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How can I safely stop taking Fiorinal
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How can I safely stop taking Fiorinal

I have been taking Fiorinal for 13 years to treat vascular headaches. (2 pills, 3 times a day) I wish to discontinue and have cut back to one pill three times a day for the last five days. I plan to gradually decrease over the next week. I have been experiencing discomfort.(Body aches, and poor mood) Is this safe? At what point does the body return to normal? Should I expect days, weeks, or more? Thank you for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I dont know this for sure, but I believe that the addictive part of fiorinal / fioricet is codeine.  If this is the case, then you can expect the regular 5 - 7 opiate WD if you stop cold turkey.  Body aches and mood changes are both WD symptoms.  A gradual taper is safe and so is cold turkey.  As difficult as it is, there are many success stories here, proving that it can be done.  Good Luck!!

littleguy
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Hi, and thank you for your comment. The addictive ingredient in fiorinal is butalbital. I believe it is a little trickier to deal with than codiene. I'm doing a gradual step down because to stop suddenly caused flu-like symptoms.(very painful) It is unfortunate because this medicine is so effective for headaches. Used judiciously it is most likely safe, but better to live with any headache that is not extreme. Thanks again for your comment.
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It looks like you have to deal with a double whammy.  I checked at rxlist.com and fiorinal also has codeine.  I dont know about WD from butalbital but I would imagine that at least some of your flu like symptoms are related to opiate (codeine) WD.  There are some nutritional supplements that may help.  If you are interested, look at the 'Winding down off of Oxycontin' thread, for the url that has the recipe posted.

littleguy
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Hi again, Fiorinal can come with codiene but the one I take doesn't. I think its mostly the butalbital that is the problem in this case. Thank you for commenting.
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Geeze   I haven't posted over here in a long time but i had to put my 2 cents in for what it's worth.....Bultabital is a barbiturate  very dangerous to detox from cold turkey.in some cases  at least a few i have seen in my career,,,there was some cardiac arrests with a few of my patients taking large quantities...but seizures are common also..as with any benzo/barb...you are absolutely correct about the taper...go as slow as possible...good luck     cindi
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Avatar_n_tn
OK, I stopped the fiorinal.(gradually) I am not having headaches, but am low energy, a bit sad and want to sleep too much. Does anyone know how long it takes for ones system to return to normal?
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I've been taking Fiorinal for approx 18 years, 2-3 tabs a day. And now I want to quit.  I'm 62 years old.  Does anyone have advice for me--what is the best plan of attack?
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Avatar_n_tn
I think the best way is to work with your doctor. I stopped very, very, gradually. I think maybe cut out one pill a day for a week, 2 a day for a week, and then go without. If you stop suddenly it will be very painful and could be dangerous. 16 years is a long time, but 3 pills a day does not seem like a large amount. Good luck and it couldn't hurt to ask your doc for a plan!
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My advice is talk to a DR about everything even if they put you on the med's. If your not honest with them or yourself you will use not matter what w/ out help if addicted 2nd ask yourself if you need to be in treatment as well. 3rd If your addicted it will only get worse and harder to get off the meds. Call an N.A. group or and A.A. group to help you if where to get help. Not every doctor in this world can or understands fully. Email me if you have any questions at ***@****.


