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Detoxing off Methadone

I've been slowly tapering off of a 15 year Methadone maintainence program for about 2 years now. Roughly dropping 5 milligrams every month or so. About a month ago my dose was at 3 mgs. At that point I really didn't feel to bad during the day although the nights were horrible due not being able to sleep.

At that point I decided to just stop the meth all together, rather than prolonging the agony of dropping from 3 -2, then 2-1 etc. I stopped altogether about 3 weeks ago and have not slept more than 3 hours a night since. What makes it worse is it's not a simple toss and turn all night, it's an almost indesribable twisting, knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that forces me out of bed, even though I'm so tired I can't hold my head up.

I've tried having a couple drinks before bed, over the counter sleep meds, even got some halcion from a friend, all to no avail.

How long can I expect this to last, or is there something I can do to lessen the pain in the meantime?
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Avatar universal
I have been on methadone maintenance for chronic opiate addiction for approximately 4 years. In addition, I suffer from chronic back pain, for which reason I chose methadone maintenance rather than a straight detox from the short-acting opiods. For the first two years on the program, I was on a daily dosage of 150mg. Two years ago, I decided to begin tapering, and I am now at 3mg. Obviously, taking two years to decrease from 150mg to 3mg seems like a long time, but such a slow taper has been well worth it. I have experienced almost no withdrawal symptoms, other than minor sleep disturbances and a general decrease in my energy/motivation level.

I have five pieces of advice which other methadone users might find useful in their tapering process:

1.) If you start to feel withdrawal symptoms, you’re tapering too fast. If that happens, do NOT increase your dose; just stay where you are until the withdrawal symptoms subside.
2.) Once you reach the 20mg mark, plateau at that dose for several weeks. After that point, decrease your dose by no more than 1 or 2mg per week. When you reach 10mg, plateau again, and then decrease by no more than 1mg per week. Don’t be afraid to plateau for a few weeks on whatever dosage you’re on. It’s not a race. Give your body ample time to adjust to each new dosage before you decrease again.
3.) Get as much exercise as your body will allow. Due to my back problems, I am unable to perform strenuous exercise, but I walk for at least an hour every day. This has helped me tremendously.
4.) Eat a healthy diet. Avoid excess sugar, and particularly avoid lots of caffeine.
5.) I am not a doctor, but it seems relatively obvious to me that taking benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Temazepam, etc.) as sleep aids, or to lessen withdrawal symptoms, is an altogether bad idea for any drug addict.

I’ve heard a lot of differing theories about methadone tapering. Many people seem to think that it’s better to rush the tapering, in order to shorten the ultimate duration of withdrawal symptoms. I know several individuals at my clinic who have rushed their tapering, and ALL of them eventually went back up to 30mg or more. My experience has been that a slow, methodical taper, if done correctly, gives the user a much higher chance of success.
Helpful - 2
Avatar universal
Hey everyone, new to this site and also I used to be addicted to opiates, but have been clean for about 10 years. Trust me it WILL get better, you just have to hang on and believe in yourself. I recently had major lower back surgery and was put right back on pain killers. This time it was 20mg tabs of oxycontin, 20mg tabs of oxycodone, 25mcg patches of fentanyl, Norco 10/325, 7.5/325 and 5/325. Quite the concoction of meds but I truly was in serious pain after surgery. Knowing just how bad the withdrawals truly are, I found my inner strength to stop cold turkey on the stronger stuff and use the Norcos to ween myself down and did it in 2 weeks. YES, I still had withdrawals, but stood up, squared up on it and won. I have also been on methadone in the past (prescribed by my regular Dr in Colorado). I had her ween me off them and it took 2 months at a fairly quick pace and I had no withdrawals then. Your best bet is like everyone else says, stay off pain killers if at all possible. They are great for the intended purpose, but like we said in the Army- "watch your six" because they will grab ahold of you if your not careful. Stay strong, stay informed, and stay in touch with others who know what your going thru, you are NOT lower class or some kind of a demon.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
if you still check this tread please help. I am coming off methadone (MMT) I have been on it for 8 years. I was at 190 ML. I have slowly tapered from that dose for about 2 years. I am now down to approximately 1Ml. Tomorrow is my last dose! Thank God I am almost there. I woke up really filling crappy, but it has got better thru the day. Is it going to get much worse for me after I finish my last dose? I have problems sleeping and have no energy but it is doable. I do not want to switch to suboxone or subutex I am ready to get this out of my life for good! Any advice would help. Thank you all
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My daughter is in her first day of No Methadone, can you help us get through this please!?!?!?

