I am a 24 yr old medical student seeking advice on how I can rid myself of this burden. I'm very disappointed that I let this get to this point considering my career of choice...I guess it goes to show that ANYONE can become addicted. Anyways, right now I am running 2 separate prescriptions, 1 for 60x40mg OxyContin (prescribed 1 pill twice daily), the other is 240x5mg Pms-Oxycodone (prescribed 2 pills 4 times daily). I REALLY NEED to stop taking this stuff...I'm sure this has been said before, but I do have legitimate pain that many neuro-orthopedic surgeons say "will never fully go away." First off, I want to get back to 1 prescription only, due to the potential legal consequences of "double doctoring." I've read mixed reviews as to whether tapering is effective, but I have on occasion gone from 4-5 40mg OxyContin (crushed so 160-200mg/day - yikes!) to 7-8 5mg pills before and my body seems okay with that (but sometimes not). So I've been taking oxycodone in some formulation now for approximately 13 months. Does anyone have any incite as to which prescription I should cut out first? My thought would be the OxyContin 40mg since I can guage my dosage per day with the 5mg tabs. BUT, I'm worried that although I've "cut out" the 40mg OxyContin, the presciption is ready for pick-up every month at the pharmacy and I could easily have a weak moment and go and fill the scipt. I'm aware that seeking medical care is best, but given the circumstances (my career for example) I'd like to avoid this at all costs. Does anyone have any experience with oxycodone for approximately the same amount of time I've been taking it? I'm curious to know how long I can expect withdrawl symptoms. Basically, how long for "restless leg syndrome" to subside...I feel this is the main reason I dont sleep at night, and in my line of work, I need to be well rested. What I can tell you, is I have been short pills before (because I was self medicating and thus ran out before I was eligible to fill my next months script - the reason I started double doctoring in the first place), and more or less was forced to take less (for example if I'm prescribed 8/day for 30 days but only have 210 because I decide to go wild on day 1 and take 30 pills in that 1 day alone, I'm forced to take approximately 7/day so I dont run out; this is getting worse and worse forcing me at times to take 3/day - I guess I feel like 3/day is better than none per day). At one point, I was taking 4-5 (5mgs) per day and was able to manage quite well - slept fine, functioned normally, only real problem was the thought of going wild just once and taking a lot - but I restrained myself and stuck to the schedule until I got more pills, and then YET AGAIN, I abused them. So anyone who reads this and can help, please let me know ASAP. Its summer time and I feel now is the time to make the change while I'm not in semester. Again, I'm looking basically for advice on how to manage this ON MY OWN, without consulting a physician for reasons stated earlier. Short term/immediate goal: get back to 1 prescription, goal for the end of summer: rid of oxy's for good.
Hi~ Have you thought about just stopping both completely? I don't think you're a good candidate for tapering. You'd feel sick for about a week and that's it. You need some therapy to get to the issues of why you use in the first place. You need to get help for this at some point. You will most likely fail without it.
If this were me,I'd dump the oxy 40 and quickly get off the 5's. You can also seek medical care. They can't report you. It's against HIPPA regs.
I agree with Vicki...this is a good time to quit entirely and start your new semester clean and free of drugs.
Your pain will probably subside a lot when you stop the opiates because they cause rebound pain.
Your whole life is ahead of you and you can lick this thing with determination and our help and aftercare.
The medical pages list the vitamins and nutrients that help you fight the fight.
Treat this like a battle that you will not lose and you will not lose.
Ibuprofen and tylenol help the rebound pain.
You don't want to start your career already addicted to opiates.
It is time to bite the bullet and show us what you are made of.
Good luck and keep posting
pharma9 is right do you want to start your medical career as an addict? Just think of what would happen when you can write your own scripts. You will either kill yourself or go to prison once the DEA sees writing scripts for ficticious patient. Don't throw your life away. I'm sure you worked very hard to get to medical school use that work ethic to beat your addiction. Please get clean I know you can do it
I also am studying in the medical field and went cold turkey from Percocets 26 days ago!! Looking at my clean chart has REALLY helped!! It is nice to see it keep growing!!
