Drug Holiday???

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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1037
   Posted 4/14/2011 12:51 AM (GMT -6)   
At my PM appt. last week I thought we were discussing a change in pain meds...but he said that he was treating my tolerance not my disease and mentioned going on a Drug Holiday.... Ever since I'm a nervous wreck... I know that it is supposed to reset your pain receptors back to normal, but that's Torture.... I can't go an entire month with nothing for pain...I would end up in an asylum.

Any thoughts?


FYI. the Dr. I saw is the Owner of the practice...it's not a true PM Clinic, he's a neurologist but they've been treating me for 8 years.

he said that Morphine is the only option and I've tried that before....but on the Preferred Drug List I had many options...Should I see another Dr. there and see what he says?

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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16776
   Posted 4/14/2011 4:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Rhonda, are you still on the high dose of Methadone? I am thinking you said you have tried twice in the past switching to Morphine but was not able to because of the withdrawal effects. If you are still on Methadone or any other pain medication in a fairly high dose, I would insist on something to take to help with the withdrawals if a drug holiday is decided on. I know some drs will script Catapress to help out plus something for the nausea. I do believe they work for some people and have heard the same and I understand how they could be beneficial as well to a patient. Back in 1996 I had both of my knees scoped 3 weeks apart, yeah, I know that was real dumb on my part, lol. Anyway, I had a partial tear of the ACL that had to be repaired and 10 days post op I was walking up the handicap ramp at the drs office and caught the toe of my shoe in the crack and started falling. I was trying to prevent the fall and ended up twisting the crap out of that knee and tore tendons & ligaments and the whole bit. By the time I was put in the room waiting to see the dr my knee had swelled to the size of a small cantelope and continuing to swell and the pain was getting unbearable. I ended up spending a week in the hospital for pain control, problem was my PM dr took over my care for the ortho and all he did was overload me with way too much IV pain medication. The pain was not under control and he just kept adding more & more and I was just out of my mind in pain. A couple of my nurses were really concerned at the amount of pain medication I was being given. I could not sit up and even eat in the bed. Somewhere in my fog I decided he was going to overdose me and I was going to leave the hospital AMA, lol. Oh, they had to call him and get him over to the hospital because they could not deal with me in that state of mind. He let me go home and the first thing I did was stop my medication which was stupid too. I should have tapered and did not have enough sense to think along those terms. I was in some kind of withdrawals let me tell you. I do not recommend that to anyone. I had a follow up appt a week later with the PM dr and he just about flipped when I told him what I had done. I was still having WD symptoms at the time of this appt. I did go back on my usual medication but it got the pain under better control than the IV meds did. Personally, I think with the overload of IV meds and the pain signals in the brain were just fried and misfiring and that is why none of the pain meds were helping in the hospital. Those two nurses that were so concerned with the amount of of pain meds he ordered both spoke with me in confidence that I would not tell him because they could have lost their jobs. I knew these nurses from other admissions. I can sure tell you it was a scary ordeal to go through.

Do you not see the same dr for appts at that clinic and are they all neurologists? I know you may not have a choice, but I do not like seeing a different drs in clinics because they don't really know you as well as they could if you saw the same one all of the time. That was one reason I switched PCP's a few years ago was not always getting to see the same dr. I have to many health problems to mess with someone that doesn't know who I am. I suppose if there is someone else in the clinic that you like you may get to see that dr but if its in your chart drug holiday that may be the avenue they take.

I recently missed my Wed appt for my pump refill and somehow got things all messed up. That was the first time iI had ever missed a refill appt and I hope it is the last too. By Thursday at 4:30 I had withdrawal symptoms going on, when the meds get low in the pumps the flow rate reduces automatically, it was not fun and I hope it never happens again. I went in that Friday morning for my pump refill and was given a bolus it helped out but it was Sunday before I started feeling human again, lol. It will be interesting to see what happens at your
next appt. I would also take that list of meds you were talking about with you to the next appt for the dr to look at. Take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 4/14/2011 5:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rhonda. So, he mentioned it, but is it your decision? I don't know much about drug holidays. I've read though that it takes A LOT of time to reset the receptors. Like, more than a few weeks. But, maybe it will help. I am a bit confused. Was this a doctor that you have never seen before? I would be just as worried as you are.

I guess that I would want another opinion. Can you make another appointment to see another doctor there? Do you have one doctor that you usually see, or do a lot of doctors treat you? Do you have one that you really respect and like?

I wouldn't totally change doctors right away, but I would get another opinion at that practice.

I'm sorry that you're going through this.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 4/14/2011 9:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rhonda

Just wanted to add my 2 cents for what it's worth. Can't imagine how hard it would be to go off pain meds completely without the help of something to ease the withdrawals. Some doctors just seem to think it's as simple as just ordering you to do this and that's that. I have had some rather bad experiencces with doctors who thought everything was cut and dry. I quite by accident discovered that alternating pain meds seemed to help alot. If you can find 2 pain meds that work for you even if 1 is good and the other is just tolerable that seems to work for me. Doctors don't seem to take into account that not everyone reacts the same way to the same meds. Well I won't go on about it but just wanted to add something to the conversation and wish you the best. I hope things get straighten out so your at least comfortable. Good luck and take care.

Chronic Back Pain, Anxiety, A little Depression
Meds: Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Clonazapam

spinal soldier
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 687
   Posted 4/14/2011 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
they have no evidence backing drug-holidays as good. maybe some benefit but if you are on methadone that is the worst because it may take a month to withdraw due to how it stores up in bone, fat, muscle, and has a long half-life. i have seen studies rotating to buprenorphine at a pain control dose for a few months might down-regulate your receptors. methadone is a problem with that because it is hard to make that change. Have you tried generic Opana IR? Levorphanol tartrate "levo-dromoran" might be an option because like methadone it antagonizes the NMDA receptor/Glutamate receptor which they believe plays a role in tolerance. med rotation may be a better alternative to the hell of methadone w/d. potentators or adjuvants like Elavil or Vistaril or Soma may get more out of the opioid. the amino-acid DL-Phenylalanine may help, but you are getting into areas where a pain specialists is needed.
L4,L5,S1 bilateral Laminectomies, Foraminotomies 2002
L4-S1 PLIF with instumentation 2008,

current Rx: MScontin 100mg q8hrs. , dilaudid 8mg q6hrs. prn, oxymorphone IR 10mg q6 ,vistaril 50mg prn nausea, Lyrica 150mg 2x,Adderall 20mgs 1x A.M. 10mg PM prn, Soma 350 mg 3X, Elavil 25 HS, diazepam 10mg bid prn, Supplements: CO-Q10 100mg, Vitamin D 1000IU, Fish-Oil1000mg EFA, B-Complex50 3x/day, ALA
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