Ulcerative Colitis + Opiate withdrawl = Near Death

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New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/1/2008 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ya'll,
Been off Oxycodone for 26 days now, was put on them 3 yrs ago for flu like joint aches that would occur 2 or 3 times a week, but it was one spectacular episode that the caused the Dr. put me on them. Turns out that my body would eventually go into immediate withdrawl after a dose wore off and would cause almost identical joint aches, but now its happening everyday. Took 2 years to realize what was happening. So it was time to get off them. Went to inpatient detox and got Suboxone and was monitored for 10 days, but when I got out all hell broke loose.
If I ever thought I was seriously going to die, this was the month. Started with SEVERE full body joint aches for two weeks, profuse diarreah for a full month and still occuring (started while tapering down). Now absolute exhaustion and frequent nausea. I am on medical leave for the last month and I have no idea when I will be able to consider working again. I am pretty scared. I never dreamed it would be this severe. Went to ER but I checked out ok. Can't understand why I have such a bad response to this. I have a GI specialist, Pain specialist, Naturopath, etc etc.
I feel like I am all alone, no one in detox, my doctors have never seen this bad a case. Anyone ever experience this or hear of someone? 

Ulcerative Colitis, depression, anxiety since '94
currently on 6mp, sulfasalazine, occasional prednisone, low Prozac. Various vitamins and supplements.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 6/1/2008 10:38 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Carl,

Having withdrawl symptoms for that length of time would be very rare.  I would be inclined to think that your symptoms may be from your ulcerative colitis rather than withdrawl.  Diarhea, nausea, and vomiting can all be caused by UC.  In addition your joint pains can also be somwhat related, as joint pain often goes along with autoimmune disorders. 


Best wishes,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/1/2008 10:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Carl,

I don't know that much about the withdrawal issue and all the symptoms you're experiencing. I did want to welcome you to the chronic pain forum, and tell you that you most certainly aren't alone. I'm sure someone here will be able to give you more information, but I'd at least like to offer you support.


I'd also recommend you post this to the UC section of this forum. Someone there may have more experience and information.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 6/2/2008 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Carl, i have UC also, and it sounds like a flare to me. I see u went to the hospital to get it checked, did they say it was not a flare??? Have u had a scope recently? Are u currently taking pred??? That would help if u were flaring and also if u had joint pain.

I take percocet 3x a day for years now, and while i do suffer some withdraw symptoms after, it does not last that long, maybe a week if i go off it. I wonder if the med didn't hide a flare (causing costipation or regular bm's) and now that u r off, u started to flare?

Keep us posted, i hope that this all settles down for you! good luck! shannon
2003, dx moderate UC
2000, dx selective IGA deficiency w/ anti IGA antibodies
2000, dx Antipholipid Antibody Syndrome
1999-current, chronic hemmoragic ovarian cysts, w/ partial ovary removal
1977, complete reconstruction of foot after lawnmower accident (chronic pain)
6mp 75mg, prednisone 40mg (just starting meds again)
percocet 5mg 3x day
potassium 3x day

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/2/2008 12:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Pretty sure I know what you're going through. I have chronic diarrhea, chronic intestinal bleedings, inflammation of the colon, ulcers in my colon, polyps, pseudo-polyps and intestinal cancer (and non malignent tumors in the colon to top it off). And that's just the colon, the rest of my body is a mess as well. My doctors have no choice but to administer enormous amounts of opium derivates to prevent me from bleeding to death. During periods of crisis, after I was run over by a car in 2000 for example, my pain medication was increased to prevent me from being paralyzed from the pain alone. I knew that I had to go through detox afterwards. The procedure was started in 2003 with three weeks in a hospital bed, then three months in hospital and topped by six months at home under full time supervision. My medication had, over the years, been increased, decreased and changed periodically. The 2003 event was a painful though. Our bodies have the tendency to stockpile chemical products and release them as we need them afterwards. They do the same thing with medication. Once you start detox, your body registers a decrease in a certain chemical component and tries to compensate, they're just not very good at determining the dosage. Ten days of detox after three years on pain meds is actually insufficient. Here in Belgium you are monitored in the hospital for at least 30 days. Your experience is not unique, far from it, there is just not much to be done about it except sweat it out. You shouldn't be scared though, things will improve, although it will take some time. I suppose your pain meds suppressed your intestinal problems partly, and now they are resurfacing of course, with a vengeance. Pretty normal you feel lousy (I think that's a fair way of putting it), would be abnormal if you didn't I guess. The psychological point of view is something I can't talk about. I realize that most people feel down and that chronic pain causes depression, I just never had any experience with it. I'd say, stay put, sweat it out, consult a trusted doctor occasionally (if only to keep monitoring your condition periodically) and talk to other people when you feel down. Above all, stay calm and be patient. Take care.
To stand and be still at the Birkenhead Drill is a mighty bullet to shew.

