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Am I in withdrawal? Am I tapering too fast?
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Am I in withdrawal? Am I tapering too fast?

Hi all. I'm new here and need some help.

In July of this year, I was diagnosed with extreme chronic tendonitis and was given Percocet 5/325. From that time until mid-August, I only took two tablets at night for the pain. Never during the day, as I needed to function. Then I had surgery in mid-August, after which I was in BAD pain. For about two weeks after surgery, I took FOUR tablets per day. Then around early September I went to three tablets a day (one in the afternoon, two at night). About a month ago, the pain started to become manageable so I started cutting my afternoon pill in half, then in quarters. I left my night time does as is. I did however, start feeling some anxiety and just general unwellness when I started tapering my afternoon dose. Last week I decided I wanted off for Percocet for good (I only have about 45 pills left anyway), and started tapering my nighttime does by cutting it by one-quarter pill each night. So each night, I'm taking about 1.25/81.25 than the previous night. In addition, yesterday was the first day in about three months that I didn't take ANY in the afternoon. SO yesterday I was down to 1.25 pills total. Tonight I'll take 1 pill. Tomorrow night .75 of a pill, and so forth.

I really feel like hell and have for the last 3 weeks or so... anxiety through the roof, heart pounding/palpitations, stomach upset, tiredness but inability to sleep well etc. Given the relatively low dose I was on (even at the height of my dosing) and that it's been about 4 months, am I tapering too fast? Am I in withdrawal? I need to start feeling better really soon. Can anyone share any advice with me?

BTW I should mention I have anxiety issues anyway, and have for years... maybe this is all in my head...
42 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Just stay on here and you will get some great advise! I did a fast taper, only 5 days and I was going thru wd the whole time. After I went ct I had some bad days but definitely not the worst I've ever had. I really didn't think tapering for 5 days would help but it did. You're not taking much so the wd's shouldn't be unbearable. I came off of 90- 120 mg of oxy that I had been taking for 9 months. You can do this but you need to make a commitment and stick to it. Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you, leaveurfearsbehind. Your comments are very helpful.

Here's another question - given the fact that I'm already at only about 5/325 per day, should I continue to taper or should I just go ct? Keep in mind that last week at this time I was still taking 10/650 at night - would just stopping at this point be worse than slow taper? I just want badly to be off this stuff for good. Surely there can't be that much still in my system anyway. If I didn't have work and things this week I think I'd go ct... it almost seems like withdrawal is slow torture but I just want it over with.
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Avatar_m_tn
I actually meant to say TAPERING is slow torture. Man I just can't seem to get the words right... I'm looking forward to more comments as I'm really scared and just want to be over this...
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Avatar_m_tn
Well for me time was everything. I was scared, knew I was in trouble and wanted to stop ASAP! Your at a low dose so its definateley doable. I stopped the day before my off day so I would have a day to rest. But honestly I did better going to work. It kept my mind busy and made the time go by faster. It was a struggle but I made it. After the first week I felt way better, I still have my moments but I'm getting better everyday. If your gonna do this you really need to commit to it. Cut off all access to pills. Make a plan and stick to it. keep posting on here and I promise you will get the support you need!
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Avatar_m_tn
To answer your question. Personally I would go ahead and stop. I tapered for 5 days and was in wd the whole time. It just wasn't full blown but it did make it easier when I stopped. I really believe you can do this since you are not taking much at all compared to some people. A guy posted on here yesterday that he was taking 40 a day! You will have 3-4 bad days to start with then you will start to improve. Wishing you the best of luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again. I'm definitely committed... I'm just trying to figure out if I should keep tapering at the very low dose I'm currently taking, or if I can just stop. Interestingly, I don't feel addicted to these pills. Quite the opposite. I HATE them and just the thought of taking one makes me ill. The only reason I'm tapering is that I was told that's the best way to get off them and avoid withdrawal... but maybe I've tapered enough?
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Avatar_m_tn
Tapering definateley makes it easier. The biggest thing for me was not being able to sleep for a few nights and the restless leg. I kicked for two nights but it wasn't to bad. Now I know why they call it " kicking the habit" lol. It's really not as bad as we make it out to be. It was literally terrified of wd this time but I went in with a positive outlook and a plan and I'm 16 days clean today. I feel way better than I did while taking that crap!
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Avatar_m_tn
You sound like you are ready to me. There comes a time when you just know it's the right time to stop. If you think your ready and would just go ahead and jump off. Keep posting here and we will all cheer you on. One good thing about this place is, we've all been there and know what your going thru. You will get some awesome support on here!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there-  I think you should just stop taking the Percocet now. You WERE tapering a bit fast and now you're down to such a low dose that I think you'll feel better if you just stop. You'll just drag things out for too long if you continue.

