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Best way to get off vicodin
Hi,

My daughter, 19, had her wisdom teeth out a few weeks ago. She was given vicodin 50, 1-2 every 4-6 as needed for pain. She found 1 was not enough and was taking 2 every 6 hours. She ended up with complications and an extended recovery and pain, so the Dr. gave her a new script. We asked for 75 as 50 wasn't working and 2 x 50 (100) was too much, making her really high and sleepy. The 75 seemed good and after cutting to 1 a day one weekend, she decided to stop as her tooth and jaw pain had subsided.

From the first taking the vic she could feel the effects of the vic wearing off, and wanting to take more, but we thought it was all pain related. WELL, on the Monday she stopped, having cut back to one a day since the previous Friday, she was nauseous, achy, awful headache, shaking, tons of mucous and hot/feverish, and could do little more than drag herself to classes (in college) feeling like she was 'dying' and curling up in bed in between. She insisted she was just sick as a bunch of kids on campus were also sick, but it seemed too coincidental to me. I googled vic withdrawal and was stunned to find the withdrawal symptoms matched. WHY GIVE THIS TO ANYONE? I had 4 wisdom teeth out at the same age and survived on tylenol!

She continued to insist she was just sick but by that night was so miserable she agreed to take one vic. She felt a little better, but still not great, so without telling me she took another 2 hours later and all symptoms vanished. She's so pissed! She wants to stop but can't go cold turkey and curl up in bed in the middle of the semester.

Since then we are trying to wean off. We asked for the next script to be 50 and she is taking two a day and doing pretty well, still gets headaches and stomach issues but they are tolerable. My question is this, at this point is it better to stretch the time between doses of 50 making it gradually longer and longer, or still do 2 a day but cut them in half?
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Hi, Mary!

Things seemed to have gone very well, though she did end up taking her 2nd 3/4 dose a couple of hours early on Friday (she takes at bedtime at school, and originally said she planned to stay up late with friends and take it later, then ended up taking it earlier). Saturday she took the first at the beginning of the normal window (1-2pm), when usually I need to remind her around 2 to take, and again took the 2nd by 10pm (normal bedtime, for her at school is 12.....ish......).

But she's sticking to the reduced amount and says she feels pretty good. The plan today is .66. We'll see how she does. She's leaving to go back tomorrow morning, very early.

The plan is to send the Thomas Recipe 'ingredients' back with her in case they are needed and to continue the step down every 3 days. That is 3 days on a dose and if she's tolerating decently, drop.

Have been stressing that at some point she is likely to feel very challenged and will need to weather through. She says she understands......wish this could be happening here....

My biggest concern, as great as she is, she WILL want to drink this coming weekend with friends and while she has been very good about not mixing the two, stopping the step down to drink will, in my opinion, throw her right back. We have not yet discussed the step down in relation to the weekends back on campus. I don't want her mixing the two, I don't want her stopping the step down, I'm honestly not sure she'll give up the next two weekends of going to parties. I know to all the adults here that sounds incredibly short sighted and irresponsible on her part, but from her 19 year old perspective she's already given up much more of her first semester fun than she would have liked, this is not her fault and she's already po'd this happened.

To all who are tempted, skip the lectures on how she needs to take this seriously, I know, in her way, she knows, but time for a 19 year old is different that time for those of us with a little more of it under our belts. She will be on 1/2 dose by Friday and .33 for the remainder of the weekend. Am I correct in remaining concerned that she should absolutely not mix any alcohol with even this relatively low dose?

Keep in mind that she's a kid who has been straight as an arrow her entire life, sports, job, school, volunteer hours (she still watches Disney movies with her friends, these are good  kids!), and the weekend parties, alcohol, no drugs, is her one indulgence.

If she can't assure me she can skip the alcohol this weekend, I am tempted to bring her home again, though I know there are friends at school she only sees in the weekends and she'll want to see them. I don't think she would lie to me, but I do worry that once back at school, with all her friends getting ready to go out, she'd end up deciding to stop the step down and go out, assuming that since she's doing so well she can handle it. I already suggested a couple of weekends ago that she should be able to attend parties without drinking......yeah....not gonna happen.

So, here's my dilemma, I can insist she not drink, stressing that she needs to get through this first and hope she complies. I can make her come home for the next two weekends and make her comply. Is there any in between? Or am I right that mixing even a low dose of vic with any drinking is NOT to be done.

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You are absolutely right - NO drinking, even with a reduced dose.  It's not JUST the narcotic (hydrocodone) that you need to be concerned about mixing with alcohol, it is also the aceteminophen.  Mixing tylenol with alcohol can be VERY dangerous and can cause serious, permanent damage to the liver, sometimes even when taken together only once - especially since your daughter is already so sensitive to medications and such, I would definitely not want to even test the risk.

My only question is, since she will be on 1/2 dose by Friday - IF she does decide to skip her dose and party with her friends, she really SHOULD be able to just continue not taking the meds and do a CT from there.  I guess my point is, if she can manage to make it through without the meds so that she can go out and drink with her friends, there really should be no reason she couldn't go without the meds from there on.  You are also right that IF she does skip the dose in order to be able to go out with her friends, and then has to take more of the meds to get her through some w/d feelings, she really is setting herself back.  However, at even 1/2 dose of the 5's (giving her 2.5 mg of hydrocodone in each dose), any w/d symptoms she does feel should be mild - and since it will be the weekend at school, she wouldn't have to worry about going to class if she wasn't feeling quite 100%.

Just my thoughts on it.
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Hi,

Thanks for your thoughts! I did consider having her go CT at the end of this week, the problem is the last two times she did this the worst day was Monday. The first time she made it through Saturday fine, Sunday took 1, by Monday she was curled up in bed with all the problems mentioned earlier in the thread. The second time she intervened sooner, taking 4 halves (she was trying to step down and failed) on Sunday. So my concern is she'll do fine Saturday and maybe even Sunday, then find herself in a world of hurt Monday. And if this is the case we are back to beginning or she's trying to go to class in the worst of it.

