more.
I chat via email with a friend of mine from another state, whos
dr. did kinda the same as mine, except she started out with a lower
doseage, and he weaned her off of the methadone much more quickly than my dr.
I have done alot of searching on the internet on message boards,
and there seems to be alot of very different dosages that drs. give
their patients of methadone.
by the way the friend i chat with was taking pretty much the same amount of
hydro. that i was taking daily.

I know that how many drugs you took has to do with the dosage of methadone they start you with.....

All in all, even though I dont know much about methadone, I am pretty happy
with the dosages he is giving me. I am NOT happy with the dr. himself, he is a jerk.

I think that once I find counseling I will do better.
hi julie,

i am going to make a post for you about some methadone things. im just posting this so you know that and dont wonder about not getting many answers yet. it may be a couple days but i will post. school takes much of my time now but i am following your situation and read all your posts. it is regrettable that your doctor relationship is poor and his experience is not what it should be. one point i will discuss is the dose you were started out on. im glad you are pleased otherwise. you made me smile when i read your post. no nonsense :D
Hi BlueJulie,

I knew you were one of the members here who was on MMT, and I am glad we can connect on this thread! I, too, like the way you posted your current feelings...especially as Rockingham pointed out, your no-nonsense way of concluding it ;).

I don't know if I really can answer, but I can sure share my experience with methadone with you. You are at the point of going off of it, and I am only just now finding my "stable" dose, so you're way ahead of me there. I'm curious about the form of meth you are taking? I didn't even know they made it in pill form for this kind of treatment! Mine is given to me in a liquid form, and I go to the clinic every day but Sun. Soon I will have one more takehome!

I started it July 13 at 30 mgs., and am now at 110 mgs., and this dose feels right for me. They say at my clinic, and it concurs with what Jen has shared with me, that to be stabilized means that you are sleeping through the night, you don't have physical w/ds from the hydros (or whatever, but you and I were on hydro so that's why I used that example), and you don't find yourself thinking the old thought patterns that surrounded the pill use--like the "when, where and how am I going to get more" kind of thoughts--and thus the mental cravings are gone along with the physical. And at the point of being stable, you just feel normal, and of course, each person has to define normal individually...but when you are there, you surely know it.

I think it's very natural to have concerns about what you will feel like after taking your last pill. I mean, in the active addiction phase, we have the pills or whatever our DOC was, to occupy our mind and time. Then with treatment, I have the daily visits to the clinic and the counselors and dr. there to replace what the pills were doing with regard to my time and thoughts. So now, as you anticipate the end of the treatment, I think I will be just like you as I'm already concerned about how I will feel down the road.

I wonder, though, since you are having thoughts of the hydro on occasion and also these other feelings...anxious, confused, grumpy and the rest, if maybe you are going off it too fast? I've been told that when it comes time to taper off the meth, that to be successful, it will be a very slow process that will take a long time. I went to a group mtg. yesterday, and there was a 22-yr. old who's been on it for 4 yrs., and just in the last mth. or so has decided to start dropping. He told me that when it comes time to quit (and I confirmed this w/the dr.), they go by what you tell them. WE decide when we are ready to go off, and we sort of set up our taper. This young man has dropped from 150 mgs. a day to now being at 95. Some days when he goes in, if he doesn't feel up to it, he doesn't reduce. He told me that, somewhat like you, he has a hard time sometimes when he reduces and just finds a place to sit and hold on for a week until it passes. Now he no longer asks them what dose he's at, kind of like a dieter not having a scale. So at times, he drops but doesn't know what mgs. he's at. Here they tell you that if you go off too soon or drop too fast, your chance of relapsing is higher as well as you increase the chance of experiencing w/ds more severely than we need to. The key to a successful taper, as I understand it, is to go very, very slow and to go by how you feel, not by how you or anyone thinks you should be feeling at a certain point because if you go too fast, they will bring you back up, and often it is up to more than where you were when you started tapering off, so it can be a real setback depending on how you look at it.