The first 4 days were the roughest, but the first 7 days I felt pretty useless all together! After that, on day 8, things steadily were uphill, although I still had my eh days!! I just knew I didn't want to get back on that road, especially after the 7 days of suffering!!
Fake the flu, and kick the habit! No one can get mad at you for getting sick. It happens all the time to non-addicts, so why should it be any different for you?? Bottom line is you HAVE to get off this stuff. You are going to be around it for the rest of your life. Hopefully your experience with it will make you leery about who you prescribe the stuff to!!
I have literally told myself a thousand times......if I could only take what is prescribed. I know I cannot, I have proven it to myself in every single instance of those thousand trials.
You are already abusing them and despite your best efforts, if you are an addict, you will NEVER be able to take just 1 of those prescriptions. Your pills will run out earlier and earlier as your addiction and tolerance grow.
As all those above have stated, it is all or nothing. You need to ditch all of the pills or the cycle continues.
Restless legs and sleeplessness are the last symptoms to leave but they DO eventually get better.
If you are an addict, you are either in recovery or you are using. It's black and white. Only YOU can make the decision on which you will be. Your carreer and more importantly, your LIFE depend on it.
Thanks for all the reply's. To be perfectly honest, this is the first time I've come clean about my problem and even though I haven't started my recovery yet, it feels good getting it off my chest. I also confided in a close friend of mine as well...But I'm not going to lie, the thought of withdrawl symptoms (especially restless leg syndrome and lack of sleep) lasting AT LEAST 5-7 days scares me to death. But clearly several of you have gone through it, which means I also have the ability to do the same. Any tips on a how to limit the extent/severity of w/d symptoms over that 7 day period? I heard that some "home remedies" can help attenuate w/d...One more question, do you think telling my doctor that I no longer want to take oxycodone is a good idea and whether suggesting methadone/suboxone is a good/bad idea? I guess I'm afraid that if I ever NEED opioid pain medications again (aka if I contracted cancer - lets hope not), he/she would be more hesitant to provide them. Then again, my friend told me he thinks its the addiction talking and thinking about taking them again in the near or distant future for any reason will only make things worse.
I'm so upset with myself. It's sad that I can't do anything unless I have pills, and if I don't have them, well you all know how that can be I'm sure.
I'm a little hesitant with the idea of quitting cold turkey, I'm only being honest here. But the more and more I talk to people and read what you've all said on this forum, IT IS becoming clear that it may be the only way for me. Honestly though, is there a good time to start my recovery? Should I TRY and taper off (even a little?) before going cold turkey? Here's where I'm @ right now. Dont have any OxyContin 40mg right now, prescription is to be refilled next Thursday morning. I do however, have OxyContin 5mg and have been taking 1 tablet every few hours (roughly 8-10/day or 40-50mg), and I'm doing just fine - productive at the hospital, doing homework, sleeping, exercising, etc. I feel like I should do this before I have the opportunity to get those 40mg tablets otherwise I'll take them...I KNOW IT!!! Has anyone gone through 7 days of w/d AND gone to work no matter how unpleasant?
AND finally, although most here are addicts/recovering addicts/recovering(ed) addicts, some of you must have legitimate pain still...What types of non-narcotic pain medications are you using as a substitute? Open to almost anything except Acetaminophen (Tylenol) which I'm allergic to.
I am glad to here you are facing your addiction. As far as tapering off that to me will just prolong the inevitable. You are going to have to detox which means you will go through w/d's. As one of the mo2000 said "just fake the flu" and stay home. Most importantly make sure you have people around you for support it makes the world of difference. My pain doc gave me Naproxen 800mg 4x/day (I took one about 2 hrs ago) along with soma and it is relieving some pain. So try it might work for you. I wish you luck and God bless you.
Coming clean, even if it's only to people on the internet is the first big step. For me coming on here and talking to people and reading posts etc. was the first step in getting serious about stopping.
Very often the fear of the withdrawals is actually way worse than the withdrawals themselves. You'll feel bad for a week or two and then you'll be done. The cravings will be there from time to time but the feeling sick will be gone.
