Avatar universal

5 months pregnant, MUST COLD TURKEY off 2mg a day xanax! HELP PLEASE!

Hi! I have never been to a board like this so please excuse me if I ramble or don't get the lingo or proper etiquette. I am 22 weeks pregnant and have been taking xanax off and on until the end of November. Probably more on. Since November I have taken about 2mg a day.   I am now on 2mg a day and HAVE TO QUIT xanax cold turkey. When I found out I was pregnant in September I immediately went to detox for about 20 vicodin a day and 10mg of xanax a day. They gave me 1 mg of subutex a day for the vicodin and NOTHING AT ALL FOR THE XANAX and I was VERY HONEST ABOUT HOW MUCH I WAS TAKING AND HOW LONG. I checked in on a Wed afternoon and had taken a bunch of xanax that morning and was fine on Wed. Then I was ok on Thurs morning but spent the rest of the day shaking like a leaf and feeling like I was walking on a boat. My head felt like it was trembling inside I could not hold a pen or a fork. I was like that friday too. I kept telling the nurses I was afraid of a seizure but they said I had no orders for anything other than subutex and I had to talk to the Dr. Well, the Dr. only came every morning for about an hour and I did not get to see him Thurs or Fri. I thought this place is going to kill me and I can't believe they are not going to taper me. Then on Saturday FINALLY the doctor!! Yeah!! What was his plan - discharge me with 7 days of subutex. What?! I asked about seizures and all and he seemed distracted and said I would be fine, just have to deal with the withdrawal. They were kicking me out no matter what. No behavior problems or anything. The doctor just said I was ready?! So, then the pharmacy didn't have any Subutex and neither did the other 8 pharmacies in the area. So, I basically had to cold turkey off the vicoden after only 3 and half days of doses (one Wed night, one thurs, one fri and one sat morning). Honestly the subutex must be pretty good because that part was not that hard. I mean I didn't feel great and all kinds of withdrawal but not like the horror stories you hear. THE IMPOSSIBLE PART HAS BEEN THE XANAX! When I got home Saturday afternoon (and remember I just got there on Wed afternoon) I took .5 xanax just because I was afraid of a seizure. I threw out all my vicodin but I kept some xanax because I do have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder and sometimes it happens when I drive and I have gotten stuck places in the past because I was having a panic attack and had to pull over on the side of the road and wait for hours. Now I have 2 kids, both SEVERELY disabled (one can barely walk or feed himself and the other is not is bad but also requires constant care). I cannot get stuck on the side of the road or stuck at Target because of a panic attack with them in the car, so I kept my supply. I was sooooo good the first month I took .5 most days and often didn't take any. Then I kind of messed up and got up to 2mg a day and then did a bunch of research and found a very good study that said cold turkey off 2 mg a day is generally safe and seizures are rare. They had over 1,000 people in the study who quit cold turkey in that study and there were seizure but it was like under 12 or 20 so I thought just do it. I quit cold turkey for 4 days and it was awful but manageable. I could function but was certainly nervous and did not sleep at all but I was ok. Then of course I slowly started up again because the lack of sleep was killing me with having to take care of my sons. Since the end of November I have been taking 2 mg of xanax a day. I switched to valium about 3 weeks ago because I heard it was a lot less strong and lasted longer and quitting was easier. Well, I was prescribed the xanax but not the valium - my mom's, we just switched. I found out this week that a 10 mg valium is equal to 1mg xanax and I had been taking 2 10mg valium a day so I changed nothing.
I recently went to a site I am a member of for expecting mothers and asked about xanax and benzo and if anyone else was on them (I have already done probably 100 hours of research and there is no link between xanax and birth defects and prior studies that said so have been overturned). I got a huge reaction that the hospital is going to test the babies first stool (meconium) because I came from a detox to the oby/gyne and if they find the benzo they are going to have to call Social Services and they will take my baby. It is mandatory in my state. The meconium test goes back to about 20 weeks pregnant where I am now so I have to QUIT RIGHT NOW, NO LONG TAPERING. I CANNOT HAVE THIS STUFF IN MY SYSTEM. I had a nurse from my state say they would test because I came in admitting I was using and just out of detox (the detox sent all my records too). The first visit the doctor asked if I was still using and I said just a very few time which was true at the time because I was really good that first month. She has not asked since and I have not offered up any information. The IL nurse said based upon all of this they will test the meconium and they can do it without my consent and if the baby is positive it is law that they call the state on me. I am terrified of losing my baby. It is a girl so there is a good chance she will not have the disabilities that my sons do (which caused me to use in the first place because you cannot imagine the stress and demands). I have tried tapering the past few days and I can't seem to do it no matter what is at stake. I get so freaked out and anxious and sick. I did it in detox but I didn't have to take care of two disabled toddlers. So, tomorrow is it. I MUST DO IT OR I WILL LOSE MY BABY. I have thought about confessing to the doctor and seeing if she will kind of approve of my xanax use and say it was medical (because it was!!!) and prescribed (and it was!!!) because xanax can be prescribed to pregnant women under certain circumstances. I called the office today ready to confess and she is gone for the next 3 weeks!!! So, if I try to taper of the next 3 weeks and she says no then they will take the test and I will fail and they will take my baby girl. I am sorry this is so long but I am bawling my eyes out as I write this. I can't wait 3 weeks to see if she will understand that I was never properly tapered (I am still so angry how the detox treated me) and approve the use or say no and then give her even more reason to test because I just confessed to continued use. So I MUST GO COLD TURKEY. I did it in the hospital for 2 and a half days (off 10mg) and then again in like october for 4 days and was ok. And the addiction doctor didn't seem concerned about seizures. And the study reassured me that it was incredible rare at this low dose. I need encouragement, not judgement. Please any advice or stories of quitting cold turkey would help. Please be kind and understand I HAVE TO DO THIS AND HAVE DONE IT BEFORE, but this time seems so much worse and I am really detoxing from valium I guess, not xanax. One of my little men went to the ER today and is in the hospital now and so I am very fragile pregnant and about to go through hell so please, please help and please as many people answer as possible. I am scared to death. Oh, and as far as the vicodin, I have been off that forever. Bye bye vics. Don't miss you!
Thank you anyone who read this long post, I am DESPERATE!!!
20 Responses
279300 tn?1326746678
if you have a physician/psychiatrist prescribing you xanax for a legitimate documented panic disorder they are not going to take your baby away. i hear this over and over and i have never seen this happen and it aggravates me to no end every time i hear it. if all of your treatment is legitimate and you are under the care of a mental health and obstetrical professional they can and SHOULD communicate for the safety of the baby (of course) but also the mother of the baby.