Ldfs
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Me too - I thought it was just me.  I used to be outgoing, have a lot of friends, WANT to do things - now, all I want to do is sleep and veg on the couch.  I have been on them for going on three years now - take 2 - 4 pills at 10mg per day also even though I am prescribed 6 pills per day.  I am trying to wean myself off but am scared to death of what it's going to feel like.  I have a full-time job and cannot afford to miss.  Glad to know I'm not losing my mind nor am I alone.  Hope you're doing better!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
hi my name is hawk123. im at 40 mg and im on a ten mg a week taper . im pretty worried about it . is thier anything i can do to help the process along.  thanks for the support.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
you can do it
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I HAVE BEEN ON METHADONE FOR 10 YEARS NOW, AT 280MG . I STARTING DETOXING FIRST IT WAS 1MG A WEEK NOW IT;S 5MG A WEEK SINCE I HAVE STARTED THIS DETOX OH BY THE WAY I;M AT ABOUT 155MG /160MG NOW BUT SINCE I STARTED , I HAVE NOTICES VERY BAD SWEELING IN MY ANKLES ALL THE WAY UP TO MY KNEES DOES THE SWEELING AND VERY VERY  VERY HURTFUL PAIN HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS , IVE HAD EVERY TEST FROM HUNDREDS OF BLOOD TEST TO MRI'S TO ULTRA SOUNDS FOR BLOOD CLOT'S EVER SINGLE TEST CAME OUT CLEAN AS I DON'T KNOW WHAT.. THE SWELLING BEGINS IN ANKLES THEN LEG'S ALL THE WAY UP TO MY KNEE, I HOPE SOME ONE OUT HERE CAN HELP . I;M SCARED TO DEATH , AND ON TOP OF THIS I,M BYPOLAR BAD . LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER AND THIS I.M GOING THROUGH DON'T HELP A BIT .... PLEASE HELP ME
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My daughter has been on 10,mg Methadone for 10 years for severe back and leg pain but the doctor now is talking about taking her off it.  What now, hse is more afraid of the pain than the withdrawal?  Can a Dr. really do this cold turkey?
Helpful - 0
5347058 tn?1381188426
Hi there and welcome! This is an old thread that you are posting on. If you go to the top of the page and hit the orange 'post a question' link you can start your own post, tell your story, and ask questions you may have. That will help more people to see it which means more advice and support. I don't have any personal experience with Methadone, but there are a ton of folks on here that do. There is also a forum called 'living with an addict' on this site. You might want to check that out to get some support for yourself. Please take care and I wish you and your brother all the best.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
i was wondering if anyone could help me with helpin my brother get off methadone what is the best method and should he see a dr to do it,,,he told me he takes 2 pills a day n has done this for a yr now . what can he take to help him as well such as vitiamins n such
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
go as low on the done as is possible and then skip a day on the absolute lowest dose   even .25 mg per day  that is a very strong positive determined way to reduce ....u must have given up heroin completely to achieve this otherwise its pointless stay on done til you are ready
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
i have used heroin for about 20 years off and on  in australia methadone is the program available for  minor cost to assist with your heroin addiction. they also use suboxone or similar which is buprenorphine.
for many years i fluctuated on methodone from low dose to med dose just enoughto make my heroin use as painless as possible....no money couldnt use therfore being on done was a good crutch and saved me from greater harm...it really is a matter of harm and crime minimalisation.   i was never brave enoughto comitt crime so iwould go through frequent withdrawals.  methadone was ideal...now after many years I havefinally just grown weary enough of the cycle ,lost enough and i guess suffered enough to really want to change.

i am proud to say i havent used heroin for over a year and i am finally down to one mg of methadone per day..  while my overall dose was larger i could reduce more i worked on percentage and would reduce 10 percent every  month sometimes if i felt strong every 2 weeks.. i can honestly say coming down from 60 mg s per day  to one mg per day has been by comparison to the unhappiness i have endured ,,,by comparison and realistically not too bad ...that reduction for me has maintained my sleep and  truthfully on the first night or two of  each reduction i was restless but it gets a little easier as u get lower til now... i am finding it harder to make that final leap to zero i will go to half a mg the point 25 then zero...why not what works is good
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi I've been on methadone for 12 years and was on 150ml but now I've managed to come down to 15ml and I often get pain and discomfort at my upper stomach n rib cage sometimes I struggle to take a deep breath so yes I think it is methadone side effects as I've never had this before I started to detox. And see another doctor most doctors don't want to help they think your after more medication so seek a second opinion as it could be something called helicobactor it's a stomach infection or ulcer causes indigestion Etc but gets worse with onions garlic things like that !!! Just thought it could be that too...best of luck
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi I've been on methadone for 12 years since the age of 21 I started on 150ml and now have reduced myself to 15ml and starting to feel emotional back pain runny nose struggling to sleep all night (broken sleep) and weird dreams but mostly my feelings are coming back. Ok it's not too bad at all but I'm so terrified as its been so many years I've been on this **** !!! Anyone got any advice they can give ?? I thought come down to 4/5 ml then try diazepam for a 14 day dettox ? Is this the best thing to do as I don't want subutex or any other thing like that. Thank you
Leanne
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Can someone help me? I have been on Methadone for 70 months now which is almost 6 years. I was at 150 mg for 2 years then down to 120 for another 2 years and now I've come down to 50 mg at about 1 mg per week. Lately, I get some chest discomfort and chest pain but the doctors don't know what it is. I think it's methadone side effects. Has someone else ever experienced chest discomfort while being on Methadone? If so ? Should I worry or will it eventually go away?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My boyfriend is currently going to a methadone treatment center. He has been hooked on pain medication for many many years. He has been going to the methadone clinic for about two years. He has been tampering down on his medicine for about 2-3 months now. He was at 170mg daily. He will drop down 5mg every week. He really is trying to make a change in his life and wants to get back to his normal life. He is absolutely terrified of being dope sick. He also has seasonal depression. Now that summer is over and it is working its way to fall and winter he is currently depressed, but also may be from coming off the methadone. He is at 20 mg right now, he gets "take homes" so sometimes he is taking up to two a day if he is feeling really bad. Is that okay to do while trying to come down completely? Also I have been trying my best to find vitamins that should be taken when he is completely clean of methadone or some he should be taking while detoxing. We are trying to make it through this together and I plan on doing whatever I have to do to help him through this. This is very important for him, to be able to move forward in life. For us both to move forward in life, he needs to do this. Before I used to pressure him to get off methadone, but I know in order for him to steer clear completely then he had to do it on his own time. I am so proud of him for stepping up and making the choice to do this.

