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debbei
01-05-2009, 10:03 AM
I have to say that I am embarassed bringing this question here. My surgery was Oct 15th. I came home taking 14 pain pills per day, as prescribed. I've slowly cut back, and am not on 2 short-acting pain pills per day, oxycodone 5mg. Actually, I take one every 13 or 14 hours at this point. Each time, I try to push it a little further, even if only 30 minutes. I've been trying for a week to get myself off completely, and I just can't do it. I'm getting withdrawl side effects like hot/cold chills, muscle aches, insomnia, and just generally feeling 'lousey'. After I take a pill, within an hour or so I feel perfect. It took me a while to figure out what this was, at first I had no idea.

So today I called the Dr.'s office and they're calling in a prescription for Clonidine. Has anyone taken this? The Nurse Practitioner told me that it lowers your blood pressure, which I'm a little concerned with since my BP is on the low side of normal anyway. My next door neightbor nurse will come over this afternoon and take my BP before I take a dose, just so I can know where I started.

The NP also said this doesn't happen very often, but when it does, this is what they do. I can't believe I'm addicted--me who hates to take any meds whatsoever. HOnestly, I feel like a junkie. I don't know how drug addicts do it.

Thanks,
Debbe,
Your Neighborhood Junkie :(

CHRIS WBS
01-05-2009, 11:25 AM
My doctor is very adamant about over-prescribing meds. His nurse told me he has seen too much addiction in patients who were formerly treated by other doctors. I came home taking four Percoset a day which was cut to two. After two months he would not prescribe narcotics and I was taking Tylenol 3. After three months I did not have a need for any type of pain med.

Singer
01-05-2009, 11:46 AM
hi Debbe, I'm something of an expert on this one, as I was on Oxycontin for almost 8 months. It is much harder to get off the short-acting Oxycontin than the long-acting (12-hour) dose, since your body has a much sharper up-and-down cycle with the short-acting drug.

In my case, I was on the long-acting drug as well as the short-acting....so when I stopped the short-acting drug I was buffered a bit by the long-acting Oxy. Even then, it wasn't pleasant. Going off the 12-hour dosage was not as bad, even though I felt weird for about 3 days.

Don't think you're addicted. You're dependent, and there's a difference. As long as you are following your doctor's orders and as long as you're not requiring larger and larger doses of the drug, you are not acting addictively.

Dependence happens to a lot of us.

debbei
01-05-2009, 11:56 AM
hi Debbe, I'm something of an expert on this one, as I was on Oxycontin for almost 8 months. It is much harder to get off the short-acting Oxycontin than the long-acting (12-hour) dose, since your body has a much sharper up-and-down cycle with the short-acting drug.

In my case, I was on the long-acting drug as well as the short-acting....so when I stopped the short-acting drug I was buffered a bit by the long-acting Oxy. Even then, it wasn't pleasant. Going off the 12-hour dosage was not as bad, even though I felt weird for about 3 days.

Don't think you're addicted. You're dependent, and there's a difference. As long as you are following your doctor's orders and as long as you're not requiring larger and larger doses of the drug, you are not acting addictively.

Dependence happens to a lot of us.


Hi Chris,

Thanks for your note. Yes, I was on the long-acting as well (1 pill, 2x a day) and I weaned off them a few weeks ago. That's when I started having these side effects that weren't fun at all. I know, I definitely don't have the 'addictive' type personality, but it just bothers me that my body thinks it needs these meds. :) I"m going to pick up my new RX now.