I guess if this is the route I'd have her stop during the week and 'hope' that she is either fine by the weekend or so sick she can't go out, but then I'm counting on her persevering after a relatively short step down process (she's only on day 4 of the latest attempt right now).

Also, I know for many here that 1/2 of a five is a low dose, time to stop, but it is a large percentage of the amount that did this to her. That is, some folks here were taking incredible doses, so getting down to 1/2 a five was a huge leap, was like stopping. For her the 1/2 of a five is still substantial, or at least it seems to be, it is 25% of the dosage that made her dependent. What is 25% of the amounts some folks here took? Does that matter? I have to think yes and that her apparent sensitivity is an issue.

I'm tempted to bring her home, but that will mean 4 weekends home in a row (Thanksgiving soon), then back for finals, and home again for an unusually long winter break. I know, this is serious, but am trying to find the least crappy solution to a crappy problem that was not of her doing while getting a 19 year old who is trying to do the right thing to comply with what feels like, to her, Draconian measures.
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Well, discussed the conundrum with daughter. First, it turns out she only took a little over a half last night, just cut it wrong, and was fine, though not too big a surprise as it usually takes longer being without or reducing to feel awful, but a pleasant surprise in that she's already in a stepdown and the 'even less' was ok and was still okay today before taking her first for today.

So, the new plan, as she's not game for giving up another weekend, is to ramp up the step down. .66 tonight (she took .75 at 1 before telling me and forgot it was a stepdown day) and Monday afternoon, .5 Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, .33 Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, .25 Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon....Alteril to help with sleep issues if the stepdowns at night are problematic....other Thomas Recipe intervention as needed.

We'll see......fingers crossed....she's determined, but also on vic right now....



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The above also leaves a little leeway to stay at a dosage one or two times longer than planned and still have the last dose Friday at 1....
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Gemini is so right about the alcohol/Tylenol combo! Dangerous!

About the alcohol:  My daughter would love for you to be her Mother! As democratic as I always wanted to be with her, the alcohol could not enter her life. Mainly because it's illegal under 21. That's a problem now, it wasn't when we were kids but it's huge now with law enforcement and for her own protection it was always: "No and if you get caught you'll have to call your Grandmother". That seemed to work...
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Well, worked for my daughter, too, only it was, 'you'll lose your license'. But then college came, and her campus is large and very practical. They know they can't police all the drinking, so they limit it to those clearly impaired. Daughter has already been to a huge number of parties broken up by security/cops. It's "Just go home, kids."

The clearly impaired they detain, of those 40% get an ambulance ride, so the level of impaired must be significant.

Two things, I'd rather she be honest with me. Her roommate, for instance, drinks, a lot. Her mother does not know. I'm not sure all kids who say they're not drinking aren't. In fact, growing up it was my friends with the strictest parents who were doing the worst stuff. My parents hog tied me with, "We trust you to do the right thing." Not an angel, but more angelic than any of my friends! That said, I am strict in some ways, my daughter's nickname for me is THE WARDEN. LOL, I love it!

Second, I personally hate that the drinking age is 21. So you can be held responsible as an adult, get an apartment, buy a house (well, until recently) and last but not least, die or be maimed for your country, but you are not mature enough for a beer? Pffft! Europe has this one right, take away the taboo, have safe public transit and stop treating 18 year olds like children. At the very least, it should be legal on campuses to keep those who would drive off the roads.
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,,,and on bases and in one's own home....which it is if you are in your parents' home..
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I don't like a LOT of things but that's the law and no one asked me to approve. LOL  I stay in the boundary of that and I can't help it...I've seen some otherwise wonderful kids get ruined by a bad choice...

The thing is, and I'm not judging here, she has a medical situation going on with some narcotics. She's been very sensitive to the taper,even at low doses. It begs the question: "How is she with alcohol?"  If you're not there then you don't know. For her, it's especially important to not drink now and maybe ever. I don't know but when a taper plan is interrupted or may be because of the weekend parties...that needs to be looked at. This is very important for her and she could probably stand to give up a weekend. I'm not getting it,I guess. She's po'd because this dependence happened but is unwilling to give anything up to fix it.   Hopefully, she'll taper off to nothing this week and the rest will be moot!
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Well, she gave up this weekend, plus others. No drinking here.

How is she there?  She drinks more than I'd prefer on the weekends. But to be honest, so did I at her age. (Successfully running two businesses, so I think I turned out ok).  And, as I mentioned a ways above, she sometimes shares too much, but not. I'd rather know, it gives us a chance to talk about it. I know kids doing worse and with parents they can't talk to, or more importantly, parents who will never get the chance to talk to them.

It isn't so much that she needs to drink, she doesn't here or during the week. It is more the social aspect that all her peers are going to parties on the weekend and being able to have a beverage is part of that.

She's not unwilling to give up anything, it is why she came home this weekend and gave up a weekend of fun at school. She's just reaching an enough already! point. It is why she has decided to hasten the stepdown. She wants her life back and, yes, it includes being able to have a beverage with friends on the weekends.

So she has given up quite a lot so far, including feeling like crap and telling friends she's just going to nap when she has tried to stop and they want her to join them doing whatever during the week.


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"I don't like a LOT of things but that's the law and no one asked me to approve. LOL  I stay in the boundary of that and I can't help it

Well, I'm not breaking the law either. I know she's going to drink on campus and I prefer to discuss it honestly.

So, you've never broken the speed limit, ever?? Both offenses, speeding and drinking underage are citations.....
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Very interesting thread if I must say so myself.  I myself too am amazed that your daughter is having such a hard time getting off a very weak opioid after being on it for no more than a month.  Before strong opioids like morphine and percocet, I would get a vicodin prescription every blue moon for periodontal surgery, wisdom teeth extraction, cessarian section, taken for up to 2 months at a time and never felt any withdrawals after stopping them CT after the pain was gone.  

