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9998412 tn?1407450397

Need Help to Stop Taking Norco

Good morning,

This is tough for me to write because it means I have to admit to myself that I have a problem.  A little background - I have been taking 4 to 6 Norco 10/325 pills daily for the last 5+ years.  I began taking them to deal with neck/back pain that was the result of breaking my neck (C5 fracture) in 1993.  I had a C4 - C6 fusion after my initial injury and lived for several years relatively pain free until about 8 years ago when I developed bone spurs at the top/bottom of my fusion.  These spurs cause a great deal of pain, especially after any sort of strenuous activity (exercising, yard work, etc.).  The pain was so bad that I was prescribed Norco by my primary care physician.  I signed a pain management agreement with him and have been on them ever since.  There was a brief period where he had me try the Fentanyl patch instead and that was horrendous so I went back to the Norco.  So basically I have been taking the Norco for so long now that I feel like I "need too" - both physically and psychologically.  I'm 43 years old and I don't want to be beholden to narcotic pain killers the rest of my life...  Regardless of whether or not they help with my pain I believe I am addicted and I don't want to be.  This is where I could really use some advice and guidance.  To be quite honest I'm scared to death after reading how difficult the withdrawal symptoms are.  Many seem to advocate tapering and that is a real possibility for me.  I have about 100 Norco right now but I don't know what a good tapering schedule would be.  I am consistently taking 4 pills a day and sometimes that goes to 6 but mostly it is 4.  Can someone possibly recommend a tapering schedule and any other advice?

Thank you,

27 Responses
271792 tn?1334983257
Hi & Welcome,

It is a violation of our guidelines to give tapering information. That being said, the best way is slow and steady. You should talk with your prescribing physician, express your concerns and ask for a good taper schedule. Also if you could have someone hold them for you and hand them out according to the schedule it will eliminate any temptation to use more. Do you feel that this is something you can discuss with your doctor?
4522800 tn?1470329434
I DITTO the above from IBK..
Meanwhile drink tons of water and start taking some good vit/min..Eat very healthy too..This will help you build up a good immune system to help during the detox period..YOU should NOT have it that bad if you do a nice and easy taper and let your Brain/Body adjust during these drops.
I wish you the best..Support is the key to staying clean.
8976007 tn?1413334250
we cannot give tapering advice, but if you search on this site for 'norco taper' then you will find old posts that do discuss it.

don't be afraid of the withdrawals.  the physical part is the least of your worries, it will be breaking the habit of taking them everyday, craving, triggers, etc that will linger.

you are on a relatively small dose and if you took fentanyl and then stopped that you can do this easily.  

i just stopped taking my percocet i have for breakthrough pain and honestly the withdrawals were nothing compared to my recent fentanyl detox.  
i just take something else (vitamin, motrin, etc) at the normal times i would have taken a percocet.  
i am not going to lie, i have experienced 'trigger' situations where i did reach for a pill.  that was someone who hurt me horribly in the past coming over to visit.  i will try hard to avoid those situations or try and get through it without a pill.
anyway, hope you find the taper advice you are looking for and don't worry, i really do not believe you will suffer horribly.  
9998412 tn?1407450397
Thank you for the advice.  Speaking with my Dr. is definitely an option. My concern would be that once it is documented would any future need be mitigated by this tapering off?  Maybe that's just me rationalizing...  I will keep you posted.


Avatar universal
IMO there's a big difference between someone who takes their meds as prescibed for years and someone who is a addict. I had a family member who was on hydro for over 10 years from a serious accident. They always took it as prescribed never taking more. Me on the other hand went from taking them as prescribed to taking as many as I needed! Never once did a doctor tell me that it's just to keep the pain under control not to feel like superman all day. Long story short my family member did a taper and had almost zero withdrawals while I went thru heck to get off them. With that in mind I really believe that you can do this with the help of your doctor. Good luck my friend.
1926359 tn?1331591739