Be sure you take in extra fluids and be sure to eat properly. I think you'll be just fine and it's great you caught this before it got too far out of control!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again for the comments. I think I WILL just stop. At my current schedule, I'd only be taking one pill tonight anyway. I don't need that one pill and certainly don't want to take it. I don't want to drag this out any further, it's eating me up inside. I'm supposed to have my son this weekend and can only hope that by then I'll be in decent enough shape to enjoy his company.

I'm pretty naive when it comes to medications. Lesson learned from all this is narcotic painkillers = NEVER AGAIN. I'd rather deal with the pain.
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Avatar_m_tn
Good for you! I just wished that I would have opened my eyes sooner. Keep posting and we will be here for you!
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Avatar_m_tn
I just want to say I'm scared. I'm not being very brave about this. Tonight will be my first night without ANY Percocet in about 4 months. Even though I've gotten down to such a low dose... I'm having an anxiety attack over what awaits me. Or maybe it won't be too much worse than I've been feeling for the past several weeks. Luckily I have some anti-anxiety medication but I'm not confident it's going to help if it I need it.

The doctors who prescribed me Percocet are so cavalier about it. I just got off the phone with them. They told me if I didn't feel like I needed it for pain, just stop taking it. They were incredulous when I asked about tapering. Their advice was to take NO more than one pill every 6-8 hours, then just stop taking when I feel the pain is manageable. I told them I'm already taking way less than that at least the past week, and they were surprised. Clueless. As if it's Tylenol or something.
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Avatar_m_tn
It's ok to be scared! It's amazing what you can do when you feel that way. I was the same way, terrified of what might happen? Ask yourself "am I ok right now?". There's no need in worrying about what might happen. It's like having a dentist appointment, then they call the day before to remind you. What happens? You start thinking about how bad it's gonna be or what they might tell you. Then once you go it's not near as bad as you have made it out to be. Just live in the moment and don't worry about what might happen. I know you can do this if you set your mind to it!
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Avatar_m_tn
Be sure to get out and get the Thomas recipe supplies... they will help. If you aren't on antidepressants, you may want to try 5htp... really helps with anxiety. I still use it. Definitely a fan of ct... you can do this!
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900459_tn?1304996859
Well congrats on wanting off so soon cause the withdrawal you are having is very mild compared to what it would be if you kept on taking more and more like my stupid self and many others because at my worst 4 per a wouldn't stop withdrawals it was more like 80-100mg just to feel normal and you DON'T WANT THAT. I didn't read the above replies so I'm sure this has been said but ill say it again if it has. I would go get you a good multivitamin, vitamin b-6 and b-12 for the fatigue , magnesium and potassium for the restless legs, valerian root for anxiety and also to help ya get some sleep and meletonin for sleep.  Oh and at Walmart they sell a med called restless legs I would def get some of that to. Well feel free to shoot me a msg of ya have any questions or just wanna talk or anything n ill help ya anyway I can.

Good Luck and Godspeed
ABritt
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks all for the great replies. Crippled with anxiety, feel like I'm gonna have a heart attack. I don't know that I can do this, even at the low dose I'm on. I guess I've been withdrawing for a few weeks now. Can't take much more, at this point I can barely function. I'm afraid to even go outside. Unreal.
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900459_tn?1304996859
Hang in there it will get better. I would really suggest just quitting all together at this point your dose was low so the withdrawal you are talking about now is prob as bad as its going to get and the longer you take even the low dose you are on now the longer you will have to deal with it cause your body is just vetoing enough meds to keep it wanting more so the sooner your body gets used to not having any the sooner you feel better
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you abritt, you make a lot of sense and that's it for me. Yes I caved and took one pill last night... I was scared. But how much will my body miss one 5/325? I hope you're right in that this is as bad as the withdrawal will get. No more, I quit.
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Avatar_m_tn
The help and advice I've gotten here so far has been extraordinary, and I thank everyone for it. Still, I have nagging doubt. Yesterday, I only took one 5/325 pill and managed to survive. However I took it a little later at night than usual and I noticed my body getting really jittery before I took it.

