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Fiorinal addiction
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Fiorinal addiction

I never in a million years would have thought this would happen to me. I started taking Fiorinal about 15 years ago for a neck injury and also for cluster headaches. I was up to 9 pills a day and am now down to 6 a day (although I took 9 today). I want to quit taking them but I am also worried about the pain when I stop. I want to start weening off slowly (I read thats the best way to do it). I have tried to stop in the past only to go through anxiety,diarrhea and cramps. I am tired of spending my life making sure i have enough pills to make it through the next day. I am so embarrased that I cant tell my wife. I have been able to hide this demon for all these years. I guess I am just tired of living like this. Is there anyone going through the same thing that can offer any advise.
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Avatar_f_tn
Jeff~  Welcome to the forum!

I'm not currently going through this BUT I did.  You can do it now that you realize you just can't live like this. Do you think you're addicted?  ( you are )  Do you still have horrible pain?
Come back and talk to me. I'll be around for a while. I'd love to help you get off this junk.
You're right about having to taper and it's hard. I tapered for 9 months. I was taking 20 Fioricet per day when I began the taper. I tapered very slowly as in a month at a time dropping 2 pills per day.

Does the doctor prescribe this?
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1135275_tn?1326582465
welcome to the forum!

you're like many people who've become addicted to this drug in that you never expected it to happen. i mean, this drug isn't a 'party' drug...its not something you typically take recreationally and then end up addicted to. when that happens, you know there's a chance of addiction. this drug is slightly different...it sneaks up on people and then they're in over their heads. there is a theory that only certain people have a genetic predisposition to addiction. if this is true and it IS genetic by nature, not knowing this risks of this drug often is the cause for becoming so severely addicted. i mean, when a person takes something like vicodin for the first time and they've never had anything like it before...you can assume that they will probably understand that its addicting, so if they ARE genetically predisposed to being an addict, then odds are they'll be using caution with the drug just based on what it is so it does decrease the risk somewhat. with something like butalbital, a person may not know the risks at all and so there is very little caution when taking it. at 8 years old, i was taking 10+ of these things a day and the doctor kept saying they weren't addicting. on top of that, he prescribed phenobarbital as a maintenance med. it just goes to show that if you don't know the risks of a drug, its VERY easy to become addicted. thats the problem with butalbital.....no one knows the risks and doctors don't bother to mention it.

so anyway...to my point...i understand you never intended to be an addict. the good news is that you know what you are. you ARE an addict and will be for the rest of your life...but it doesn't mean you have to live like one forever. you can get clean, like vicki, and you can do a variety of things to help you stay clean. most important is a nice looong taper. NEVER try to go cold turkey with this drug. bad move. second...your doctor needs to help you with the taper. they need to know your problem otherwise they CAN'T help you, and thats what they are there for. you need your doctor during your taper, and you will need them to not RX this drug anymore once you're done....so fill them in. tell them you want a long taper. some doctors ignore the importance of a long taper...but trust me, its important. my taper lasted a year. it doesn't HAVE to last that long, but for me it was right. for others, something more in the area of 4 to 6 months may be better. the point is, you will ease into it so don't let the anxiety of getting clean overwhelm you. vicki is a very good person to talk to for advice....she's clean and she has done so many things right to help her stay clean. you can learn a lot from her if you're serious about getting clean.

