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Tapering off Vics and Percocet
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Tapering off Vics and Percocet

Hi.  I am a recovering alcoholic, 5 years clean.  I have 2 herniated discs in my back and have been taking vics (prescribed) daily for about a year.  As with everyone, I am no longer sure if I am taking them for the pain or for the withdrawal.  I know I am both physically and mentally dependent on them at this point as I am no stranger to addiction.
I want desperately to get off of them.  I look around at everyone and wonder how they can go about doing normal things without being in pills.  I wonder how I ever did anything myself without them.  I have a new baby and I can't take care of her without my morning pills and God forbid I run out, well, you know how that goes.
Anyway, I get them from a few doctors but my story is getting thin and I just hate the fact that my life revolves around the next time I can get them.  I love the day I have a full bottle and dread the day when I have nne left.  Inevitably, I run out even though I have every intention of making them last....
If I am taking about 10-12 7.5/750 vics or 10-12 10/625 of percs a day (depending on which doctor I have gone to), how do I taper down?
I have managed to go about 8 hours without being in full blown withdrawal and then when I am I've managed to just take the 1 pill to feel better and not sick but that is such a stressful way of doing it.
I'm thinking of suboxone too but I don't want to trade one drug for another.
Thanks and prayers and well wishes to all who suffer from this.
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13 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar n tn
If you do a very slow tapper you will have better results.  I mean SLOW.  Some people can't do a taper, because they don't trust themselves to stay on a taper.  I have done a taper in the past and have done so by cutting my intake back by half a tablet every 4 days or so.  Don't get in  a hurry about this.  If you have the disciple to do this then it will be the easiest way, in my opinion.  I was taking much less than you and I was only taking the 5/500 strength, so take that into consideration as well.  On day one take your normal dosage.  On day two cut that back some and continue on until you begin to feel uncomfortable.   At the first sign of discomfort stay at that level of pills for a week or two and then begin to cut back again every 4th day or so.  I found it best to write a taper schedule and then adjust that schedule as needed.  If this taper takes you 30 or 60 days that's okay.  Remember, you're in no rush here.  Just keep plugging along. Your body will gradually get used to the lower dosages and will adjust.  But you must be discipled about this.  Come here and we will offer you any support you need.
147172 tn?1226761778
Thank you so much.  I am going to try.  I have 120 pills in which to taper off with so say a prayer for me.
Avatar n tn
You guys are doing proud of yourselves. And don't be too hard on yourselves if you slip back every now and then. I've been doing this for 3 weeks now and I've had a couple of slips but I just get back on track and it is working for me. You that are doing cold is rough.  It is too bad you can't get a doctors guidance and support, it sure would help you.  

Another thing...keep as busy as you can or whatever it takes to keep your mind off yourself, this is not easy. Adjust your clothing from keeping warm to keeping cool. I found if my flu symptoms were strong, I treated myself like I had the flu.
I have taken walks around the block when I'm restless, up to 3 times a day to eat up time.
Write a journal, keeping track of how you feel throughout the whole ordeal.  Then if you do get entirely clean, and you think you might want to go back to your habit, get the journal out, read what you went through and it more than likely will deter you from ever going back to whatever you were taking.

If you are taking medications for real physical problems, look into an alternative if possible.  I have two herniated discs and osteoporosis pretty severely...I went to a P/T and she showed me how to cope, and it works.  At least I can keep up with my family pretty well.  I also used a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness Center for 6 weeks last summer, she helped me also.

Hang in all, think the good thoughts!
Avatar n tn
I'm a fan of tapering - but don't get me wrong - you'll still feel like hell!

I'm from 7-8 pills (using since 2001) - now down to 1/2 pill every day.  I just want off of them so bad!!!  

It isn't easy - but as you've read in all the posts - stay hydrated, take your vitamins - and go hour by hour.  Some days it takes making a promise to make it that one hour, and then the next and then the next- and other days - you'll go several hours w/o thinking about it.

It isn't easy!  It isn't.  But keep coming back to check in on others - and it helps.  
Everyone on this chat is in my prayers -

Right now I'd love to take something to ease the sweating and chills - but I know that would only set me back.