As I mentioned probably numerous times, over the last 2 or 3 weeks I've been tapering by one-quarter pill each day. Tonight, I'm not planning on taking ANY - in other words, dropping by dose to nothing by a whole pill. If I already feel this bad doing only one-quarter each day, what will dropping the entire does do to me?

Again, I would love to believe that the w/d symptoms I'm having now are at their worst - I'm really trying to believe that - but I'm still having my doubts. All I can do right now is dread what tonight might be like. I've got anti-anxiety meds and stocked up on vitamins and Valerian tea, but still... I want so badly to do this but I'm terrified. Am I being irrational? Today could be the worst day of my life so far, and I feel it's about to get even worse...
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Avatar_f_tn
Try to keep remembering that no matter what your withdrawal symptoms are, the one thing you are guaranteed is that they are temporary!  Your brain is trying to trick you into believing that you can not possibly make it without taking a pill to make it manageable.  Your brain chemistry is not your friend now because it is lying to you.  I cold turkey detoxed from 20-30 10/325's a day for over 5 years.  Many of the wonderful people here have done this and have incredible success stories.  Make the commitment and just don't take a pill for the next hour....then the next hours, and so on.  You really can do it.
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Avatar_m_tn
So I didn't take any Percocet last night, first day/night since July I haven't taken any. I actually did sleep eventually, but to my surprise had the restless legs for about an hour or so. When I got out of bed this morning, I felt pretty ok - I was surprised actually at how ok I felt. That was 3 hours ago though - now I feel TERRIBLE. Nausea, dizziness, chills, slight pain/tightness in chest, runny nose, scratchy throat, having trouble thinking straight, etc. There's no turning back now, I guess I'll just have to ride this out and hope that all of these symptoms are indeed withdrawal. I'm glad I took the big step last night - no Perc at all - I really hope I start feeling better soon. I hope to feel better by this weekend, as I really want to see my son. Thanks again to you guys, I've had so much help and encouragement from you already. Please wish me luck as I continue to try to get through this. SICK!
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2107676_tn?1388977459
Great job on stopping the percs altogether.  Today is my day 1 without any as well.
I think because of how you tapered you are in full withdrawal right now.
You seemed to be in withdrawal even when you were taking them.  The really bad feeling won't last too long.  I think you will be feeling better by the weekend.
Hang on tight because you have been through a lot for this and if you give in now it will just prolong everything.
Make sure you take imodium (immodium) and drink lots of fluids.  If you can't get anything down, try the boosts or ensures.
Keep posting and let us know how you are doing.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks. I have no intention of caving in - I HATE Percocet and just the thought of taking one makes me feel even sicker. My problem is I'm impatient and I want to start feeling better now! I've been feeling like hell for weeks as I slowly tapered. My chest pain and tightness is what concerns me the most. The cardiologist ran some tests and assured me that the pain is not my heart, it's anxiety, but for some reason I have trouble believing that.

Anyway got a little off track there. The thought of this getting WORSE in several days time is crippling. I want the worst to be now while I (luckily) have the time to get through it.
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Avatar_f_tn
You are awesome!  You're now on day 2 with none, right?  It sounds like you have been w/d for a while now.  This is probably the worst of it.  Hang in there.  When you get to day 4 clean you should start feeling better.  Day 5 is even better than that.  I was a Norco 7.5/325 - 6 pills a day addict.  On my day 5 I woke up and the world felt like a totally different place.  I felt good...like I used to feel before the drugs.  Keep posting and keep fighting even it's ONE minute at a time.  Don't worry about tonight or tomorrow.  Its not here yet.  Live for right now making the choice to not go back.  You can do this.  Best of luck!  
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2107676_tn?1388977459
I agree with AMom.  I think you are going through the worst of it now.
You just went into full withdrawals when you stopped because you had been in withdrawals for so long.  I did that my first time too.  I had been taking about 20 a day and then went cold turkey and then ended up taking 2 a day for about a week.  I was in withdrawal the whole time and it just prolonged everything.  I felt sick for about 3 days and then felt better.
The anxiety is a big part of it.  Try the valerian root for it.
Keep posting.  I want to know how you are doing.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you AMom and Pat. Yes my last pill was Monday night around 7pm, none since then. I know I said it before but I'm certainly not going back, ever. I actually just finished running some errands - still not feeling well but I couldn't sit around the house any longer. I think being out did me good. Maybe I AM through the worst of it, I wish I knew for sure. But the fact that I'm not sick enough (at the moment!) that I need to stay in the house, is, I think, a good sign.