Sober off med's
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Thanks for responding to my question.  I am an R.N. and I am really reluctant to talk to my M.D.  I plan to cut down l/2 tab a day for a week at a time.  I'll keep you posted.  I really appreciate the input you gave.  k.s.
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I've been tapering off my use of Fiorinal--the first 5 days, I cut down to 1/2 tab in the morning and 1 tab at night.  Then I cut to 1/2 tab twice a day.  It's getting a little harder--irritability, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, but it's still tolerable.  I am trying to eat healthfully and drink lots of water.  I had my husband hide the 500-600 pills I had accumulated so I'd never run out.  He has been very supportive.
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Hi K.s., I was able to stop the fiorinal completely and I can't tell you how great it feels to wake up and feel good. I would rather have a headache any day than to take fiorinal. (I get the headaches often, so I was taking 3 times a day) I feel like I have my life back. I won't even keep them in the house because they are so effective in curing headaches. It is too easy to use often. Overall they made me tired and diminished quality of life. It took about a month to feel good again but it is definitely worth it. Best wishes to you. It sounds like you are almost there!
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Thanks so much for sharing your experience.  Compared to some of the other drugs talked about on this forum, sometimes Fiorinal sounds mild.  But in my heart, I know it isn't, at least for me.  I have been taking l/2 tab in the morning and in the evening for a week now, so it's time for me to cut down by another l/2 tab.  I was really procrastinating about doing it, but your comments gave me the courage I need.  Glad to hear you feel better after getting it out of your life for good.  Thanks.
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Hang in there. It is well worth a bit of discomfort to get the depressants out of your system. I've always heard that barbiturates are the most difficult to withdraw from. It will take time and good nutrition to return to normal, but life will be much richer without them. I think it is helpful to others when you post your progress. Thank you for sharing.
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Thanks so much for your good advice.  You sound like a professional person.  Do you have a medical background?  I really respect your input.  Everyone I had talked to before had no way of really helping me because they had not experienced what I was going through.  A nurse practitioner I asked for help acted like this drug was no big deal and not to worry about it.  What made you feel like you should quit taking it?  I knew that taking a barbiturate was not good for me, but also the Tylenol and the caffeine in the compound were not good over the long haul either.  So I have known for years I needed to quit, but we moved and I had to choose another doctor and he's a personal friend and I don't want to have to ask for an Rx for a controlled substance.  So this seemed like The Time to quit.  So here I am.
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Hi again, I wouldn't worry about feeling tired irritable and sad. It is a normal progression before your chemistry returns to normal. I also slept alot. You will get better, but it may take time. Maybe a Dr. could give you something to speed up the recovery. Eventually you will feel good, but there is no way to take this drug regularly and have a normal quality of life. I would only consider using it in very rare cases to avert a serious migraine or such, but then one runs the risk of falling into the trap of rebound headaches or addiction, etc. I personally felt best when it was out of my system altogether. Good luck. You are on the right track!
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Hi,  Thanks--I knew what the answer should be.  I just needed to be reminded, I guess.  So after tomorrow, I'll tell my husband to get rid of all those pills I had him hide.  It's sure helpful to know someone has walked this path before.  Bye
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Do not get discouraged. It will take time. I feel much better, but I know it will still be a while before I have as much energy as I should. If your husband can keep it for you, only use it for medicine. It seems to me that brain chemistry is very delicate, and these controlled substances are a godsend for emergencies but aren't safe used continuously. Right now you are at the worst, and in time you will feel comfortable and happy. This would probably be the best time to discuss with your Dr.. Take care.
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I cut down to l/2 tab. a day for the past 6 days.  The first day I taper down isn't bad, but the 2nd and 3rd are quite difficult.  I feel really tired, irritable and sad.  I get a lot of neck pain and some headache.  The only thing that keeps me from taking a pill to feel better is knowing that then I'd have to go through all this again.  And I am encouraged that others have down this before and survived.  And can even say they feel that they have their lives back.  So one more l/2 tab tomorrow and then NONE--That is really something to look forward to.  Can you ever take this medication on a PRN basis again, say once or twice a week?  Or would I just get hooked again?  It's been surprising that these past few weeks, when I do get a headache, it goes away on its own eventually.  And I don't die like I had been thinking would happen--not really, but close.  Thanks for the encouragement and sharing all your experiences in this forum.
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Thank you for the compliment. I think it is difficult for anyone who has never experienced long term drug use to understand how depleting it is over time. (Otherwise they wouldn't prescribe!) Drugs (and alcohol) affect the more developed areas of the brain. I wanted to stop because I felt increasingly tired and had lost my desire to be creative. That combined with the low moods if I didn't take it made me realize that fiorinal can only be used judiciously. I'd just prefer to live with a headache, and be free of any dependence. It is too easy to use to elevate mood and the reality is that I can live a better quality of life without mood altering medications. You will slowly start to notice how much better you feel now! This is the big reward. The reason I thought you might talk to a Dr. is they may give you an antidepressant or something to restore chemistry. If you can get to 1/2 tab a day, quitting should be a cinch. Good luck.
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I am addicted to Fioricet and have been for over 2 years.  This is ironic because I kicked a 20 year opioid habit, (that peaked out at 300+ mg OxyContin daily) about the same time that I started on the Fioricet regularly.  I now buy the stuff 500 at a time and frequently take 3 at once.  I used Buprenex to get off opioids and it was a godsend - but it will not help me here.
I WILL NOT GO TO A DETOX FACILITY.  I did the opioid detox at home after many attempts involving clinics and facilities.  
HERE IS MY MAIN QUESTION.  How fast can I taper off this stuff without running the risk of seizure.  Would I be advised to take some kind of anti-seizure med during the process or keep something on hand.  I'm going to get prepared, my husband and I are going to hire a crew to run my house (I have 4 young boys), and perhaps hire a nurse to help me manage my other physical problem - Addison's Disease.  I've got the process for opioid detox down cold - know all the meds you should have on hand and what to expect.   I have been free of that addiction for 2 years.

