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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

I need encouragement (oxycontin withdrawal)

Hello folks,

Some of you may have seen my initial question, in which I explained how I became an oxycontin addict (by participating in a clinical trial).  I was asking then whether it was better to taper off of it or switch to suboxone.  

I ended up tapering, and took my last (or so I thought) 10 mg pill two weeks ago tomorrow.  It's been rougher than I expected, with ongoing wd symptoms, notably the stomach stuff (the kind that call for Immodium), and worst of all, depression and anxiety.

Last weekend I found a stray pill from the trial.  Since they were all encased in this gray shell, I had to pull it apart to see what dose it was.  Damn, only a 10 mg.  Some were 40's, and I had been on 100 mg per day before this trial ended and I started tapering down.

So, although I know I should have flushed the pill, I took half last night and half today.  I expected to feel good at least for a while, but I can't say it worked.  Today seemed worse than normal, so I probably just prolonged the agony by taking it, but I succumbed to the illusory promise of some relief.

I keep toying with going to someone for suboxone, but I keep thinking this has to get better soon, and I'd just end up with another drug I had to taper off of and withdraw from.  Enough already!  Someone should only have to do this once in their life.

So, for those who have quit through whatever means, I'm looking for some encouragement.  It would not be an exaggeration to say these have been the worse two weeks of my life, and the time spent tapering was no picnic either.  

Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated.

Richard
17 Responses
Avatar universal
from a trial? Wow its amazing to see how such a short period of time can change a person. Have you had addiction problems in the past or was this your first problem with substance abuse? I have a few tips as well as these questions though.


Google the Thomas recipe. Its an amazing tool that can really help with your w/ds. Also from my personal experience its also good to keep a small supply of alprazolam aka Xanax for sleep and anxiety, if you don't feel comfortable with ingesting more drugs to recover from your addiction than I'm not sure what to tell you. Also immodium is a life saver for those "stomache problems" bananas are a huge help as well, not sure why I would just imagine the potassium helps your body recover. Someone once told me that the w/ds are caused by a lack of vitamins that you lose while taking opiates so vitamins are a must in my eyes to recover from such a heavy addiction. Stay with it though it'll pass as long as you don't slip up again!
Avatar universal
You don't have to google the Thomas Recipe though, it is posted in the Health Pages in the top or the bottom right corner of your screen. Wishing you all the best!!
Avatar universal
You have worked so hard to get where you are that I don't think you need to try suboxone. I am tapering off myself, going slow I took 37.5mg oxycodone yesterday and 45mg today. I was taking oxycontin for a damaged spine, taking the prescribed amounts but I want to quit. Tried c/t and it felt like someone was pounding a nail in my lower back.

I think you have come so far and done it with willpower so I would have to think you're just about to turn the corner. If you're not using them already maybe some vitamins and mineral/herbal supplements.  And even though it wasn't for me 25 years ago I would suggest going to a NA meeting. If there is a NA chapter near you try 2 or 3 meetings and see if it may help you. Its always good to have support.
Avatar universal
Thank you, you three.

Yes, I had had run-ins with substance-abuse and alcohol problems in the past, and have abstained from alcohol and drugs most of the last 23 years.  This trial lasted almost 4 1/2 months, though, and the dosages started at 40 mg and titrated up to 100 mg.  

I was in bad shape just trying to go down to 40, immediately after they ended the trial, so I got some more medication and did a semblance of a rational taper (I did have my own secret stash that I got out and began using as well).  .

But I have taken heart knowing that my exposure was relatively short, as these things go.  The times in the past I've overdone it with hydrocodone I would take them every day for a month or two and then just quit, and my worst withdrawal was just being very sleepy for a few days.  Nothing at all like this.  

I went and got some supplements today, but I'll check out the Thomas recipe specifically.  What I got were SAM-e and 5-HTP.  

Franco, I attended AA for about a dozen years, and although I made many great friends and got a lot from it, I ultimately decided it wasn't for me.  NA would be good to find folks who have been where I am.  I didn't mention alcohol, but I'm been drinking lightly, in a vain attempt to feel slightly better.  I finally decided it's not working, and could be complicating my withdrawal, so I've told some folks I'm quitting the alcohol this weekend.  

