Need advice for tapering pain meds to eliminate them from my life

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Disce Pati
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 2/15/2012 6:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Due to the increasing cost of acquiring my medication and because I believe that I am stable enough to see if I can eliminate my pain meds from my life I have decided to taper-off of my methadone and oxycodone. This is a decision that I have made after many months of deep thought. I truly believe it is time. I have been on 10 mg a day of methadone and 30mgs a day of oxycodone since May 2000 (almost 12 years!) for pancreas divisum complications. In my opinion I am a very minor sufferer of this affliction and the benefits of the meds are no longer outweighing the risks. I have also found it is almost impossible to find a doctor who "believes in" pancreas divisum and I am tired of justifying my right to live pain-free.

My plan is to gradually taper the oxycodone then to taper the methadone. Since Sunday I have reduced my oxy to 5 mgs a day while maintaining the 10mgs methadone. I am planning on doing this for several weeks and then gradually reduce the methadone over the next few months. The downside of this is that since Monday - day one - I have not eaten "real food" - just ensure drinks, a few bananas and oranges. I know that this cannot last too long but I want to jump start the clean-out without having to deal with the food pain at the same time. I figure as long as I stay hydrated I should be Ok for about a week (that is the standard for the hospital).

My question is this - if I can maintain a daily use of zero or 5mg of oxycodone for a few weeks but then start spiking because of needing to eat does this defeat the taper? Is it best to just suffer through the eating pain for the sake of getting clean? so I can assess how bad the pain will be without pain meds?

And if I can get off both methadone and oxycodone and get a temporary flare / spike which causes a day or two of oxy use does this mean I need to do a brand new taper?

Is there any hope that I can live the rest of my life being off the daily meds but having "rescue" meds in reserve for the occasional umbearable eating pain?

Has anyone gone through a complete taper after many years of use? Is there a chance that I can retain a level of tolerable pain using non-narcotics for the day-to-day problems and keeping the narcotics for the occasional problem without having to go through tapers and withdrawal risks?

I am very committed to getting off from the meds - my time-frame is to be completely off by July 2012.

Any comments, advice or personal stories will help figure out if I can do this or if I am doomed to be dependent on these for the rest of my life.

Thanks - I am not going to go cold turkey but rather try the "warm turkey" route!

NiNi53
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 2/15/2012 7:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello, have you discussed this with your doctor, you must pay close attention to you blood pressure, as that is something that also spikes during withdrawal.
 
I dont understand what you mean about your eating anything that will cause you pain, pain from withdrawal or something else.  Oatmeal is good to eat when going thru the tappering off.
 
Good luck to you, and I hope you know what your doing.

Kathy
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Snowbunny21
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Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 2/15/2012 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree that you should be doing this with a Dr.s help....Especially since you say you want to keep some of the Oxycodone around to use for rescue meds once in awhile once you are done. This will take maintaining a relationship with your Dr. and getting prescriptions.

I think many of us would love to not have to take our meds daily....but if you truly find that your pain is only occasional and can maintain a low to no level of pain by watching your diet and other natural remedies...than it's a great idea...

Using the least amount of pain meds and having little pain is everyone's goal.

I just would recommend that you meet with your Dr. and let him know of your plan...your time frame..I would think he would be happy to help you in any way he can.

The main thing is that it's one thing to split in half or quarters your Oxycodone...(since it's breakthrough I assume it's short acting as that is the ONLY kind you can do this to)....but you will have to make the jump with the Methadone as that cannot be cut.

You are on relatively low doses so this should be a fairly easy taper with minimal side effects if done slowly and with your Dr.

I wish you luck!
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006
 
 

Lindaloo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 2/15/2012 11:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I read your post several times and am still a little unsure of some places, but I think I got the gist of it.
 
I take oxycodone 10 mg every four hours while awake and also take fairly high doses of lyrica twice a day and flexeril and lido patches and use a tens unit, heat, etc etc.
 