Is this going to be worse than Oxycontin or Methadone - I've detoxed off both.  Besides tapering, what else can I do to make this easier and/or safer.  I've already started tapering and now have had a headache for DAYS.  With my history with drugs I don't dare take anything addictive.

I know I'm in dangerous territory, but if I don't stop I'm going to die - at 42 - leaving 4 small children & a husband.

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You have taken the big step--recognizing that this is not a drug that you can continue to take forever without repercussions.  I had taken for 18 years--my monthly Rx was for 120 tabs and I usually had a very hard time keeping my usage down to that.  But I began to taper off probably a couple years ago, I don't remember exactly.  But I had accumulated about 600 capsules and tablets by only using twice a day for quite a long time.  My headaches were controlled and it was really hard to make the decision to quit.  But less than a month ago, I started tapering down by l/2 tab a day.  Today is the first day I am taking none.  It hasn't always been easy.  But reading through other's experiences on this forum has really helped, and being honest with my husband and family has, too.  Sounds like you have a supportive husband, too.  I don't know how the Addison's Disease affects your life or what your treatment program is--so hopefully you can talk to your M.D. about your situation.  I didn't because my situation was pretty straightforward and I didn't want to take any other medication to see me through it.  Let us know how things are going with you and what your plan is.  k.s.
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If you have headaches, get to your Dr. and have it addressed.(A headache specialist is in order) Withdrawal is uncomfortable, but it has to be very a slow taper. I tried to stop and felt like I had a severe case of the flu, but tapering off was do-able (not pleasant but not so bad either). Slowly your body can adjust. Patience and perseverance is the key. I feel so much better. There is no way my brain can feel good with depressants in my body. It seems a Dr. could give you a plan w/o having to go to detox or at least talk to a pharmasist. Good luck.
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I quit taking Fiorinal on the 9th and haven't really had a problem.  I seem to have a cold, so I took a couple Excedrin yesterday because we were going out to eat with friends and I didn't want to feel sick from the cold symptoms.  But otherwise I feel a LOT better--no neck , shoulder or head pain today.  It"s really a huge relief.  I am so glad to be rid of that burden.
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It was so good to see both of your posts this AM.  I think about both of you every day.  I have learned a lot from reading other's comments on this Forum, but to communicate with people who are dealing with the same drug is so much more helpful.  Thanks, Alicia Marie , for your encouragement to me--you'll never know how much it has meant.  It's been 3 full days now since I have had a Fiorinal and a month ago, I would never have believed it would be possible.  I've taken Excedrin twice but I am still fighting a cold so once that's gone, I should be in better shape.  And Yough, it is great you are beginning to taper off.  What I found (and I have read it elsewhere on this Forum) is that as you cut back, the medication becomes more effective  at the lower dose.  This happened even after I had cut down to l/2 tab a day.  I was amazed.  But for me, every time I cut down there were 2 or 3 days of weepiness, neck and head pain.  But I drank lots of water, ate well and stayed busy with positive activities which all helped.  Then I stayed on the lowered dose for several more days before I cut down again.  I can hardly believe I am speaking in the past tense about all this.  It is amazing to me.  But now I can truly say it's been worth it.
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I've cut my  Daily Fioricet use in half-basically.  I was taking so many that this has been easy.  I'm down to 4-6 daily.  I'm ashamed to admit that this is major progress.  My headache was from drinking too much "fake sugar".  My MD suggested that I remove sugar and simple carbs from my diet to help control the blood sugar swings from my Addison's. Addison's is when your body stops producing cortisol.  I developed it during my pregnancies.  Cortisol is required for your body to function.  I have to take prenisone every day.  Ordinarily, your body only needs 7.5mg daily to function.  But cortisol is a little tricky.  It is produced a lot like adrenaline.  When you need it -YOU NEED IT.  That's when you have to guess.  I've been hospitalized with "Addisonian Crisis" 5 times since I was diagnosed in 1998.  I'm getting better at titrating my prednisone - but it is hard when you have 4 small boys bringing home the Virus of the week.  Even a mild case of the stomach flu will win me a 3 day stay at the hospital in closest proximity to my home.  It's a real drag.  
That's why I know that I do not need to add barbituate addiction to this struggle.  I'm pretty tough.  I'm familiar with the withdrawal process.  But I know that I am dealing with a horse of a different color this time, and that "the lower you go - the slower you go."
I really want to avoid the complications that I did not have to worry about with pain pill withdrawal - like seizures.  Also, I cannot make this too stressful on my body or I'll end up in the hospital in Addisonian crisis.  Not fun.  
The amazing thing is that I have asked Dr.'s for help - maybe a taper schedule and they all treat Fioricet like it's harmless.  No big deal.  "Just cut back."   Butalbital is not even listed as a barbituate on many of the lists of addictive drugs.  You have to look hard to find out how dangerous it is.
Anyway, thanks for the comments and support.  My next step down will most likely be more uncomfortable.  What are the symptoms?
Are they similar to the feelings of opioid withdrawal?  With all the virus's that my 4 little germ factories bring home - I need to know, when I start feeling bad, if it's from my taper or a real bug.
Sorry this is so long.
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I am so happy for you. I always look to see how you are doing. I love the feeling of a "clear" brain!
