Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Codeine withdrawal assistance [Nalmefene]

Hi folks,

New here so not sure what the deal is with people, but I have a question I'm hoping someone (pref a professional) could help me with.

Been taking codeine for 6-7 years on a daily basis, recently stopped for 2 days [Call this " TIME A"], then back for 2 weeks, then stopped for 10 days [TIME B].  The withdrawals for TIME B were basically nothing compared to [TIME A].

I hope you followed this!

I have learned of a drug called Nalmefene. This is similar to nalaxone ( a competitive opiate antagonist used to reversed heroin overdose), but comes in a pill form.

Anyway, what I would like to do is get a prescription for Nalmefene (AKA "Selincro") to accelerate the physical withdrawal process, and also to block much of the effects of taking codeine - i.e. to make it so I don't get high even if I take codeine.

Does this sound good/bad/stupid/genius to anyone?

I can't seem to find any data on nalmefene being used in this kind of preventative way, so I would appreciate any feedback from those who have tried...


Can I use nalmefene to kick codeine once and for all?

7 Responses
Avatar universal
I've recently had to quit codeine I had internal bleeding caused by what the doctors suspected to be either due to the codeine or the ibuprofen I took with the codeine (nerofen plus) . I was in hospital for 4 days and actually though I was going to die I was in so much pain. im on day eight of being codeine free now and although the physical withdrawals have almost gone the mental side is way worst I don't feel at all normal at all.  I took codeine for almost three years so it obviously takes a while for the brain to readjust. ive heard that  Nalmefene is used to help people withdraw from alcohol but Ive also heard that it can help opium withdrawals. kramton tea is suppose to help opiate withdrawals you can buy this off the internet. I went to my doctor  few days ago and they are extremely reluctant to prescribe anything at all let alone Nalmefene. they wouldn't even give me valium to help the withdrawals  they said to just stick with it.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply - I have tried Kratom and it's been pretty much useless for me.

I realize that there are various grades / types/ strengths and I really don't have the money or will to try them all, particularly as one cannot guarantee a supplier will maintain the same consistency.

I am going to attempt to obtain a nalmefene script and see how that goes...

I can kind of understand their reluctance to prescribe benzodiazepines; GP's may feel that they could be seen to be acting as 'drug dealers' or enablers when prescribing potentially addictive drugs.

Unfortunately, this can lead to them covering themselves, rather than providing the best care for any specific patient... Honestly, I have tried to use diazepam to kick codeine, and it hasn't really helped. I do feel though that once you have been opiate free for weeks rather than days, they should reconsider if it is still required.

Good luck!
Avatar universal
I have a couple of questions here:

1. Do you want to stop taking codeine? Why?

2. Why do you want to take a drug that will precipitate withdrawals (bring them on FAST)?  Why not just stop taking the opiate to begin with?

3. Nalmefene is a drug developed in the 1970's to treat all kinds of addictions, with mixed success.   It is primarily used, however, to reverse overdoses of opiates.   It differs from naltrexone in that it has a greater affinity to opiod receptors (I can bore you with the actual chemistry if you really want me to.)  Bottom line:  It's stronger than naltrexone.

Honey, I don't think this is a good plan.   There is no way through the withdrawals but through it.   You didn't get addicted overnight, and your recovery won't be fast either.

Maybe I'm wrong, but in any case, you should see a doctor and be completely honest with them.  

Benzo's are VERY addicting (as addicting as opiates) however there is a big difference in opiate addiction vs. benzo addiction..mainly that withdrawals from benzo's can be FATAL and only done under medical supervision.

I'm concerned that you're consuming drugs like kratom.  Am I wrong, or are you looking for a way to get sober without going through discomfort?  

Talk to your doctor...see if you can taper off the codeine, then make a plan and stick to it.   Aftercare is a MUST if you want to stay sober.

Good luck honey.  

4522800 tn?1470325834
NeverAgain hit right on it.