I don't miss the Percocet at all, not even a little. No cravings etc. I agree that I've probably been in w/d for a awhile, and now that I went c/t nearly 2 days ago, I'm ready to be better!

Thanks again for the encouraging posts.
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Avatar_f_tn
It's great that you were able to get out of the house!  Good job!  You sound like the worst of the physical is over.  Keep the mentality you have now so you can kick any cravings you might have (hopefully you will never have any!).  Remember where you've been and how hard you worked to get where you are.  Best wishes for you!  Keep checking in...
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but the anxiety this morning is CRIPPLING. My heart is pounding so hard my whole body is pulsing in time with it. I can't even sit down, I'm pacing my house. I took my anti-anxiety meds - in fact doubled the dose - but I don't feel any better. I feel absolute terror. I was feeling better yesterday, today is far far worse in terms of anxiety. I can't deal with it. Somebody please tell me this is normal and that it will go away. I feel like such a wuss.
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2107676_tn?1388977459
Yes it is normal and it is crippling.
What do you take for anxiety??
Sit down and try some deep breathing.  Slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Hold it for a few secs before you let it out.
It really helps.
I have had many, many panic attacks and I know what you are feeling.
Keep posting, I will be here.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes anxiety is part of it. I'm on day 10, are the vitamins helping? The addict in me needs a pill to feel better so i am trying all sorts of vitamins. The l-tyrosine made me very anxious. Then I noticed my other best friend coffee started making me feel bad! I've always been a huge coffee nut. So I'm not mixing decaf with regular and it helps! Just keep telling yourself and this too shall pass. It will get better, a nice hot bath always works for me, or a brisk walk outside. Finally tried some 5htp an amino acid once a day and I think it helped a lot. It will go away, just your brain wanting the pills, totally normal!
Take care
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2107676_tn?1388977459
I also used to find eating something really helped.  Even if it was a piece of bread.  Just put something healthy in your body.
Oh, I haven't tried it but many people have suggested valerian root for anxiety.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Pat, I take Klonopin for anxiety. I actually doubled the dose this morning. I've had anxiety issues for a few years, but NEVER have I felt like this. The most troubling part is my heartbeat - I just can't sit still because it makes my whole body shake. Then I'll have a palpitation that just sends my anxiety through the roof. Even though the cardiologist said my heart is fine, for some reason I'm terrified I'm going to have a heart attack.

Silkie, I admit I haven't taken any vitamins, but I do have some multivitamins - I'll go ahead and take one as I don't see it doing any harm! Also, that coffee idea is a great one. I too need my morning coffee but I don't think the caffeine is doing me any favors. I'll try the half decaf/half regular.

I think going out yesterday helped, I felt decent while I was out, so I'll do that again today.
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Avatar_m_tn
You know what upsets me the most? I need considered myself "addicted" to these pills, but I suppose I was. I was taking them for pain, per doctors orders. I guess I unknowingly became addicted, even at the relatively small dose. I know it's not necessarily my fault, but I'm angry at myself for not stopping sooner. Maybe if I had, I wouldn't be in this position right now.
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Avatar_m_tn
Ugh. I meant "NEVER considered", not "NEED considered". Just goes to show how my nerves are right now...
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2107676_tn?1388977459
I know what you mean about the palpitations.  I was hanging onto my chest trying to stop my heart from beating out of my body.
The deep breathing helps with that.
Getting outside is a good idea.
Even if you just go for a walk.
I couldn't deal with people when I was having a panic attack and I owned a retail store lol.  Luckily I had an an employee who would serve the customers while I was at my desk eating bread or something and doing my deep breathing.
This is all perfectly normal.  Don't beat yourself up.  You should be congratulating yourself for recognzing it and stopping.