if you get on a healthy baby forum and start talking about anything other than prenatal vitamins you are going to get slammed with horror stories. talk to your physician. period.
1926359 tn?1331588139
Hi and welcome to the forum....You have a lot going on right now so first thing ...Deep breaths.  Your first priority is your baby so I think your only option is seeking medical help immediately.  The stress and panic you are feeling is not good for the baby-nor is cold turkey.  I don't have any personal experience with pregnancy but I did go to nursing school and know that CT off of benzos is not good-and definitely not good while pregnant.  I know that this is overwhelming-you need professional help and you need it now.  Please don't try to do this alone and please let us know how you make out.  Just try to breathe and take it one small step at a time...Sending support and prayers...Lu
495284 tn?1333894042
You have got to tell your OB what is going on here.  Stopping meds like this can cause alot of problems for you and the baby.  If you are honest with the doctor i dont know why Social Services would come and take the baby.  They usually want the baby to stay with mom.  Just do what is right here and be honest.
271792 tn?1334979657

First off, calm down. Breathe.

It seems you did research so you know full well that there is a risk when coming off of Xanax cold turkey. And I am sure that you know that whatever withdrawal you feel---the baby feels as well. So that is not good.

Maybe I don't understand all that is going on with your doctor but I have not ever heard of anyone who had their baby taken away after they were open and honest with their doctor about their drug use.

