The treatment plan for tapering off of Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) will vary depending on the dosage your have been taking and the duration of time you have been taking it. Also, you will need to discuss with your doctor how your pain will be managed when you do stop taking Norco, as you may need to review other pain management options.
There are products available such as Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) that are indicated for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence, but not appropriate for use as a pain-reliever, and this medication may reduce the effectiveness of other pain relievers.
Another approach may be to begin tapering the dose of Norco down. For patients using Norco for acute pain, they can taper by 20% daily (ie: if you were taking 5 tablets/ day, the next day you would take 4 tablets, and so on.) For patients using Norco for chronic use, you may consider tapering by 10% every three to five days (ie: if you were taking 5 tablets per day, then you would take 4 and 1/2 tablets for three days, and continue reducing every 3-5 days).
Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat the symptoms of withdrawal in case they do occur such as: loperamide for diarrhea, promethazine for nausea, dicyclomine for abdominal cramps, or ibuprofen for muscle aches. Psychosocial counseling will be an important part of a successful plan to stop taking opioids, and you should discuss the potential risks vs benefits of stopping Norco with your doctor. I would recommend against stopping Norco abruptly due to the potential for withdrawal symptoms.
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