I have to hope and believe the worst of this is nearly over.  I've read stories of folks on much higher doses who went C/T and suffered a lot for a couple of weeks, but then were better.  It's been two weeks.  I want to feel better, because this just isn't living, it's going through the motions all the time with sick feeling in your gut and a sense that life isn't worth living if this is as good as it gets.
501205 tn?1227345442
Hi there, Another supplement that I dont hear metioned very often but is a lifesaver with wdls is Vitamin B Complex -- has to be complex.  The first time I ever tapered off pills, I did so with no initial pain and was able to sleep and everything.  Then, five days after the last pill I got the worst wdls ever.  An addiction counselr told me to take B Complex and I did and it really helped. Supplements dont usually work for me either, but this was like a wonder drug.
Wish you the best.
Avatar universal
Thanks, Studiogirl.

I'm taking a multio that's pretty loaded with B-complex, plus I'm on pharmaceutical Niacin for cholesterol control   I will maybe look to raise my consumption of the B-complex, though, as anything that can possibly help sounds like a boon to me.

I also take a lot of other stuff, such as Fish Oil for the Omega-3's, Glucosamine-Condroitin/ MSM for joint pain, and various stuff for help with prostate stuff.  I also take CoQ10, for general heart health, and because I to take a statin drug for cholesterol.  

My health has been generally excellent, other than the joint pain which caused me to get interested in this study.  I'm going to load up on the B-complex, though, at your suggestion.  

On the food front, for some reason I've been rather obsessed with comfort food of various types, which usually turns out to be not particularly healthy.  I had lost quite a bit of weight going into this study and somehow I've managed to keep most of it off, despite the beer, hamburgers, pasta, pizza, and such that I've been drawn to over and over.  It's like, dammit, if I have to feel so crappy, I can at least look forward to some satisfying food at the end of a day.  I exercise nearly every day, but the intensity has fallen off since starting withdrawal.  Some days I can barely make myself go into the gym, and then I want to quit from the first moment I'm there.  I just tough it out and do as much as I can.  It helps, in terms of mood, which is why I do it (besides wanting to look good).

Tonight I drank enough to put me into a halfway decent mood.  Most nights I've held the consumption down.  We'll see if I pay the price tomorrow.  Sunday is scheduled to be my last drinking day.

It's amazing how hopeless this feels when you're in it.  I know that people have gotten through this to the other side, but one of the symptoms is the sense that it's all over, you're always going to feel crappy from now on, and there's nothing you can do.  That's why these forums are so great, to remind one that it can be done and people do regain their lives.  I feel right now like a shattered wreck of the individual I was six months ago.
372416 tn?1242665752
Wow!  I was here for a while, but never heard from someone that got hooked by trial.

That really sucks!

Have you done other painkillers before that made you feel good, or was this your first experience?
Avatar universal
Hi Richard,

I was here a couple of weeks ago, mainly lurking and read your first post about the clinical trial and how they brought you up to 100mg and then cut you off and said goodbye right?

I remember reading that post and was fuming mad at what some of these doctors and scientists do to people. I couldn't believe that they got you good and addicted and then just cut you off completely.  That is crazy, IMO.  I felt really bad for you and I am glad to see that you now have got 2 weeks behind you now.  It can only get better from here and I wish you the very best and stay away from clinical trials.;-)

You said you bought samE and 5htp?  I did the same but someone on here said they do the same thing and we only need one or the other.  I haven't taken any of mine yet so I can't tell you which is best.  Maybe someone will read this and tell us both.

Lyn
Avatar universal
I am now just 13 days off pills and I was so sick but when I got a b- complex and SamE because of everyone here who said try it I'll tell you it really helped! I am still going through withdraw (was on them for 8 years) but it did take the edge off.

I can say everyone here is great and just ask about anything and someone here will know how to give some advice...... I beleive if I hadn't found this site I am not sure I could of got off of these devil pills.... I think the withdraw as bad as the withdraw still is ,
it  would of been unbearable without the extra help with vit.

And i am no expert but it does seem like you should be turning the corner real soon..
Hang in there please you came this far you should be so proud already...

                                                            Outgoing
473384 tn?1210206242
I know how you feel, richard, and I know how hard it is. I know we were both so gung-ho when we started on this forum however many weeks ago it was.... I wondered what had happened to you, and had looked you up a few times and saw no more activity. I was hoping you were ok.

for me, I never got my taper down past around 55-60mg/day. I got down to that level and then stalled, then stopped the anti-inflammatory I was taking (required 7-10 days before surgery) and my pain became so severe that I upped my narcs back up to ~100mgs a day. and they're not even working, that's what scares me. I don't know how high I'd have to go to get pain relief, and then where will that leave me when I have my surgery? my surgery has been postponed from monday the 19th until the 28th, so I have about 12 more days to go.

I really want to encourage you, richard. what do you want? do you want to stop, or do you want to keep using? and I mean long-term, as in "who do you want to be?", not just "what will feel good right now?".