What about the doctor who prescribed the Xanax? I am assuming that is a different doctor than your OBGYN? Can you go to that doctor and explain your situation and ask to be tapered?

Honesty is always the best course of action when you are pregnant and I believe if you are up front and ask for help, they will taper you properly.

Let us know if that is something you can do. Also, it is the dinner hour and it is a little slow right now. Be patient and check back. We have a few members who are pregnant or have had children and have a story similar to yours. They will be along to help and support you.
Avatar universal
Okay. Deep breath...    You've certainly been through the wringer. But, calm down and think about this...

Even if you stop this second, there will be traces in the meconium from way back in early pregnancy. Okay.

Because of the above and your stay in detox, you will be tested and social service has already been notified. Big deal. They are not going to take your baby. They will visit you. They will check on you at the hospital and read your records. They will come to your house and visit. They have to do this by virture of their job description.

You are not the first to be petrified by this...

Can you do this: Can you see a psychologist or MD about your anxiety disorder? Get an appt?  Talk about the use of xanax?

To be honest with you, I'm not sure if the powers that be can tell when you last took xanax...I'm really not. But, all this fear isn't doing you any good. You need to speak to someone who knows more about this and who you can trust...

So, are you taking Valium now or Xanax?  How much?   How is the baby doing so far?  Also, at this point, you really have nothing to lose by talking with your current OB now. The whole point of doing that would be to keep you calm and the baby healthy.

It would be wrong of me to encourage you to cold turkey off the benzos but is that your plan?
1929972 tn?1328548262
Ok I agree first thing deep breath. Try to be calm and rational. I was addicted to xanax for a very long time. As long as you are taking less than 4mg a day seizure is not a big concern. You can safely ween off them. It is f-ing horrible! way worse than hydros. However all the same vitamins help hot showers help etc. But I totally agree with everyone else you are preg and it is very dangerous to stress yourself and baby. Start tapering as low as possible and try to talk to dr asap.just my opinion. On the bright side like hydros xanax detox physical last about 7 days and panick attacks seem less after I got off the xanax. keep posting. We are here. Please contact a dr asap for advice. :)
Avatar universal
I have done tons and tons of research on meconium testing and even the BEST tests go back to 20 weeks, which is right now for me. And newer evidence shows that this is pretty rare that the window is really this long and is more likely for the last trimester, but I want to be safe. I went to the biggest and most used labs and all confirmed that their tests can only test back to 20 weeks at best. I don't think they will test me now because my doctor thinks I have been clean since the first few weeks and they do not have to report this or prior use. They only have to report when the baby is born. If the baby has withdrawal, the baby is positive for drugs ect... Even if I went to detox the first few weeks (l went when I was like 5 weeks, that includes the 2 weeks you aren't even pregnant before your period but they add into the number of weeks, the 2 weeks before you can even know because you can't test until missed period and the week it took me to realize wow I am late, so five weeks, but really only 3 weeks with baby inside me and I didn't know!). So as it stands right now their should be no State Agency involvement (and I worked for DCFS for about 5 years and kind of know the protocol). They can only get involved when there is a live born baby. Lots of drug users miscarry or have abortions so the state does not keep track of every pregnancy, just the birth. So, if I cold turkey now, and I did it in the past twice and was ok and the baby was perfect size and everything after both times, then there should be no reason at all for state involvement. If there is, my husband will leave me, I bet my life on it and take the kids and of course he would get them because I'm the addict. Then I would go back on vicodin so fast it would make your head spin and take whatever the hell I want because my life would be over and an overdose would be welcome. Not trying to be dramatic, just honest. I know there is no state involvement yet and won't be unless the baby tests positive and again the farthest it can go back is 20 weeks and most studies say that is pretty early and it is more like 25 to 28. I know the state has not been contacted because they would have contacted me. I worked briefly for an agency that did just this. It is mandated by the state. If they know of a pregnant woman using (like she got arrested or something, that is usually how they found out was an arrest for possession of something) the state is mandated to follow up with the pregnant woman, make sure she is in treatment and drug test her. If the state had been contacted I would know. They have not and obviously my doctor thinks I have been good since the first few weeks and if I give her reason not to believe that I have been good they will test the meconium for sure, if they aren't already (they may not if the baby has no withdrawal) so I have to STOP RIGHT NOW at 20 weeks so they cannot find it in the meconium and the newborn won't have to go through withdrawal. The addiction doctor was not concerned about cold turkeying me in the FIRST TRIMESTER!!! And I did it in October and the baby looked great. Just one last time...
1416133 tn?1351123217
Oh my goodness keeptrying you're spinning - your head is all over the place right now so please - BREATHE.  And try to think of all of this is a calm manner.