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/2/2008 4:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you everyone for your input. Yesterday was the best day so far. Today back to the same. I am currently taking Prednisone but it doesn't do a whole lot. Your replies and compassion are very comforting. It IS getting better just ever so slowly. I will never take Opiate again unless I am going crazy with pain.

I wish I lived in Belgium sounds like a good healthcare system. As you know the US is way down there in how we operate.

My Colitis is in the lower 6 inches of my colon. My D now is starting right below my rib cage so it seems as though it is not a normal flare but my bowels just moving very quickly or something but the liquid loss etc just wipes me out.

Thanks again for your input everyone, wish I had the energy to say more but I don't right now.

Ulcerative Colitis, depression, anxiety since '94
currently on 6mp, sulfasalazine, occasional prednisone, low Prozac. Various vitamins and supplements.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13357
   Posted 6/2/2008 5:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Carl, I have been on Lialda since 06 for UC, and it works much better than Pred. Can't believe you are on Pred for it. I am currently double dosing the Lialda due to a bad flare. I also have crohns and started back on Remicade in March for an abdominal fistula. If you have not tried Lialda I would sure talk to my dr about it. Hugs, Susie

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/21/2008 10:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I just want to tell you I have the same issues . There are many people exposed to opiates who become dependant for life thats why they have methadone maintenence . Just becuase your in pain and take meds as perscribed doesnt mean you wont end up like one of the cursed . I feel so bad for you but remember the old saying about swimming half way across the lake then turning back . 1/7 chronic pain patients on who are dependant on opiates in severe pain over 10 years commit suicide becuase they get despondant, apathetic and give up .
 The drug is very deceiving hang in there it gets better . If you can't make it find another Doc ( pain clinic to percribe ) shrink that does subutex or suboxone  or methadone clinic  . Paws or post acute withdrawls can occur for up to two years . Many people loose complete normal function and have a terrible time its sad they percribe these knowing they wont support you properly if you have trouble becuase its too expensive in this outpatient corrupt for profit US medical system ( I take it thats where you are ) .
 The last time I did detox I couldnt even break a car right 6 months later my spacial orientation was so off . I had seizures on suboxone and my bp was going way up to 190/140 with my body limp and me screaming and irrational  . Every situation is unique to the individual but your dealing with a monstor when you deal with opiates . Its like a Cat 5 huricane for some never underestimate it .
Never feel like your abnormal becuase nothing normal gets one involved or takes place getting off . There is no definitive experience for all people . Withdrawls can kill , make one want to die , last for 10 days to 2 years depending on the person in varying degrees and the only constant is they do get better ...sadly you may have to treat your original condition or still deal with it and how its progressed . However opiates can create pain perception , increase it ..most people benifit from at least tapering , most people find they hate to be slaves to them and its worse then other alternatives after they have experienced the downside . God Bless still dependant , still sick too .
These people gave you very good advice I am not the norm . I know  people die or have stroke that were forced to go cold turkey in jail or psych wards though they spread the urban myth thats not true in medical circles . Pharama , Institutions and Insurance arent going to admit this now but eventually change will come it cant be coverred up forever . If your typing your doing ok . Hang in there if your going to do it do it and never go back .
PS read Dr Dave Arnesons " Methadone Withdrawl " his supplement ideas can help keep you more comfortable and saner . I dont believe in his cold turkey approach but i do believe he does plus his methods help and he is very sincere .

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/21/2008 10:24 PM (GMT -6)   
PS Dont give up after all you know it has to be done . 26 days is wonderful . I would go to the Er and have a psych admission before I gave in and had to just do it again ..It gets worse the longer you wait, get older and each time . Don't let me get you off your goal . Keep on going .

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 6/22/2008 5:37 PM (GMT -6)   
You know when I first came on here I was going thru my withdrawl, and I am glad i did otherwise I don't think they would have caught the RA and I wouldn't be getting my treatment for it. So I guess it was a blessing in disguise....
I have horrible withdrawal symptoms, I jusy writhe and cry in my bed. I don't sleep, I barely can get to the bathroom, it is just hell. I sweat profusely and freeze... just evil. It is so bad I sometims fear the withdrawal more than the pain...
***** Fibromyalgia 2007 ***** Degenerative Disk Disease with Herniation T7, T8, T9 May '08***** Rheumatoid Arthritis June '08 ******

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10382
   Posted 6/22/2008 5:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Carl, your symptoms are absolutely classic of a UC flare. UC can be and for a lot of us is accompanied by severe joint pain. If you were on Prednisone and tapered off, that also could have caused your initial pain. Are you being followed regularly by a gastroenterologist?

Please be aware that ulcerative proctitis, which is what you have been diagnosed with, can become pancolitis in some people. Opiate use will mask the diarrhea, and can be dangerous because it can lead to bowel perforation in some cases. I'm so glad you didn't have any serious problems while on it.

If you're interested in learning more, I'd invite you to visit the resources on the Ulcerative Colitis forum here.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroid therapy.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

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