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Advice on tapering oxycodone

Hello all.  I have been using oxycontin and oxycodone for two years plus for chronic back pain due to a crushed s1 nerve.  Right now I am taking two 60mg oxycontin pills and 4-15mg oxycodone pills per day.  I am trying to figure out what the best way is to try tapering myself off a bit since I had my surgery a few months ago.  Any advice on how much I should taper and how long I should stay at the taper doses.  I am hoping to be able to cut say 15-25% of my dose but that may be unrealistic, I don't know so that is why I am here for advice.  I know I am addicted to it as I ran out a day and a half early a couple months ago.  I know I didn't over use it though so I wonder if the pharmacy has another pharmacist with sticky fingers as they have had that problem in the past and my scripts were always a few pills short.  I do know that I need the medication as if I don't take it I have spells of passing out, severe pain with severe perspiration and elevated blood pressures on both numbers.  I am just wondering if I can't cut the dose down a bit for myself as I feel like my injury has gotten better a bit since surgery.  I would ask my doctors to help me taper but in the past that has backfired for me.  Over the course of 15 months or so and before I knew better a surgeon had gave me 15 steroid epidurals which after the last injection had solved most of the pain while I was taking anti inflammatory meds.  Then the anti inflammatory meds had caused severe stomach bleeding so I was taken off of them and the pain started rising substantially again.  In that time however I had my docs take me off narco meds.  I went at that time from 2-40mg oxycontins and 4-15mg oxycodones down to 2-20 oxycontins per day in two weeks and then to nothing.  It was tough w/d wise but I made it through.  I fear that if I ask them to taper me again and I end up needing the meds that I won't get them back.  After I went off the anti inflammatory meds due to stomach bleeding I had a heck of a time getting even hydrocodone out of them so that is the reason why I don't want to try tapering with my doc.  Eventually, he realized that I did need way more than the hydrocodone and put me back on the oxycontin/oxycodone at the 140mg daily dose and after a year we upped it to the current 2-60mg oxycontin and 4-15mg oxycodone.  I do know I still need the medication at this point but do not want to be over medicating as tolerance develops fairly fast with this stuff.  Eventually, my goal is to be narco free but I don't think my medical situation will allow that yet.

I do wonder if it would be safe to break the oxycontins up into quarters to make tapering easier and not cutting any doses out completely.  What I mean by not cutting out doses completely is that I don't think I can completely eliminate my morning, lunchtime, evening, or bedtime dose of oxycodone.  I do however think that it may be possible to cut one or more of the doses to 10mg, 7.5mg, or even 5mg of oxycodone.  I do know that you are not supposed to break the oxycontins up and do not do it.  I am not sure if the pills are made so the ratio of medication and fillers are distributed equally throughout the pill so that is why I ask if they can be broken.  It's probably not a good idea which is what I am thinking in the back of my head and I am not sure if it's something I want to start doing as if I would happen to get pulled over while driving, etc and had broken oxycontin pills I am sure I'd be up a creek without a paddle with the police.

Any help with the tapering will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Beta
7 Responses
541953 tn?1262586226
Most people cut down one pill a week. the reason you can't cut the oxycodone is it is time released and you will get too much at a time if you cut or break them. work out a plan cut out one pill a week, that gives your body time to get use to the lower dose and the w/d arent as bad. good luck! there will be others on later that might have more advise.
Avatar universal
I am also tapering from Oxycontin. Because the time release property is loctated in the coating of the pill, you can't cut them and expect them to work like the whole pill will. You don't say what strength you're using,  so I can't suggest a taper for you. 10 mg per week would probably be good though. If it's at all possible, work with your doctor on this.

Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
I posted above that I take 2-60mg oxycontin and 4-15mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain.  I realize that if I break the oxycontin up the time release is gone and that is why I have not done it, that and I am not sure if the amount of medication to filler ratio is equally distributed throughout the pill.  I wouldn't want to take 1/4 of the pill only later to find out that this quarter contained most or all of the medication.  I don't think breaking these up is something I want to get into though.

Thanks for the advice so far.  Anymore help is appreciated.

Beta
Avatar universal
I aplogize... I'm in the process of heading out for the holidays and was distracted when I posted earlier..

I'd recommend cutting the contins only as a last resort. I'm sure that the medication is equally distributed, i.e., if you cut a 30 into thirds, each piece will contain 10 mg. But, you know that once they're cut, they won't work the same way. Can you work with your doctor to reduce your contin by 10 mg per day, per week? Say. week one you go to 2 20s & 2 10s, then week two 2 20s, etc, decreasing by 10 mg per week. While doing that, use the codones like you've been doing. After you're tapered off the contins, work on tapering the codones in the same way.

That's what I'm doing, although from a much higher starting point on the contins. I'm on week two and it's working so far. I'm combining the taper schedule with the Thomas Recipe and I'm feeling great! I particularly recommend getting the L-Tyrosine and B vitimins, which are giving me a lot of energy and helping to keep my mood elevated.

I'm about to hit the road, but will check in later tonight. Best of luck to you. I know this isn't easy and takes a lot of courage. I've already had periods where I feel like my old self, which is giving me a lot of hope and motivation to keep on going.

Lisa
Avatar universal
OK, I just went back and throughly re-read the part about your experience with the doctor... maybe they'll listen to you if you absolutely insist that this is how you want to do it. You may have some leverage in that department, since this taper is your idea, not his/hers.
Avatar universal
They do make 15 mg oxy if you find 10 mg too much of a taper at some point.  I wish you much luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the input everyone.  As I stated, I do medically need these medications still while my nerves in both legs heal and hopefully my back pain subsides.  I have decided that as of now I am going to try and eliminate 15 mg per day every few days until I find out the level of pain management that allows me to be able to get around the house and make it up and down stairs to use the restroom without crying.  I figure if I can lower my dose and keep my pain levels at a 5 or a 6 I'll be about where I need to be.  Hopefully I am not setting myself up for failure tapering too fast but so far today I am doing just fine dropping 15mg.

Thanks again for the help.  Hopefully I get healed up soon and can taper all the way off these meds though I think I want to have my knee surgeries I need done before this.  I have torn acl's in both knees from motocross injuries which resulted in my shoulder and back problems also.  I remember when I was young telling my father that I just wanted to race bikes for a living and he always responded by saying "how many old motocross racers do you see?".  I see his point now.
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