Thanks,

LynnMarie74
01-05-2009, 08:56 PM
Hey Debbe - this is another of my fears....my family does have addictive personalities in it...w/alcohol & drugs,so naturally, Im a little concerned w/having to take them. I myself, do not have any issues like this, but its still freightening. Im sure you will be ok. You're wise enough to realize that you are dependent on it, which is excellent. Now you know what you have to do. You are a strong women and I have all the faith in the world that you will do just fine getting off of them all together. Good luck Debbe!:)

debbei
01-05-2009, 09:11 PM
Lynn,

Thanks for your kind words. I haven't decided if I'm going to take that medicine I picked up today. I'm a little nervous because I have naturally low BP. My neighbor (nurse) took it this afternoon and it was 98/68. The pharmacist said it just might make me a little dizzy if the BP goes too low. I don't know...I might just try to do this on my own after all. I went 14.5 hrs between my last 2 doses and I didn't feel too terrible. I would have gone longer, but I had to take my son to a college meeting tonight and I didn't want to break out in a cold sweat at the meeting. SHEESH. At least I'll be able to sleep tonight because I won't start feeling crappy till some time tomorrow morning.

LisaMS
01-07-2009, 11:51 PM
Hi, Debbe,

I agree, you're not addicted, it's just that your body has gotten used to having these medicines. At 5 weeks I tried to go from 20 mg oxycodone extended release (every 8 to 12 hours) to 10 mg and then to nothing in a few days, because I thought I was feeling so well. I started feeling jittery after a couple of days and even started crying uncontrollably one night. It was really weird--felt like I was going through some sort of detox program. I was miserable!!!

My friend who's a doctor said I had come down too fast. So I went back to 10 mg every 8 hours for a couple of days, then every 12 hours, and now I've been off for 5 days. In the evening, I sometimes get achy and take a 5 mg oxycodone (those are instant release and only last 4 to 6 hours), but not every night. This seems to be working. I'm 7 weeks out now, and driving and even working a little.

I sure hope that you can get past this quickly--judging from my "withdrawal" experience, it's not fun!

Hugs,
Lisa

debbei
01-08-2009, 07:59 AM
Hi, Debbe,

I agree, you're not addicted, it's just that your body has gotten used to having these medicines. At 5 weeks I tried to go from 20 mg oxycodone extended release (every 8 to 12 hours) to 10 mg and then to nothing in a few days, because I thought I was feeling so well. I started feeling jittery after a couple of days and even started crying uncontrollably one night. It was really weird--felt like I was going through some sort of detox program. I was miserable!!!

My friend who's a doctor said I had come down too fast. So I went back to 10 mg every 8 hours for a couple of days, then every 12 hours, and now I've been off for 5 days. In the evening, I sometimes get achy and take a 5 mg oxycodone (those are instant release and only last 4 to 6 hours), but not every night. This seems to be working. I'm 7 weeks out now, and driving and even working a little.

I sure hope that you can get past this quickly--judging from my "withdrawal" experience, it's not fun!

Hugs,
Lisa


Thanks Lisa,

I'm down to a short-acting pill every 17 hours. Today I'll go for 19. That last hour or so every time, I feel as you described. I'm hoping to be done in a week or so.

LeeJo
01-08-2009, 01:12 PM
I'm really glad you are aware and working on this. A woman in my family was on Oxycontin for chronic pain. She ended up taking more and more until she got kicked off the medical insurance for prescription abuse. She then started getting oxycontin on the street, and eventually ended up in a heroin/crack cycle. She passed away 3-1/2 years ago of a heroin overdose, on her daughter's 15th birthday. This is not something to take lightly. I will keep you in my prayers as you try to get off your meds, and please don't be embarrassed to ask for help. If my family member had asked for help at that point I really believe she would be alive and well today!

discombobulated
01-09-2009, 05:00 AM
LeeJo...I'm so sorry for your relative's suffering and your loss. It's uncommon, but definitely a good reason for doctors to be reluctant to hand-out a lot of meds at once. I'm so sorry your family went through this tragedy....


Debbe - hate to hear you've come up against such an obstacle! But you sound like you're doing great, going that little bit longer between each dose. I'm sorry it's been rougher than we all hoped for you, but I hope you'll be off the pills & feeling well very soon now. And I'm with the others - addiction & physiological dependence are very different things. This is a mass of chemical reactions in your brain & body that you are not in control of, & you're doing great with what's been thrown your way. Please keep us posted - & please don't feel embarrassed about this - I'll bet it's more common than we'd think, & I have no doubt that your post has helped others who didn't want to post about having a similar problem.

