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Dilaudid-does gradually weaning off help with w/d?
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Dilaudid-does gradually weaning off help with w/d?

I have been taking dilaudid for about 3 years for stomach pain.  I started off with six 2mg pills and after about a year and half I asked my doctor for a heavier dose because it didn't seem to work any longer.  He upped the ante to 4mg.  This was the worst mistake I have ever made (aside from taking them in the first place)!  I feel lousy 95% of the time and when I wake up in the morning it's the worst.  I try to take them as prescibed and do very well at it because I'm afraid of them, but they are ruining my life.  I work from home and that has at least saved me from being fired for now, but eventually my employer will catch on that I'm not functioning at home either.  I want to quit the dilaudid, but I'm afraid of w/d.  What is the best way to start?  Should I wean myself off by cutting the dosage little by little?  Will this help with the severity of symtoms (symptoms) and the length of w/d?  Thanks
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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792610_tn?1237932432
Hi, I am currantly on subutex, I have been on it for about a year. It really helps me to not want to use pain pills. If you have a doctor in your area that can prescribe it without treatment that costs so much that would be the way to go, I would wean down like if you are taking 6 a day then go to 5 for 2 weeks then go to 4 for two weeks and see how you are doing if you drop to much to fast withdrawls will be awful, I learned that you have to go down very gradually you might even want to go 3 weeks with 5 dropping down slowly is very key to comfortable so your body will adjust to the change and it wont freak out!!
shannon
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Avatar_f_tn
tapering your dose will help you with your acute wd, and then some type of relaspe prevention progam will help with paws....post acute with drawl
i usually suggest people use a short acting opiate as a confort med during detox, but you have stated that these meds do not respond well to you
with that information in mind, i think you should try the taper and see if yo can stick to the taper plan, if you are unable to taper then you will be looking at detoxing cold turkey or like shannon talked about, get on suboxone or methadone, make sure you read about these matience drugs before considering matience treatment
how many k4's are you taking a day? when do you want to be off them? a reasonable home taper plan is around 3 weeks, an inpatient detox will do it in 3 to 14 days
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I am currently taking six 4 mg pills per day.  It is what has been prescribed to me and I stick to it because I'm afraid if I don't then I'll run out early.  I would love to be off of them ASAP, but the problem is that I travel for my job, ie. I drive around my state to do research at various places and driving while in w/d doesn't sound like a good idea.  I also work for myself and every day I take off work, I don't get paid, so going cold turkey is not an option for me.  I either have to taper and hope I don't have to take off work or stay on the dilaudid and let it ruin my life more than it already has.  How hard is it to get off methadone or suboxone?  Isn't that like trading one bad habit for another?  I don't really know much about either one except that a friend who was a heroin junkie is on methadone and he has to go to a clinic every day.  I don't want to do that because I travel sometimes overnight for 2 or 3 days with my work.  I feel stuck between a rock....and going cold turkey scares me because the symptoms seem so severe.  I don't have insurance because I'm self employed and I can't afford it, so an inpatient clinic is also out of the question.  I think the best option for me is to taper, but I don't have any idea what kind of time schedule to have so I don't have really horrible w/d symptoms.  Three weeks of tapering and I could be free?  That sounds like a dream come true.  I can barely get up in the morning after not having dilaudid over night because I already feel like I'm in w/d.  I told my doctor when he first prescribed the dilaudid that I was afraid of becoming addicted.  He told me that there's a difference between being addicted and needing it for chronic pain.  He was so wrong!  Addicted is addicted no matter how you got there.  I can't wait to be free of the dilaudid.  I'll deal with the stomach pain later.
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Avatar_f_tn
BTW,  what is post acute withdrawal?  It doesn't sound good....
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Avatar_m_tn
Post Acute Withdrawal (usually Symptoms) are the things that happen after a person undergoes an acute withdrawal phase of narcotic addiction.
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Avatar_f_tn
you really need to so some research on (paws) so many patients want off the pills and then find themselves unable to stay clean because they are not prepared for paws
The symptoms of PAW typically grow to peak intensity over three to six months after abstinence begins
http://www.tlctx.com/ar_pages/paw_part1.htm

i also wanted to mention that you may not be ready for whats to come, thinking that you can get through opiate wd without taking some time off work is a bit unrealistic....people are mislead when they thing a slow taper will eliminate wd, and really people who do "painless" detoxes usually relaspe in their 1st year because they did not go through the hell of a "real" detox

methadone and suboxone are very easy to get, you can even get them here on this site, you also ask if it was difficult to get off these drugs,  these are matience drugs designed for patients to take them the rest of their life, i have detoxed from both these drugs and it about killed me, but thats my experience, when you talk to people about getting off sub or methadone make sure they have experience acually getting OFF the drug

since you want a slow taper, and refuse inpatient, just try cutting out one pill a day each week, make a chart, take your dose at the same time everyday, do not take more than what is on, your taper plan, no spiking, i am not sure what time a day you take your pills, but in general terms a taper plan should include, the dosage amount, what time you are going to take your meds, a relaspe prevention plan, that you go over with someone, this is not going to be easy, you are going to want to take more and will justify using more than allowed, you should have someone to hold you accountable