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Awsome!!!  I did not know that.   What also makes this detox easier is that my addiction is almost purely physical as opposed to pain pills which were the only thing I could use to feel normal, positive.  I used to say "they make my dots connect".  Fioricet has been a pain med - plain and simple.  I can deal with pain much easier than I can depression and hopelessness.  That's what most users of opioids, the true addicts, will finally admit to.  No one is using to "party".  That kind of fun ended long ago for most of us.   I don't think that I will miss the butalbital that way.   I honestly thought that it was a harmless drug.  It wasn't until I realized that it was affecting me physically and mentally that I became alarmed.  I want my mental clarity back.  
Thanks for your encouragement.  I don't know how long that this will take.  I'm letting my body tell me when it's been too long.  Right now, I feel kind of achy and arthritic.  That's a good sign.  I'm cutting back enough to make a difference.  It's mid-afternoon in the Mid-west and I have only had the 2 I took at 5:00AM.  If I can get by on only 2 more today, and stay at that level for a few days-well, we would be talking MAJOR progress.  If I can't go that low I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  In the meantime, I'm doing exactly what you suggested but instead of aspirin (which I can't have) I take children's Motrin.  It's the only NSAID that doesn't bother my stomach.  Remember that.
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Hi. Your next step should not be too bad. If you decrease slowly, you will be fine. The real reward is several weeks after you have stopped and you begin to feel good and are able to enjoy the benefits of having a life unencumbered with foriegn substances. With the Addisons' and the 4 kids, I'll bet life is much easier and my guess is the kids will interact with you on a much better level. Best regards.
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You are doing great!  Isn't it exciting to be making progress after dreading taking this step for so long?  (I'm speaking from experience.)  This is day 4 for me of having no Fiorinal in my system and I'll admit I really wanted some last night and this morning.  But I toughed it out.  I had a major headache--probably the rebound headaches they talk about.  So this AM I took a couple Excedrin, even though I was trying to take nothing.  Now I feel fine and I know each day will be better and better overall.  Thanks for keeping us posted on your progress.  When I read your first post several days ago, I was overwhelmed with concern for you.  I wanted to help but didn't want to make you feel discouraged at what you were facing.  Just knowing that Alicia Marie had gone through this right before I did helped me so much.  Isn't that amazing?  Hopefully, we'll be able to help others that feel helpless because of this drug, too.  Hang in there--sounds like you're on the road to recovery.
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so glad to see that i am not the only nurse here with addiction issues! good luck with the fiorinal....i didnt realize it was that addicting. i take it for occasional migraines, which thankfully isnt often. i guess it would be addicting though since it has some form of barbituate in it, anyway good luck.
reginared
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I haven't heard from you two in a while. I look to see how you are coming along. Hope you are well and better every day. I am interested in how the adjustment occurs with different people. I think the most important thing to remember is that progress is not always in a straight line.(Especially if a setback occurs, just forge ahead) There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Take care.
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I have taken no Fiorinal at all since the 10th and I don't even feel the need anymore.  Although when my neck starts to tighten up, I remember how easy it used to be to get rid of that feeling.  But if I just wait now, it eventually goes away.  I am SO THANKFUL for this forum and the support I felt from people's experiences I don't even know.  And especially from Alicia Marie whom I really related to.  Actually it was the AM of the 9th that I took my last l/2 tab, not the 10th.  I feel so greatful to be rid of this addicting drug that I spent so much of my energy making sure I had enough available, since I knew dreadful things would happen if I didn't have it!  One time when my RX had run out and I picked up the next month's supply at the pharmacy, I took 6 tabs before I left the parking lot--I felt so desperate--my headache was so bad.  My judgment was not good.  It is such a great feeling to wake up and realize I am no longer a slave.  I live in California and the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  We have a small almond orchard in bloom.  It is a gorgeous day in every way.  We are leaving tomorrow and will be gone for 6 weeks, so I hope there is some way I can log on to this forum, but if not I wish the best for each of you.  And keep us all posted on your progress.
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Hi. It is so good to hear from you. I am so happy you can enjoy life again. (kind of a miracle, I'd say!) have a great trip, and hope to hear from you soon. What an inspiration!
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Sorry I haven''t written lately, but I've had a VERY stressful few days - hell, the Millinium has been a bust for me so far.  The incredible news is that I have continued to make progress in my taper schedule. I was right.  I don't miss it at all.  Also, this whole situation has not threatened to weaken my will to stay away from pain pills.  I don't drink at all.  I guess my  main form of relaxation and feeling better is to shop.  I know that sounds frivolous, but I can simply lose myself in a boutique or Vintage Clothing store.  If I can't get out, the Internet is  my window to the world.  I've been studying up on everything, particularly Addisson's Disease.  I'm currently holding at 10 mg. per day and that's OK.   I'm thinking of going off my Celexa since Buprenex is an anti-depressant also.   No need to double up any med unnecessarily.  