I'm in your boat, dude. I'm a recovering addict with legitimate acute & chronic pain (from kidney-stones & renal cysts).
My pain level day-to-day runs in the 4-5 range, and spikes to a 6 every once and a while. When I get a kidney-stone, all bets are off and my pain-level can be anywhere from a mid-6 to an 8-9.
Non-narcotic options for acute-pain? Unfortunately, I haven't found one to combat a kidney-stone.
Non-narcotic options for chronic-pain? My new PMdoc started me on Neurontin about 3 weeks ago, with little success so far. I've titrated up to the 2700mg's she recommended, with little to no results as of yet. I've been told I need to give it more time, so I'm going to do what they tell me to do and hope for the best.
I wish there was something I could tell you to make you feel better. I wish there was a non-narcotic "cure all" medication that I could tell you about. I wish that I could tell you that getting of pain-medication was going to be an easy road... I wish, I wish, I wish.
Alas, narcotic pain-killers, as far as I'm concerned, are the only thing that's worked for me thus far. I'm not saying there aren't non-narcotic options out there for YOU, but for me, so far, no results. Unfortunately, when the bottle says 1 every 4 hours as needed for pain, it ends up being 4 every 1 hour as needed for ME.
I know this isn't helping you with your cause and your search and your battle to quit, I'm just being straight with you.
Quit the pills and start your recovery today!! Just do it. It won't kill you.
You're a med student for God's sake. You can't be wrecked on pills;it's just so wrong.
You need a week. Get prepared for it. Read the health pages here. This won't be the worst thing that will ever happen to you. As a matter of fact,it's the best thing. So get tough and keep posting. We'll be here to support you so get going,okay???
Thanks to everyone for the advice and support...Quick question, I've heard days 1-4 are BRUTAL and days 5 and 6 are a little better and by day 7(ish), things start getting better. Now obviously everyone is different which means everyone has different recovery times, so I'm wondering if someone could give me a break-down of their "1 week of hell" experience, mainly how long you were sleeping on day 1 vs. day 7. I mean, I can start RIGHT NOW, and maybe if I'm one of the lucky ones, I'll be sleeping better in a week or so...
And I understand I'm a med student, which makes this so much worse (in my mind). I feel like I'm being a hypocrite...Today I was doing my rounds (residency) and talking to one gentlemen with a fractured tibia, fibula and femur about the dangers of opioids...I nearly broke down I was so ashamed.
On another note, although I'm book smart, I apparently can't seem to find these medical pages with the different remedies for quitting cold turkey...I know there is a lot of repeated questions, etc. on these forums, so to avoid this, can someone give me the "how to find the medical pages for dummies" manual.
Hi LOL The "health pages" are on the upper right side of the forum page. It says "health pages" so just click on that. There's a ton of info there.
Don't feel ashamed. You're on the road now and you'll get this done!! It will make you a very smart and compassionate physician!!
Insomnia: May last for a few weeks with everyday getting better. Try the usual otc's:
Melatonin,valerian root. Benadryl sometimes has an idiosyncratic effect. Some people use Nyqyil without the decongestant with good results. Get some Hylands Restful Legs for RLS. Sometimes there's some depression that sets in so be on the look out
for that. Drink as much water as you can to flush.
As symptoms appear,just post with any questions and we'll help. Try to get some support with this.
Hey guy great choice, you are taking the first step to get the rest of your life back. If you want to read my thread below it will give you an idea what you are in for. Please by no means get scared I just want to give you strength from my pain. Also if you can't find Thomas recipe or Amino Acid protocol it is there also. Good luck and I will pray for you.
When I was in the army stationed in korea, I went to some AA meetings right outside the base in Seoul. It was mostly Americans - teachers, soldiers, contractors, but there were a few Koreans. One of them had a chauffeur and appeared to be a pretty important guy. Well it turned out he was the doctor for one of the former presidents of South Korea. He was there for abusing opiates. Whenever he wanted to he would prescribe himself morphine and shoot up right there in his office. my point is that important and successful people - even doctors - get addicted to drugs all the time. you're not the first and you won't be the last, so don't beat yourself up to bad about the fact that you're in med school and fighting an oxy addiction. And you shouldn't feel like a hypocrite when you try to dissuade patients from using opiates; if anything you are doing them a favor right?