please talk to your doctor about this, he maybe able to set up a custom taper, he may also be able to prescribe you comfort meds when you get down to 12mgs a day
if your doctor will not help you, please let us know, i am sure there are more people out there that have delt with this pill
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Avatar_m_tn
So you already have a 3 year history of the D's behind you? And you are afraid of the withdrawals. Its only human to be afraid of the unknown, and that is what the withdraw process is for you right now. Unknown. Whats the best way to start? Depends upon which process you decide to start with. You sound like you wish to taper. Good plan. But realistically its very hard to implement. If all it took was the planning for a taper schedule we wouldnt have clinics full of people being maintained on opiates like methadone or sub daily and all over the place. I would endorse mtgoat as a resource for a taper schedule. You may PM her and she will work with you on this. Our community leader avisg is also good with tapers - dont think she has as much experience with D's - but either will help you. On a taper you will probably feel lousy that 95% of the time that you say you already do. But it is limiting. There comes a point during a taper when you get to the point that things start looking upwards back to the way that you remember a good life being. Its too bad that tapers require such discipline and that most that try to taper find it too hard to maintain. Do you have someone close that could dole the pills out one days worth at a time? That may prove to be crucial. I tried to taper by myself .....it didnt work well at all. If the pills are there .... I will take them. Try to cut yourself back starting immediately. Pro's say to drop 10% of dose per week or ten days. If you try and go too fast you will set yourself up to fail and return to using. Let your body adjust to the lower dose before you even think about reducing again. The most common mistake that I see is that people are in such a hurry to get out from under the addiction that they go so fast it catches up with them and they fail. You will probably be offerred methadone or suboxone during your choices soon. Read the Health Pages (list at rt hand lwr side of page..) and see what others have to say about both meth and sub. Both still have significant problems associated with their use. They call methadone "liquid handcuffs" for a reason. How does going to a clinic daily at the same time to get your dose sound? What about planning vacations around the availability of a clinic being close enough so that you may obtain your daily dose and not be sicker than a dog during your vacation. And dont forget the cost either. Its not close to cheap. Methadone is around $300 a month. Sub is $150-250 more expensive than methadone. I found out that I had to quit cold turkey for a number of reasons. And I am glad that i chose that route. You can count on having symptoms resembling the worst flu that you ever had - - and the days 3-5 are the absolute worst. The "flu" consists of chills/fevers, insomnia, loss of appetite, and several other classic flu symptoms. Most people say the Restless leg syndrome is the worst. Feels like your skin is trying to crawl off of your body! WalMart & Walgreens carry a product called Hylands Restful Legs that gets good reviews for dealing with the RLS.  Immodium works fine for loose stools and bathroom issues. Emetrol will help stomach and abdominal cramps. There are plenty of things that you can do to deal with the symptoms. But doing it in this manner will limit the immediate problems to a week or two.  Then you will want some aftercare. AA - NA - PA - your Pastor - lots of routes to take. But you need to take one or more and work them. Find out why you use as you do and what you can do to change the approach. Many Oriental approaches work well and have several thousand years of history behind them.   Educate yourself - - you have plenty of reading to do and thinking to keep yourself busy. Dont make any snapcount decisions here ........ take some time and explore every option thoroughly.   And good luck to you - -    eagle
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Avatar_m_tn
*the oriental aproaches - accupressure....accupuncture ..... hydro-therapy and hydro - exercise  .... tai chi .... cho gong ...... inversion therapy ... yoga balls

There are as many ways to try and address the problem as there are problems.....
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey thanks everyone!  This is going to be harder than I thought.  I guess I was being a bit unrealistic about not missing work or having minimal w/d symptoms.  It just seems like cutting back gradually wouldn't be too hard, but I also know that I have no will power over much of anything let alone the pills.  I do have someone who could dole out my daily dosage and he would be an extreme help and inspiration to me to quit these damnable things.  I was also not prepared to deal with PAWS because I wasn't even aware that it existed.  

I still like the idea of a taper plan and I think that will be best for me.  I have a lot of research and reading ahead of me before I decide what approach to take.  It's kind of ironic because that's what I do for a living.  The good news about my job is that I work out my home when I'm not on the road so if I have to take a few days off I guess I can deal with it.  I had the thought that I can't afford to take off work because I don't get paid, but then again can I afford to be a slave to the D?  Being broke for a short time will definately be a good trade off to be free of this yoke.

As for the Oriental approaches, I am already on an acupuncture regimen for my stomach pain and they are always after me to get off the pain meds.  What about working out at my gym?  Will that help relieve the severity of symptoms?  I only go there sporadically now, but if it helps I would go there as often as I could.

Thanks again, I have learned a lot of valuable information from you.  I will be in touch soon.  I have to go on a business trip for 3 or 4 days and in the meantime I'll do some reading and thinking on the subject.  It's good to know there are nice, knowledgable people who will help and I don't have to go it alone.  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
When reading your posts, it could've been me writing them.  I hope you're still on here.  I want to know if you successfully weaned off dilaudid; and, if so, what you had to do to get there.
Thank you and peace,
VW
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Avatar_m_tn
I am taking the same dose same amount. I take it for migraines during chemo. I have a very rare leukeima. At one point during perscribed monthly dosenintook too many and ran out. I had three sleepless nights with anxiety...no cold sweats or any classic symptoms just couldn't sleep for three nights...felt like someone was ripping out my heart if I even tried to close my eyes in an upright position in my recliner. But the point is that it only lasted three days and within a week I wasn't even thinking about taking anymore. I started again only because I started another round of chemo and the hugh dose they were giving me gave me migraines worse then the withdrawals. Honestly, stop now...after a week it felt so good not to worry about that awful drug anymore...I'm weaning myself about to stop again and I can't wait to beat this shut like I beat leukemia!!!
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