I had never considered cutting Fioricet  in       half until I read your experiences.  What an incredibly obvious and simple way to further ease the transition.  Right now I'm   taking 1111 or 1&1/2 at a time instead of 3 or 4 - then popping  at least 2 off and on all day.   I honestly could not tell you how many I took on an average day.  CLEARLY, TOO MANY!  I'm down to about 4  per day, sometimes 3, occasionally 4&1/2.  I still think about them frequently, mainly out of habit.  But I (so far) haven't given in even once.   I'm sure this is less an example of willpower as it is the desire to keep feeling good.  My  mind is has a  way  to go to escape the clouds that preevent me from  real mental clarity.  I hope that is a real possibility for me.   I don't  want to go through the rest of life as a vacuous Blond.

I know      the timetable  for normal brain function  after long     term  pain pill  use - about 2 years.  Does anyone know how long the effects of Butalbital abuse will last?   Are they  permanent?   (Please say no).   Is there anything I can do to help the process along?   I'm open to alternative medicine, in fact,  I embrace it.  

I know that it sounds like I have a lot of tapering plates in the air right now and technically I do.  But they all needed to be done in unison and I'm nearing the end or have reached my goal with most of the meds prescribed to me and I did it pretty much by using my own judgement, paying attention to my body and STUDYING...a lot.

My ultimate goal is to maintain a constant  dose of Prednisone between 7.5 & 10mg.'s  daily; 3 amps of Buprenex, lots of vitimans  and minerals  washed down with lots off healthy no sugar, fake or real, fluids.  Am I dreaming?

Thanks,   for all  your support and  input.   I'm not too proud to take advise from someone who's been there.  I crave it.  So please, keep it coming.

