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Support for weaning off vicodin
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Support for weaning off vicodin

I guess this isn't a question, more of a request. I have decided to begin weaning myself off of vicodin. I have been taking it every day for almost a year. I developed an unidentified chronic pain issue last fall and it was prescribed. I was up to 65mg a day until this week. I take the 10/325 version of Norco. I spoke to my doctor about my desire to get off of it recently, but I talked to my mom about it and we made a plan. Part of the reason I would like to stop taking it is that I keep needing more. I still hurt all over, but I wonder if at this point the pain is actually related to the drug. It may be making my body want/ need more for pain relief, or just be craving more. I have not officially been diagnosed with Fibro. but I was given a lot of lyrica samples. I decided not to try them until I am off of the vicodin, it is difficult to know how I feel naturally at this point. I am a 33 year old woman and should not be on that many pain meds. I also have had a great deal of stress this past year in all aspects of my life, and I have an anxiety disorder and depression, so I believe these may have added to the pain. So far I am on day 5 and I have cut down to 50mg, which is 15mg less than I was taking 5 days ago. The 1st 3 days I felt awful, but I was feeling awful even with the vicodin. The last 2 days I have either taken a long walk or worked out and have felt very little pain. I felt that today I may have been able to take 5 more mg less, but decided not to push it yet. I would like to hear experiences of other people who have weaned off. I would not say that I am necessarily addicted to it, but I am physically dependent at this point. I would like to get to the point that I may still take it occasionally if I am in really bad shape, or just not need it at all, but definitely not take it on a regular basis. I am leery of the lyrica because of side effects I read. Mostly the weight gain, I am not incredibly vain or anything, but I took paxil a few years ago and gained 40lbs within a few months. I would prefer not to go through that again. It messed with my self image quite a bit to change so quickly. I also have been SUPER emotional lately, I just went through an awful breakup with someone I whole-heartedly trusted. Up until the last few days I was crying ALL the time. I am wondering if the vicodin was adding to my emotional state. I also have noticed that my thinking has gotten cloudy, I am not as sharp, and have trouble concentrating. Anyone who just has a little support to give would be great! I am taking it one day at a time. Yesterday and today were VERY good days. I am not sure what the rest of the time will hold for me. I hope it stays like today! I also have a friend that says she knows someone who will do acupuncture on me for withdrawals. If anyone has tried this please let me know if it helped! Thanks!
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356518_tn?1322267242
Hi,
There are other medications for chronic pain that are extended release that may be of more relief for you.
Weaning off of the vicodin is difficult but it sounds like your doing okay with it. Talk to your doctor again as he can help with this and make it more comfortable for you.
We have an excellent substance abuse community here as well. I am not implying that your addicted at all but they will be of more assistance to as far as helping you with weaning off the medicine.
We are here for you and will support you and help anyway we can.
I have heard of acupuncture for withdrawals but haven't heard how it has worked for anyone but as I said the members in the SA community will know more about that.
Being dependent and addicted are totally different things and if you find you still need pain medications then as I said there are many available.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you! I will post on that forum too. I am still hurting, but like I said I am not sure how much of that is from the vicodin. If it doesn't go away after do you have suggestions for medication that doesn't have a lot of weird side effects? I am worried about taking lyrica, unfortunately I have state health coverage and it limits where I can go. If I could see a specialist that would be great, but it's not very practical right now. It seems that in a lot of ways you have to be your own doctor. There isn't a lot that they can sum up in the 5 minutes that they see you. So other medication ideas would be appreciated, I can then bring them up to him. I would prefer a non opiate for many reasons, the main 2 being that I would rather not go through this again, and they tend to relax me a lot and I don't want to get too used to that. My symptoms have been headaches, back and neck pain, and VERY achy legs, especially behind my knee caps. Sometimes it is off in the distance and sometimes it is overwhelming, but it is almost always there. Thanks!
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356518_tn?1322267242
There are some non narcotic medications you can try. There is an extended release version of tramadol  (ultram). Some will tell you that this medication  was as hard to come of of than narcotics but everyone is different.
You have to understand that chronic pain is a disease and need to be treated just like any other diease. You may have to use some form of narcotics to control your pain.
There are numerous different ones. As I said though an extended release medication would help control your pain and they are normally taken twice daily with some form of short acting medicines for break thru pain.
Oxycontin is a great medication for chronic pain. The media has made it out to be seen as a dangerous drug due to those who have abused it and have gotten caught diverting it.
it has helped me alot and many others as well. Talk to your doctor and see what options he/she is willing to offer you and go from there. Try the non narcotic route and if that  does not work out then consider other options available to you.
Keep us updated and let us know how your doing:)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks again. I do prefer to stay away from the narcotic route. Occasionally is ok for me, the problem is that with the vicodin, I kept needing more and more to not hurt. It's interesting to me how I feel right now. I'm still down the 15mg, have decided not to lower more until a few more days have passed, but I feel like I could. Today I swam 20 laps in my pool, I've never been a big exercise buff, but I have to say the last 3 days have been the best I have felt in a long time. I guess it does make a big difference, I don't hurt nearly as badly. I have found that I have a lot of nervous energy right now and am having trouble eating. I have several protein and fruit smoothies a day to try and make up for that. I think the nervousness is just me, a lot has happened in my life recently. So my question for you with the oxycontin, just out of curiosity, are you at a dose that you stay at? I am curious because like I said, the vicodin would stop working after a while and I would need a higher dose. Since I don't even have a proper diagnosis it's hard to know what I should do, but I hope I can keep this exercise thing up and I hope the weaning continues to be tolerable if not fairly easy.
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765775_tn?1366028291
I am sure Sandee is going to get back to you with her experience with Oxycontin but I am going to give you my experience with it as well.

