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Methadone tapering
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Methadone tapering

I'm currently tapering off from Methadone. I was addicted to pain killers like Oxy (Used only for recreation) and started going to a Methadone clinic 3.5 years ago. Looking back I wish I never started with the clinic. I was up to 155mg. daily and about 8 or more months ago I started tapering 1mg. every 3 days, (Clinic recommendation). I'm now down to 24mg. a day and asked to have my taper put on hold for a little while. I'm feeling sick every morning and my legs are driving me crazy at night. I've been under the impression that coming off is doable, but the more I read, the more scared I'm becoming. I do want to be totally off Methadone but I'm fearful that it's going to be a lot tougher than I had hoped for. I do jog everyday for 3+ miles and I'm hoping that the exercise will help as I decrease my daily dosage. The other concern I have is that I'm a smoker and I just started taking Chantix. I haven't started getting any side effects from that drug but I know they could be on the way. What am I in for and am I a fool for trying to tackle two addictions at the same time?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello Mike!
I would try to kick one habit at a time, but that's just me. I just feel like it's easier to concentrate on doing one thing at a time, and you will likely be more successful that way:)
As far as the methadone, yes I too have heard the horror stories of methadone w/d and it's terrifying!! But if you continue to read the terrible stories it will start to make you believe that it's impossible to beat it! You need to concentrate on your goal and realize that it may take a little longer than you had hoped for.
I think you did the right thing by holding at 24 mg.  
Just stay there until your body adjust and when you feel comfortable then you can proceed. You have already reduced your dose significantly. I have heard that once you get below thirty is when you really start feeling the w/d.
Perhaps you should talk with your clinic MD and have him/her work out a much slower taper for this last 24 mg. If you get to the point that you are super uncomfortable again then stop and hold it there for awhile before proceeding.
Just remember that your goal is to be totally drug free and if you try to taper too quickly and start feeling bad then you may relapse. There is no shame in taking your time. Do what works for YOU!!
Reading the stories about methadone w/d has caused me to have full blown anxiety attacks, it doesn't help at all and it's counter productive to those of us that are trying to get off of methadone. I wish I had read them BEFORE I ever walked into the methadone clinic. I would have never done it.
I would advise you to talk with people that have actually come off of methadone and find out what worked for them. It can be done and you can do it:)
I will be praying for you!! Good luck:)
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Avatar_m_tn
HI Mike welcome to the forum....well you have done well to taper off such a high dose
I did the same 143 days ago was at 150ml ...the last 25 or so is the hardest but it is doable ......tapering off methadone comes with a certain amount of discomfort ...
''you just got to be ok without being ok for a wile'' your symptoms will very depending
on how your system reacts to the drop in dose ..typically I would feel cra##y for around 4 days when I hit the lower doses...I used a formula of 10%drop in dose every 72hr
and it worked good for the most part but there where times I had to wait a few extra days b/4 tapering again to let my body get use to it ....its best to lissin to your body
when tapering if you drop down again will in withdrawals they only get worst so take your time...when you get down to 10ml you go 1 ml a week and I would take it down to 5ml then jump...I went all the way down to 1 ml but tapering below 5 ml was miserable and my final withdrawal was no worst then tapering below 5 ml so dont torcher yourself for the extra 5 weeks just jump off at 5 and go thew the final withdrawal ....it last about 7 days but again it is uncomfortable but very doable
you just dont sleep and the anxiety can be a bit much but if your prepared you can do it...good luck and God bless.....Gnarly    
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, hopefully I can give you some advice that may help you.  I too as well was on methadone for 5 straight years  on 100mg for the entirety of that time except for the first few weeks obviously.  

I got off of methadone last october.  This might not be the best way for you because everyone is different.  

Let me first say this: ALOT of people will tell you to taper and not to do this cold turkey.  You can do this cold turkey.  I have tried BOTH. I tried tapering twice and once i got down to 30 mg I started to feel really bad and I would go back up gradually and get back to my normal dosage.  Both times I tapered it didn't work.  Like I said everyone is different but i couldn't fatham the fact of being sick while tapering and still taking the methadone and then once you get off it you're still going to be sick, just as sick because you have been on methadone for 3.5 years.  

I did this cold turkey and I actually was out of my klonopins the day i started my detox with no methadone so i started detoxing off of klonopin and methadone at the same time.  

