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Avatar universal

How to withdraw from long-term hydrocodone use

I've been taking hydrocodone for the past five years, and at maximum prescribed levels (1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours - - which, naturally, means 2 every 4 hours) for the past two.  How do I get off this stuff?  Cold turkey?  Phased withdrawal?
255 Responses
Avatar universal
Your not taking a real high dose, I would try tapering down a bit, but probably only over the next 3-4 weeks, then just stop, the withdrawal shouldn't be awful if you have only been taking the amount you had said you were taking.  A thing to remember is withdrawal is not that bad when you go through it the first time, but if you go through withdrawal over and over, it keeps getting worse. You might want to look at Thomas's recipe as something you  might take when you are off the meds, a lot of people swear by it.  Anyway, I apologize for asking a question on your post, but I once again screwed up, I need help!! I started taking the oxy's again, I need some uplifting posts today guys, I'm STRUGGLING and its not pretty.  I hope all is well with everyone, keep it up!!

P.S - how long have you been taking the hydro for?? it sounds like you could get out somewhat easy if you got out now, and remember, when you find yourself saying, I just want one more pill, it NEVER WORKS THAT WAY!! "just when I think I'm out, they suck me back in"

Withdrawal symptoms: bone aches, chills, cold sweats, restless leg, depression, etc... its not fun, thats why Im telling you to stop while your not that bad.......

GWH
2 Comments
I went back to taking Hydro's .5 twice every 6 hours like yourself** Sometimes even more depending on my pain** I've got 3 medical situations I've been dealing with since 1992** Started on Loratab to percocet, to Demerol, to FENTANYL Patches+ 90 percocet a month** Yes I was addicted very badly!! But I had a smashed collarbone, austoartritis, Hep C, Cirosus of the liver, and Achalisia, a disease of the esophagus!! I was in a whole lot of pain** Even started useing 3 different Drs. To get 3 time's the meds** And still managed to play the drums for 7 more years ,while high as a kite** I had over 30 accidental overdoses from mixing FENTANYL and Xanax, eventually causeing a seizure condition!! This went on for 16 years** I watched a lot of my CLOSEST FRIEND'S DIE, due to mixing different C2s and even Herion** My Family talked me into moving to Florida in 2011 and I sought treatment, mostly because you can't Dr. Shop down here!! He put me on Butronorphine for 3 months and I was off all meds for the first time in 16 years!! But I was still in a lot of pain!! Went to a DR. And just told him the whole twisted truth,!! He put me on .5 Loratab like yourself and that was 5 years ago!! I know myself better than anyone so if I'm hurting I'll take a couple, if not I won't!! But they don't affect me like they used too, no Rush, no big energy boost** Just relieves my pain** So If you have Cronic pain, stay where you are!! Trust me!! It's better to hurt a little than to be druged out of your mind!! RICKY BUZALSKI!!! Hope this has helped!! Lol!!
I went back to taking Hydro's .5 twice every 6 hours like yourself** Sometimes even more depending on my pain** I've got 3 medical situations I've been dealing with since 1992** Started on Loratab to percocet, to Demerol, to FENTANYL Patches+ 90 percocet a month** Yes I was addicted very badly!! But I had a smashed collarbone, austoartritis, Hep C, Cirosus of the liver, and Achalisia, a disease of the esophagus!! I was in a whole lot of pain** Even started useing 3 different Drs. To get 3 time's the meds** And still managed to play the drums for 7 more years ,while high as a kite** I had over 30 accidental overdoses from mixing FENTANYL and Xanax, eventually causeing a seizure condition!! This went on for 16 years** I watched a lot of my CLOSEST FRIEND'S DIE, due to mixing different C2s and even Herion** My Family talked me into moving to Florida in 2011 and I sought treatment, mostly because you can't Dr. Shop down here!! He put me on Butronorphine for 3 months and I was off all meds for the first time in 16 years!! But I was still in a lot of pain!! Went to a DR. And just told him the whole twisted truth,!! He put me on .5 Loratab like yourself and that was 5 years ago!! I know myself better than anyone so if I'm hurting I'll take a couple, if not I won't!! But they don't affect me like they used too, no Rush, no big energy boost** Just relieves my pain** So If you have Cronic pain, stay where you are!! Trust me!! It's better to hurt a little than to be druged out of your mind!! RICKY BUZALSKI!!! Hope this has helped!! Lol!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for your input.  I've been taking these for five years now, the last two at or near the maximum prescribed amount (up to twelve tablets a day of 10/325 Norco), and have been told that quitting cold was dangerous (especially for a geezer), but as a substance abuser need to get off as quickly as possible.  This stuff is killing me.