as far as this drug goes, you really should get off of it. i'm not sure if you're aware of rebound headaches....but this drug is highly notorious for causing them when you use it every day for a while. caffeine in itself is notorious for causing terrible rebound headaches. it will be heard to deal with these...excedrin does help but don't use it too long or you'll become dependent on the caffeine in that too. excedrin helped me a lot....just be careful of the 4gm daily limit of tylenol and 3gm limit of aspirin. if you take it along side fiorinal as you're reducing your dose, these limits become very important. excedrin has 250mg of tylenol and 250mg of aspirin...so if you take fiorinal, which has 325mg of aspirin...then you can't go over that 3gm threshold. they used to have a excedrin without aspirin...rather, it had 500mg of tylenol per tablet. this would be better to use along side a taper or fiorinal so as not to OD on aspirin. in any event.....before you do anything at all you should discuss this with your doctor. thats the most important step. also, are you interested in having your wife help you? it really will help you more than you can know to have her support and help during this process.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks very much for the advice. It's good to know that there is light at the end of this very very dark tunnel. I have decided that a long taper is the best thing for me to try. I am going to drop one pill a day per month. if it works I should be drug free in 6 months. One of the things I am worried about is the pain. The reason I started taking this drug in the first place was for chronic neck pain (the result of 4 surgeries) and cluster headaches. I guess I will just have to deal with it. About 4 years ago I was on vacation in another state and thought I had enough pills to last the entire trip (counted out to the exact pill). what I didn't count on was a blizzard that closed the airport for 5 days. I was stuck and forced to go cold turkey. The pills were waiting for me at the phamacy at home but I could not get to them. That was the worst five days of my life. How stupid does that sound! I cant stand living like this. I will get off of these pills.

I am so ashamed that I let this happen to me, I can't talk to my wife about this. We have had other people in our family that have been addicted to pills and I listen to her comments about them ( not very flattering). I dont think she understands addiction. I did this to myself and I have to fix this myself.

It does help to read the comments on this site and to know that I am not the only one who is going through this. Thanks for the words of encouragment. wish me luck
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1135275_tn?1326582465
you should see a pain specialist. if your pain is chronic and it DOES respond to this medication, then perhaps a pain specialist will be able to help you. how well does it respond to the fiorinal? on a level of 0 to 10, where is your pain at after you take it?

you need to go over this with someone who deals specifically with chronic pain treatment. you see, over time butalbital lowers the pain threshold, which pretty much means you experience pain more easily...so to take this drug every day is NOT a good idea in pain treatment. however, just like with opiates, if all else fails and its the ONLY drug you respond to and its not the drug itself causing the pain, then perhaps its the right treatment.

what i'm getting at is someone with chronic back pain may have to rely on oxycontin in order to get out of bed every morning, but if its the only thing that they respond to then its the only thing that will improve their quality of life. you really have to weigh the benefits vs the risks....and as bad as this drug is, it can also be a life saver for some people too.

please don't mis-understand me though. i think getting clean is great....but you should look at other routes for treating your pain and don't totally completely exclude this drug if it IS the only drug that works in the long run. just use it very wisely and under close close doctor supervision....for example, informing your doc of the situation and having them write for no more than a 15 day supply at a time with no refills. but these are all things to consider with your doctor...and i DO wish you the best of luck. i hope that once you're clean, you'll find that you're better off than when taking this drug. once a lot of people get past the rebound migraines and withdrawals, they often find that the drug itself was causing much of what they were trying to treat. i hope this is true for you. it means it will make it all the more easy to stay off it.
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1135275_tn?1326582465
i should add that to know completely and totally how well this drug is helping or hurting you, you have to get totally clean and basically hit the 'reset' button...THEN you can know how much it was really either helping or hurting. and i do hope you do this with a doctor if you continue to have chronic pain through the process.they'll need to know how you respond.
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Avatar_m_tn
Today is December 1st, the day I drop from 6 to 5 pills a day in my 6 month long taper. A little nervous but determined to get off of this stuff that has controlled my life for so many years. I have changed my diet, drinking lots of water, started taking vitamins and started an exercise program. The thing that worries me the most, is in the past when I was forced to quit cold turkey was the diarrhea. I have read up on things that can help with withdrawal diarrhea and have it on hand if I need it. I am hoping with the taper that I wont have this problem. Can anyone offer any suggestions for this problem that might have worked for them?
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1135275_tn?1326582465
thats usually associated more with fiorinal with codeine....is that what you're taking? if so....there are things that help. you would treat it like you would regular opiate withdrawal. i've not heard of it being associated with barbiturate withdrawal, but anything is possible, i suppose. it could even be withdrawal from the caffeine. if  you experience this from butalbital withdrawal, then thats new to me and you might ask your doctor about it. i would guess it would be treated the same as you would with opiate withdrawal....there's a lot of posts in this forum that deal with things that can help during that type of withdrawal...but it would be best to check with your doctor on anything.