You are gonna be just fine.  Your dose is low and tapering will not be uncomfortable- maybe a tiny bit but not much.  It's really all going to be a mental thing.  Even if you're not using the pills to get high, we get into pill taking habits.  You can replace the norcos that you would normally take with a tylenol or ibuprofen.  For example, when you go down to 3 a day, take them at the normal times and then the fourth time take a non-narcotic pill.  I did this and it really helped me out mentally. A taper only works if you go down, stabilize, and then go down some more.  If you drop too fast you will feel it and may be tempted to double dose to get 'normal' again.  This is dangerous so as IBK said it's best if you can get someone to hand them out to you.
Also, you are probably going to find you are in LESS pain off the opiates than on.  Long term opiate use/abuse creates more pain receptors.  When you've been totally clean for about a month you will have a better idea of what your true pain levels are.
I was in 90% LESS pain one month post detox than I was on the opiates.  And I have 4 fairly severe chronic illnesses that cause pain.  I had to work really hard to manage that pain without narcotics, but I did, and it was awesome.  For 2.5 years. Recently I had a very bad relapse of my stage 4 endometriosis which is the ONLY one of my chronic illnesses that cannot be managed without narcotics.  I tried for 7 months but my quality of life was so low and I was so altered by pain that I had to give in at the behest of my family, partner, and doctors.  I signed an opiate contract and upped my support.  After my upcoming surgery I'll do a taper and then hopefully be done forever.  My point is that when I got clean I told my doctor I had a problem with my pill use and I wanted off.  I did taper until my dose was low enough to jump safely at home.  I was on a VERY high dose.  About ten times what you are taking now and for a very long time.  

Your use is long but not high and as the poster above me said it will probably not be as hard as you think it is.  You will absolutely know after you get through the w/d and are clean whether you are an addict, or simply dependent on the drugs.

All the best.
Keep posting...
9998412 tn?1407450397
Thank you very much for your post, it gives me confidence to know I can do this.  

9998412 tn?1407450397
Ok, here is an update.  I decided not to go to my doctor.  Rightly or wrongly I came down on the side of not wanting it in my record.  I'm a disabled veteran receiving benefits from the VA and I am very fearful of this becoming a rallying point for the VA to threaten my disability compensation.  I'm sorry if that that sounds weak ... Anyhow, I came up with a taper schedule on my own to try and make the withdrawal symptoms easier to deal with.  Essentially I'm incrementally going to zero over 5 weeks.  I am on my 3rd day of cutting back to 3 pills per day.  Even that little bit is already causing withdrawal symptoms and last night was somewhere close to the 7th ring of hell.  I slept off and on for maybe 3 hours and it seemed like every joint in my body was screaming in pain.  Maybe it's just psychological but it was not pleasant at all.  Unfortunately we don't have a bathtub so I can't use that for the joint pain...   Just wanted to check and let you all know I am committed to seeing this through.  I let my wife know what is going on and she is being great and very supportive.  I will keep you all posted.
9668401 tn?1405180284
You can do it bro!! I came off a10 to 15 a day of norco I was real big abuser. With that said I'm on day 25 and day gets alittle bit easier. Dont give up no more norcos!!!!!!!
1926359 tn?1331591739
hey there-

Welcome back and thanks for the update.  Take Advil and tylenol for the pain.  No bath su*ks but hot showers are a good alternative.  Look up the amino acid protocol in the health pages.  This is essential for rebuilding your body and brain.  Get some melatonin to help with the sleep issues and try doing meditation at night.  If you go over to the social forum I posted a Yoga Nidra mediation link.  It is specifically for those dealing with chronic pain and addiction.  Be as active as possible during the day to get those natural endorphins pumping and make sure that you get plenty of potassium.  Bananas are your best friend.  Voltaren is great for joint and muscle pain so try rubbing it on your limbs at night after a hot shower.
Avatar universal
I am on day 61 off Norco 10/325 (4-6 per day). Personally I didn't taper but I also was stopping 4 other meds and this is what was best for MY situation.
I Took the vitamins from the "Thomas Method", MA DE myself get out of the house, took LOTS of hot showers/bath utilizing the bathroom heater to make me sweat and did as much as I could to sweat!!
I was AMAZED at how much less pain I have since getting off the meds. And I actually did this 2 weeks before I was supposed to gave my third back surgery. I know I will eventually need it but I canceled it for now. The first 3 days was HELL and it took 3-4 weeks for sleep to get normal.
You got this dude!!!
8976007 tn?1413334250
i totally get not wanting to tell your doctor.  
i told my doctor 'i want to see where my real pain levels are without meds'.  she is NOT happy and really pushes fentanyl, but this is my body not her's.
you don't have to say 'i am an addict', but you may have to say something to explain why you no longer want the meds.  just a suggestion.
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