Sincerely,   Yough
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I'm so glad to hear you are able to cut down. I think slowly is easier because there is pain involved. I personally think this drug is very dangerous because it is so habit forming. I can not even keep it around for headaches because I'll end up taking it and I consider life on fiorinal no life at all for me. It seems I read somewhere that your brain returns to normal in about 2 months. Good luck.
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I'm home for a short weekend, so I checked on you guys right away.  Sounds so familiar.  It's been 3 weeks tomorrow since I took my last l/2 Fiorinal and I still want one several times a day.  But it just isn't worth starting again.  I use aspirin when I really hurt, but that should be better for me.  If it takes about 2 months to feel great again, that gives me hope.  It really helps to hear from you two who are going through the same thing.  Hang in there and let's keep up the good work.   We will make it!
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Hi k.s., It is good to hear from you. I didn't have the craving after stopping. I think the most important thing is to never get to a point where you think you can use it occasionally. It is too dangerous. I'm so proud and happy for you. Thank you for writing.
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We are at the bottom of the page. I hope we don't get deleted. Good luck k.s. and yough. I think about you and hope you are well.
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I'm back for a night again--and checking on you both.  Thanks for all your support Alicia Marie.  You will never know how much this has meant to me.  I am now ready to have my husband dispose of the stash of pills I had accumulated and I don't even care any more.  I have no more cravings to use Fiorinal.  Yough, let us know how you are doing.  I hope they don't delete this page because it seemed so unique and SO very helpful.  I would never have been able to get free with so little problem.  I will be eternally grateful.  And if there is another person out there struggling with this same drug, this is the place to turn.
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It's great to hear from you and I think you have acomplished an awesome feat. It is so good to know that I was able to help you and make a difference. Thank you for your great input. We all learn from each other and it is interesting to me to understand how we got here and how we got back. I've listened to some fascinating Dr.s tapes. If we get cut off the page and you ever need support feel free to email me anytime at ***@****. Take care.
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I am glad to of found this information.  I am taking 4 to 6 Fiorinal a day and was told i couldn't do it myself and had to go to detox.  I am petrified to go to a hospital let alone detox.  I feel they will just fill me with other drugs than may not work or result in bad side effects, and let me lay there with a pounding head.  I really can't stand when my head pounds, or gets this terrible pressure (i have had scans and an MRI).  I have no doctor that will help me and no friend or family member.  My husband has cancer so he has his own concerns.  I guess my real question is do i have to go to detox or can i continue to cut back on the pills myself - very  slowly.  I an so scared and alone and don't want to die or get sicker.  I used to only take these for PMS migraines and they saved my life at that time.  But then i was only  taking a few once a month and even skipped a month or two.  All of a sudden the headache started coming all day and the doctor just kept giving me more pills.  I need someones help.  Thank you to anyone.  Sherri
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Hey there.. the thread you posted on was from 2002.. I am sure none of those members are here anymore.. however there are many members who would be happy to help you.. If you could post a new question about your problem on the main page the current members will be able to see it and respond..
I am currently over a month off of vicodin and I did it outpatient at home.. If you think you can taper off then this should not be a problem.. opiate withdrawl (withdrawal) is not lethal.. You can do this..

Welcome to the site..
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Hello, just came across this forum, it's great. I have been addicted to fiorinal C 1/2 codeine for over 2 and a half year now. At worst I was taking 13 pills a day until I really realized I had a prob !! I am now down to 8 1 a day and am really taking this seriously from this day on. YES It will be very difficult... will be cutting down 1/4 every 10 days and hope for the best. I take mostly 2 X C1/2 at a time. What a mistake, NEVER do that, rather have a migraine trust me. Worst part, doctor acting as pusher, not helping at all so all in my hands now and am damn serious about this. :) so, if you can encourage me might help, first day tomorrow :)
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As I posted above on 7/19  this thread is quite old.. these posts usually get overlooked by members who don't have their settings to allow these posts to come up..

If you would like support from current members of the forum. Please repost in a new question and introduce yourself or in a post that was started today..

Welcome
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks fladdict will do so now :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Just found this site.  Very interesting.  I am a fiorinal addict, have been for 5 years.  Was on a recent path of self destruction and with 3 children and good husband, they deserve better.  Admitted to psych emerg Sunday was the beginning of withdrawal and admission of problem.  Thought I could go from 10 or more a day to 3 or 4.  Think when blood pressure check showed 150/98 realized I could be shocking my system so I am now following dr. tapering off method.  Usual withdrawal symptoms sweats, neck pain etc. but know I have a long road ahead.  Hoping to enter Transitional Day Program  in Psych at hospital in a few days which will help me restructure my life as right now everything is a blurr and anxiety ridden.  Will continue to keep you informed but from all of the comments on this site, we are all in this together and will be tough sometime but hang in there, it gets better, i know i have been addicted before and tried cold turkey.  Worked but was 20 years younger!  God Bless us all, tina
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Avatar_n_tn
I can totally understand being anxiety ridden during withdrawal. I had viral meningitis 20 years ago and have recurring migraines and recurring inflammation of the lining of the brain ever since. After 20 years of taking this medication (Fiorinal #3), it seemed like the answer to the chronic pain episodes. So I ended up taking about 2 capsules 3 times daily since that is the largest recommended dosage. At some point I must of thought that I was taking it as a preventive measure for pain management.  About 5 years ago I decided to quit cold turkey because I was tired of the ups and downs of taking the medication. The first couple of days was not a problem, but as the medication was starting to get out of my system, I had little to no energy, and generally felt like train wreck. At about the 3rd or 4th day I had night sweats for a few nights, and then I started having panic attacks and paranoia that seemed to last all day about an hour after getting up in the morning. This went on for a couple of weeks. I thought it would never stop and thought I was losing my mind. The anxiety was so bad I could barely function and it was all I could do just to get through work. What was weird is that I was paranoid and had anxiety for no real reason at all. Possibly, it was nothing but withdrawal from the medication. Surprisingly taking .5 mg of Xanax several times a day instead of the usual once at night to help me sleep, didn't help with the anxiety. At times I would take my pulse and it would be 100 to 120 and I hadn't been doing anything other than just sitting still. I'd hate to think what my blood pressure might have been.