I think these drugs are extremely hard to get off but I really do believe that once we get off we can stay off. you have made the hardest part, getting off altogether (I envy you, I have not had the strength to do what you did!!), and you have only used 1/2 pill (I think), or at least, very little and for a very short time. I know it would be very difficult, but I would flush them, and then go find a meeting to go to and talk about it. find a meeting before you flush them. have a friend go in the bathroom when you flush, but do it. and flush them all. it will feel like you are trying to convince yourself to cut your arm off, but I sincerely believe you will feel better after.

I remember one time when I flushed after I had had gyn surgery, and I really didn't need the pain pills anymore -- I actually cried when I flushed them. but I felt so much better after that. I called a friend in AA and told them, and they really gave me so much praise, it made me feel so good! and I went to a meeting and talked about how mad I was to have to throw them out. all of those things helped.

can you go to a hobby store and get like a puzzle or something that you will enjoy doing this weekend, or get some seeds you can plant, or something else you might enjoy?

anyway -- keep us all posted on how things are going. I wish you the best.

kittykat58

I
401095 tn?1351391770
Seems as tho u r too far along to go back and start sub....keep moving forward...i think starting sub at this point would be a step backward...u can do it...sounds like u have done it before....I would steer clear of anymore trials involving addictive drugs!
Avatar universal
Kittykat and Worried and everyone, thanks.

Thursday was a terrible day, when I posted my question.  Today was much better.  Much less stomach pain, no need for immodium, and a lessening (although by no means elimination) of the depression.

One way I can tell how depressed I am is if ordinary stuff in my life makes me happy, even a little bit.  Most of these last few weeks, while I was tapering and then after I quit, nothing much did it.  Today, as I always do when working out, I listened to my iPod.  It was one of the first times in a while I really enjoyed the songs that came up.  Oddly enough, that was a big mood booster.  

Worried, you can bet I'll never enter a trial again.  I can't say that I didn't know to some extent what I was doing.  I knew it involved strong pain meds, both the investigational medication and what turned out to be oxycontin as a control group.  I knew oxycodone was percocet's active ingredient but beyond that I wasn't sure until I was already enrolled.

But I was so overconfident of my ability to get off the stuff, or not get hooked, that I was actually glad when I figured out that oxycodone ER was, in fact, the dreaded oxycontin.  Oh boy!  People really like this stuff.  It must be good.

I just didn't know how hard the withdrawals would be.  I had taken vicodin before for months at a time and quit with not too much drama, just a couple of not so great days.  This was a whole other league of withdrawal.  I'm hoping it's nearing the end.  

I've been taking the SAMe and I took some probiotics as well.  The stomach has been better, possibly due to the massive doses of immodium I took yesterday.  It's just hell to go day after day with a gnawing pain in your stomach.  I guess that won't come as a bulletin to most here.
Avatar universal
Oxycontin is an insidious drug.  I originally was told (as were we all) that it was a non addictive pain medication.  That was in 1995.  Because my doc wasn't aware either, I went thru withdraw more times than I care to recall.  After 12 yrs I was taking 400+mg/day combination oxycodone and hydrocodone.  I asked my Dr to ween me off, it took 4 months and even with that length of time it was nasty (not as bad as the cold turkey days) but rough all the same. I have been totally free of opioids for a little more than a year now.
I guess the length of time for wd depends on the dosage taken and probably the individual.  I know when I was coming off them my Dr prescribed a heavy dosage of anti-depressant which mostly made me sleep and exacerbated the wd symtoms.  In retrospect I understand why he prescribed them, but I felt so bad and so weak for so long.  I don't want to discourage you, but you need to prepare yourself for how long the wd takes.  After taking my last pill the thing that stayed with me the longest was the physical weakness and that damned cough.  After the four month weening period, it was another six months before I could function somewhat normally, but I took pretty heavy doses for a very long time so I guess my body needed alot of recoup time. Nowadays, I'm feeling fine. Mine was probably a worst case scenario.
It sounds like you may have gotten thru the hardest part, just hang in there, it will get better.  I personally wouldn't try the Suboxone at this time unless you get to a point where you feel you're going to take the pills again just to relieve the wd.
I have been researching Suboxone lately after discovering my son's H addiction.  I've spoken to many doctors over the last few weeks (one of whom told me that oxycontin withdraw is actually worse than heroin withdraw, I don't know if that is true or not) and have decided that Suboxone may possibly be a miracle treatment for opioid addiction.
Maybe someone who has experienced the Suboxone treatments will let you know what they think.  My son says it's the only thing that's given him hope.
Anyway, it really stinks that in this day and age a clinical trial could be conducted using oxycontin.  The original pharmaceutical company that produced oxycontin (Purdue) has known from the beginning how addictive it was, their excuse...?  Because it was originally intended for terminal cancer patients they never bothered to conduct research past a couple years because they didn't feel any of the receipients of the drug would still be alive.  Nice guys, huh?
Hang in there, try to keep up your spirits, eventually, you'll feel much better.