Are you sure there isn't anything else going on??  Alcohol causes withdrawals as well, and one of the more common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is severe headaches.  Alchies love to drink the morning after a binge as it gets rid of the withdrawal (not refering to your daughter as an alchie by any means, just an example).  Vicodin of course has this same effect. It is nice that your daughter is being honest with you about drinking and partying but the real question is how much is she really drinking?  Some kids are affected more by alcohol and appear more intoxicated than others and they are unfortunately the ones that get picked up by the police.  But, that doesn't mean your daughter isn't drinking too much, she just may know how to hold her liquor well...so to speak.

I noticed that in many of your posts, you state how concerned you are about your daughter missing classes and that she must not miss any classes.  But what about missing studying time.  If she is out partying every weekend and then crashing and waking up with a hang over, that doesn't sound like she is getting the most out of studying time.  Studying and getting the concepts is way more important than going to class.  And yes, I am a college grad working as an engineer in the Aerospace industry.

About the medications, if you read other posts within this pain management community, you will find many that are on a large amount of opioids for chronic debilitating pain.  Stating that you don't understand why medicines like Vicodin exists bothers me as I am great mother and breadwinner of my family and my medications are what enables to get out of bed every morning, go to work, and provide for my family.  Without them, I would be bedridden.  Not every pain scenario is curable and when there is no cure, opioid or narcotic medicines make life bearable so that those of us unfortunate enough to be dealt a bad hand can make the best out of the life we have left.  

There are many that abuse, become addicted, and those are the stories that make it on the news.  The "pill mills" in Florida, etc.  But they never show how some one is able to take a walk around the park with their grandson who otherwise without medications would be confined to a bed to wither in pain.

I feel sorry that your daughter's body is dependant on vicodin but it is not a bad drug.  There are so many other substances the body becomes dependant on.  Caffeine for example, and you can pick that up in the grocery store and go to Starbucks.

As for the Clonidine.  I agree this can be very helpful with opiate withdrawal as opiate withdrawal typically increases blood pressure some times to dangerous levels (you should pick up a blood pressure monitor and monitor your daughter's blood pressure throughout the withdrawal).  However, as many have stated, Clonidine has its drawbacks.  If stopped abruptly, it can cause rebound hypertension that can be deadly.

Valium is NOT harmless.  Valium is in a class of medicines called benzodiazepines.  The body gets hooked to these drugs as well and while opiate withdrawal is most often not lifethreatening, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life threatening as a serious side effect of the withdrawal are seizures.  Typically when prescribed by a physician for opiate withdrawal, they are stopped within a month or so before the body becomes dependant.  But, given that your daughter became hooked on Vicodin in less than month, she may easily have a dependancy to Valium once she is free from the vicodin and then a taper would need to be performed for valium.  Tapers never cold turkey for benzodiazepines.  Valium's family includes Xanax, Ativan, and others.  The show "Celebrity Rehab" had several on there that were addicted and dependant on benzos.  I myself have taken Valium for over 6 years but I except the risks and understand that the don't outweigh the benefits in my situation.  Again, Valium is a drug that is very helpful not just for pain but for anxiety and panic attacks which can be extremely hard to cope with without a rescue benzo medicine.

It is all about understanding what you are signing up for when you pick up a prescription from the pharmacy.  Read the prescription leaflet, ask the pharmacist questions and make an informed decision before swallowing that first pill.

The alcohol really isn't good for her and think about what the alcohol is doing to her brain.  From the posts, it seems like she is partying every weekend or almost every weekend and that is a recipe for disaster.  Stating she wants to go out and drink is not a good statement, it could mean addiction is brewing.  Perhaps, it is fad as it is a lot around that age.  Something new and popular to do and that may very well be the case with your daughter.  I don't know her and you know her best.  

My recommendation would be to step off at 2.5 mg on this round of tapering and be firm.  Instead of partying on the weekend, she can go through the withdrawal but I am concerned that she is having a mixed withdrawal from the alcohol from all the partying on the weekends and the vicodin.  If you can have her stop the alcohol until she is completely off the vicodin, that would be best as then you could isolate the symptoms.  

I know I sound anti-alcohol and that's because I am (somewhat).  Moderation is the key.  I haven't drank in a very long time and when I did it was very little (capful of Kahula in a cup of hot cocoa for Christmas).  I have an alcoholic father such that if he stops CT from alcohol, his system would shut down and he would die.  Many have died from acute alcohol withdrawal as alcohol is another drug you don't CT off of.  So to me, if we get rid of vicodin, we should get rid of alcohol too!  

I wish you and your daughter the best on weaning off of the vicodin.  I am very sorry this happened to her.  I just hope she would not drink so much. Not saying stop drinking (even though she should because she isn't 21) but cut down and drink a little more in moderation. Have a mid week drink or two instead for 4 drinks all at once at a party on the weekend, for example.
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Yikes!  How did this become about me??  No, I'm not breaking the law but I'm sure I break one or another every day. When I was 19 the drinking age was 18 and THOSE were the days!  LOL  It's a much different world now.

Honesty, of course. It's important.  She's breaking the law when she drinks, that's all I'm saying and there are consequences for that if she gets caught. I didn't make the law and I may not like it but that's what it is. She is very sensitive to substances and that's a concern. It sounds like she's given up a few things and she has. This ordeal has put a kink in everything!
I hope she can get this behind her this week!
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Wow! Lots to cover so I will try to take it paragraph by paragraph:

Surprised by 'sudden' addiction: Me, too, or I wouldn't be here, but looking back at her reaction to the only other 'serious' med she's ever had I guess I shouldn't be. Will be aware in the future.

Anything else, like alcohol withdrawal: Well, she's been going to parties since we dropped her off and this problem didn't arise until the Vic made an appearance, and she's home this weekend, no alcohol and no issues, needing alcohol etc.