You need to talk to your Dr.  Being honest is the best way to go here - I've seen many women come here with their addiction and the same fears as you only to return with a huge weight off their shoulders because they chose to open up to their Dr. and tell them the truth.  They are there to help you so let them.

I'm afraid all of your assumptions are going to come back and bite you in the end.  And as previously stated, cold-turkeying off of the xanax can be really dangerous for both you and the unborn child.  Please, talk to your OB and let them help.  You aren't a bad person, just sick.  That's why we all ended up here.  And being honest with the Dr. is the right thing to do for your unborn child.  Please reconsider this plan - PLEASE?  :)
Avatar universal
Well...okay. I guess you've decided. But, it begs the question: What can we do for you here?   I know I'm in no position to condone this personally but I can't stop you either.

Keep in touch so we know how you both are doing...
1035252 tn?1427227833
I just wanted to add some info that I found from researching with one of the companies that does meconium testing (I did it for a lady who was on here addicted to vicodin)....SOME of the meconium tests go back 20wks...PRIOR TO DELIVERY. Since you could deliver as soon as 35-37wks...potentially, that could mean that drug use from 15-17wks+ could show up.

However, meconium doesn't start forming until about 15-17wks so there's a possibility it might not even be present at that point...but it's all a crapshoot.

In my experience, they won't contact the state...yet. They will do it after the meconium test. which..yes...it's likely to show negative at this point, but it's not a given...you're playing with fire.

IF your OB knows AND you quit, cold turkey or taper, NOTHING bad can happen. IF your OB does not know and you quit cold turkey or taper....you're throwing the dice.

I would talk to my OB...this isn't about you staying out of trouble, this is about doing what's safest for you and baby. If your OB is comfortable just letting you cold turkey...find another one. You deserve better treatment!!

That's just my two cents...I've spoken to dozens of women with addictions and I've heard every story in the book about how state agencies have dealt with these issues...and I've heard stories run the gamut from great outcomes (where the OB is alerted to ALL drug use and honesty and transparency occur between patient and doctor) to sad stories, where the woman is in trouble and the state becomes involved because she thought she was in the clear but tested positive.

I guess my point is....why would you not tell? And are you POSITIVE you can stay clean? What happens if you relapse? If your OB knew that you were quitting, at this point, and helps you and guides you...and you relapse later...it's going to be a lot better for you after delivery. If he doesn't know and you relapse and come out at, say, 32wks and say "I quit at 20wks (he'll know why - he understands meconium testing) but I slipped up at (just say) 28wks.." they're going to be a lot more aggressive with post-partum tests and state involvement.

I really wish you the best..this is a hard situation and you've been through an awful lot and my heart goes out to you. But i really think you're playing with fire and gambling with what could potentially be a bad bet...20wks is a fairly good cut-off GUESS...because most women will go to ABOUT 40wks....but if the test is more sensitive, if the drug stays in your system longer (not all people metabolize drugs the same) or if you heaven forbid relapse....it could end poorly if you don't have a doctor who is aware and working with you.