Vicki is dead on about the insomnia. It's the worst part. You are right about the first week being hell, it is, but like others have said it won't kill you. Use the Thomas recipe, immodium, Hylands RLS, those ensure shakes for old people to get some nutrients in your body when you can't eat, melatonin and chamomile tea for sleep or a benzo if you want to get into that. Good luck CH!
Your dose isn't that high right now so that is definitely in your favor.
To answer some of your questions.....
I worked through detox, all of it. I didn't feel good, I didn't want to be there but it truly helped to get me through it. The single best advice I EVER got for wd was to stay busy and to keep myself distracted.
The no sleeping was bad for me but I understood beforehand that it was normal and to be expected. I took it when I got it and tried not to get frustrated when it did not come.
Yes I have chronic pain too but found after getting clean that my pain was much more tolerable and when it does get bad I usually take Advil. I can't worry about the future, I will deal with it when it arrives but I am clean today and I'm doing ok.
I agree with Vicki, you will have the best training available for dealing with opiates and addiction in general. I have a friend in NA that went to see his doctor and he really opened up to him about his addiction. When he was leaving and still crying and upset, he said his doctor grabbed him and hugged him and told him he would help him, that he would be OK and that he TOO was in recovery and understood. YOU will carry that knowledge and will be better for it.
Step 1 is putting your plan in play. Do your homework and get it done. It is very doable.
You are incredibly wise to realize your issue at your young age. Keep us posted!!!
Okay, back from running errands. Got pretty much everything listed in Thomas' recipe, minus the benzodiazepines, I'm going to try chamomile and some other OTC sleep remedies and see how those work. I have an prescription for atavan if those dont work that I can fill anytime. I just flushed the OxyContin 5mg down the toilet and called the pharmacy to cancel my refills. My god, a month ago, you'd have to bring an army to wrestle those pills away from me...Feels like a weight lifted though, although, I'm starting to feel the beginning of the restlessness in my legs. Haven't taken a pill since I woke up at 6am. I think I'm going to make a trip to my local gym and go for a swim and lift some weights while I still have energy. I'm going to try and make it everyday I think, at least to swim.
Thanks for all the support, I'll keep everyone on here posted on my progress throughout the next well...however long it takes to shake this addiction.
Wow...i am so impressed with your enthusiasm.I am tickled pink that you are going to quit the opiates and start a new life clean from these drugs.
The experience will make you a better doctor and a will be a valuable life lesson.
You have so much to be clean for and a whole lot better life ahead of you.
Sending cyberhugs and congrats to you on your decision
Congrats on making the choice to get clean, I am a 21 year old girl and addicted to oxycontin, usually snort 2 or 3 80's a day and I buy them from the street which is about 40 dollars a pill so over 100 dollars a day. It is such a horrible and expensive habit. I admire your determination to stop, I have been addicted for about two years now and have tried to stop so many times, only to relapse after a few weeks. Eventually I broke down and went into rehab, and that seemed to work for several months, but now i've been back at it for a few months, and it is so shameful, dishonest, and makes me feel guilty. I relate to what you say, about getting everything done while on the pills, that is what makes it so hard for me to see that I need to stop. When I wake up and do the OC it gives me a boost throughout the day, I go to work, I clean, I am super enthusiastic, get a million things done, and then I try to stop, and I am depressed and sick, and it really messes with my head. I hate being dependent on a drug just to get through my day though. I tried to stop again today, but the pain of withdrawal led me right back to my dealer. I used to be so much more strong minded and could get through the WD and do this, and now I seem completely tired and unable. You seem like you're ready and it's so great how you've decided to stop. This experience will make you such a compassionate and understanding doctor, and your patients will most certainly notice that in you and gravitate to you because of that. Please keep me posted on how you're doing, I know a lot about WD as i've gone through it probably ten times myself, and i'd love to hear how you are doing to hopefully help to motivate me to stop as well.