Best wishes to you. Take care.

joanne mclaurin
01-09-2009, 05:58 AM
I wish I could find something to relieve the pain I am having. I have posted before, so the background is there. Tried the injections, did not work. Tried the slow release morphine - helped some, but could not keep my eyes open when I got home from work, sometimes caught my self asleep at the computer at work. My pain management doctor tried to prescribe a drug that wouldx help keep me awake, don't recall the name right now, but the insurance company flat denied it and wanted me to go to a sleep clinic. The doctor and I both tried to explain that we know why I am falling asleep, to no avail.

Anyway, sort of in a hurry, but wanted to reply. Since I cannot take the morphine, I am taking ultram and percucet (excuse spelling). I am always in pain from my neck down to my legs. If the pain does subside some, I feel so exhausted I do not want to do anything. Still trying to work, but it is getting more and more difficult and I keep asking myself "why am I doing this?"

I am taking drugs so that I can work and go home and collapse. The scoliosis specialist did not recommend revision surgery.

Gotta get on the clock for now.

debbei
01-10-2009, 12:31 PM
again, thanks everyone for your replies. I'm down to one short-acting pill per day, as of today. Although this morning I didn't too much of the physical side effects, I was ready to rip anyone's head off who got in my way. Or even if they didn't. I was just CRANKY CRANKY CRANKY!!! Hubby thought I was PMS'ing, but I wasn't.

Hopefully within a week I can be totally done! I'm tired of feeling crazy.

JenniferG
01-10-2009, 06:12 PM
You've done marvellously, Deb!

Glad you haven't needed the other med - it might have given you something else to deal with.

Susie*Bee
01-10-2009, 06:54 PM
I'm so glad it's going better for you now, Debbe. Hooray! Just so some won't worry too much about the drug thing, everyone is different and some may need those meds longer. I took hydrocodone (Norco) for several months, along with gabapentin (Neurontin) and I didn't have any problems weaning off them. But my surgeon's nurse had me taper down on both strength as well as length of time between over several weeks.

debbei
01-13-2009, 06:40 AM
today will be 3 days since my last pain pill. I was able to sleep through the whole night last night without waking up achy and restless. The chills are gone. Thank GOD! And I did it without that nasty blood pressure drug. Last week I was starting to think I was nuts and I thought I'd never be able to quit on my own. I can't believe that how far I came in just one week. :)

Oh--and I met my informal goal of being done by my 3 month post op date.

Thanks again,

discombobulated
01-13-2009, 03:36 PM
Oh, Debbe - CONGRATS!!!

There are no smileys here to say just how happy & relieved I am for you that things are finally starting to come together & you're feeling better...but well..I am thrilled for you. Thank goodness, indeed!

I hope tonight brings more uninterrupted sleep & in the coming days, you start feeling ever better.

Take care :-)

Nancy Joy
01-13-2009, 05:48 PM
I am so glad you have beat this. I may be very grateful I couldn't continue the Oxydodone more than 6 days each time due to the need for signatures, etc. and too far from Dr. to get them. I was switched to Hydrocodone instead. I think you are just doing great with every aspect of recovery!! :)

JenniferG
01-13-2009, 08:13 PM
Congratulations Debbe! You did great, your determination stood you in good stead. Clear weather and plain sailing ahead!

Confusedmom
05-12-2012, 11:02 AM
Hi All,

I'm working on weaning off my pain meds, so I brought up this old thread. So far I would not say I'm having problems per se -- no chills, panic attacks, that sort of thing. But my problem is this: I'm still in pain! I am off of the Oxicontin and have been for a few weeks. I have gone from 10 Norco per day (5 mg Hydrocodone), to 7. And from 4 Valium (5mg diazepam) to two. Now they are saying I should only take diazepam if I am having severe muscle spasms. I don't know what that is. I just know if I go too long without it I get this feeling like a horse is kicking me in the middle of my back and I need to stick my stomach out and bend my back, but of course I can't. Meanwhile, I'm taking the Hydrocodone on a 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm, 11 pm schedule. When it gets to the 1/2 hour before my next dose, I am very sore and usually need to lie down on a heated blanket.