Fortunately, my doctor refused to renew any scrips for Percocet or oxycontin - - I don't like the way hydrocodone makes me feel, but that other stuff . . . if I'd been taking THAT for five years I'd have been dead for the last three.  I've heard that when you're trying to kick that stuff, it kicks back.  Good luck; as I tell my friends raising young children, "It's only the first twenty-five years that are hard; after that, piece of cake."

Later.
H.P. (HydrocoPhobic, not the other H.P. with whom, in my drug-crazed thinking, I am often confused)
Avatar universal
Taper down slowly.  Then eventually quit.  You have to really really want to stop, or you won't.  Good luck.

Avatar universal
I have been setting here night after night reading you guys talk about being addicted to these pain meds. I never thought of myself as being addicted to anything. I have never been drunk before and I have never done any drugs untill I had my stomach surgery. I had 65% of it removed because of bleeding ulcers. My doctor put me on percocet then that surgery had complacations and caused much pain and I had to have another surgery. This time the doctor put me on percocets and oxycontin 10mg twice daly and because of complations of this surgery I again have pain that is killing me. It was supposed to help me and that doctor messed me up again! Now I am up to 80mg oxycontin Twice a day and about 6 percocets a day. I have moved and the doctor that my doctor from home told me to go to dose not prescribe these drugs. He insted gave me methdone( I do no have a clue as to what this even is.) 10mg tabs and Im supposed to take them two tabs, 3 times a day.  Like I sead before I never thought of meself as being addicted to anything, but I must face fact that I am feeling a strong urge to go to any doctor that will give me what works. I am scared. I have two kids and a loving wife and I dont want to be addicted to anything but I am and I dont no what to do. Can anyone help me please?
Avatar universal
I have a doctor who seems to think all answers come out of a pill bottle. Granted, I have had some relief, but I don't want to be addicted to Lortabs for the rest of my life. I am afraid however of the withdrawal syptoms I will feel when I finally decide to quit. I have gotten myself down to less than is perscribed, but cannot seem to get out of bed unless I know I have one near by. Can anyone explain, in full, what the syptoms are? And, if taking a non-narcotic, such as Ultram for the pain, will help in any way. I take anywhere from one to five Lortabs per day, the higher when I'm working. I know I have somewhat of a grip on it, but quitting scares the daylights out of me. I saw my brother go through withdrawals, and it was not a pretty sight.
Avatar universal
I come here to read everyday just to get insight, strength and support.  I want to say I am the voice of experience...I am not experienced in being sober and giving advice, but I am experienced in dealing with withdrawals and the realization that I am an addict.  I never wanted to know ANYTHING about drugs, had a some wine if at a party, I am ashamed to say I looked "down" at addicts and couldn't get it.  Well, all it took was to become ill with TMJ, migranes and back problems, before long, I too kept needing pills to just "feel" normal, never-mind to get a buzz.  The energy I felt and I could just deal with everything...I could deal with work, teenagers, my health, etc.  BUT only if I had my pills, and mind you I took vicoprofen 7.5 as directed only. Even if I felt the pains of withdrawal come over me...I would wait out that 4-hr., because I WAS NOT AN ADDICT, you see.  Six-months later, I had to accept the fact that I cannot stop...that I have a problem...that I cannot function without...and the withdrawals were getting worse..due to my growing tolerance and addiction.  I was going through mini-withdrawals 3 times a day...this was killing me.  So I de-tox this past weekend.  I bought everything from Thomas' receipe...and went to see a therapist, he gave me something for the anxiety.  All I can tell you is that you begin to feel like your muscles are made of rubberbands...my shoulder blades, ankles, thighs are so tight, it feels like I'm gonna break.  I got chills, fever, hot flashes, nausea, the runs all at once.  But the worst part...has to be the damn depression.  Like I have nothing to look forward to..and so tired.  I know that's the addiction talking...I'm on day 5...they say the first 72 hours are the worst...they were for me...if this haze could just lift...I could deal.  It helps to pray...cry and be here.  Its the only thing keeping me sane.  Is it hard?  and scary?  Hell's yeah...but please read the post "LETHARGY 3 WEEKS LATER" what Monti went through...now that is scary...it ONLY GETS WORSE.  Let's go through this together...let's share the pain...and victory..my tag name is Sadgirl...and I'm not ready to change it..well maybe today to hopeful girl...I hope and pray that my pain and experience can let you see you are not alone...that you did nothing wrong...things just got out of hand...but you'll pull through..we have to have faith.  Hang in there...there are such great people here...I've been blessed by Stars, Lanas and Nod...thank you!
Hopeful girl.
Avatar universal
sadgirl:
your post above has drawn me out from a vacation from posting
that i started taking last weekend. first of all: 5 days is a
huge step that must have taken amounts of courage you didn't know
you had.