So find another doctor...and get the help you need and deserve..that's what I'd do. Barring that...good luck...you know it will be a rough ride, but we all do the best we can for our babies and I know you're no exception!
Avatar universal
I agree with everyone. Breathe. In thru your nose out of your mouth. In... Out.....in.....out . Your so overwhelmed and stressing your gonna give yourself a panic attack. And if your prescibed rhe xanax. Its different than if you are buying off the streets. Talk to your ob. I know thinking about talking about it is scarey and embarassing. But doctors have seen it all. Crack babies meth babies. Herion babies. I bet your doctor will help you. You already showed them your concerned by going to detox. Thats a huge factor in this. And cross one bridge at a time. Sending hugs of support.  
Avatar universal
If you all want honesty, and I do want to be honest. Yes I am PRESCRIBED the xanax, but the last script I had filled was when I was like 14 weeks and I did not tell my doctor I was pregnant because (I really, really hate saying this because I am not opposed to this but it is not for me and against my religion) but we had pretty much decided to terminate because we cannot handle another disabled child and of course at that time you don't know if it is a boy or girl and this disability, although can happen in girls, is much, much more likely in boys. Our insurance does not cover any of their treatment - speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medications, developmental therapy, or behavioral therapy. Last year alone we spent over $40,000 in these bills. Only 27 states mandate that insurance cover this disability and our insurance policy is not in one of them. We have already used a lot of our retirement and used a lot of my mom's annuities and that is just for one year! They were 2. They will never live independently and we will have to continue to bear this financial burden until the laws change. So, we were going to stop the pregnancy thinking it was really the best decision for our sons as we must use all our resources for them and there is no way we can do a 3rd. But we both had a strong feeling that it was a girl, and it is. And I couldn't do it. I even made appointments and never showed. Disabled or not, this is my gift and I will love her no matter what, just like my sons. So, I didn't tell him, but they were prescribed. So, if anyone was to contact him or whatever (I stopped seeing him and told him I was moving because it is like a crack addict going back to their crack dealer) he would say he did not know I was pregnant. I just wanted to get clean for my boys at that point, but I do have a panic disorder and that just dosen't go away. I was hospitalized for it years ago for about a month inpatient so it can be pretty bad - became agoraphobic - and this is before I had ever touched a single pill of painkiller or benzo in my life, or any other drug for that matter. So, to just go 9 months with no anti-depressant or anti-anxiety is like torture. Yes, I am still in pain without the painkillers (arthritis bad and endometriosis stage 4), but I just grit my teeth and get through the day. I can't go back to them because I will obviously abuse them. So, yes they were prescribed and for a medical condition diagnosed by a psychiatrist, not a general practitioner, but I am afraid it is going to get me in more trouble.
Avatar universal
I am dying to talk to my MD. I can't believe she is gone for 3 weeks. It is like torture. I was so ready to confess but then not being able to get a hold of her made me rethink the whole thing like it was a sign. A lot of people have told me not to tell because if I quit now and the baby won't have any withdrawal they won't test the meconium and if I tell her they have to test and in my state they are MANDATED to contact social services for a positive drug test regardless what for. They will come in and review my records and call the prescribing MD, who I did not tell I was pregnant even though I obviously knew because I told detox weeks before. And my husband will probably leave. He almost did when I went to detox and he couldn't believe I was abusing prescription drugs. If he knew I continued to use them (never once abused them while pregnant, low dose - lower than prescribed and no vics) while pregnant with his baby that is it. Believe me I know him and he is a no nonsense kind of guy and would do it.
Avatar universal
Kind of wish anyone would have come back and checked in on me or offered more advise. Still waiting to see the doctor. Called and begged for earlier appt but everyone is on vacation. I took my last pill on thurs, so a week tomorrow. I would taper if I had MD permission but I can't get an MD on the phone. I feel like crap but is it worth taking a benzo after being off for a week? I really don't know the answer to this and thought this forum would help but doesn't seem like anyone is interested, just like here in real life. So, I will continue with no sleep, racing heart, crying jags, worrying like crazy... I don't know if my post was to long or I am too sensitive but I am surprised how so many threads have like 45 comments and no one who has been in my situation even bothered to help me. Guess I am totally on my own.
1416133 tn?1351123217
Oh my goodness keeptrying there have been a lot of people posting to you and trying to help.  Everyone is telling you to talk to your Dr.  It's that simple.