I know all this stuff is within the realm of normal. I did have an 80-degree curve corrected to 16 degrees and severe rotation completely gone. However, I'm feeling like if I don't get off the meds soon, I'm going to get addicted. But if I do get off them am I going to be in too much pain to walk and stay active to promote healing?

I guess I am wondering if any of you have had similar experiences, and if so, what strategy you used?

Also, would you recommend reducing diazepam or Hydrocodone first, or at the same time?

Also, is it possible I am actually getting more sore before the next dose as a kind of "withdrawal"? And if so, does that mean if I get off all of it I will possibly have a more steady, tolerable pain level?

Or, on the other hand, maybe I am one of those people who is just going to need the meds a little longer?

I am 8 weeks post-op and Dr. Lenses' assistant said most people are off the prescription meds by 3 months. So I figure I've got a month to wean slowly.

Any suggestions/experiences would be much appreciated! (And thanks to those of you who have already shared privately.)

Best,
Evelyn

leahdragonfly
05-12-2012, 11:42 AM
Hi Evelyn,

I read your post and I agree that you are completely within the realm of normal. You had an extensive surgery with a huge correction, so your poor body has a lot of adjusting to get used to. I think the amount of meds you are taking is not excessive, nor would I worry about weaning or addiction at this point. I think it is very important to keep taking the meds if you still have enough pain to limit your activities. It is just so important to keep up with the walking and being active. In another month I bet you will be ready to start weaning off. Forget what the assistant says. There are plenty of people here (perhaps the majority) who were still taking meds at 3-4 months. I also think it is pretty normal to have pain before the next pain pill and need to lie down. At 4-6 months post-op I still had significant daily "aches and pains", but around 6-7 months they had decreased considerably.

My original fusion 18 months ago was T8-pelvis. I don't feel well on narcotics, so I quit the oxycodone early and switched to tramadol, which is very mild, and I experienced a lot of unnecessary pain and misery. My husband was very concerned that I was undermedicating myself, and really, I was. 3 months ago I had a major lumbar A/P revision, but still much less than what you went through. I am still taking one tramadol per day along with tylenol twice a day. I would love to lay down on a heating pad in the early afternoon, but I can't because I just went back to work.

One thing I do remember after my surgery in 2010, frequently I would feel pain but if I could make myself get up and walk for 10-15 minutes I would feel better after. Movement initially hurts but in the end it is your friend.

Good luck, and keep up the good work. You will know when you are ready to stretch out the times between meds, and now is not it.

rohrer01
05-13-2012, 12:37 AM
Evelyn,
I haven't had spine surgery, but I do have chronic pain and experience with pain meds. I am in a weaning process myself from some medication. I like to get off of the benzodiazepines first, while many others say that they are useful to get off of narcotics. I just find that the body becomes more chemically dependent on the benzo's than the narcotics. There are other meds that they can use for muscle spasms. I am on baclofen and Klonopin (a benzo) for spasms. I'm weaning down on the Klonopin before the narcotics. If you still have to be on a set schedule of narcotics for pain management and your only symptom is pain when they are due, I would say you are okay. I'm curious as to how you do in the morning since you are taking it every four hours during the day but skipping the 3am dose. Do you hurt more, or are you a little sweaty, shaky, or have diarrhea in the morning? The sweaty, shakiness and diarrhea would be "withdrawal" symptoms. If your pain is tolerable in the morning then you could try gradually stretching out the time between doses OR what I've found to be more helpful is to take smaller and smaller doses, but more frequently so you are actually taking LESS of the drug but keeping it more constant in your system. If you do it very gradually, you can avoid difficult withdrawal symptoms.

At this point, again not having surgery myself, I would put mobility over worrying about meds. If you need them, you need them. You won't heal if you don't get moving. Even with my chronic pain, I ALWAYS feel better when I get moving. On the days where I feel I can't, I take more pain meds and get moving. I hope you have found this somewhat helpful. I have a thread on "Longterm Pain Meds HELP" or something to that effect under the nonsurgical thread if you want to read my chronicles of detoxing too quickly. You'll want to avoid what I went through just because of your situation with having surgery. I found myself bedridden through much of that. It was aweful!