Don't listen to everyone about the horror stories, everyone is different in the mental game.  Be prepared to not feel good yes, but be prepared not to just lay in bed and feel sorry for yourself.  

Some things that will help:
Drink lots of water, no caffeine, you will have enough trouble sleeping.
I know you won't want to eat, but make sure you eat atleast two meals a day if not 3.
Get some EPSOM salt and bath in this as much as you need, it helps with the leg pains a lot.
If you have access to a suana, use it.  I have a infared sauna and this helps detoxify your body of toxins and you will feel much better after doing this.
If you don't have a problem with benzo's, some klonopin for about a week would help but don't overdue it, if you can't find any benzo's then go to your local pharmacy and get some Valerian Root, its often called Nature's Valium and it is for relaxation and stress relief.  It's going to be the closest thing over the counter to a benzo you can get.


As I said before, you won't feel like going out and doing anything, but I will tell you what I did for the whole first week.  I actually slept every night but one, albeit I only got about 3 hours but this is better than nothing. But I did have some halcion to help with that.  When waking up at about 5 in the morning, I would go outside on my deck everyday and read all day until it got dark and smoke cigarettes.  Reading a good book does really help the time pass.  That week I read 6 books that were all 250-500 pgs. long.  

It will be hard to quit smoking and quit methadone but if you've already started the process of quiting smoking keep with that, nothing is going to be easy.

Also, I don't know if you are spiritual, I am not a huge church goer or anything, but I did say a prayer each morning and each evening just asking to get me through this process and free of this awful drug and if it was meant to be let it be as pain free and as comfortable as it can be.

And let me tell you, I have went without my methadone 100 times or more because I had a month and i would short myself 4 or 5 days and it was pure hell, however this time when i went cold turkey it wasn't half has bad.  I don't know why, I can't explain it to you.  It wasn't easy, I'm not trying to say that I did it with no problem or no help but it wasn't as bad as the horror stories you hear.

I hope this helps. You can do it you just have to want it. Don't let the methadone clinic control you.  Find your key and free yourself of those liquid handcuffs.  You will do great.  

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228936_tn?1249097848
cerrone has a good point. Some addiction docs say that long tapering on methadone doesn't help and can draw out the suffering. I detoxed 5 mg. per day twice and did okay. It is doable but it can take awhile. Trust in GOD and stick with it.

  I quit smoking w chantix and was very surprized that you a smoker, ran several miles regulary. that's great. Chantix worked for me and acually when you are in a state of narcotic withdrawal, ciggs don't taste good at all and it may be a good time to do it. Aslo I believe you may get throught the WD faster not smoking, as it makes you feel worse in many ways.all the best
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Avatar_m_tn
Smoking also may make your legs feel worse, your legs will feel much better when you quit smoking because your circulation comes back even after just a few days.  This would actually help you during the WD because the RLS symptoms of WD of methadone is horrid.  

Like i said, everyone is diff. but there is NO WAY to make the WD from methadone easy.  Detox never gets easier and as addicts we know this.  

In my position, I just told myself I couldn't be sick during the taper for 2 months going down from 30 to 0 and then be sick again with nothing.  So I went cold turkey.

If you really want this, and you want to get off of methadone, and you are on 24 mg I would go cold turkey off of this.  I know how you feel at that dose, you can't sleep well, you feel okay after you dose for about 4 hours and then you want more and in the morning it is horrible, you just want your measly 20 mg or so again. And if you have takehomes it can be extremely hard to do this because you can be tempted to just take an extra bottle to feel good for one day.  Sometimes as addicts we just think about one day, just that day and not the next.  

I really think you should jump off at this point but thats just my opinion.  I listed a lot of things above that you can do to help you through this.  I hope you read this and take it into consideration.  

Best of luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh and I forgot to add, about what Mr. Lucky said, I actually did talk to two different addictionalogists and they both related that jumping off cold turkey at 60 mg or doing at 5mg is going to be just the same.  You have been on it for a good length of time, 3.5 years so you're going to experience WD  no matter what but you can get through this.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Mike,
You need to keep in mind that plenty of people have tapered off without it being a big deal.  Most people don't post if it isn't a problem for them so you don't get to read about it.  Keep that in mind when you read the "horror stories".   Do what feels right to you.  Everyone is different.  I didn't feel any wd until I got down to 20 - 25mg.  I dropped from 120 to 60 in about 3 weeks and didn't have any wd.  Then dropped from 60 to 30 in about 4-5 weeks and didn't have any wd.  But once I got below 20mg, I felt lousy.  I chose to go inpatient to get off the stuff because I really didn't want to drag out the taper.  If that's something you can do, message me and I'll give you the details.