i've been abusing drugs (mostly IV) since 1964. i went the whole
spectrum...speed, barbs, heroin...finally to wind up supporting
my habit for over 10 years breaking into drug stores and clin-
ics. i knew a great deal about drugs (esp. opiates) except how to
get off them. then in the late 70's i finally got caught filling
one of my mid-night Rxs. i was looking at 45 years in the state
reformatory. some how i lucked out and only drew a very light
sentence. after getting clear of that (i used the whole time) i
broke my leg below the knee. i was runnig a piece of heavy con-
struction equipment.you know in all those years of shooting all
the dope i could get my hands on , i never once thought what i would do if i ever needed a pain killer. for the next year while my leg was "rebuilt" i sure had a lot of time to think about it!

i went clean for 17 years. i met a wonderful women who is now my
wife, wound up in a good city to live and work in, had a great
job.....and then an injury from 1970 came back to almost wreck
my life. since spring of 2000 i've had two cervical level spine
surgerys. in the winter of 2001 my surgeon told me "one of the
fussion failed, it has to be redone. i'm taking you off all pain
killers and you have to quit smoking for 60 days."....well i
went to a pawn shop, bought a cheap 20 gage shotgun and a box of
shells....a friend talked me out of it--i got me a 72 hour stay
in the local spin bin and a referal to a pain clinic. shortly
after coming home from the spin bin my wife turned me on to this
site. it has saved my life!!!!

today i take 40mg of oxycontin 3 times a day. taking this ****
the way i'm supposed to is the most difficult task i've ever
faced. the last surgery was successful, except i'm in intractable
pain. every 4-5 weeks i take a vacation from oxy for a week to
10 days. i do this to find out where my pain levels are, as i do
not want to be on oxy for the rest of my life if i don't have to.

today is day 5 for me too. before work i swam a non stop mile. i
did the same yesterday. i know all too well about that "nothing
to look forward or to live for....the only advice i have to of-
fer is get up and get moving. i know from expierence, nothing but
using dope can be accoomplished sitting on your ass.

sadgirl, nothing new happens in the world of drugs - except for
getting off them. i've heard all of the tired old excuses for
using come out of my own mouth!!