I once asked my pain dr if it were possible to stop taking the meds for pain and she said to me that it was possible for anyone, but for me, she was doubtful that I could be successful with that approach, but if I wanted to try, that she would give me all the help she could.  I thought that was the nicest thing I could expect from a pain dr. 
 
Right now, I don't want to try that, but I commend you for wanting to try.  I don't know what your pancreas diagnosis is, but I had pancreatitis once and I remember that it was very very painful.
 
In conclusion, I wish you luck and hope you will continue to post and let us know how you are doing and what any of us can do to help you.
I will pray for the success to your endeavor of getting off of the pain medication altogether.  If you are not successful however, please be gentle and kind to yourself.  This is not an easy thing you are embarking upon.  Please do it with a physician's assistance and know that we are here rooting for you.
 
God bless.
 
Linda
Believe in yourself. Be kind to fellow humans and animals. Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.

And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help. I will be there.



Linda

Disce Pati
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 2/16/2012 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the replies and the encouragement. I am sorry that I wasn't too clear on the eating association and some of the other "facts" that I related. I forget that what seems "obvious" to me is not so to others! - that we all have different reasons for being on pain meds.

The eating situation is one of the main reasons I am on the meds. My chronic pain spikes when I eat because of the pancreas problem. So that is why I have been limiting my food intake so I don't have to deal with the need to suppress the pain due to food. I figure that if I can get used to no oxycodone in my day first then I can try to bring back my diet to a more normal mode. I guess right now my goal is to taper off without experiencing withdrawal symptoms and I want to be sensitive to those symptoms without the food pain interfering; then I can make a more informed decision about the speed of taper.

Right now it seems to be going really well. I am down to 5 mgs of oxy a day since Sunday and I have experience ZERO withdrawal symptoms! So that heartens me and encourages me to keep on this track. I will do this for a few weeks then start tapering the methadone. And yes, you can cut methadone in half because it is a true long acting med - not like oxycontine or kadian, etc that has a timed release coating on it so that is makes it extremely dangerous to cut in half. So I can taper that a bit efficiently I think (other than the size of the pill - I think I can only go as small as quarters which makes it 5mg to 2.5mg as the lowest twice a day and then maybe go 2.5 once a day as the last step.

My biggest hope is that I can get off them completely and only use the oxys for the occasional times that I want to eat a "normal" meal with friends and family or go out for some fun at our local zoo. I will hate to give that up at this point of my life but if it means I have to become dependent on them on a day-to-day basis again then I will give those things up. I am so committed to getting off from these meds because of the difficulty I have to go through to get the prescriptions filled. At this point of my life living with the pain of pancreatitis is easier than living with the pain of dealing with the doctors who prescribe medications. With our new co-pays etc, it will cost me a few thousand dollars a year just to get my $20 a month prescriptions and we just can't afford it. This is a new situation in my insurance coverage and we were not expecting this hit and after thinking things out, getting off the meds so I don't have to interact with the health care system anymore is the only way we can keep our home. Hopefully this will change in a couple of years.

I will keep you informed if this works. Right now I am optimistic because I have never been this committed before. But all it takes is one "attack" or bowel obstruction and my plan is down the drain.

Snowbunny21
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 2/16/2012 4:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for explaining more....Especially about the Methadone being scored and being able to cut in half/quarters...I've never taken it before and assumed (wrongly) that since the half life is so long for this medicine that it's not meant to be split like Oxycontin and others...

So appreciate you clarifying that!

I still would be letting the Dr. know that you are doing this as I mentioned...to keep a good relationship with him to be able to get the Oxycodone needed to use when you have a bad day...as well as he won't just think you have dropped completely off as a patient without knowing why...

Sounds like things are going really well for you....that is good news! Keep us posted..
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006
 
 

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16799
   Posted 2/16/2012 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I hope you are successful with your taper. However, do not be surprised if it takes longer when you start the taper on the Methadone. It is a very difficult narcotic to get off of, even if its a low dose some people have a very difficult time getting off of it. You really may want to get with your dr about the Methadone taper for suggestions.

Good luck and take care.
Moderator-Chronic Pain Forum
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