If you can hand them pills, you have now, to someone and get the Dr to give you a Taper plan you will be much better then doing the merry-go-round. I also would thank the drug you want will be a harder w/d in the long one. Everything that affects all the brain wiring and so on has a price to pay. Only TIME & PATIENCE will set you free with a LOT of Support. I know you can do it. Set yourself up with some great Healthy foods and vit/min..Find lots of foods and vit that are antioxidants and will help pull out the toxins. There are vit/min to help relax you and some that will help with energy. The mental was the hardest for me. My brain finally flipped back over and fired up but it took a few yrs. (I am a old time user for many yrs, dumb, dumb). SO I would just go with it and it will be over soon. You could get some comfort meds if you go to a Addiction Dr too or even you regular one. I wish you the best.
Avatar universal
I see this time and time again on this forum. People thinking there has to be a pill to get them through the w/d period. I was one of them people thinking that too. But there just isn't,almost any pill that will take your w/d's away WILL cause new w/d's when you quit that one. It's a never ending circle. The only successful pill to quit drugs is NO pill at all. We ALL have to w/d at some point in time to get clean. No matter the ppl that quit c/t or the ppl that go on subs or methadone or even what you're thinking of taking. There will be a day you have to come off that too. So I'd recommend just doing it and getting that first hurdle over with. Yes the w/d ***** but you won't die from codeine w/d's. Then get into an aftercare program to stay clean. Staying clean is the hardest part. Even harder than these w/d's everyone is scared of.  
4522800 tn?1470325834
Yes Krissy
And the more yrs you are on this site you will see it going on & on..

You are right, as there is NO MAGIC STICK!!!! lol

Just BUCK up and getter done!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments, and I do appreciate the sentiments.

However, I will say this, and though it may come across as aggressive, this is not my intention.

You do not know my situation.

1. Yes, I wish to stop taking codeine. The reasons why are effectively unimportant.

2. The reason I want to try taking nalmefene is precisely because of the acceleration of withdrawal onset - quicker to start means quicker to finish.

I have no plans to avoid withdrawal, just to make it quicker, albeit at the possible expense of increased intensity.

The binding affinities for the two drugs are, as far as I can tell, relatively similar (at least for the MOR and KOR), but the oral bioavailability of nalmefene is considerably higher. The nature of nalmefene binding means that, while it is bound, one is unlikely to get any kind of 'high' from opiates.

FYI, nalmefene is currently seeing a new lease of life as some form of 'treatment' for moderate (read: middle class) alcohol addiction.

I have tried tapering down, many times, and have concluded that it is not the path for me.

I have tried cold-turkey, been through withdrawals and come out of the other side. However, the desire is still there, and up till now I have failed to progress without slipping back into old habits.

I am currently in a position where the last time I quit CT, the physical w/d effects were minimal; this is precisely why I am seeking to try this approach, before there is time for me to drag myself back into it.

I have seen doctors etc, and I am currently in the process of exploring the options available.

I am  reasonably aware of the differences between benzo addiction and opiate addiction. I am also of the opinion that it takes longer to become addicted benzos - at least for me it does. Taking a couple of hundred valium over the course of 2 months or so has never led to any issues for me with an abrupt stop - perhaps I'm just 'lucky' like that, I dunno.

Regardless, I have no real plans to use them to ease the transition - if I were to use them again, the intention would be to manage anxiety on a short term (2-4 week) basis *only* after being clean of codeine for some time.

I find your concern over Kratom interesting - for me, the first few times I used it it certainly had some effect. However, over the course of the last 10 years, I have bought the odd bag (leaf, extracts, resin) which have had pretty much zero effect.

So, to sum up, I realise that w/ithdrawals are a necessary part of the process - perhaps me having a slightly self-destructive streak is causing me to seek out a quick and painful way of dealing with them, but their avoidance is not something I am fooling myself about (at least not any more...!).

Anyway, I have rambled for too long - I do appreciate the responses, and I do not mean to aggravate anyone here - I understand you are trying to help.

I am still seeking an answer as to whether anyone has attempted to deal with their codeine addiction in this way, and would greatly appreciate feedback of this nature.

Many thanks.
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