Study time: Her grades are great. She studies all week, including the weekends, she just also chooses to go out Fri and Sat. night.

The need for pain meds: Agreed, but in my experience docs prefer to push a pill rather than get to the root of the problem, THEN recommend a med. Not just from my daughter, but also my mother. Not delegitimizing the need, just questioning how quickly the pill is the option.

Caffeine: Yeah, but never ended up in bed unable to function from a missed cup of tea.

Chlonodine: NO plans to try

Valium: See chlonodine

Pharmacist: yeah, not sure anyone could have predicted her sensitivity

Drinking on the weekends at school: been there, done that, turned out ok, if it interferes with her grades she knows she's DONE. Trusting her at 19 to find the balance. If she never has to confront a choice she's not going to find her feet.

Stepping off at 2.5: Nah, since dropping to 2.5 was a big problem, will step off at 1.25 firm, already told her flush whatever is left after she reaches her final dose on Friday and suck it up. She, at this point, has agreed. I'll be following up. She's been honest, I expect no less this week.

Alcoholic father: That would shade anyone's advice. My daughter has a friend with an alcoholic father, she, too, does not drink. My daughter doesn't have that baggage. Just as you avoid alcohol and have strong opinions about it, so do I, now, have strong opinions about meds. All a matter of personal experience. Sorry you had to deal with a parent with an addiction, not fair and really *****.

Best wishes: Thanks!

Drink during the week: NO! The fact that she can isolate the drinking to free time on the weekends while still studying and not need to drink during the week is GOOD. I went to school with kids who drank during the week.....not good.

Best wishes and thanks for the input.
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LOL, well it sorta became about you when you intimated that you NEVER put a toe outside the lines.

Thing is she seems very sensitive to meds, but not alcohol (hey, maybe that's why it is legal).

We have allowed her to have wine or a beer, for a couple of years now. Never to excess,meaning ONE, never a problem. And, totally legal. It has only been the two times the 'medicine' was given that she has run into trouble.

She is home, without access to alcohol, happy as a clam. Social act, not dependancy.

As for if she gets caught, that's why she's good here, but honestly, on campus, it is a given. I'd rather she find her way there, with my knowledge, among friends, than in the larger less tolerant world. She's been warned that getting to the point of campus detention WILL result in serious, unwanted consequences. She was also warned that if she EVER drank and drove we would sell her car, no questions asked.

THE WARDEN...the best wardens know exactly what's going on and when to step in.......

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I stay in the boundary when it comes to underage drinking. LOL  That's what the reference was! Oh Lord! I can break the rules for myself (I'm older and have better insurance!) but I don't let my daughter. That's what I meant!  

That's an excellent DUI policy!
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1331804 tn?1336870958
It sounds like you are very on top of things with your daughter. I commend you for being so involved in her care.

I wasn't saying that the pharmacist would be able to detect her sensitivity but they would be able to advise her of the side effects and the withdrawal symptoms, which she now knows are very uncomfortable.  Understanding what was behind swallowing that pill could have deterred taking them whenever pain struck and rather waiting until the pain was unbearable and using sparingly.  For example, starting off with 2.5 mg and if the pain persisted, adding another 2.5 mg instead of taking the full 10 mg because the bottle said so.

Yes alcohol is legal but that doesn't mean it is safe.  Too much alcohol can kill you, but too much marijuana just makes you stoned out of your mind and it is illegal, federally.  I don't drink just solely because my father is an alcoholic, in fact I went to a couple of parties in college and got completely slammed on my 21st birthday and I just didn't like it or the way it made me feel.  I don't drink now because it would interfere dangerously with my meds.

As for physicians handing out narcotics like candy.  That happens especially in Florida as they are doing it for profit not for the good of the patient.  But in reality for those of us with chronic pain, we went on for years suffering until a physician trusted us or until a diagnosis was found.  I dealt with both of those scenarios and my pain went undertreated for years until someone finally did the right tests and believed that my pain existed.  Also, dentists write prescriptions for vicodin or percocet after oral surgery frequently and they have been typically writing them for too many pills as only two days worth is needed.  And I think personally that the physician that keeps prescribing more vicodin for your daughter's taper is just fueling the fire.  He should have prescribed only when the pain existed and then cut her off.  She won't die from opioid withdrawal and within a week she would be feeling better.  

Due to all the bad press about opioids, dentists are starting to be more cautious and conservative in their prescribing practices.  Your daughter just unfortunately had a rare experience from the vicodin and a rare physician (or dentist?) that keeps putting in vicodin refills.  But the general public does well with vicodin after oral surgery and have zero withdrawal symptoms.  So dentists prescribe according to level of risk and in general it is low when prescribed temporarily for dental procedures.  There are many non-opioid medications that come with serious side effects that affected 1% of the controlled population.  Your daughter is possibly in that 1% and many meds can affect her more severely as you posted earlier about her experience with an anti-depressant.  It would be wise to have her sensitivity to meds listed on her medical record to alert doctors of this, especially if she is in an accident and unable to speak for herself (God forbid) but it could mean life or death in a situation like that.

There are many chronic pain sufferers that underwent surgery to "fix" the root of the problem only to come out with more pain than before they went under the knife.  Surgeries only have a certain % of success and it is not 100%.  For many like myself, chronic pain becomes a disease where pain signals are continually sent to the brain even after the injury has healed and currently there is not a fix for that.  So it is an unfortunate turn of events for many of us chronic pain sufferers such that our only remedy is pain medication for the rest of our lives.  If you ask any of us if we enjoy taking narcotics, all or most of us would say NO.  Taking opioids or narcotics long term comes with many harsh side effects and they never take away all the pain.  All chronic pain sufferers deal with some level of pain everyday and some days are worst than others.  Reason, opioids can only be increased to a point as infinite increases would lead to more pain relief (of course) but it also leads to more side effects, many of which, are intolerable.  So the goal for us is to strike that balance where the pain is tolerable with the side effects tolerable as well.