After going through those miserable 2 weeks I finally started feeling much better and was so relieved the panic attacks had finally stopped. Having had that experience, I gained a healthy respect for habit-forming medications. I have also gained the control back over my life. I tapered back on the Xanax too (even though I was only taking it once nightly for insomnia) until I was completely off that as well.  Now, I only take the Fiorinal #3 when a migraine becomes overwhelming which may be once or twice a week or even once in a 2-week period. Even then, I limit myself to a couple of capsules, and no more than 4 in a week’s time. I can't take some of the other prescription migraine medications out there because of a heart condition.  I had triple bypass surgery 2 years ago, which I had to take a lot of strong pain meds daily (Tylox and Lortab) for about 5 months. I was so afraid that that I would once again go through some type of withdrawal. After the pain of surgery subsided, so did having to take pain meds, and I didn't go through, or suffer any type of withdrawal problems.

I don't think anybody who takes prescribed medications for health reasons, wants to become addicted. Unfortunately the "good patient” that takes habit-forming meds just as the doctor directed, unknowingly becomes dependent on the medication. Once we realize we are dependent, the vicious cycle begins, and we become frightened and scared of what will happen if the medication is stopped. The trick to taking any type of medications such as, pain meds, sedatives or anxiety drugs, would be to take it only as needed, and "needed" meaning just that. Not daily, because eventually you will have problems somewhere down the road. Some people have chronic health conditions that the only answer is having to take something for it either daily or "as needed"  basis.

I guess the bottom line here is knowing that taking more isn't better, and just because the prescription bottle says " take 3 times daily" doesn’t mean to actually do that everyday, it only means you could if you needed to for a couple of days during an extended migraine attack.
When it comes down to it, we are in charge of ourselves, and understanding that a medication could be habit-forming and can become a problem is the key. Then it becomes a matter of safely tapering off a medication, and using a bit of will power to do so. After doing this, and you must still take the medication, you will at least understand the ramifications of daily use and dependency, and you will use the medication with a little more caution and common sense.

Sorry for the long post. I promise that you will eventually start feeling better if you haven't already started to do so, and I wish you and everyone else here good luck and good health. From what I've read here, there is a lot of good and helpful advice. I hope I was able to give you some as well. Take care.

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Avatar_n_tn
My father suffered migraine headaches since I can remember. He took fiorinal to treat his headaches and I now am not sure why except that they made him somewhat "high" and better able to cope with the pain. When I was a teenager I became aware that he was not acting right and we would sometimes make fun of him for not remembering my boyfriend's name (someone I might have been dating for a year) or doing silly things, like a person who was high. He would have a headache and then become very "talkative" at times when he took more medication than other times, but would never remember our "bonding session". Other times he kept to himself.

I am now 40. I have found out that he stopped taking Fiorinal finally when I was in my mid-30's. His new wife helped him to stop taking the meds. She told me that he would have blackouts at work - he would have a presentation and blubber on and on about nothing coherent and then forget about the whole thing. For 20 years or more he had been taking at least 12 Fiorinal per day. Now he suffers from pain that was masked from all the years of taking the pain killer. He has degeneration of the spine and constant pain from that (and ironically does not help his headaches). His stomach is now "shot" - he is retired and 65 and cannot enjoy wine or scotch or many of his favourite foods... ever again. He did not have a proper relationship with us since we were small kids. And he could not stay married to my mother. I consider my father a recovered addict and so does his wife. I have no idea what it has done to his organs as he is only recently opening up and owning up (to me) regarding his problem. He has bad arthritis in his knees and hands, which previously went undetected and untreated.

Good luck to you all. Remember your families and you kids and all the time lost with them that you can regain once you get off the meds. And the future that you can enjoy together without feeling constantly ill from the drug's long-term consequences.