5 days is a real good toe-hold, so dig in and make a stand for
yourself! get on the l-tyrosine, zink, magnesium, and manganese.
i was amazed how much of a difference they make!

keep posting and keep an angel on your shoulder!
kip
Avatar universal
Kip, Wow!  What a testimony...thank you so much for sharing your pain and for coming out of "vacation", to give ME support...what beautiful people.  It makes me stronger...I only hope someday to repay the blessing.

Hopeful girl.
Avatar universal
I started taking Vicodin last November. 3 per day is my script! I also take klonopin, 2mg per day. The last few weeks I've gone through some medical testing, I seem to have a flu bug/virus for 7 weeks now that won't go away. SO, I started taking more vicodin daily just to get through work. I had an extra bottle from surgery. Anyway, now I'm waking up every morning so nervous I have to take 1mg of klonopin and 2 vicodin just to get out of bed and my 2 girls I raise all alone going! Then the stressful drive through city traffic to a job that is high tech and stressful. I manage an IT deparment! WELL, I wish I had NEVER taken the first narcotic!!! I'm taking them for stress and nerves now, not pain. HELP, what do I do, where do I turn??? I've been in a detox center once which was wonderful cause my insurance and company sent me to the finest in the country!!! I want to cut down slowly. I have 2 daughters to raise, I need to be home. Is there a certain doctor I should be looking for to help with this? I'm taking next week off and going up to my mom's, I'm thinking of toughing it out up there. I don't know, even a month off of work or something. This stuff has taking over my thinking and I'm afraid....

BK
Avatar universal
Hi everyone,
I may be out of place by placing a post here and feel free to put me in my place if I am please!

  I am a recovering addict of almost 11 years.  I was what you would call a teenage addict.  I started very early in life.  From the time I was 8 years old to the time I was 15 years old I spent my life in Rehabs for a year at a time and sometimes more.  I know some of you ask how I had access at that age to the stuff, but I had a broither who was 5 years older than me and since I was always the one in trouble, they never payed attention to what he was in to.  I just want to tell you that it does get better with time.  I can honestly say that I do not have and have not had the urge to drink or pop a pill etc. for years now.  But I still have to keep my guard up at all times.  Becuase they teach you that in AA that once an addict, always an addict.

  I have many medical problems now that require me to take pills such as Lorcet, percocet etc.  and it scares the hell out of me to think of what Im putting in my body.  It makes me physically ill everytime it comes time to take them.  And I dont take them as prescribed either because Im afraid I will get hooked again, so most often I just deal with the pain without them.

  I just wanted to tell all of you who are trying how very proud I am of your willingness to try, and that is does get better, HONEST!  You just have to believe.  I went throught the withdrawls many, many times, but if you canhang through it, it's well worth it.
  Just get God in your life to help see you through it.  "  You can do all things through Christ Who Lives In You"  I sincerely belive that, and you should too.  Good Luck too you all.

Smokeater
Avatar universal
Praise God!!!!  you have no clue how happy i was to read your post tonight!!!!  (made me cry)..  5 days.... what a huge accomplishment....  and i am so so happy for you...  your thru the hardest part...  just keep going forward because i know that you want to free from your addiction badly...  i have been praying for you so much...  thinking about how you are.  wondering if you are okay...  your post tonight even sounded so much clearer, as hard as it may have been for you to write...  i am so tierd i can hardly keep my eyes open....  wiped down walls all day, burnt out....  i will write more later...  i am so proud of you...  so happy...  you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers....  love..... stars!   :)
Avatar universal
I'm going through detox real soon.
I'm afraid that i won't be able to get down the vitamins that i would like to take to make the withdrawal symptoms easier.
Plus, when i'm in withdrawal, i can't eat.
My health has suffered through these times of drug-use, my weight is already very low.
I can't afford to loose any pounds.
I know it's going to be hard to get healthy food down.  When i'm hurting, if i can get any food down, it's sweets.
Basically, i'm afraid of getting to weak!
I am past nervous about all of this! :(
Lv Jenny
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