In the last three years I have too many surgeries to list on this post, but those that know me well here can vouch for me that there have been many and they were very painful. Some of them have made my pain issues worse.

Anyway, I was prescribed Vicodin at first as you are and found that I had the same problem with it, plus the acetaminophen content was raising my liver enzymes. My Orthopedic Surgeon would NOT change my prescription and insisted keeping me on Vicodin and increasing the dosage. Orthopedist's do this because they really don't care about your pain issues.

I went to my PCP, and told him of my problem with the Vicodin. He took me off of it immediately and put me on 20 mg. of Oxycontin a day with Percocet 5/325 for breakthrough pain. Oxycontin and Percocet are the same drug (Oxycodone) except Oxycontin is extended released oxycodne and Percocet is immediate released with a low dose of acetaminophen added.

This change was made a year ago. My dosage has not been needed to be increased at all and there are days that I don't even need the Percocet anymore. I have never needed to exceed 35mgs a day at the most, and take 20mgs a day at the least and I am currently facing another surgery.

Long story short the change to Oxycontin worked for me. However, if you can cope with your pain without any narcotic pain medication at all then I suggest that you try to do that first and support you 100%. You are absolutely correct about narcotic pain medication making you lethargic after taking it over extended periods of time and it can impact your life in a negative manner because of this. Unfortunately, some of us here have no choice because our quality of life day to day would be worse without it.

You were taking a medium dose of Lortab daily. A 15mg decrease in one week is a bit more than I would have tried to do but everyone is different and if you are tolerating it well then go with what works for you.

You still should go over your weaning plan with your doctor. Doctors have different plans they use to wean their patients off narcotic pain medication. Some decrease the dosage every two weeks others use an alternate day weaning plan, but again it is what is best for you.

Best of Luck.