i don't know your age, but you mention changing your diet and excercising.....this is a VERY good idea. you'll soon find just how much that will help you. i gave up smoking (VERY VERY hard to do)....started working out and have recently started eating healthier and it has made a huge difference in how i feel. the biggest help has been from excercising...its the best natural mood booster i've ever found. better than any drug i've taken.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have made it 22 days in my taper so far and still going strong. January 1st I will cut back to 4 pills a day and I cant wait. I had a problem with diarrhea the first week of December but it went away. I am still exercising (I even lost 7 pounds) and taking vitamins and drinking lots of water trying to flush out my body. Overall I'm doing very well so far. It is still hard when I start thinking about those darn pills, but I am determined to get off of those things for good.

To: my_mayberry, Iam 52 years old and have been taking Fiorinal #3 (with codeine)
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Avatar_f_tn
Jeff!  Great news!!  I know how hard it is!

I wish you could get an rx for plain Fioricet so you could just eliminate the codeine. That would help you. Right now you're detoxing from two potent drugs! A double whammy!  See what you can do...

I'm so happy you checked in. Post anytime with questions. I'm happy to help and I know My_ Mayberry will be glad to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!
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Avatar_m_tn
Here it is February 2nd and I dropped another pill yesterday in my taper. It is going better than I expected. I have gone from taking 9 (sometimes 12) pills a day for almost 20 years to 3 a day. I'm really feeling like I am going to do this and finally get off of these things for good. some of the things that I have been doing is exercising and also I started taking apple cider vinegar (Braggs) 3 times a day (it helps detox the body). I also take valerian root to help with sleep. I dont know if these things work or not but they sure seem to help me. The pain in my neck (why I started taking Fiorinal to begin with) is not as bad as I thought it would be. So overall I feel pretty good......The taper continues!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey!  I'm so glad you checked in!

Good for you. You're doing it! Tapering is so hard. Do you have any help with that? Having someone else hold them and give them to you?  If not,you are one strong guy!

You know how that "pain in the neck" is gone? Funny how that happens,huh?

I can't believe you mentioned the apple cider vinegar. I could drink the stuff right out of the bottle. I don't but I love it! And it's supposed to be good to take for everything that ails you.
We'll have to ask My Mayberry if he likes it,as well!

I'm happy you're doing so well!
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1135275_tn?1326582465
vicki, i've never even heard of the stuff! maybe i'll give it a try, though.



it's wonderful to hear you've made this kind of progress! perhaps a mild celebration could be in order for the success you've had so far? like going out to your favorite restaraunt?

as far as the pain goes...this med stays in your system for a long long time. if you haven't noticed improvement in your pain yet, its possible you will a few weeks after your last dose. i was suffering from nearly daily migraines. fortunately, i KNEW the effects of butalbital and knew that it was probably the cause. a week after i took my final dose, my migraines were GONE. this was sometime in december. since then i've relapsed a couple times and almost immediately after the first dose my headache starts to return. for me, my body finally said enough is enough and i'm faced with pain when i actually take the med. its been HARD the last few months. i know how hard it is to taper but for me the hardest part is actually taking the last pill and being done. its terribly hard. i say this not to worry you about whats to come but because perhaps if you're like me and the last dose will be the hardest to give up, then this could caution you to that and you will be expecting and preparing for it. i don't know how slow your taper is, so maybe thats still a long way off. either way....congrats on how far you've gotten! there's nothing that i enjoy more than to see someone having success at this. its a hard road, but with the right amount of determination, focus, and support it can be done. perhaps now is the time to be thinking about some form of after care?

and let me tell you....excercise has been a HUGE help to me as well. the natural high of it is far far better than anything else i've felt.
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Avatar_m_tn
i hope u are clean now =)
i am addict to cough syrup and sleeping pill like valium and my wife leave me. i told myself i must stop it so i am getting detox starting from today God bless
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