Right now he is occasionally throwing up, sweating, stomach pains, and ALWAYS tired, loss of appetite. Even though he is ALWAYS tired he seems to fight his body to stay awake. I am not sure why he does this. His sleeping pattern is totally messed up. He usually gets in the bed at 3-4 am and sometimes sleeps ALL day. He gets upset with himself for doing so. He also feels like he is wasting his life doing this, which also ties in with the depression. Last night as we were talking and researching online to look for help during these hard times, he said to me, "babe, just help me find something to get my body back to normal." I want to help him so bad.

If anyone has any tips please let me know,
Thank You!

-CM
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi all, I've just been reading through these thoughts that people are posting about their experiencing with methadone.

I'm currently on methadone syrup, which I get from my local chemist daily. I personally have found it to be a life-saver as it has helped me break the cycle of going out every day to score H or Oxy or whatever and spending many days sick as a dog because I'm broke and get afford to "get on".

I've been slowly decreasing my dose and am now down to 4.5ml (or 22.5mg), and since it's a low dose I'm reducing it buy .5ml aprox every month so I don't feel too bad while adjusting.

This works for me because I have to go in every day to pick up my daily dose, so there's no option to take too much and get high or overdose and most importantly I have not used any other illicit drug for the best part of 4 months.

It's a slow process and there's still a way to go yet, but things are really looking up and I'm starting to put my life back together. At the end of the day it's up to the individual to make a decision to get clean and not just say "I'll try" but to actually start making changes. It takes time but it is so worth it! For the first time in such a very long time I actually am feeling happy again and feel like I have a chance at doing something with my life, and not just barely existing as I have for so many years.

Well that's my $0.02 worth of my personal life experince anyway. I just hope that if you are reading this and you are in a really bad place at the moment, just know that a lot of people have been there too and that there is still hope and that it's never to late to make a change :)
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
were you really at 1250mg of methodone or was this a typo?  My boyfriend detoxed after 2 years, its been about a month and he still is having difficulty sleeping and he has to fight through drug cravings each day but he is making it. One day at a time.  He was constantly having to be taken up because his metabolism just went through the methodone like crazy and he didnt want to keep doing it.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I so agree, your not alone good luck
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
HI Gnarly,
I have read your comments and they definately gave me more will power,..  i have been on methadone for about five years now approx, in the last two years i have been slowly cutting it down. Im taking 0.2mg a day now, yes under 1mg. Since 5mg downwards took a long time, the anxiety and depression was crazy from 5mg down,. My head seems to be so messed up all the time,. in a week i should be on 0.1mg,.. i know what im taking now is little compareed to many, but yes i am worried about the post effects when i stop taking,. At this level of mg should i just kick it? or should i continue the way i do untill im drinking water pretty much,.. or this level of mg (0.2) , will my body still notice it if i kick it ? Or u think its all in my head ?
Thank You for your help,.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am done to 30 mg I weening ff very slow where by last week I would be down to half of a 5 mg each pill I cut down to I do each one seven days if Ido that should I be ok with with drawls. And I feel more in mouth then had before that's why I went n it
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi, I wanted to ask for for some advice. I been on methadone for 18 years. I started off at 90 mg. been coming down and now at 54 mg. I been at 54 for a few years already. Anyways my point is medical is covering the methadone but I'll be off medical in June. I wont be able to pay for the methadone so I know I'll be kicking, so I want to know if you know what can help with the withdraws ?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hey gnarly_1........is it u that knows about the zinc and magnesium for methadone wd?  tapering off 80mg for 2 yrs..I'm at 50mg...but may need to speed things up...I dont's have time to keep going down 3mg a week...have u heard about puriphyte???? saw it on the thread...trying to get on more recent thread :>  Please let me know...anyone??
Helpful - 0

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