Please let us know how you make out.
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356518_tn?1322267242
Red gave you some excellent advice. Everyone is different as far as how a certain medication effects them. I have been on the Oxycontin since 1996 when it first came out and have only had my dosage increased three times.
I was started out on 20 mg twice a day and then increased to three times daily and just recently to 40mg twice a day. So I have been very lucky with this medication.
I keep my dosage as low as possible so that I will have options later as there is a limit and when you reach it your kinda out of luck.
I would discuss this with your doctor and see what he says.
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Avatar_f_tn
I can't seem to reply to those I want.  But as to the pain medication/management issue, I am in pain due to car accident, PCP (was on vacation, came back) and they claimed to be too booked to see me ASAP, have to the 15th.  I won't go back to the hospital, how do I cope with the pain?  THe RX the hospital gave me ran out
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356518_tn?1322267242
Normally when your regular doctor is out for some reason they have another doctor on call or covering for him/her.
Have you called his nurse and explained the situation? The nurse can relay the information to your doctor or the one covering for your doctor.
Also If your in alot of pain go back to the ER and explain your doctor is not back until the 15th and your in alot of pain. I do not see them turning you down after being in an accident. Hopefully they will help you until you can see your own doctor.
When you speak to your doctors nurse make sure you get across to her how bad your hurting.if she says the doctor can't help as he isn't in and has no one covering for him then ask if she would call the ER and explain that the doctors out of town and you need some help until he comes back.
When I was moving around alot I used to have my doctor call the ER for me in whatever town i was in. She always did and the ER doctor usually helped me out.
Keep us updated:)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your input! I appreciate it a lot. Actually I was feeling fine until today, all of a sudden I was just really depressed and actually had a panic attack tonight which hasn't happened to me in a long time. I am not sure if the decrease in vicodin is what is causing this but I bet it's not helping my anxiety. I don't really hurt much more than usual, I just feel really emotional. I think I will stay where I am at for a while and see what happens, I cut back another 5mg yesterday so maybe that did it. It wasn't even on purpose, I just ended up taking my evening dose later than usual and so I took 5mg less when I went to bed so it wouldn't be too much in a short period of time. There are a lot of other things that are contributing to my being depressed, but it's hard to tell what is what right now. That's part of the reason I am so eager to get off of it, I feel like it has been effecting my emotional state a great deal.
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765775_tn?1366028291
It is possible that the abrupt decrease in the Norco is causing your anxiety. It is usually the first symptom of withdrawals along with restless leg syndrome. You will know for sure if you soon start taking trips to the bathroom.

I still think you should call your doctor today and go over what you are doing with him. Again, everyone is different and you were taking a medium dose of this drug for a year so your body has built up a dependency to the Norco. You have other medical issues going on that your doctor may not want to exasperate with such a fast taper.

Remember, you have been taking this medication for a year for a real medical condition. Do not be impatient with the weaning process. My opinion is that you should stay at your current dosage that you reduced to with little to no withdrawal symptoms for at least two weeks for you body to acclimate to that dosage before decreasing again, but again talk to your doctor as you have other conditions to take into consideration.
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Avatar_n_tn
You are probably right about all of that. I guess I'm a little frustrated because my doctor didn't really have a plan when I told him I wanted to wean off, he just gave me 20 7.5mg  pills and the rest of my regular prescription. He just ran some blood tests to see if anything is off, auto-immune and some other things. I should see him soon anyways. I have been really nauseated and it's hard to eat, but I actually felt like that before I even started weaning. I kinda feel like I have this big ball of screwed up stuff and the things are related, but there isn't 1 cause for any of them. I am going to stay at my current dose until next week, and maybe try and talk to him also. I got a lecture from my pharmacist when I went to pick up my Rx a week or so ago too. She said "I hope you know how many pain meds this is that you are taking, if you ruin your liver they don't give transplants to people who do it to themselves." She basically made me feel like a drug addict and added to my anxiety because she said all of that. The thing is my norco is only 325mg of acet. so even 6 a day is less than 2000mg. It was right when I made my plan to wean off and it just made me feel worse about everything. I thought it was highly inappropriate. I wonder if any of you here have encountered anything like that. I have a friend who is paralyzed from the waist down and has awful back problems and they do that to him there too.
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765775_tn?1366028291
The pharmacist had no right to say that to you and you should report that person. If you are taking the medication as prescribed and encounter liver damage, that person is very very wrong in their statement.

Since we are talking about it though, I want to make you aware that you don't have to take over 4 grams of acetaminophen a day to do damage to your liver. A daily dose of 2 grams a day for an extended period of time could do harm as well. It depends on the individual.

I was not taking 4 grams a day either when I was taking Vicodin but it still elevated my liver enzymes over time. If you have extra weight around the middle (like I do) you can have what is called a "fatty liver". The acetaminophen makes the liver work harder to detoxify itself and thus the enzymes go up.

As I stated in my earlier post, I asked my Orthopedist to change my medication and take me off the Vicodin and he refused. My PCP then did a blood test and found my ALT was elevated and made the change to Oxycontin. The Orthopedist then accused me of drinking alcohol while taking my medication. I had not had any alcohol for at six months prior to him making that statement, which was when he put me on the medication. Needless to say, I don't see that doctor anymore.

One month after going on Oxycontin my liver enzymes returned to normal.
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