Best Wishes,
Rohrer01

Confusedmom
05-18-2012, 07:09 PM
Hi Gayle & Rohrer,

Thanks so much for your responses. They were very helpful. Rohrer, I searched for your thread, but couldn't find it. But I found a bunch of others that helped.

So, this week I called my surgeon's office and posed the same question. They took me off Valium (diazepam) because it's addictive and switched me to Flexeril. It has only been 24 hours, but so far, so good. Also, they said I am not on an unreasonable amount of Norco and to continue to decrease it gradually. So, basically what you two said!

Gayle, I am so impressed that you are taking so little and already back at work after your revision. You must be one tough cookie!! I hope you are healing well and feeling better each week.

Best,
Evelyn

debbei
05-18-2012, 07:20 PM
Hi,

I was in no way ready to stop at 2 months, and just because they said 'most' people are off by 3 months doesn't mean you have to be completely off. Remember, decrease the Norco very VERY slowly. I went too quick and that's when I started with the side effects.

Hang in there, you'll be just fine.

BTW, it's nice to see my old thread :)

rohrer01
05-20-2012, 07:22 PM
Evelyn,

I'm just going to forewarn you that day 3 or 4 will be when the benzo withdrawals hit you. It seems so easy for the first couple of days and then WHAM! I'm glad they gave you a muscle relaxant to help. You will need it. If you want, I can dig up my old thread for you, but you sound like you have everything under control. Follow your docs advice and I'm sure you'll be fine. I've learned things the hard way with some of this stuff. I hate being controlled by it, so I go on and off. When I'm off, I mostly suffer. When I'm taking them, I feel controlled. It's an aweful way to live. If I knew for sure surgery would take my pain away, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But unfortunately, my surgeon told me that I would be in worse pain if I had surgery at this point. Did they make you quit valium cold turkey and replace it with flexeril, or are they having you wean down? I've found weaning to be much more gentle. I go down by a quarter of a pill about every 4 or 5 days. That way the body doesn't realize it's missing. Hang in there, you'll get through this.

Rohrer01

Confusedmom
05-20-2012, 09:07 PM
Hi Rohrer,
That's what I thought, too--wean diazepam (Valium) slowly. But, no, they told me to go cold turkey and switch to Flexeril. The nurse said people who are taking it for pain or muscle spasms and havent been on it long term tend to do okay. My last Valium was Friday morning, so I'm expecting to get some withdrawal symptoms tomorrow or the next day. How long do you think it will last? I am still on Norco & now Flexeril, so hopefully that will take the edge off things. Plus, I wasn't taking much Valium--2.5 mg three times a day. I am surprised the Flexeril is not addictive, as it seems to be making me sleepier and also a little light headed when I stand too quickly. But maybe that's just because my body isn't used to it yet. I am taking 5 mg every eight hours. So far, it seems to be working better than the Valium. So, yay! (But ask me again tomorrow.) Thanks again Rohrer & everyone for all the tips! Weaning is no fun.

Evelyn

rohrer01
05-20-2012, 09:52 PM
Evelyn,
The Flexeril may do the trick as a replacement since it does make you so drowsy. Your body gets used to the muscle relaxant quite rapidly and the drowsiness doesn't come on after being on it for awhile. If you get a migraine and palpitations and feel very edgy, that is withdrawal from the benzo. The headaches can be quite powerful. One sent me to the ER when I came off of Klonopin too fast. They didn't give me anything except an antinausea drug. The doc told me to take a Klonopin and my headache would go away. I told him NO THANKS. I endured it, but won't ever repeat that mistake. I also get tachycardia from Flexeril, but I have a tachyarrhythmia anyway. I guess my best advice to you would be to call your doctor's office if you start having withdrawal or any palpitations. I hope all goes well for you!

Rohrer01