As for tapering the vicodin, it is important to realize that she is going to have some withdrawal symptoms regardless, whether she steps off the vicodin at 2.5 mg or 1.25 mg.  There is no escaping the withdrawal unless she goes into a rehab center and withdraws under sedation.  Not sure 2.5 mg or 1.25 mg is going to make much of difference.  But what will make a big difference is the longer she continues to take the vicodin, regardless of the dosage, the longer the situation is prolonged with possibly worse withdrawal as the body is getting more used to vicodin (regardless of dosage, the body knows it is getting something).  

I am sure you both have learned a lot from this experience and I hope I have given more insight into the reasons pain medication exists to hopefully deflate the exaggerated stories from the media.  Those pill mills in Florida are really making it hard for us with legitamite pain to continue to get our medications.  We, who use them responsibly and as prescribed.  It is awful that evil physicians like those in Florida exist and I hope they get a handle on it soon without penalizing those with a sincere need for pain medication.

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I would doubt your daughter has an alcohol problem.  She sounds more like most college kids.  My daughter rarely drinks.  I think seeing what alcohol did to her dad made her leery.  She is also very sensitive to things, a lot of makeup gives her a rash, several allergies to antibiotics, doesn't tolerate anesthesia well (after coming out of it.)  She has drank and knows I don't like it but I also know that she doesn't do it often since even one or two tend to make her not feel good (like me.)

But I wouldn't chance any alcohol with the Vicodin due to the Tylenol in it, even thought it's a small amount.  I actually tell my kids to avoid Tylenol for a lot of reasons and I think ibuprofen works better anyway.

It is rare to find someone that becomes dependent so quickly but we're all wired differently and the fact is it happened and now you're trying to fix it.

If she doesn't want to give up the parties, then hopefully stepping up the taper will work well.  And if it doesn't, she'll likely be feeling any withdrawals over the weekend.

Kids feel time in a different way than we do.  This has been going on for a while with her and I"m sure she's fed up with all of it.  And I think some kids seem to manage juggling all the things that come along with college fine.  My daughter works 2 jobs, gets great grades, does volunteer work, goes to parties and social things and seems to be okay.  She's not looking tired or anything.  And she does know, from different experiences, that if you do get caught drinking, it is illegal and you have to face the consequences.  She had some friends that got into a bit of trouble over drinking.  (Though the police confiscated a six-pack between 13 kids.  A neighbor called about the noise but they were really just being way too loud.  Out of the six pack, only 2 were open.)  But it happened in a town that has a serious zero tolerance policy as a young girl died a few years before after drinking at a house party.  All the kids had to go into court and they all had to do a certain number of volunteer hours.  She wasn't directly involved but she could have easily been there that night.)

I've dealt with chronic pain for a long time.  I think some doctors do push pills at you and others don't prescribe when they should.  My pain clinic does a lot more than pills.  I've had 9 surgeries and countless procedures (some unpleasant.)  And I believe at one time they had me over-medicated, which is why I came down on my own (and with Vicki's help!!)  But I like knowing i have that option.  It's hard for people to really understand chronic pain ... the kind where it's all-consuming and you can't even enjoy the basic things in life.  But you have to know the risks and you need to be aware.

I struggled with it for a long time.  It's likely there will come a time that I will think of going on something long-acting.  Maybe it will be for a short time or maybe not.

But I think for your daughter she has to make the decision to be off the Vicodin if she wants to have anything to drink because it's just not safe with the Tylenol (the narcotic part of it has other issues but the Tylenol really is a big worry.)  About 6 years ago, there was a girl who was a senior in high school who died of liver failure.  She wasn't drinking.  But she was ill and had taken a number of different cold remedies that all contained Tylenol.  She had no idea and neither did her parents.  It was tragic.

And I do agree with you that I'd rather my daughter over share than not.  So far we're pretty much on the same page with most things (the other kids, I'm not so sure of!)  At 19 she knows that she will be the one responsible if she makes a bad decision.

Hope the week goes well for her!!
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LOL! hmmmmm, you can break the rules....



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The dosage was 5mg-10 mg every 4-6 hours. She started with the 5mg, under our supervision, it didn't touch the pain for her. She has always been sensitive to pain, in fact, she didn't pierce her ears until she was 17 out fear of the pain. I've no doubt this goes hand in hand with her sensitivities, they all seem connected on a chemical level. We are sensitive to her perception of pain and allowed her to take the ten after five left her in distress.

Alcohol, like anything, should be enjoyed in moderation, for some, including very close friends, moderation equals NONE, they just can't have any. For my daughter, the same seems to be true for some meds. At the very least, we will proceed with caution. You need levels of meds she just can't tolerate. She can consume alcohol, so far, without it becoming a problem. If it does, I'll be the first to step in. We're all chemically different, which is my my close friend is 20 years sober, and I have a beverage every evening. On the other hand, percocet, prescribed twice for pain (wisdom teeth and a shattered bone in my shoulder) made me vomit. I stuck to tylenol.

NO, our surgeon was helping her get through a problem that was unexpected. Cutting her off would have resulted in days of misery and missed classes. He did nothing wrong. He had no way of knowing her sensitivities. On the one hand you complain no one knew your pain, but then question someone else's? She was in pain, and her pain lasted longer than anticipated due complications and a repeat procedure. His last stepdown script was needed.


As I've mentioned a few times, I've let her know that she WILL reach a point of stepping off and discomfort, perhaps great discomfort, but given our experience so far, walking her down before that moment will hopefully lessen the impact.

Yes, now with two reactions we will be more careful, one reaction was not a pattern.