Thats great I am soooo glad you decided to get clean. As far as flushing the pill I know how hard it was to do that. Didn't that give you a sense of empowerment. You will make it I know you are strong, you have proved it. It is not what we say it is what we do. GO GO GO. I am sending what strength I have left your way.
I too was a medical student.... made it to my 4th year before getting canned for my drug use. Dont let all that hard work go to waste. I will never be able to obtain a Control License from the DEA due to my bad choices, but that is something I have to live with.
As far as the guilt, believe me I know. But also believe me when I say, the guilt you have now when you counsel patients is NOTHING compared to the guilt that you MAY be in for if you continue using.
During under grad, I worked as an OR tech on the open heart team. My opiate abuse began with IV sublimaze (Fentanyl) It got so out of control that I was using at work before, after, and while scrubbed in for procedures when possible. Dont let this demon get that far into you. Once I started residency, it only got worse.
WD's are something that can not be bypassed, but they are nothing to fear either. Working yourself up as to what to expect can make things so much worse for you. The first time I withdrew from the fent, I only had some dizziness.... thats because I had no idea what to expect. I didnt do any research, ignorance was bliss! And this was coming off of over 1200mcgs of IV fent a day! The mind is a powerful powerful thing.
Fast fwd, years later I put my medical career on hold, and began flying as an International Flight Attendant. I got on suboxone and started working a recovery program.
After two years of sub treatment, I am happy to say that I am recently suboxone and opiate free, and have never been happier.
You asked about suboxone, and if you should mention it. Personally, I would try and tough out the oxy wd's first, and only go the suboxone route if you can not do it CT first.
Sub can be a real lifesaver, literally. But I would exhaust all other options first for a few reasons.
+You are concerned about people finding out, suboxone is only approved for clinical treatment of opiate abuse. Most people dose more than once per day requiring you to have your meds on you. Would be a bad day if that bottle fell out of your locker at the hosp an someone saw it, game over.
+Suboxone will not take away the oxy wd's, it only suppresses them. You will still have to withdraw from suboxone unless you choose to be on it for life. There is no get out of jail free card.
+If you are concerned about oxy wd's for 7 days.... You are in for a ride with sub wd's. You mentioned your biggest fear being the RLS/Insomnia. While sub wd's are much more mild than oxy wd's, they last much much longer, and the RLS and insomnia is practically the same. I am currently on day 18 off of the suboxone, and I am still only sleeping 1-2hrs per night.
Suboxone has many benefits too if you choose to go that route, PM me and I can tell you all about it.
I just wanted to let you know, this can be done. And to do everything in your power to make it happen before your situation ends up like mine!
So getting close to 48hrs now...Its been horrible. Went to the hospital today to finish out the week and I plan on calling in sick next week. Its difficult to function with the slightest bit of efficiency when your feeling this way. Anyways, I've gone to the gym 4 times in the last 48 hours and still haven't had to fill the prescription for Atavan, which is a minor accomplishment. I didn't sleep a wink last night and tonight I was able to sleep from about 8-9pm until almost 2am, with the help of a few evening cocktails. I know its not the best way to get to bed, but ill take what I can get. Now I'm up and watching every movie I own, it seems like. My house has never been cleaner and I have more clean clothes than I know what to do with. You guys are right, keeping busy is important and definitely pays off. I've also found that cooking helps, and is beneficial as well. Almost gave in during a weaker moment, but called my ex-girlfriend and she coached me through it.