                                                                            MikesMom823
Avatar universal
Hi MikesMom,

I want to thank you and everyone else for their comments.

I'm happy to report that today an amazing thing happened.  I was very active, going to the gym and also doing some stuff outdoors, and I noticed that I had pretty good energy and my stomach has been better.  When I got home I was tired and decided to take a little nap, and something woke me up and I was just laying there thinking, and I suddenly realized that I....might....be....happy.  Happy!  I hadn't felt anything quite like that in a while.  Not only that, I realized that I was probably going to be happy again.

This sounds kind of stupid to type, but I suspect most who have been though a withdrawal of this type know what I mean.  

The design of this study, now that I know what I know about this drug, was absolutely stupid and in my opinion borders on sadistic.  The protocol called for my group, the oxycontin group, to start on 20 mg twice a day and work up.  I spent the bulk of the time, probably a couple of months, at 80 mg per day, but we were also allowed to take more if we felt we needed it.  

And then the last two weeks they upped me to 100 mg per day, and I was taking more than that, because I had a large stash I had saved up by dropping my dose to 60 mg per day on my own in a vain early attempt to taper down.  

And then, without warning, I show up one day and they tell me there's no more study medication.  I already knew what my group was getting because I opened up the capsules and looked it up, and by then I had also looked at a few sites such as this one and knew a bit about what I was in for.   I had to beg and practically cry to get them to write me a scrip for 20 x 20 mg and that was supposed to be it.  After getting very sick that first weekend I got them to give me enough to properly taper off.

But the study protocol called for the meds to just stop, and nobody was supposed to be enrolled who was ALREADY on any of these strong drugs.

Now that I've experienced this kind of withdrawal, even without going cold turkey as they wanted me to, I can easily envision people just losing it during the withdrawal period, especially if they're being told that they should be fine.  Nevermind that the pain would undoubtedly come back on them.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised to find a high rate of suicide.

So, anyway, I'm more hopeful now than I was when I first wrote in.  Thanks for the support, everyone.
Avatar universal
Glad to hear you are feeling better.  I think that this clinical trial you were in was definitely conducted without any regard for the health of the participants, certainly unethical and I think criminal.
My family doctor who writes my script for oxycontin would never start anybody on this med.  He only does it for me and a few others who were started on it by a neurologist who put many people on it after a procedure called the IDET (which he wasn't supposed to be doing, not a true surgeon).  The neurologist closed his practice a month later and fled. It turns out that his license had been suspended in other states so he moved here. He's moved 3 times since he left here. I feel like he was working for the drug companies because before the surgery I took only 1 or 2 vicodin most days, and some days none.
After the procedure he put me on oxycontin 40 mg, 2 or 3 per day and the pain was much worse than before the IDET.

So it's obvious that the medical industry sometimes cares more about profits than patients well-being.
Avatar universal
so I have completely gone through the withdrawals more then 10 times. i have a very good detox program. I was taking up to 6 roxys a day. i taper myself down to 2 a day in about 2-3 months. once i get to that low i start taking 2 mg (1/4 of 8 mg strip) a day for about 6 days. on the 7th day you will most likely feel fine because of the amount of suboxone you built in your system. on the 8th day you will have very minor w/d symptoms if you have access to a sauna or hot tub these can be extremely useful. i usually hit the sauna on day 8-15, by day 16 the symptoms should so minor you barely notice, the urge to take an oxy and the lack of sleep will last about 3-4 weeks. Xanax is a very useful tool for anxiety and sleep throughout this whole process. (but do NOT try to replace your opiate addiction with xanax). only take at max 1-2mg a day. after about a month you should be feeling almost 100 percent. 3 months later you will be opiate free, all you have to do is avoid relapse and NOT TAKE ANOTHER PILL EVER! Ive been clean for 2 years now and have never been happier.
Avatar universal
Hi there, and thanks for your comment.  This thread is now three years old, and I'm happy to say I've been off the oxy the whole time.

I did have a stretch where I took some vicodin, but even that was very short term and never rose to a physical addiction.  Now, despite having some chronic pain (worse than when I enrolled in the trial), I don't take any opiod meds and haven't for nearly 17 months.

Good job on getting off that nasty stuff, yourself.
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