And I don't understand how no one in your Dr.'s office is available to help you.  That makes no sense.  That would have to see you if you insisted.  I don't understand that at all.
1959859 tn?1331741157

I am sorry you are going through this.  I just know found this thred because on the day you posted I was on Day 4 withdrawel and not really able to do much on here.

I have never been on benzos with the exception of a few times when a relative has died, etc.  They are very dangerous from what I hear to withdraw from but you are on a low dose.  If you truely have a panic disorder/anxiety where you are not going to be able to keep it together during pregnancy, then that can be harmful to the baby too.  A baby feels a mothers panic, stress, etc....You are probably getting your blood pressure up too when you are in these episodes of not being able to breathe.  You have to talk to a doctor, go to a new one if you have to.  I am not sure if you live in a small town, but I am in Houston and there are doctors everywhere.  There has to be a doctor you can sit down with and tell them about your disorders and what you are going through.

Bless you heart, I cannot imagine dealing with everything you are being a mother of not 1 but 2 disabled children.  you sound like a saint to me.  You just have to get through this the right way and a doctor will be able to help you do this.  You may have to stay on the meds (with doctors permission) due the fact that you have attacks.  They can be very damaging to the baby too.  

Please feel free to message me if you need to and dont ever think people do not care here.  I met some of them 10 days ago and feel like some of them are family.  God Bless!
Avatar universal
I don't understand it either! Do you want me to give you the number and you can call?!!! You sound like you are questioning me.  Do you think I need that?!! Why would I lie. No one know who I am. Why would I say anything but the truth?! I am scared and want help. I went to detox and they cold turkeyed me of 10 MG OF XANAX A DAY and  only kept me 2 full days and 2 half days - that does not make any sense to me either, but that is exactly what they did!! Of course when I went home I took some xanax. I was shaking like a leaf and terrified of having a seizure. The "addiction specialist" just waved me off when I shared my seizure concern when he discharged me. I could barely sign my discharge papers because I was shaking so hard. And guess what was waiting for me as soon as I got home. Disabled toddlers who are very needy and demanding 24/7. He knew this too. I was very honest with everyone. I went to the ER first and told them about my addiction and they basically had no idea what to do and sent me home with nothing. I need advice and can't get an MD appt. I have called few GPs in my area and no one wants to take a pregnant woman addicted to xanax and prescribe her xanax. They don't want their name and practices involved. I called and called. I even got excited when a few people said they would call me back and it would always be a nurse or somebody that would just say go the ER if I don't feel well. Well, I did that and they basically said my BP was fine and HR so go home. But it keeps getting worse everyday. So, here I am debating do I take one, is that better for the baby or not. I really don't know. I have no idea what the answer to that is. If someone who has gone through this or an MD said take one, I would. Otherwise I feel like I am taking poison and giving it my to my little girl. I would rather panic than do that. I don't know what to do. I am struggling every minute and doing my best to keep it together and have 2 kids on me every second and when I get a moment I try to call MD offices or whatever to educate myself. But I am only getting more confused and frustrated. Yeah, I don't understand it either!!!
1416133 tn?1351123217
I only meant that if you told them you were scared and needed help now - that you were afraid for your baby's safety, how they won't see you given your situation - that's what I don't understand   And please, don't misunderstand me, I am in no position to judge anyone.  I guess I'm just saying it confuses me.  I meant no harm by that.  I wish only that you get healthy and that the baby stays safe.  I'm sorry if you misunderstood me.
1959859 tn?1331741157
I can feel your panic coming through your post.  I think you are so overwhelmed with so many things as well as withdrawal.  I cannot tell you what to do.  Praying might help, it sure has helped me.  God never Gives up more then we can handle they say.  Sometimes i wonder about that statement because I have been through a lot and some days didnt want to continue but did.  You must be one strong woman to be dealing with all that you deal with on a daily basis.  Do you have a supportive husband?   do you have anyone to help you with your sons while you are pregnant especially in the final weeks even now to alleviate some of your stress while you get through this?
Avatar universal
why are your toddlers disabled? from taking benzos? Just curious because I have been on high doses from 6months to now 8 months
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495284 tn?1333894042
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