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Posted By : MtnGrlNC - 7/7/2017 1:45 AM
Well, it took over a year and a half and a trip to medical detox but I am finally rid of the methadone. I was able to wean down to 2.5 mg/ day from 40 mg/day myself but then it started to get really difficult. I had no pain control and started having some withdrawal symptoms. We looked for another long acting but my insurance did not want to pay for Nucynta or the Butrans patch which is what my PD said were the most appropriate. I bounced back up to 5 mg and then 7.5 mg then back down. My pain control was almost non-existent, I was relying on my 10 mg oxy IR 4 /day to control my pain. At my April appointment he talked of cutting that down to 7.5mg oxy. I could see where things were headed and decided to take control and come off the opiates before they took me off.

I decided on a formal medical detox because after being on the drugs for so very long (over 20 years) I thought it might be safer. I do not mind saying I was terrified. I stopped my methadone on a Friday and relied on the oxycodone to keep me out of withdrawal until I checked in on Sunday. After all paperwork was done I met the nursing staff. They had 2 RNs and 2 LPNs 24/7. They used Subutex for the withdrawal and then weaned you off of it. The difficult thing was that you had to be in full blown withdrawal before they could give you the Subutex because if not it could throw you into withdrawal. Right away they started me on clonidine and Robaxin every 4 hours with Zofran and immodium prn. Vital signs were checked every 4 hours around the clock. I had an awful night with the sweats, aches, nausea etc. They had specific criteria you had to meet before starting the Subutex.

By the time 8:30 (med time ) came around I was miserable and looked it. I was the only woman in detox at that time and all the guys kept asking me if I was alright. Most of them were there for alcohol detox. When my turn came (they let me go first) I met criteria and was given my first dose of subutex, crushed then under the tongue. I went into the women's lounge, which I had to myself, and within 15 minutes all my withdrawal symptoms were gone. I took the Subutex q12h. Most of the time I spent watching TV, no phones, no computers, no tablets. I got acudetox (acupuncture for detox) 3 times that week and it really helped.

Now for the downside....they made no distinction between the street junkie and someone like me who never took a street drug or any drug not prescribed to me. I did not stay for the 12 step rehab program. We had "group" usually after dinner but it really made me uncomfortable, to them everyone is an addict no matter what the circumstance. I was there 6 days and had some minor aches when I got home. Since then I have had some depression and trouble sleeping but it gets better every day.

I did not return to pain management because I got really tired of living my life in 30 day increments. My appointments and fill dates were not in sync so I had to worry about being in town for my appt and my fill date. That and all the talk in the media about how evil opiates are made me think it was just a matter of time before they really start pushing to get chronic pain patients off them altogether. This way it was my choice. I am using mainly OTC meds and heat for the pain. I started exercising more, eating better and taking vitamins. I have actually lost 20 lbs since coming off the opiates.

Posted By : theHTreturns... - 7/7/2017 2:23 AM
well done.

Posted By : straydog - 7/7/2017 7:57 AM
All I can say is I think you have done a fabulous job & you should be proud of all of your hard work. Methadone is the hardest drug to get off of. As you know its a long lengthy process to wean off of. Using it for chronic pain comes with a huge price in every way, even though for some people it works well & is cheap. It was probably a smart move going to the facility to complete your last stretch. Yes, they treat everyone as an addict regardless, thats the downside of it. They have been making noises about removing Methadone for pain control & I believe it will happen.

Yes, being on meds puts us on a leash. Take care.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : (Seashell) - 7/7/2017 8:30 AM
Wowza. And double wowza.

You are to be commended for your personal resolve and conviction in successfully detoxing off of methadone . . and all opiates.

Reading your post and narrative really touched my heart. You laid the detox process out for all to see - the good and the ugly. I can appreciate how emotionally taxing it would be to be collectively labeled as an "addict."

I am on Palliative Care and a high dose of opiate for pain related to advanced avascular necrosis. I feel as though my life has become defined by 30 day refill dates and have consciously decreased my dosing because I fear that regulatory changes may come to affect Palliative Care and allowable dosing. My goal is to remain ambulatory within my means to tolerate the bone pain.

You've provided a pathway for others to follow. I appreciate the honesty with which you share your story. Word.

I hope for you continued success and a sense of inner peace,
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Posted By : MtnGrlNC - 7/7/2017 10:04 AM
Thanks for all the your kind words. This is the only place I could talk about since I could not take about it at work. Methadone gives and takes. Because of it I was able to go back to school and have a great second career. It has taken a lot too and am now trying to get things back. The withdrawal does not end with the physical symptoms. Anxiety, depression and lack of sleep can be harder to deal with but it does get better every day.

Thanks again for reading my story. I am afraid that in the not too distant future many chronic pain pts will be forced to come off their pain meds.
Mom to 1 Maine Coon Cat, 2 Ragamuffins and 1 Husband.

Sinus surgeries 6 total including the obliteration of my frontal sinuses through a bicoronal incision. Result... Empty Nose Syndrome and "atypical facial pain.

Posted By : straydog - 7/7/2017 7:24 PM
The after affects of the Methadone will be around for quite awhile. It can take as long as a year for your body to reset itself. Hopefully this will not be the case with you, but at least you know its temporary.

Believe me, there are thousands & thousands of patients across the country that has already been cut off of their pain medications, no warning, no nothing. Many cannot find PM drs willing to take them on as a new patient. The drs offer procedures that the patient has already failed, its pathetic.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing. You have done such a fantastic job.
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

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