Just remember that you are more likely to read about tough detoxes.  I've seen people who have detoxed down to a couple of mgs and have done fine.  If you aren't in a rush, see how you feel staying at 24mg for a little while.  If you feel ok after 4 or 5 days, maybe you just need to slow down the end of your taper.

Keep up the excercise -- it's one of the best things you can be doing for yourself.  Take care.
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Avatar_f_tn
I recently am trying a similar situation that you are except I wasnt on Methadone. I recently quit taking the Butrans patch. I was only on it for 2 months and decided it was a waste of money and I didnt need it. However, I have a severe addiction when it comes to narcotics and alcohol. The Butrans patch was the only thing I could take without wolfing it down in a few days and manage my back pain. I then decided to venture with Chantix and quit smoking because I was up to over 2 packs a day after I stopped using. In my 2nd week the psychological side effects started and I do have a history of severe depression. However, I'm going to step back from the 1mg twice a day dosage and see how that goes. I haven't quit yet but I have lost the desire to smoke 2 packs a day so that is progress. So, writing this we all have to realize that that Chantix is a drug with some serious side effects and ANYONE who takes this drug can have a reaction. However, dont set urself up expecting something to happen because Everyone is different pyhsiologically.
One thing I did do was instruct my boyfriend that if he saw my personality change please let me know (alot of times I may not see anything wrong with me that others can see).
I would like to applaude you for a job well done with cutting back on the Methodone. That is a hugh challenge. Good Luck to you with quitting smoking and a decreasing ur Methodone!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi mike congrats  on getting this far down on the methadone, I'm just under 5 weeks off a long road on methadone I cut dwn to 7ml for 3 weeks then went on 2 week detox & the first thing I thought of was Thank fck I didn't come off at 30ml But after the first week it gets a little easier & its never as hard as you mind thinks, it takes longer than most opiates to get over physical WDs I still feel crap some days But when your ready your really ready & Nothing will stop you from going through with it, Start getting after care put into place. Ie go to meetings they really help, get a great support network into place now Don't just think about of getting off the methadone Start thinking Once I'm off it, You've took along time to cut down So your ready to do this & you will do it, start eating healthy get vitimins etc etc. I got to 20ml before I felt s***y There will be walls you will need to kick through & it will be worth it in the end, Dnt listen to the horror stories I did & it put me off for years, NO one persons WDs are the same as another, I think you have tapered down the right way so just keep going & if you find the next drop down to hard then just stop for a while till u feel better, Remember u have Time on your side to do this detox & it will be the best feeling for you & your family to KNOW your drug free, my prayers will be with you my friend Gb
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on 75 mgs of methadone for 3 years, and after speaking to my doctor on Friday and asking her to justify legal addiction with methadone, apposed to illegal addiction with opiates, she decided to put me on administrative taper, which takes me down 10 mgs every 2 days. Apparently, she didn't like what I had to say. I'm sick of being controlled by doctors that see me as nothing more than a dollar sign. So, now I'm on 65 mgs, not sleeping, and scared to death. I have issues with anxiety, which I what transitioned me from suboxone  to methadone, so I'm afraid of the level of "untreated" anxiety I will endure, as well as the physical symptoms. I'm roughly 3 weeks constipated, which basically means anything I eat wont be expelled for at least 3 weeks, so I'm extremely afraid of the nausea, vomiting, extreme cramping and eventual expelling the rocks in my gut...i have straight t-19 and am getting no help from my primary Dr. (she wont touch me with a Te meter cattle prod, cuz I'm on methadone, but does not have the guts to say so,) and inpatient does not appear to be an option. I can get my hands on sum valium, and perk 10\325z if things get really bad, but I am stuck doing tho alone, while caring for my two school aged children. I appreciate everyone's opinions and advice\suggestions. I will try to remain positive, I just hope this doesn't take weeks!
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