StillLost21, I'm glad you understand what its like "to feel" like you dont have a problem, as you said, when your able to be productive. The problem is, its not normal to have to take this stuff in order to be normal...Does that make sense? I remember a time when I didn't have to take anything (other than coffee in the morning of course - lol) and was just/if not more productive than I am now. I feel that no matter what your probably only ever functioning at maybe 80% when your on this stuff, and even that may be an overestimate. Although Abraham Maslow (an American psychologist) proposed that everyone has a "want" and a "need" self. These two selves must always be in harmony with one another, or "agree" with one another, if you will. Anyways, basically the "want self" is the side of our personality that says "I want oxycodone." The "need self" (which thankfully is the side of us that is makes the final decision and tends to be more reasonable and makes logical decisions) says "you don't need it." This means the "want" and "need" self are out of sync, and this cannot, according to Maslow, ever occur. So the "want self" essentially justify's itself to the "need self" and says "but I'm in pain and we are productive when we take it, and not productive when we don't." This is an internal justification mechanism that goes on within us daily, and I bet anyone whose dealt with this monster will tell you they've justified taking more of the drug than is necessary. Anyways, my point is, I've been justifying this addiction to myself for a long time and I'm sure you have been too. Sometimes knowing why we do the things we do gives us the strength to change our behaviour if we choose. If I can do it, you can do it. You have an advantage as well. You've had small pockets where you weren't using, which means you have incite into how/why you relapsed and thus have the ability to avoid being derailed by whatever the mitigating factor(s) was/were. I challenge you to give it another go, cut all ties with your dealer or have someone else manage your finances for a while so your not able to buy oxycodone anymore.
Anyways, off to watch another episode of Californication, i'll continue posting/updating on my progress.
Congrats on 48 hrs you seem to be handling it well. I am proud of you for sticking with as I know how hard this thing is to go through. Remember attitude is everything and yours sounds great. I will pray and am pulling for you.
You are doing a great job so far and keep up your determination.
You are showing us and yourself that you have a lot of guts to get through this.
I am very proud of you that you came here and decided to get off the opiates
I'm not sure about wether this is something good or bad... But, my doc wrote me a scrib for ambiem... It helps alot.. I'm new to recovery as well.... I was taking 5.. 10mil perks and 4/5 10 mils norcos a day for years now I'm on sub for the past 3 days (still in infancy of it)... But, I can tell you that everyday that you're not taking them(pain pills) you will feel much better both inside and out... Good luck with everything ..you'll make it...Tam
One week is not enough. you gotta take a whole semester off, detox, go to rehab, the whole 9 yards.. Anyone who says withdrawals last 7 days is someone who was only on opiates for a few months. If you've been on them for a couple years or more, take a semester off and get clean because the stress of medical school will cause you to relapse I gaurantee it. Give yourself 90 days so you can get totally clean. Dont blow it and think you are strong enough to do a 10 day detox and then go right back into the cauldron of fire. I'm serious! take 90 days!
Kudos to you for admission. I am 7 days on suboxone and doing GREAT!! I have been on meds for 18 years due to severe car accident in my 20s and my tolerance had gotten so high and I could not get docs to give me anything more than morphine (does not work for me). so.. after almost losing my house..ALMOST...I decided to check out a suboxone clinic. I had the same questions as you and I asked them and received answers which made it less terrifying. If you go see a doc and he looks down his nose at you when you ask these questions... walk out!!. Anyway... 1st, there is no "list" you are put on when taking suboxone that tells the world you are on it. 2nd, if the suboxone does not help with your pain/end result, you can go back to pain management and it is my understanding that taking suboxone for a period of time can help reduce your tolerance. 3rd, I have struggled with terrible pain, even on 30MG Roxycodone and 30 MG morphine extended release and 750 Robaxin. This is the first time in 18 years that I have been 100% pain free...on suboxone.. go figure. Doc said he felt like probably 60% of my pain was "withdrawal" pain, which causes your body to emulate more severe pain to tell you to take the meds. I am sleeping all night, feel great, and am having a pretty normal life. The only time I really struggle with the mental side of things is when I see someone high as a kite on Lortabs or Percocets and it makes me cry. But... I get over it and move forward. I cannot believe I have suffered so bad trying to find the right doc to give me enough meds...even after back surgery...and all I had to do was find suboxone to get relief. BTW, once you graduate Medical School will you PLEASE figure out a way to make suboxone taste better...that is the worst part... to me it tastes like vomit and I have to hold it under my tongue until it melts....yuk!! Best of luck to you.
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