Fentanyl Patch Withdawal?

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New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/5/2012 3:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a long history with opioids and have gone through withdrawal twice and never want that to happen again. I'm not an abuser and no one is interested in all my details, but

I am presently taking FENTANYL 12.5 which is the lowest dosage -for the last 4 months. I change it as prescribed after 3 days and it's working great. I can now fully function with minimal pain. I am also involved with other non drug procedures such as acupuncture, heat, massages, water machine, exercise etc.. (lower back pain advanced osteoarthritis). All these are helping me.

My question is: What will happen to me, withdrawal wise, if I stop the patch. Will I have to suffer through w/d? This is the lowest patch, can they be tapered. Can I just stop and have no ill effects?

I have an unused supply of norco 10/325 (hydrocodone). Would that help in coming off the patch? With all my natural remedies I feel I should be able to come off the fentanyl soon but am so afraid. I cannot bear the restless legs and loss of sleep. It's a palatable fear; everyone who has ever suffered w/d knows my anguish.

I appreciate any advice whether you're a legitimate pain sufferer or one who abuses, I will happily accept your experiences and wisdom in this area. I am alone living in a remote area. Thank you. - Vicky 39yo widow female

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/5/2012 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry for the remote area and widow info, I just meant to say that I don't have many people to talk to so I really do appreciate everyone here. - Vicky

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 5/5/2012 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Vicky and welcome to the chronic pain forum. I am curious, if you are having such wonderful pain control, why are you wanting to stop the Fentanyl? It would probably be best to call your dr and ask him the question on the Fentanyl, but I have feeling you would experience some because it is so strong. There are some meds your dr could give you to help you wean off and the withdrawals not be so bad.

Anyway, I wanted to pop on here and say hello and welcome aboard. Take care....Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 5/5/2012 10:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Many people have stopped the fentanyl patches , at your current dose, and simply stopped applying any more patches with minimal difficulty, while others have had some withdrawal. The good news is that you are currently on the lowest dose, and your doctor should easily be able to provide you with either a taper plan using other oral meds in lieu of the fentanyl patch, or give you some other meds to help manage any symptoms of withdrawal if they arise .
I would strongly suggest that you contact your PM doctor for a proper tapering plan to stop the fentanyl.
Best of luck
Motorcycle accident 1992, Back problems from 92 to 2005. August 2005- early 2006- Chiropractor care
March 2006- consult with surgeon -PLIF/TLIF L4-5, spondylolysthesis, canal and foraminal stenosis, multiple herniations
Post Op Cauda Equina Syndrome
Revision August 2007- salvage op
March 2011- 2nd onset of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Needs surgery to prevent paralysis

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/5/2012 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Susie, I think I would be fine staying on the 12.5 fentanyl patch. But I worry that the longer I remain on it, the more w/d I will have when I stop and my reason for stopping is that I want to get off every and all drugs; they're all poison! I'm willing to try to live with a level of pain and be drug free. Maybe I'm just being dumb and should just stay on the patch since I'm doing so well. Thank you for your warm welcome. - Vicky

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 5/5/2012 11:50 PM (GMT -6)   
I wish you luck but if they help your pain I would stay on. I recently tried to do the same . I had the same feeling, I dumped a half a bottle of percocet down the toilet. After taking this for a year for fibromyalgia and rhuematoid arthritis. I thought I can do this without these pain meds. Not a good idea, I should have called the doc before and unfortunatly for me it was Easter weekend. I could not get ahold of my doctor. I suffered horribly for three days. During this time of hell I realized how bad my pain really was without the meds so whe I went back in Monday the doctor switched me to the butran patch! This has been a lifesaver. Before on the perc I still was at a pain level 5 daily. Now I am pain free with a day here in there I have to take BT meds but I finally have a quality life again. So I would talk about it with your doc before you do it....Good Lucl

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/6/2012 2:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for your advice Ryobi. My doctor loves to prescribe drugs like they're candy. He would think me weird to want to come off. Perhaps I should just remain and be happy; I will talk with him. I sure he will tell me that if the medicine is working, to stay put. That seems to be what everyone thinks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 5/6/2012 12:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the boards...

I was also a bit confused by your posts saying that you are fine with staying on the Fentanyl but then calling it poison...

We all have to make choices for our own health care....and if you can get by with a level of 5 or so on the pain scale without taking any opiates and using a muscle relaxer here/there along with modalities of exercise, yoga/stretching, aqua therapy, eating healthy, massage, acupuncture, TENS unit, counseling, CBT....etc....

Then that would be great...No one "wants" to be on medication....But for me, I use all the other modalities every day/week/month but also require medication to keep my pain at a 5-7 on the pain scale...

But I didn't come here overnight...it's been years of slowly moving into taking opiates and starting at the lowest level possible. Even now, my PM would rather have me on a bit stronger meds because he doesn't like to see me or anyone suffer but I just feel that if my pain is chronic...then I want to stay as low as I can.

If for any reason you decide to go off the Fentanyl...you ABSOLUTELY should do this under your Dr.'s supervision. And let him know that you have this old prescription of Norcos in your home...do NOT take those without his permission/knowledge as you may be subject to a drug test and could get into trouble...