I would not want anyone suffering chronic pain denied relief, but I would wish that more physicians explore the root of the pain and I fear our culture is more prone to fixes in a bottle. Just from personal experience on both ends. My daughter would be on AD for no reason, and my Mom suffers chronic pain from disc problems in her back, but, they've let her take massive amounts of tylenol based pain killers, shot her up with meds that left her in pain after 24 hours, without the ability to return for 3 weeks, rather than move her on to a surgical implant (the unit Jerry Lewis ended up with, they admit she's a candidate, but must go though months of other treatment first). She's 71, what are we waiting for? It wasn't until my brother attended an appointment that the doc signed off on sending her to the next level, until then it was do what we say and stop complaining.

Happy to hear you found relief.
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I agree, at least not any more problem than the average freshman.

Agree on mixing, too. We're moving toward getting free and flushing the rest by Friday.

Sounds like your daughter is doing great!

My mom suffers from chronic pain, but I still do worry that Western doctors do no delve deeply enough, and then when there is a real need they worry about the 'narcotic police' hitting them for overprescribing.

My comment that this med is overprescribed was not meant for chronic pain sufferers, but for those in temporary pain who could manage with lesser intervention. That said, I survived the same surgery as my daughter on tylenol (the prescribed percocet made me vomit). She needed 10  mg of vicodin at first, after trying 5 mg without relief. Would she have been better on tylenol aloe and a little suffering versus this....hard to say. I don't feel pain the way she does.

She's made the decision to be off by Friday and I'm planning to keep her to it. Slow was an option while she was on board, a little faster is now the choice. She's experienced the down side and made a decision. That is over half the battle, I think. The other half is now on her as well.

So sad about the tylenol case you mentioned. I do worry about mixing and will stick with the plan, no vic with alcohol. I know she will choose to go out, so, no matter what she's done Friday. I guess everyone needs a reason to quit, hers is no less valid than anyone else's. It is hers and if it helps her get there, I'm in.

I do wonder if the chronic pain in the US is at epidemic levels for a reason and if there are other factors at work. I know my mother doesn't want to hear this as it sounds to her as though she is to blame, but I know she's not, I think we have been misled by bad science, but that is another conversation altogether....

Thanks, again for all of your advice!!
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1855076 tn?1337118903
I hope you'll update us on how it goes for your daughter!!!  And you're right; whatever motivates her to take that last jump is a good thing.  I think most parents would prefer their kids wait until it's legal to drink but kids are kids and I think their safety is most important.  The women in my family seem to be extra sensitive to alcohol (the majority of them.)  Colleges have a tough time enforcing drinking on campus.  I'm just glad my daughter never gave me the time I gave my parents!

Hopefully she'll have minimal discomfort when she jumps off.  Distraction helps a lot so if she's busy with friends she may not even notice if she has some mild withdrawals.

I think chronic pain stems from a lot of things.  And I personally think that there are a lot of diseases that are yet unknown.  Fibromyalgia was once considered "all in your head."  I think we'd see better results if there was more of a blend of Western medicine along with alternative and complementary therapies.

I've done every procedure available for the nerve pain I wound up with.  The worker's comp insurer was paying over $3 grand a month in pain medications when I decided to come down off things.  The one thing I haven't tried is acupuncture.  I cannot get them to approve that for the life of me.  It boggles my mind that they're so short-sighted.

Like I said, my reason for pain meds is due to an unsuccessful joint replacement that caused me to have RSD and nerve pain.  I have other pain issues but I had figured out ways to manage the pain myself.  I have bad arthritis in a lot of joints and I got it young.  It seems the women in both sides of my family have been hit hard with it and each generation it starts younger.  I'm hoping my girls avoid it.  But I could manage that with ibuprofen and a really intense exercise routine.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after I had my last baby.  One of the theories about fibro was it comes from a sleep disorder, and in my case it made sense.  He was really sick and never slept more than 20 minutes at a time for 10 months.  I tried all the things the doctor's suggested and nothing worked and eventually figured out where diet and exercise would work for me.  Might not for others but it did for me.  I'm still hopeful that there will someday soon be different alternatives for me for the nerve pain.

I have a fairly high pain threshold but it was the constancy of the pain that wore on me.  Most pain management patients don't get total relief of pain.  Most seem to have flare-ups and need to deal with managing the pain they do have.  For me, I haven't had a lot of luck with pain medications.  Narcotics just don't work great for my type of pain.  But it takes the edge off and I'm glad I have an option.

I can't imagine taking just Tylenol like you did for your surgery!  My neighbor and good friend, at 78, had open heart surgery and only took Tylenol.  I was amazed.  But narcotics made him sick as well and he said he'd rather just deal with it and it wasn't that bad.

I think in the years ahead we'll see more options to deal with chronic pain.  And patients need to do their parts, as well.  I know right now my pain is increased because I'm not hitting the gym.  (Back in the summer I was hospitalized for an illness not related to my pain and I'm still regaining my strength from that.)  And it's hard for people to exercise when they have chronic pain but almost everyone can find something they can do, especially if they can hook up with a trainer who specializes in rehab.  When I first started, I seriously could do one length in the pool and that was an effort.  It wasn't long before I was at the gym for 1.5 to 2 hours every day.

There needs to be a balance.  And more doctors need to be educated on chronic pain.  Few really understand it and they pass patients off.  And when patients aren't given enough pain meds, they often take more than they're supposed to.

There are really no right answers.  Everyone is different and everyone has to deal with it in their own way.  I'm glad your daughter is doing well with the taper and I'm glad she'll have the Thomas Recipe ingredients if she needs them.  This will all be behind her very soon and you did a great job keeping her on track.
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So sorry you are having to suffer with chronic pain. It is surely real, but I wonder if there are things we are doing (lack of sleep, as you mention) as well as dietary insufficiencies that are setting us up for chronic pain and other problems. Growing up never heard of fibromyalgia or autism, for instance, now it seems I know several folks with one or the other, or some other chronic problem. They are real, but are we bringing them on?

Have you tried adding omega-3 for the arthritis? Read a recent study that tested rats prone to arthritis (by design) who were given omega-3 in their diets. They had 50% less arthritis than the control group.