This is not a guilt-posting, just another perspective and maybe another reason or inspiration to help stop the meds.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been taking Fiorinal for 30 years.  Now all of a sudden "the doctors these days" won't prescribe it (or at least the ones I see don't).  They tell me that they don't give them to anyone.  Interestingly none of my doctors care what I'll have to go through to get off them.  I have pain-causing health conditions and this has been the only drug I can tolerate without major stomach upset.  There comes a time when one should ask "what's worse, the addiction to the drug OR the body pain?"  I personally think that addiction is the very least of my problems ... that if addiction was the only thing I had to worry about in my life then I'd be very happy!  But few people can understand this because those who are not understanding must walk a day in my shoes to understand.  Everyone is different and just because some people think this drug is poison does not make what they believe true.  And, interestingly, last month I had a hepatic test done as well as countless blood tests ... and everything came back "perfect."  So this so-called dangerous drug did not harm me one bit after 30 years!  It's just these young "new generation doctors" who don't want to believe that an old drug (Fiorinal is about 50 years old) can in fact be a fine choice.
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Avatar_f_tn
LA-  You posted on a very old thread.  Maybe you could start your own thread by posting where the "ask a question" icon is at the top of the forum page.

I understand what you're saying about your addiction but I have to tell you that your addiction will be a huge problem for you if Fiorinal is not available or prescribed to you anymore. You might consider tapering off and finding a different treatment to manage your pain.

All the best!
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Avatar_m_tn
i've gotten off a ten tramadol ten vicadin a day habit.. for over 5 years and my doctor actually gave me fiorinal with codeine to get me off the opitates... trust me i've been through both and fiorinal withdrawal is NOWHERE NEAR as bad as opiate withdrawal..anyone on here saying otherwise has not experienced opiate withdrawal.. i took the fiorinal for about 6 months.. 4 a day then down to 2 a day then cold turkey... i felt uncomfortable for a few weeks..similar to quitting smoking..but nothing close to opiate withdrawal so don't be scared the ones who think it is so horrible are the ones who know nothing about opiate withdrawal.
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Avatar_f_tn
I think it's a matter of opinion and that's yours. Truly, you didn't take very much Fiorinal for very long and it's dabatable whether you were addicted. So, that's your experience but it isn't the experience of most people.

Also, the person you posted to has not been here for ten years and this is a very old thread. You can post your own comments by going to the top of the forum page and clicking on "post a question".
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I sit here, after just leaving my doctor of 15 years. Thank you, Vicki.  Fioricet withdrawal is one of the hardest things a person can go through.  I take between 15 to 20 per day along with 2 to four valium (10 mg.)  I am tired.  I am depressed.  I am frightened.  And I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE.  I detoxed in 1996 (home and without a doctors help) from 30 valium daily and over 30 fioricet daily.  How I am here... I do not know.  I stayed off a few years, after going through the very worse 6 weeks of my life.  After the detox... It took me many months to start to "come into myself again".  After, I stARTED to actually feel good for a very long time.  It is 2012.  I am 47 years old with many herniated and buldging disks w/ stenosis/neuropithy/ and nerve damage.  I live in constant and severe pain, but somehow I need to do this.  For me, my family, and most of all my son.  Pray for me please.  God bless you all.  
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i agree and disagree.  We are killing ourselves.  slowly.  How to deal with the pain.... well thats pretty much what put us here in the first place.  "Most" doctors are "clueless".  Is there an answer.... I dont know. I do know that while YES, the fioricet does relieve some pain, it is not a godsend.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Sue, start your own thread by clicking on the post a question icon. I'd like to help and I think there are much better meds for your problem. At the very least, you're taking way too much acetaminophen. Let's talk,okay?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi sue!     This is an old thread but I'm glad I saw your post. Listen,there's no question you have some pain issues that need addressing but try to find a different way to manage and a different drug. The amount of acetaminophen you're taking is way over the limit and there are better,more appropriate pain meds to try. I'm happy to talk with you about this and help in any way I can.

I took this drug for a very long time and,thankfully,got away from it! It was not easy as you now know. But, I do believe in pain relief and good pain management so let's talk!
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Avatar_f_tn
How do I cut down to 1/2 tab when this is a capsule? Thank you. I seriously need to find a way to cut down as I can't miss work.
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Hi-  You could ask your doctor to change the order from capsule to tablet or the pharmacist may do it for you...Are you taking Fiorinal or Fioricet? How many per day?
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Avatar_f_tn
To take half a capsule, put a couple of dollops of applesauce in a cup or jar (like a babyfood jar), empty the capsule into it, stir thoroughly, and swallow half the applesauce! Cover and save the other half in the fridge.

I drink some juice with it both to dilute what's going to hit my stomach, and to kill the taste.  
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