In reading your post, it sounds like you are on a different kind of program than a clinic in that you are working one-on-one with a dr. who prescribes the meth to you, right? BTW, I am sorry to hear that he doesn't have much of a bedside manner, yet you seem to be handling him and his demeanor okay in spite of himself. I know we don't always have the ability to choose, but I do wish he was more involved with the emotional aspect of the MMT. Dr's can treat the whole person, not just dole out the meds. But it is true that another person or group of people, such as a counselor or meetings, will probably be the key to finding that support you are not getting from him and will help you with your taper.

I don't know, Julie, but for what it's worth and given the feelings you describe having, if it were me, I would think the taper is going too fast...too much too soon. I was at 15+ of vikes a day before starting meth also, and I think I'll probably be on MMT for at least a year (less or more if necessary). But that is not to say that is what you should be doing by any means! It's just that I don't think you should be feeling the things you are feeling, and if you are having thoughts of the hydros (even though you know you won't go back to them), just the fact that they are creeping back into your mind might be a red flag that things are going too fast at this point. For awhile I was having dreams about the pills! I told the director, and I thought it was kind of funny and didn't mean much, but he said that's a sign that my body and brain thinks the chemicals I was taking should still be in me, but soon I should stop having those dreams, and I do have fewer of them now.

I forgot to mention that I was prescribed a benzo (Tranxene) 15 yrs. ago for PTSD and have been on 45 mgs. of it all these years up until a month or so ago. I'm down to 15 mgs. a day w/o feeling anxious or irritable. At 7.5 mgs. a day, though, I was not feeling so good, so I went back to 15, but I'm still happy with the reduction. I asked the dr. what the appeal was for some people who are on MMT to combine it with benzos as I don't like the feeling at all...contributed to my nodding off a lot. He said it's the only drug that the meth doesn't block, and some just like that mixture. He told me it would be nice for me to see if I could get off it as after all these yrs. of being on it, the only benefit I am probably getting is keeping the w/ds away. But he didn't want me to do too much right away and said let's just start with one thing at a time...so I'm happy with this clinic's dr., as he's very involved and will spend whatever amt. of time w/you that you need.

Hope some of this helps, and I know you know this already...but you are not alone in this. I'll answer any questions I can, or share any thoughts you would like on MMT and what got us here in the first place.

Good luck and please let us know how you are doing at this stage, okay?
HI
In my drs. opinion, he thinks that he is taking it slow !

Like I said, started at 8 pills a day for 2 weeks, then minus a pill
every 2 weeks and so on.

I cannot believe that people would stay on methadone for longer than
a few months. My understanding, is that we start at a higher dosage,
then taper down, until completely off.

methadone is a narcotic, and the whole idea is to get off of the narctoics.

I dont know, I guess there are several different ways to do it.
Like I said, my friend that I email, who is on methadone's dr.
pretty much is doing it like my dr. only even faster.......she too has anxiety, etc.
except her dr. wont even prescribe any vailum or anything just to get her through this.

It just seems to me that different doctors have different ways of doing this?????????
seems strange to me.
Anyway, I would rather my dr. do it like this than have to be
on it for several months to a year....
Its not easy, but I will be done with it quicker,
we will just have to wait and see i guess.
I will call a counseler tomorrow, I already have one in mind.
Thanks!!!
Wonderful news about your wife.

Like you said there seems to be a couple of ways to treat with the methadone.
Personally, even though its not easy, I think I would rather go the way that I am doing it. I want to get off of narcotics.
I am worried about "wigging out" once I take my last methadone.
I am really thinking that if I have a few backups like xanax or valium(not to take reguarly, just when I think I need it) i will be okay.
is that Catapres patch you were talking about a narcotic??
I am on 3 methadone a day for about another week and a half, then I am
sure he will bring me down to 2, then so on, so I have about another month and a half or so to go.
Thank you so much for your post.
Julie,

Here's my response to your last post:

Julie wrote - I am really thinking that if I have a few backups like xanax or valium(not to take reguarly, just when I think I need it) i will be okay.

A: Just be VERY careful with substituting one drug for another. Xanax is very addictive, not sure about valium.