The nerve pain involved in fibromyalgia makes me wonder if we didn't really mess up by telling folks to eliminate, in my opinion, good, natural fats, and replace them with unstable and dangerous fats. I'm personally a big fan of saturated fats, in moderation of course, over other 'good' fats. I've never given up butter, LOVE butter, but my numbers are great! I just don't overeat and I workout. Fats are key in the brain and in the nerves, is it a coincidence that when I was a child we were told to eat unstable dangerous fats, and I'd never heard of fibromyalgia, and now, after years of bad science (they now realize transfats are really, really awful, and many vegetable oil are unstable) fibromyalgia is a household word. I don't know much about it, have not done any research, but I am suspect that we have done this to ourselves.

I know there are no simple answers, but I would love to research the trend in fibromyalgia by culture and diet....

It sounds like you have found some coping mechanisms. Not fair, I hope you continue to find increased relief.
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1855076 tn?1337118903
I think new diseases, illnesses, etc. crop up for a number of reasons.  I know at one time they thought fibromyalgia was brought on by one of several things, including the sleep trouble, a virus, trauma and probably more.  When I was diagnosed, I tried lots of things the doctor suggested but nothing really worked.  It was finding the right exercise routine that helped me.

I think diet can help a lot of things.  Some foods have anti-inflammatory properties.  I haven't done much research on this but I'm starting to due to an unrelated issue.  Once I got my fibro under control, I rarely had flare-ups.

The nerve pain, for me, is from so many surgeries.  In hindsight it was probably inevitable after having the same incision site opened 9 times.  

I think we're better off eating things that are natural in moderation (butter vs margarine.)  I do take Omega-3 but have been told that my arthritis is too far gone for anything to be of much use.  There's no cartilage left to help rebuild.

One of my boys has ADHD but the hyperactivity part is much more subtle now that he's older.  I can remember being a kid and there may have been a few kids who would fit that diagnosis but not like today.  We did try some medication but the side effects have outweighed the benefits.  There was a study started about 10 years ago using fish oil in ADD.  It was too late for us to get in it but I did give it to him at home, though not at the doses they recommended.  He's just learned how to cope.

Again, IMO, I think a lot of it comes down to how we're wired.  Some kids autism seems to come after a vaccination but most kids don't have that result.  And we have so much exposure to so much more now than we used to.  I think some of it does factor in.

I've told my kids that they need to watch out for certain things, arthritis in particular as it seems to hit the women in my family younger each generation.  I'd like them to avoid what happened to me.

And genetics come into play.  My dad is 83.  He still smokes and is healthier than I am.  He uses about a 1/2 pound of butter a day, little vegetables and some fruit.  He's healthy as a horse.  My mother, who was much more diet conscious, had a million things going on with her.
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If the 'poor' diet doesn't do it, the stress of always trying to eat right will!

My motto is everything in moderation, including the 'bad' stuff I enjoy.

It is interesting, though, that when coconut oil became evil and folks who had lived on it forever switched to vegetable oils, their rates of disease rose dramatically....

Spoke to my daughter this morning and she seems to be doing really well. I think sticking to the stepdown, rather than pausing for weekend frolicking, has really worked. She dropped down to 1/3 last night on her own (was to have been 1/2) and today says she's ok.  
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UGH!  Was doing really well so decided to skip early dose. Bad headache and anxiety. 1/3 tonight. Told her to stick to taper regardless of how she feels......again......
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1855076 tn?1337118903
Tapering IS hard.  Some people can't stick to their taper and take too much.  And others, like your daughter (and me) think, "Oh, I don't feel bad, I'll skip a dose) and then you get slammed!  I hope she'll stick to it no matter how she feels.  When she comes off, if the anxiety gets to her, Valerian Root really is amazing.  And she could try ibuprofen or Excedrin for the headaches.  She's getting there, though!  

I believe in everything in moderation too, though some people can't do that.  I have a friend who is a foodaholic.  Moderation is not something she can do.  She wound up doing OA and found it really helped her but it is extreme.  For me, as long as I exercise, I can eat pretty much what I want.  But I find when I exercise, I"m more drawn to healthier stuff anyway.

Keep us posted on how she's doing!!
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Down to 1/4. Only complaint she mentioned was anxiousness when it is wearing off. Has Alteril for sleep, but I will probably have her get some valerian. What about l-theanine (suntheanine brand)?
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1855076 tn?1337118903
I've never used the l-theanine.  But I do find the Valerian Root helpful.  You can take from 1-3.  They could make her drowsy, though they don't have that affect on me.  It just relaxes me when my anxiety level is high.  Sounds like things are going great!!!  When is she planning on stopping completely?  (This week went by so fast; it's hard to believe the weekend is here!)
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Friday 1pm!
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It does seem to be going well, of course she only been stepping  down, the real test will be day 3 after she stops. But the plan is to toss whatever is left and persevere through whatever comes next.....
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So far so good......
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1855076 tn?1337118903
So happy to hear this!!  She's had a rough time (and you've had a big worry, like most mom's would have.)  When was the last dose, Friday?  How has she been feeling over the weekend?   Keep   us posted. She may have a little depression from coming off (or not.)  I know I always had some mild depression when I came out of the hospital for any reason.  Couldn't explain it but the nurse said it's very common and shouldn't last long, and it didn't.

I'm hoping she has no residual withdrawals when she comes off but if she does, they should be very mild and easy to treat and short duration.


It will be great that this worry is gone from her.  Now she just has all the other normal college worries!!! :)
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She was fine yesterday, but there's a 4am post on the wall of her facebook page which seems to indicate she's not in the best of moods.....not usual for a Saturday 'night', but we'll see...
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And yes, Friday 1pm, .25 of a 5mg tablet.
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All's well! Crossing fingers 'til tomorrow......
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1855076 tn?1337118903
I guess Monday's the day, right?  Day 3 is usually when the withdrawal symptoms are at their worst.  Hopefully, she'll be doing okay.  Hope she's keeping really hydrated!  Looking forward to the update.
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Well, just spoke with her and she's........FINE!  The toughest times for her were when she tried going from 7.5 to 0 (felt really sick), when she dropped from 7.5 to 5 (manageable headache and nausea) and from 5 to 2.5 (anxiety, sleep issues, stomach and head).

