ADDICTION: SUBSTANCE ABUSE
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5 months pregnant, MUST COLD TURKEY off 2mg a day xanax! HELP PLEASE!
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by KeepTrying40, Dec 29, 2011
Hi! I have never been to a board like this so please excuse me if I ramble or don't get the lingo or proper etiquette. I am 22 weeks pregnant and have been taking xanax off and on until the end of November. Probably more on. Since November I have taken about 2mg a day.   I am now on 2mg a day and HAVE TO QUIT xanax cold turkey. When I found out I was pregnant in September I immediately went to detox for about 20 vicodin a day and 10mg of xanax a day. They gave me 1 mg of subutex a day for the vicodin and NOTHING AT ALL FOR THE XANAX and I was VERY HONEST ABOUT HOW MUCH I WAS TAKING AND HOW LONG. I checked in on a Wed afternoon and had taken a bunch of xanax that morning and was fine on Wed. Then I was ok on Thurs morning but spent the rest of the day shaking like a leaf and feeling like I was walking on a boat. My head felt like it was trembling inside I could not hold a pen or a fork. I was like that friday too. I kept telling the nurses I was afraid of a seizure but they said I had no orders for anything other than subutex and I had to talk to the Dr. Well, the Dr. only came every morning for about an hour and I did not get to see him Thurs or Fri. I thought this place is going to kill me and I can't believe they are not going to taper me. Then on Saturday FINALLY the doctor!! Yeah!! What was his plan - discharge me with 7 days of subutex. What?! I asked about seizures and all and he seemed distracted and said I would be fine, just have to deal with the withdrawal. They were kicking me out no matter what. No behavior problems or anything. The doctor just said I was ready?! So, then the pharmacy didn't have any Subutex and neither did the other 8 pharmacies in the area. So, I basically had to cold turkey off the vicoden after only 3 and half days of doses (one Wed night, one thurs, one fri and one sat morning). Honestly the subutex must be pretty good because that part was not that hard. I mean I didn't feel great and all kinds of withdrawal but not like the horror stories you hear. THE IMPOSSIBLE PART HAS BEEN THE XANAX! When I got home Saturday afternoon (and remember I just got there on Wed afternoon) I took .5 xanax just because I was afraid of a seizure. I threw out all my vicodin but I kept some xanax because I do have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder and sometimes it happens when I drive and I have gotten stuck places in the past because I was having a panic attack and had to pull over on the side of the road and wait for hours. Now I have 2 kids, both SEVERELY disabled (one can barely walk or feed himself and the other is not is bad but also requires constant care). I cannot get stuck on the side of the road or stuck at Target because of a panic attack with them in the car, so I kept my supply. I was sooooo good the first month I took .5 most days and often didn't take any. Then I kind of messed up and got up to 2mg a day and then did a bunch of research and found a very good study that said cold turkey off 2 mg a day is generally safe and seizures are rare. They had over 1,000 people in the study who quit cold turkey in that study and there were seizure but it was like under 12 or 20 so I thought just do it. I quit cold turkey for 4 days and it was awful but manageable. I could function but was certainly nervous and did not sleep at all but I was ok. Then of course I slowly started up again because the lack of sleep was killing me with having to take care of my sons. Since the end of November I have been taking 2 mg of xanax a day. I switched to valium about 3 weeks ago because I heard it was a lot less strong and lasted longer and quitting was easier. Well, I was prescribed the xanax but not the valium - my mom's, we just switched. I found out this week that a 10 mg valium is equal to 1mg xanax and I had been taking 2 10mg valium a day so I changed nothing.
I recently went to a site I am a member of for expecting mothers and asked about xanax and benzo and if anyone else was on them (I have already done probably 100 hours of research and there is no link between xanax and birth defects and prior studies that said so have been overturned). I got a huge reaction that the hospital is going to test the babies first stool (meconium) because I came from a detox to the oby/gyne and if they find the benzo they are going to have to call Social Services and they will take my baby. It is mandatory in my state. The meconium test goes back to about 20 weeks pregnant where I am now so I have to QUIT RIGHT NOW, NO LONG TAPERING. I CANNOT HAVE THIS STUFF IN MY SYSTEM. I had a nurse from my state say they would test because I came in admitting I was using and just out of detox (the detox sent all my records too). The first visit the doctor asked if I was still using and I said just a very few time which was true at the time because I was really good that first month. She has not asked since and I have not offered up any information. The IL nurse said based upon all of this they will test the meconium and they can do it without my consent and if the baby is positive it is law that they call the state on me. I am terrified of losing my baby. It is a girl so there is a good chance she will not have the disabilities that my sons do (which caused me to use in the first place because you cannot imagine the stress and demands). I have tried tapering the past few days and I can't seem to do it no matter what is at stake. I get so freaked out and anxious and sick. I did it in detox but I didn't have to take care of two disabled toddlers. So, tomorrow is it. I MUST DO IT OR I WILL LOSE MY BABY. I have thought about confessing to the doctor and seeing if she will kind of approve of my xanax use and say it was medical (because it was!!!) and prescribed (and it was!!!) because xanax can be prescribed to pregnant women under certain circumstances. I called the office today ready to confess and she is gone for the next 3 weeks!!! So, if I try to taper of the next 3 weeks and she says no then they will take the test and I will fail and they will take my baby girl. I am sorry this is so long but I am bawling my eyes out as I write this. I can't wait 3 weeks to see if she will understand that I was never properly tapered (I am still so angry how the detox treated me) and approve the use or say no and then give her even more reason to test because I just confessed to continued use. So I MUST GO COLD TURKEY. I did it in the hospital for 2 and a half days (off 10mg) and then again in like october for 4 days and was ok. And the addiction doctor didn't seem concerned about seizures. And the study reassured me that it was incredible rare at this low dose. I need encouragement, not judgement. Please any advice or stories of quitting cold turkey would help. Please be kind and understand I HAVE TO DO THIS AND HAVE DONE IT BEFORE, but this time seems so much worse and I am really detoxing from valium I guess, not xanax. One of my little men went to the ER today and is in the hospital now and so I am very fragile pregnant and about to go through hell so please, please help and please as many people answer as possible. I am scared to death. Oh, and as far as the vicodin, I have been off that forever. Bye bye vics. Don't miss you!
Thank you anyone who read this long post, I am DESPERATE!!!
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Member Comments (20)
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by lulu747, Dec 29, 2011
Hi and welcome to the forum....You have a lot going on right now so first thing ...Deep breaths.  Your first priority is your baby so I think your only option is seeking medical help immediately.  The stress and panic you are feeling is not good for the baby-nor is cold turkey.  I don't have any personal experience with pregnancy but I did go to nursing school and know that CT off of benzos is not good-and definitely not good while pregnant.  I know that this is overwhelming-you need professional help and you need it now.  Please don't try to do this alone and please let us know how you make out.  Just try to breathe and take it one small step at a time...Sending support and prayers...Lu
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by dominosarahBlank, Dec 29, 2011
You have got to tell your OB what is going on here.  Stopping meds like this can cause alot of problems for you and the baby.  If you are honest with the doctor i dont know why Social Services would come and take the baby.  They usually want the baby to stay with mom.  Just do what is right here and be honest.
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by IBKleen, Dec 29, 2011
Hi,