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Avatar_f_tn
I think you would be surprised how many of us were on prescription pain meds from our doctors! Mine never tried to treat my problem just mask with pain pills! Honestly right now I am pain free. When I was on the pain pills I hurt all of the time! I read the body has a wonderful way of treating pain on its own. But I must admit if I get a headache I still grab an Advil migraine. But I have a lot to learn and I want to find alternative ways to treat pain. Maybe massage or acupuncture??? Something to think about?
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900459_tn?1304996859
Congrats on jumping completely off. Sorry I haven't posted back in a couple days but glad to see yu are feeling ok. I kinda figured u would actually feel better faster of u just completely quit reason being is you can really only taper so far and at some point you will have to go thru some kind of withdrawal and as low as u were down to withdrawal should be pretty mild and you should be thru the worst of it and your body will now start trying to straighten itself back out. Just be strong and hang in there and you will make it. As far as the being an addict part don't worry about that we are all addicts and its just part of life and something we have to live with but don't sweat it. This is if y are an addict because from what I have read of your post I can honestly say in my personal opinion it seems like you were more dependent than an actual addict and one big reason I say this is you have control over the meds and I know this because u actually did a taper had the meds but even tho u felt bad didn't continue taking more and more until u felt better which is what an addict does. As an addict I cannot and could never do a taper because if I had 400mg I'm gonna eat it all today not thinking the least bit about tomorrow if the doctor says take two for the pain I'm gonna take ten and so on and so fourth but either way congrats and just keep your head up and stay strong.

Good Luck and Godspeed
ABritt
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again for all the encouraging words, folks. I think the worst is over. I don't feel sick but still feel sort of dizzy. What's most troubling is still my pounding heart - admittedly I think it's a little better today but it's still there to the point that I'm having trouble even sitting down, for some reason I notice it more when I'm sitting (or laying). If that would just settle down,, I'd say I'm in the clear.

It's been quite the experience. Going through what I went through (or still am), I can't even imagine what withdrawal was like for those who took much higher doses for longer periods of time... it's unreal. I've said it before but narcotic painkillers = never again. I'll deal with the damn pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
Same goes for me! Darn if I didn't  get sciatic yesterday after hauling a 50 lb bag of chicken feed! Oh well bought bio freeze this morning for the pain and took 2 advil.. You did a great job! Oh and I never intended to make you feel like an addict, I was just referring to myself! I know I was!
Take care
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2107676_tn?1388977459
Hi
So glad you are feeling better.
The pounding heart thing is anxiety and you make it worse when you think about it.  I had an anxiety attack after I talked with you yesterday just because I was thinking about it.

Crazy eh.  Try the deep breathing and also pick up some valerian root and the drug store or Walmart.
It helps with anxiety a lot.   If it gets too bad, talk to your doctor and tell him you are having anxiety attacks.
I know how terrible they are and it is really scary.
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Avatar_f_tn
So good to hear from you today!  I'm SO glad you are hanging in there and getting better.  The anxiety does come and go.  Still does for me but I know if I make myself calm down and breath thru it then it will subside.  Takes time to heal but know this for sure....you are well on your way!  I read your post above about how you never considered yourself an addict.  For what it's worth there is a difference between addiction and dependency.  It really sounds to me that you might be just dependent and not necissarily an addict.  Addicts will resort to any means necessary to get their fix even if that means buying illegally or moving to other substances when they can't their preference.  They might lie, steal or do whatever to get the next high.  For me, I never did any illegal stuff and I always got my prescriptions filled in the alloted time and took (for the most part) as prescribed.  It wasn't until I ran short on a refill one day that I realized I might have a problem and I started researching.  Through no fault of our own, we have become dependant on these things but we can and will break that dependency.  Thank God that you and I both had the sense to realize when a potential problem was about to turn into a nightmare.  It could be so much worse.  Be proud that you are where you are and that you took a stand to fight this before it got worse.  Good luck!  I'm so happy for you!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, i dont hear anyone talking about the sweats,does this happen,is this a problem,i have been taking methadone and oxycodone for 11 years,i quit taking the meds. because i dont want to be dependent on anything ever,i had a motorcycle accd. and broke my t-6 vertebrae and they gave me this in the hospitol,anyway i'm a month in and still sweating bad,never really had any other symptoms other than profse sweating and some muscle spasms, ,im tired of taking prescription drugs ,Ithink they are the worst thing for you and have so many  side effects, anyone else sweat from withdrawl (withdrawal)
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