Any suggestions for helping me help my mother with withdrawl syptoms

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Helpless58
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/11/2008 1:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello!  I am new to the forum, and am hoping someone might have a suggestion for me.  My mother is 74 years old and has been on fiorinol w/ codeine for about 10-12 years or more she has been abusing them by taking 100 pills every 21-25 days.  I have tried to get her off of them, but she thinks she has to have them.  Last tuesday she decided to go off of them cold turkey, (because of the cost), she has been so sick with what I believe to be withdrawl symptoms.  She is very shaky, has diahrea, has the jitters cannot sit still.  I have taken her to the er and all they have offered up, is some ativan to help her through it.... I would think there was more she could do.  She has always taken them for irritable bowel, other than that, she is very healthy, doesn't drink or smoke, heart is good.  I feel so bad for her, is there anything I can do to help her???  How long will she have to go through this?  If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it.... I was finally able to get her into the dr in 2 days.... I don't know if they are not taking her serious or what... but it really concerns me at how bad she is....  thanks for listening!

ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 8/11/2008 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Helpless. I am sorry to hear about your mom's struggles. I wanted to ask you for a little more information about your mom's situation. You say that she has been abusing this medication, but 100 pills in 25 days works out to about 4 pills per day. Depending on the strength and her medical condition, that is not necessarily a very large dose. If she's been on this dose for 12 years, a doctor must have been prescribing them, right? I am wondering why you consider this to be abuse. Does she take the medication when she doesn't need it? Why do her doctors continue to prescribe it?

Whether she has been abusing them or not, though, she should not be trying to withdraw from such long term use outside of a doctor's care. My advice would be that you go with her to the doctor who has prescribed this medication so she can explain that she would like to stop taking it. Then the doctor can help her create a taper-down schedule to gradually lower the amount she is taking. He can also prescribe palliative medication such as the ativan the ER suggested that may help minimize the symptoms.

There are many people here who have a lot more wisdom about this topic than I do, so I'm sure you'll get some more advice soon.

Ry

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/11/2008 7:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Helpless,
Welcome to the HW forum. It's late and my brain is a bit foggy, but I think Ry has asked some good questions and given you some good advice. What is the dose that's prescribed on the prescription bottle? If someone has prescribed them for this long, then there must be a need or she is working with a doctor that's looking the other way - and these days that's getting pretty rare. So if you could explain a bit more that would help. But the first thing I would do is as Ry suggested, go with her to her doctor's appointment and tell/him her what's happening. If there is a real need for the meds, and cost is an issue, perhaps there's an alternative that could be tried. If it is an addiction issue, then have the doctor help refer you to some addiction professionals. They may be able to help with detox if it's still needed, and then with your Mom dealing with the problem. Yes, there are people her age who are addicted to prescription meds and other substnaces, but I don't know enough from what you're saying to have a sense whether your Mother is one of them.

Whatever you do, I'd suggest your direction needs to be taken from your Mother's doctors, not us in the forum. We can offer support, but we're not doctors, nor do we know all her medical history.

PaLady

Helpless58
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/12/2008 6:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for listening! I appreciate it! I am going to the dr w/ her tomorrow. I am not sure why she is taking them. I know that she has had some bowel issues years ago, and I think that is what got her started on them. She has been going to the same dr for years, and i think he just gives them to her because she tells him she needs them. This is something I intend to find out, when I go with her, hopefully this will give me more insight as to why she takes them.

Have a blessed day!

Hartdawg
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 8/12/2008 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello, and I am so sorry, this is a horrible thing to go through. Subutex is a good med for this and if she can get Neurontin which is for nerve pain it works wonder with preventing opiod withdrawl. I have never been told this but have experienced it and have told a friend who also had great results.

Best of luck and God Bless,

Hart

Quote by Myla Kabat-Zinn:

"Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart."


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 8/12/2008 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi!
My mom went through something similar with regular Fiorinal. She was taking them for headaches. She would get rebound headaches whenever she would skip a day, so she started taking them all the time. Hers didn't have codeine & I'm not sure how the codeine affects the withdrawal, so that may be something to take up with your mom's doc.

Fiorinal is made up of butabital & caffeine. Like your mom, mine was also put on a benzo (Valium), but it wasn't helping enough so we also got her to start drinking caffeinated tea (she's not a coffee fan) and that helped a lot with the diarrhea. The other symptoms may be the result of getting dehydrated. If you can get the first symptom under control, maybe the rest will follow?

Good luck with everything,
frances

ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 8/12/2008 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Helpless. I am glad you are going to go to the doctor with your mom tomorrow. I don't know your mom or the details of the situation, but I want to encourage you to really be ready to hear what the doctor and your mom have to say. I can tell you care a great deal about your mom, and I don't know if some event happened or what has caused you to become concerned about this issue right now after many years of treatment with this doctor, but it sounds as though you are already convinced that your mom is abusing her medications and that the doctor is prescribing them unnecessarily. That worries me a little bit.

Is it possible that she has a very real condition which would cause pain that may necessitate the use of this medication? If so, you would not want to insinuate that she is abusing the medicine or especially that the doctor is improperly prescribing them. Just the slightest hint of abuse might initiate notations on your mom's records that could make it extremely difficult if not impossible for her to get prescribed pain medication in the future.

I know I don't know the whole situation, so this is just my opinion and you can take it with a grain of salt... It's just that sometimes the friends and family of people who are suffering with REAL pain don't really know how much pain they are in. Especially if it is a chronic sort of issue. I know I spent a lot of years really trying to HIDE how much pain I was having from the people I was closest to. They had no idea! And I think they might have been shocked if they knew what medications my doctors had me on - maybe even worried that I was addicted to the stuff. But the fact is that the medication is the only thing that makes it possible for me to even stand up and walk on some days. The pain is just so impossible I could not function without something to mediate it. And even though the meds I take are fairly heavy duty for the average person, they are "taken up" I guess with the pain issues, because I do not have any of the "high" effects that people talk about with recreational drug use (thankfully!). I just wonder if that is where your mom is at? Maybe she has had some pain issue that you didn't know about - or at least didn't know everything about?

I don't want to make you angry. I know you just want to take care of your mom and make sure she is well and that her doctors are doing the best things for her. I just hope that you will let her and her doctor talk to you and explain what the deal is first. And really try to listen and hear their perspective. And then, if your mom really does feel like she's taking more of this medication than she really needs, you can all work as a team together to change that.

Ry

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/12/2008 5:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
I just want to second what Ry is saying - especially about suggesting your Mom may be abusing the pills when that may not be the case. You say she stopped because of the cost. There may be some ways to get coupons even from the drug manufacturer if the doctor or you could check their website. But you first need to learn about your mother's pain. As Ry said, sometimes many of us hide it, especially from our family. Some elderly people are too proud to admit they are hurting. So you really want to encourage your Mom to speak up, be honest, and that you will listen. That's the only way you or the doctor can figure out if she really needs the meds. You may also need to consult a pain management specialist, but I don't know. At 74, I would hope my doctors would help me get the best quality of life I could have (that's what most of us want at any age, especially when we have chronic health issues). If that means pain medication, so be it. I don't mean this to sound harsh, but be sure you yourself haven't picked up attitudes from the society about the abuse of pain medication. That is really the minority of cases, but it's what makes headlines.

And if you think 100 pills of a given medication is a lot, I take 180 pills a month of percocet. And that's just one of several meds.

Let us know how it works out.

PaLady
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