First off, calm down. Breathe.

It seems you did research so you know full well that there is a risk when coming off of Xanax cold turkey. And I am sure that you know that whatever withdrawal you feel---the baby feels as well. So that is not good.

Maybe I don't understand all that is going on with your doctor but I have not ever heard of anyone who had their baby taken away after they were open and honest with their doctor about their drug use.

What about the doctor who prescribed the Xanax? I am assuming that is a different doctor than your OBGYN? Can you go to that doctor and explain your situation and ask to be tapered?

Honesty is always the best course of action when you are pregnant and I believe if you are up front and ask for help, they will taper you properly.

Let us know if that is something you can do. Also, it is the dinner hour and it is a little slow right now. Be patient and check back. We have a few members who are pregnant or have had children and have a story similar to yours. They will be along to help and support you.
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by vicki595, Dec 29, 2011
Okay. Deep breath...    You've certainly been through the wringer. But, calm down and think about this...

Even if you stop this second, there will be traces in the meconium from way back in early pregnancy. Okay.

Because of the above and your stay in detox, you will be tested and social service has already been notified. Big deal. They are not going to take your baby. They will visit you. They will check on you at the hospital and read your records. They will come to your house and visit. They have to do this by virture of their job description.

You are not the first to be petrified by this...

Can you do this: Can you see a psychologist or MD about your anxiety disorder? Get an appt?  Talk about the use of xanax?

To be honest with you, I'm not sure if the powers that be can tell when you last took xanax...I'm really not. But, all this fear isn't doing you any good. You need to speak to someone who knows more about this and who you can trust...

So, are you taking Valium now or Xanax?  How much?   How is the baby doing so far?  Also, at this point, you really have nothing to lose by talking with your current OB now. The whole point of doing that would be to keep you calm and the baby healthy.