Julie wrote - Is that Catapres patch you were talking about a narcotic??

A: No, it's actually a blood pressure medicine (clonodine) that is often used during withdrawals -- I'm supposing that lowering blood pressure helps with aches. It also has a sedating effect.

Julie wrote - I am on 3 methadone a day for about another week and a half, then I am
sure he will bring me down to 2, then so on, so I have about another month and a half or so to go.

A: Our pharmacist seemed to feel that reduction of 5mg per 7-10 days is about as much as you'd want to tackle. Apparently, staying on it for too long without a reduction will create a dependancy. It actually comes in 5mg tablets, so even when you get down to 5mg, you could break them in half and wean off of 2.5mg. I also discovered that a bottle of 5mg costs the same as 10mg.

Naturally, everone is different, so it may be worth talking it over with your doctor. If he's wanting to get you off faster (because he doesn't have a clue), just be honest and tell him that you know more about it than him!! :)

A Newman
There is NO telling my dr. anything, believe me.
Last visit, i explained that I was grumpy, anxious, this that.
He absolutely did not care.
All he said was "I am not keeping you at 4 a day, I am bringing you down to 3" as
he was reaching for his rx pad.
There is no talking to him, really.
He feels like he has this plan for me,
and thats that.
I have read other people talking about the Clonidine med.
and I am really wondering if I should think about
talking to a dr. about that.
Why did you go to a different dr. about the Clonidine
and not the dr. you were getting the methadone from?
just curious.
Quote from povs83:
Jules,

I have jumped in hear but so you know the Clonidine will help but NOT STOP W/D's.........Man I feel for you right now. Wish I had some good answers......



Thanks everyone

I am NOT going through w/d.Physically, none. mentally, a tad bit. Some grumyness; anxiety, just a tad.....(for the most part. I DO have bad days)
The methadone has been very good for me, so far.
I am just thinking about when he weans me down to the very last pill.
hopefully it will be okay, but who knows?
I should not build myself up to worrying about it.

Thanks so much for the info on the clonidine. Some people are talking
about it like it can be used for w/d. thanks again.
for julie,

right now my dose is 50mg methadone every morning about 9am. it has been at 50 for several months. my dose had been 140mg. this dose is where i was when i stablelized on methadone after getting in treatment. i chose to voluntarily reduce my dose because i had thots of coming entirely off methadone at one point. i reduced 3mg every 3 days. i reduced continuosly 90mg without a problem. i stopped at 50mg because i was not confident in my recovery. i dont feel i have the support i will need in place right now. my plan is to stay on 50mg until i do feel good about my recovery and am confident i can handle life on my own without methadone.

i wanted to comment on the dose you were started on. i believe it was too high. before i got on the program i had a connection for methadone and was taking 20-30mg each day. this was just enough to stop withdrawal and allow me to sleep at night. i was an IV user. i feel he didnt help you when he began you on 80mg. it wasnt necessary. it goes to his apparant lack of experience in treating addiction. particularly with methadone.

the other point is about the reduction. i believe others have commented about making it a smooth and gradual plan. i understand he has you dropping 10mg each two weeks. i urge you to get a pill cutter and begin cutting your pills in half and reducing at 5mg doses. even better would be cutting them in half again and using 2.5mg to reduce. it will give you the best chance to withdraw sucessfully. his "plan" is too drastic i believe. i understand going against your doctors words may be wrong to some but i believe you will be better served to disregard his taper and go slower. it would be easier on you to reduce at 2.5mg drops or 5mg drops.

it only gets harder as you come down. dropping from 10mg to 0 is just not wise at all. the withdrawal will be intense and drawn out. if you start now you may have enough to keep your dose at 25mg for a week before he drops you to 20mg. with your next prescription you could create 5mg pieces to allow you to drop only to 15mg next time. i would also create pieces to allow a drop to 12.5 instead of 10 and so on. going to a reduction of 2.5mg a week once you drop below 20mg will only help you.

its just how i feel about it julie. i worry about you and how it will go for you :)