If he chooses to have you taper...he may have you use these (if he prescribed them) or use something different..

So...it's really up to you to decide here....and any Dr. that doesn't support you being off narcotics if your pain is manageable is one from which I would run away!!!

Good 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

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 5/6/2012 4:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Snowbunny21. I notice that there are others that I've read here who think that they can be ok (tolerable) without the drugs -- until they discontinue and it seems then, to go downhill very fast! So I've decided not to try that on my own; thanks for your wisdom.

I may just need the fentanyl more than I think I do. I'm never without some pain but now whenever it's down to a 3 or less out of 10, I just want to hug the first person I see; in my case, my dog. And he always understands. And I will take your advice Snowbunny21 and search for a conservative doctor who isn't running a candy store. My present Dr. has a prescription waiting for me every month for the next 30 day re-supply of patches. And yet there are some here who are suffering and their doctors seem unable to help them or want to give them the medicine they need. But I can understand their reluctance with all the abuse that's in the news today.

Maybe Poison wasn't the right word, but every drug has a side effect. Have you heard any commercials lately about various feminine products. I would rather my friend visit me even twice a month then risk the potential side effects -- something like panic, stupor, death, heart attack, stroke,etc... Even aspirin which has so many positive uses can rot out your stomach. So I stand by my conclusion, that all drugs are poison!

Thank you all for your insights and help. I say my prayers at bedtime and although I know none of you, I mention you in my prayers, that your pain will be lessened and relief found.
- Vicky

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 828
   Posted 5/7/2012 12:54 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't know your dr, but I know many who cannot find a dr to script them meds, even legitimately needed ones. It might be your viewpoint on the medication itself could be coloring your idea of your dr because he's willing to prescribe them.

I understand not wanting to be on pain meds, I have horrible side effects from mine...but I have Cerebral Palsy...(a muscle imbalance in my back, my hips dislocate from their sockets, I have tendonitis, and muscle spasms pretty much everywhere). So in order for me to have a normal life...go to college...work on my career...walk my dog...take a shower and dress myself. I have to take medication, pain meds, muscle relaxers, etc. Even on all those medications I suffer from severe pain...but they give me enough relief so that I can live my life.

It sounds like you need to evaluate your life and see what's most important...are you able to do all the things you want to in life without the assistance of the fentanyl? Or are you just afraid of the withdrawls? Or is it something else you're afraid of entirely?

Honestly...if I was able to control my pain so well with such a low dose...I don't even know what I would do.

I say to each his own. Do what's best for you, be honest with your doctor, and see what he says, you may be surprised...just because he'll script meds doesnt mean he won't be happy to see you not need them. He might be really supportive and give you what you need to get off the Fentanyl safely without thinking you're weird.

Most of what's in the news about pain meds is very narrow minded and just a small piece of the whole picture...before the "pain pills" it was something else, and after them it will be something else again. I would focus more on your own personal experiences and beliefs than what you hear or read in the news. That's what I've done and it's worked for me.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 5/7/2012 3:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Vicky, you are no different than the rest of us. None of us ever wanted to be on any kind of medication. More than likely if a poll were taken here at the forum a great majority of us would laugh and say not in a million years did I ever think I would be afflicted with something like chronic pain, let alone be on pain medication for life. I know I am one of those people. I worked a lot of years with pain but just figured that was the way things were suppose to be.

As far as side effects go, everything has a potential for a side effect, but that does not mean it will happen to me or you. You stand a very good chance on being on the dose of meds you are right now for a long while. You are sensitive to Fentanyl it appears. Some people can be maintained on a low dose for a very long time. It depends on how your body metabolizes the drug and how effective it is. It sounds like you sort of have this inward battle going on with yourself about medications and only you can straighten that out. If you are worried about being labeled by friends or family because of needing medication, the one thing I will tell you is the fewer people that know you take medication the better. No one needs to know your business.

LexiRae said it best about what the news people say about pain medication. Unfortunately, the war on drugs is just not aimed at the illegal ones, the legitimate people are being caught in the cross hairs and paying a very high price. You have not been there yet. If you see a segment on tv its one sided or if you read an article its one sided, I don't bother with that junk its not worth my time.

If you really want to go off the Fentanyl perhaps talk to your dr about a trial run of getting off to see how you do, just do it under his care...Take care...Susie
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 5/9/2012 1:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi -
As mentioned above, I don't think any of us who take pain medication for our real horrific chronic pain really wants to be on pain meds, however the alternative is much worse. I think having an option to take something that helps even a little bit is a Godsend. I personally can't imagine not having anything to help my pain.

What you 'may' be going through is what a lot of people who take meds for depression etc. They start to feel so much better so think they don't need them, when in fact it's the medication that is helping.

I don't think if you go off of it any later it will make much difference. You're on a super low dose. If/when you do decide (w/your Dr.'s guidance) I would think that pills would help, but you're trading one for the other.

Whatever you do - I hope that you're as pain free as possible!
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