It would be wrong of me to encourage you to cold turkey off the benzos but is that your plan?
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by brians_wife, Dec 29, 2011
Ok I agree first thing deep breath. Try to be calm and rational. I was addicted to xanax for a very long time. As long as you are taking less than 4mg a day seizure is not a big concern. You can safely ween off them. It is f-ing horrible! way worse than hydros. However all the same vitamins help hot showers help etc. But I totally agree with everyone else you are preg and it is very dangerous to stress yourself and baby. Start tapering as low as possible and try to talk to dr asap.just my opinion. On the bright side like hydros xanax detox physical last about 7 days and panick attacks seem less after I got off the xanax. keep posting. We are here. Please contact a dr asap for advice. :)
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by KeepTrying40, Dec 29, 2011
I have done tons and tons of research on meconium testing and even the BEST tests go back to 20 weeks, which is right now for me. And newer evidence shows that this is pretty rare that the window is really this long and is more likely for the last trimester, but I want to be safe. I went to the biggest and most used labs and all confirmed that their tests can only test back to 20 weeks at best. I don't think they will test me now because my doctor thinks I have been clean since the first few weeks and they do not have to report this or prior use. They only have to report when the baby is born. If the baby has withdrawal, the baby is positive for drugs ect... Even if I went to detox the first few weeks (l went when I was like 5 weeks, that includes the 2 weeks you aren't even pregnant before your period but they add into the number of weeks, the 2 weeks before you can even know because you can't test until missed period and the week it took me to realize wow I am late, so five weeks, but really only 3 weeks with baby inside me and I didn't know!). So as it stands right now their should be no State Agency involvement (and I worked for DCFS for about 5 years and kind of know the protocol). They can only get involved when there is a live born baby. Lots of drug users miscarry or have abortions so the state does not keep track of every pregnancy, just the birth. So, if I cold turkey now, and I did it in the past twice and was ok and the baby was perfect size and everything after both times, then there should be no reason at all for state involvement. If there is, my husband will leave me, I bet my life on it and take the kids and of course he would get them because I'm the addict. Then I would go back on vicodin so fast it would make your head spin and take whatever the hell I want because my life would be over and an overdose would be welcome. Not trying to be dramatic, just honest. I know there is no state involvement yet and won't be unless the baby tests positive and again the farthest it can go back is 20 weeks and most studies say that is pretty early and it is more like 25 to 28. I know the state has not been contacted because they would have contacted me. I worked briefly for an agency that did just this. It is mandated by the state. If they know of a pregnant woman using (like she got arrested or something, that is usually how they found out was an arrest for possession of something) the state is mandated to follow up with the pregnant woman, make sure she is in treatment and drug test her. If the state had been contacted I would know. They have not and obviously my doctor thinks I have been good since the first few weeks and if I give her reason not to believe that I have been good they will test the meconium for sure, if they aren't already (they may not if the baby has no withdrawal) so I have to STOP RIGHT NOW at 20 weeks so they cannot find it in the meconium and the newborn won't have to go through withdrawal. The addiction doctor was not concerned about cold turkeying me in the FIRST TRIMESTER!!! And I did it in October and the baby looked great. Just one last time...
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by ImDONENoMore, Dec 29, 2011
Oh my goodness keeptrying you're spinning - your head is all over the place right now so please - BREATHE.  And try to think of all of this is a calm manner.

You need to talk to your Dr.  Being honest is the best way to go here - I've seen many women come here with their addiction and the same fears as you only to return with a huge weight off their shoulders because they chose to open up to their Dr. and tell them the truth.  They are there to help you so let them.

I'm afraid all of your assumptions are going to come back and bite you in the end.  And as previously stated, cold-turkeying off of the xanax can be really dangerous for both you and the unborn child.  Please, talk to your OB and let them help.  You aren't a bad person, just sick.  That's why we all ended up here.  And being honest with the Dr. is the right thing to do for your unborn child.  Please reconsider this plan - PLEASE?  :)
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by vicki595, Dec 29, 2011
Well...okay. I guess you've decided. But, it begs the question: What can we do for you here?   I know I'm in no position to condone this personally but I can't stop you either.

Keep in touch so we know how you both are doing...
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by 1234betterlife, Dec 29, 2011
if you have a physician/psychiatrist prescribing you xanax for a legitimate documented panic disorder they are not going to take your baby away. i hear this over and over and i have never seen this happen and it aggravates me to no end every time i hear it. if all of your treatment is legitimate and you are under the care of a mental health and obstetrical professional they can and SHOULD communicate for the safety of the baby (of course) but also the mother of the baby.

if you get on a healthy baby forum and start talking about anything other than prenatal vitamins you are going to get slammed with horror stories. talk to your physician. period.