Once she got on and STAYED ON a regular, super slow step down (that is, small steps rather than big, but actually over a pretty short time) she was fine!

Knock on wood today is day 3 and she says she's good, adding that getting together with friends today she thinks helped keep her distracted and stress free.

So, I think she's done and good to go!!

Thanks, all, for your advice, with a special shout out to MARY for supporting the slow and steady drawdown. It worked well and disrupted my daughter's school life the least.
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So daughter is doing well, but feels constantly hungry....normal?
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You said before that she is very thing (underweight) for her height.

This along with the last weeks of having the wisdom teeth out and all the issues with coming off the medication which caused nausea, fatgue and you also mentioned migraine pain.

It makes a lot of sense that she is getting a healthy appetite back.

Hopefully she will continue to eat well and get to a healthy weight for her height:)

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I wouldn't call her weight unhealthy, I just would not want her to get any thinner...

She was endlessly hungry and getting increasingly annoyed. She went to the gym and now all is well. I have to think that she's wanting to pig out and workout to replace the dopamine blast the vic used to provide. At least the workout works!

Anyone else have the experience of wanting to pig out after stopping vic?
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Not trying to argue...but you said she was 5'9 and 118 pounds...That is definitely an underweight BMI...

So that is why it's a great thing she has a good appetite now. Her body the last month has gone through a lot with the hard withdrawals..

I wish her luck!
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Well, my kids have always been at the very bottom of the BMI chart, tall and thin, it is just their build. My son ALWAYS gets the "You're underweight" note from school when they do the BMI measurements and he eats like a horse! (14 and growing taller by the second).

Until the last couple of years I was "underweight", and I can tell you I wasn't. Now that I'm "normal"  I'm actually a little chubby, grrrrrrr! The BMI is an ok guide, but not accurate for all body types.

That said, I'm happy she has an appetite back. She did seem to eat less on the vic and she certainly did not need to lose at all.

Thanks for the luck!
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1855076 tn?1337118903
I think the BMI is a useful tool but I don't think it tells the whole story.  I actually got REALLY hungry when I came off my meds.  I felt like there wasn't a moment I wasn't thinking about what to eat.  Some of my medications made me not eat.  I just wasn't hungry.  And one actually made me crave really sugary things ... things I'd never ever eat and had me adding sugar to my coffee, which I had never done.

And like WG21 said, after having her wisdom teeth out and all she went through, she's probably just compensating for not really eating during that time.

Glad her appetite is back ... just in time for turkey day!
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but how did you stop taking the VC. I have RLC, hot flush feeling and numbness in my head
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2211406 tn?1340502886
I have to reply to this comment of yours, about the anti-depressants she was put on. Was it by chance Effexor, or Neurontin? I have been on both in the past, and surprisingly, they both made me crazy and WORSE. I ended up anorexic, cutting myself, suicidal, because of these meds. I recommend doing a LOT of research yourself before letting your kids take any drugs, even if the Dr. says they are ok.
Also, as for the Vics, I hope all is well now for her. I didn't read the entire thread, but I read enough to tell that she is having problems getting off them. I recommend that you just have her come home for a 4-day weekend, forget the day or two of missed classes, and get the WDs OVER WITH. The longer she takes the pills, even trying to taper down, the worse and longer WDs will last. I am extremely familiar with the wanting to just take one to feel 'normal' again, but keep reminding her that if she wants to feel normal again, she has to get over the hill. Taking another Vic in the middle of detoxing will just restart the clock, and make it harder to get through. I went through literally YEARS of having full CT withdrawals from morphine and Vicodin every single month. I have destroyed my body, trying to detox so much. She's lucky she has somewhere to go and people to help her through it, because most of us do it alone.
And I agree that these meds should not be handed out like candy. Anyone can go to the ER complaining of certain pain and get a free script of Vicodin. But then there are those of us who have 'invisible' chronic pain for years and years and are denied pain meds because the Dr. doesn't want to take responsibility of long-term pain care.
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About the appetite thing, I went through WDs pretty much every week, cold-turkey for several days, then back on, then back off, because for a year I had no pain management, so I was so sick constantly that I could not eat anything, and when I did eat it went right through me. So after months and months of this up and down, I finally got off the pills, and then when I felt half-way 'normal' again, and started eating normal, I gained a ton of weight! (Being disabled and with chronic pain I can't do much exercise!) So yeah, once your body is done craving drugs and is done being so sick, it will want the nutrition again!
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I am new to this board...  I've gained some good knowledge here.  But i took myself off of 12 Norco a day (with no help at all) and down to 4 vic's.  Right now my liver enzymes are up.  Many, Many surgeries including 2 neck that failed.  As soon as I get down, I end up back again.  It's a vicious cycle and Vicodin is not meant for long term use.  Try 8 years of it mixed with NORCO 10 mg.  I pray and I pray and I still don't cut it.  Where do I go to get off of this killer drug???  Any websites handy?  I'm not going into rehab, I've seen what they do in there.  I think Cold Turkey is the only way.  Help,

Thanks!  Postscript
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i hear a lot of the opiate "trots", i seem to be getting the reverse, wanting to go a lot but not going much each Br visit.  So im not sure Imodium is my answer.
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CT to me is the best way to fight it.  Tapering just invites temptation and there you go, back on it again.  Does an alcoholic taper ?  OTC stuff helps, Aleve, Imodium or a laxative if that is what ails you. In my case, my digestive system has slowed down since i stopped..annoying but diarrhea is worst.  Headaches, agitation, anxiety can be helped with benzos but you gotta make sure you dont take xanax or clonazepan for too long or too many, or you;ve just switched problems
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