Hang in there!  Girlybuff - you can do it!
147172 tn?1226761778
Thanks to you all for your support.  I really appreciate it.
I am going to discuss it with my doctor.  I know enough from AA to not be ashamed when you're seeking help.
Avatar n tn
go to rehab as soon as possible
481089 tn?1208996306
Please help me i have been trying this taper thing for a week, how do you know that your finally off all of it?
Avatar f tn
See my post to Kitty's thread, labeled something like " going through withdrawals". Only a few posts down fromt the top.
Avatar m tn
Just want to let yawl know getting off opiates is doable ------------you need the right support medication to deal with the worst symptoms -----------I'm in day 3 from c/t off 5o to 7o mg of percocet and I only having RLS and Sleep disturbances ---------I'm no dr. this is only my   my experience---------- would be happy to help those in need--------based my way of doing c/t mainly on the Thomas recipe--------  this helped escape the worst symptoms--acid runs--pain--inability -----to eat or drink-------being curled up in the fetal position in bed----------I've gone through this before totally unprepared and suffered through ALL the w/d symptoms-----all my best to those that are suffering from this problem-------
Avatar m tn
Hello all, names Dan, 25 native American n scottish. Anyway I've been takin 8-10 30mg percets for almost a year. I had about 10 grand saved from selling free stuff from craigslist and blew it all on percs. I have hit rock bottom and I am in so much need of anybody's support. I need my life back. I've lost friends due to money issues and thank god my fiancé is in my life. Although she doesn't kno, she knows I'm stressed about money and I told her I want to change my life. I work for my dad he owns an engineering business and I've been Half assing it just to get high. I'm going to taper as fast as I can. I'm going to take one at a time until I feel normal. It's now come to the point where I just take them to feel normal. I'm scared of what the near future holds for me but I'm embracing my emotions. Please help me anyway you can and I will keep you updated on my status. I'm prepared for the worst but am hoping for the best. I don't want to yap your ears off but can you guys at least pretend that you care because I refuse to ruin my life any longer. Thanks and keep me in your prayers...Dan.
1802044 tn?1316007025
Hi Dan,

I'm in a similar situation as you... a little less dosage, for a little less time.  I'm on day 1.5ish of quitting the percs cold turkey.  It hasn't been easy at all, and I'm so inexperienced with this I don't know if the worst has passed or has yet to come.  I've been hiding this from my girlfriend who would leave me in a heartbeat if she knew I was popping pills.  I wish I could tell you what the best route of action for you to take is, though from what I've read here so far tapering off is the easiest way to do it.

Cheers to getting our lives back mate, let's do this together.

Avatar f tn
U guys came to the right place 1. Amazing help here..2.. ur admitting u have a problem....both good things..Yeah its tough but so is keeping up with ur addiction right? take some time get the needed supplies and take ur life back....before u know it u will be 8 years into the pill me...hang in there and good luck....lots of support here...keep posting and read all the posts u wishes...
Avatar m tn
Hopefully someone will read this & get some help from it.  Although the 1st post is quite old (Dec 2006), the most recent is from Sept 2011.


I am merely giving my story & 2 cents which will hopefully give someone  a little comfort/help that they need.

Most of what I say can equally apply to several issues, such as quitting smoking, alcohol, prescription meds (one of my struggles) or weight loss (another one of my struggles & the longest one)

99.9% of people want to "get better" overnight!  Whatever it is, quit smoking, loose 20 pounds, stop drinking, etc, overnight!  We want to go to sleep, and wake up the next morning a different person!  I want it! I wish it were true, unfortunately it's not :(

Most of us (all?) forget that it took a while (many months, most likely years or sometimes a lifetime if you're talking about weight issues) to get to where we are.

Example: If you have been 100 pounds overweight for the past 20-30 years, it's UNREALISTIC to think "I'm going to loose it in 5 month."

THE SAME APPLIES TO MEDICATION ADDICTION/Substance abuse (I hate that term, most people are just trying to "get by" and are not "abusers").  THIS COMES FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.  

You have to be honest & REALISTIC with yourself and realize & admit that it will take some time. It may be difficult, but you MUST if you want to be successful and get off that med you're on, loose weight, etc.

If someone has been taking a pill for a year,  In all honesty, whats the rush? Think about it!  Why can't you afford yourself at least a month or 2 to slowly withdraw?  If you've been on a pill for years, what's a few months in the long term?

I HATE "studies" (having conducted several of them and continually need to read many of them to stay up do date in my profession).  But using weight loss as an example, virtually EVERY study shows that the slower you loose the weight, the better your chance of keeping it off PERMANENTLY.

Of course there are rare success stories we hear of and some people, including a my physician who quit smoking "cold turkey." But that's not the norm!  My mother quit by slowly cutting back until she down to 1 a day.  Thats when my grandmother told her, you're down to 1, why don't u try going without it tonight? She was ok and ended-up quitting, for good.  It's been 24 years since she had a cigarette.

With weight loss studies, if you starve yourself & over exercise for a few months (most likely on and off), there is a 95%+ chance not only you'll gain the weight back, but you will weigh more in the end than when you started!  Think about all those brides who starve themselves for weeks before their wedding to fit in to a smaller dress, only to be heavier 2 weeks later when they come back from their honeymoon!

I believe the same applies to substance addiction.

Once again, I have been there, I am there (Percocet use due to someone smashing in to my car door and "messing up" 6 discs, several are bulging and pushing against the nerve root, I'm on various Anxiety medications (Xanax, Klonopin), always had trouble sleeping and have now been taking Ambien and have plenty of other issues I am trying to cope with in my life (depression, grief, etc)!

As someone in the heath field as well as someone with chronic pain, I'm somewhat split!  I often think, If you have a REAL, proven, chronic issue and you're in real PHYSICAL pain (which many times I am and many of you are), things like Percocet can help you function.

The problem is 1) Those pills (and it says so in the medical literature) are for SHORT TERM use (post surgery, accident, etc).  They were never designed (nor was Xanax) to be taken more than a few weeks.  Really only 1-2 weeks.

MOST Drs I know seem to overlook that "short term use" statement in the PDR,  So overtime, our bodies naturally build a resistance.  So to get rid of the pain the dose is constantly being increased (either by the Dr or by ourselves).

And from what I have read above, many of you (including myself) started out on relatively low doses, such as 5/325 of Percocet, but are now taking 10/500 8+ (eight!) times a day.

Sorry for the verbal diarrhea, so I'll just shut up and get to the point.  You need to taper off and do it SLOWLY.

Thats my opinion.  You don't have to agree with it or take any of what I said.

If you can or want to do cold turkey, I wish you the best of luck.

But I would sit down and plan what you're going to do.

I was taking high doses of Xanax (all prescribed) as well as around a friend who was constantly taking higher doses of it than me.  Although I need something for anxiety and take a different medication, I still need to withdraw from the Xanax,  I went from 4+ mg to now only .75.

If you need to pass an art store and pick up an "X-acto" (basically a scalpel) or a razor blade so you can accurately score or cut your pills do it.

It took me months.  I took some of the 1mg Xanax pills and cut them in 4 equal sized pieces.  Every 2 weeks, I reduced my dose by 0.25mg.

With Percocet, my dose varies.  I'm prescribed 5/325 4x a day.  Some days I may need 8, other days I may get by with only 3.

As much as I would like to start reducing/stopping Percocet, I think its best to get off of Xanax 1st.  Which hopefully I will be in about 1-2 months.

After that, I will get off Percocet.  I plan to do what did with Xanax, "allot" myself a certain amount of Percocet a day.  And as I said above, using a scalpel like tool cut some pills into 4 pieces.  Over time, slowly take 1 of those 4 pieces away.

So week one I'll allow myself 4 5/325.  Then the 3rd week, take 3.75 pills, and so on.  Think about it, removing a small piece ever 2 weeks is really nothing!  Before you know it, you will be down to maybe 1/2 pill a day and on your way to getting it out of your life for good!

I've been on Percocet for close to 2 years now, so if I need 6 months, then so what?!?!  Its a relatively small amount of time when compared to how long I was taking it!

There are steps I need to take:
A)  I got lazy with the physical therapy and should try to return.
B) Inactivity (like sitting or laying down most of the day) is actually worse.  I need to be more active.  That doesn't mean I need to run to the gym 5x a week!  Just a simple, slow walk around the block a few times for 20mins can really help!

My biggest fear is that what happens on a day I am in pain?

Lastly, I have been doing this myself.  My family nor friends do not know.  I go to a "therapist" but I haven't told him how much Percocet I take, although he knows I was in a car accident and has my various files.  I just say, "If I'm in pain and I need something to help me, I take it."

It would be best if you had someone to talk to or help you, but if you need to go at it alone for privacy issues, so far, I've been successful going at it alone.  No reason you can't be!

Feel free to comment or msg me if you want.  If I make my post any longer, no one will read it!

Good luck, you'll be ok and you will overcome the meds!  There are really no quick fixes in life, give yourself the time you need!

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