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1895503 tn?1332376974

Taper or CT

I have been tapering for a couple of months, which has been very hard--but I have made progress.  I don't know if it is best to taper.  It will be at least 2 more months to get off Opana ER 20 mg  3 times a day.  I see so many people going Cold Turkey.  Is it better for me to taper or go cold turkey at this point?

Thanks,
Marie
20 Responses
1926359 tn?1331591739
I came out of the hospital after having my uterus reconstructed in September 2010 and was put on 75 mcg of Fentanyl every 48 hrs plus 8 mg of dialaudid every 4-6 hrs as needed.  I was on bed rest for 6 weeks-2 weeks after that I got married in Mexico...I hardly remember my own wedding and (long story) never should have got married....I left a month later.  I tapered first off the break through medication (took 8 months) then down to 50 mcg Fentanyl every 72 hrs.  I was a disaster....weepy, nauseous-I hated the fentanyl.  I asked my doctor to switch me to a new medication I had heard about called Targin (oxycontin and nalexone) It was a big jump and I went through a week of slight withdrawal.  I felt okay for about a month and then the anxiety started and I had a bad Crohn's and RA flare and went back on the dialaudid breakthrough.  It didn't work.  I was in pain all the time and then the migraine started.  I quit the dialaudid and was taking 100 mg of oxy total a day.  That's when I said 'enough is enough".  All through my illnesses I've asked myself every day "Is this a disease symptom or a side effect of medication?"  "And how can I better improve the quality of my life?"  The anxiety I felt the last two months on the Targin was crushing.  I barely left my bed.  The best way I could describe it is I felt like my soul was dying-my life force diminished.  So first i told my family what I was doing and because I'd made up my mind and it was a weekend I just jumped.  I had the clonidine from tapering, I had a scrip for benzo's which I had stopped taking awhile back, I found this site and I did as much research as I could.  I followed the Thomas Recipe. I had been in the ER three times in that month to treat my migraine.  Within 24 hrs of stopping the opiates it was gone-as was the anxiety.  I felt really good about my decision and haven't regretted it even for one second.  I saw my doctor a few days in and told her-she was so shocked.  "No one ever decides to go off of these drugs".  My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner-that I thought the new drug would be "safe".  But it's a journey...a learning curve-and some lessons learned are harder than others.  Detox is trying physically like nothing else on earth-but I've felt so positive mentally and emotionally (except for the sleep deprivation)  And I think that's the key.  I saw (see) it as taking my life back.  And I'm not afraid anymore.  

What I meant about tapering is that it was just so draining and I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere and i was miserable.  But I'm kind of all in or out kind of girl...Tapering for me was just prolonging my misery.  Everyone's different Marie-no one can decide what's best for you but you.  But we're all here to support you no matter what.  I commend your bravery and thank you back for all your loving support.....Lu
ps
I also made sure I had 'alternative' pain plans i.e. yoga, massage, saunas, therapy...and I'm in pain but it's totally manageable.  (:
Avatar universal
I think that's a really personal decision.

For me, I tried to taper and it never worked.  

I went cold turkey from Opana ER, dilaudid & vicodin.  It's not fun ... but the withdrawls won't kill you.  I'm living proof.  ;)

1926359 tn?1331591739
Hi Marie....I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you are struggling with this-just know that you are supported whichever you choose.  I think that you know the answer in your heart and if I could give you one piece of advice it would be to make the decision from a place of love-rather than fear.  This is what worked for me-I asked myself what I truly wanted and needed to do and then I prayed for the strength and courage to do it....Here I am 15 days later.  It's up to you-your body, your life.  Sending you support....Lu
1895503 tn?1332376974
I so appreciate hearing what is working in your life.  The difficult sides of tapering are that I have learned the hard way that I have to decrease very deliberatively or like the Fri. a couple weeks ago, I can go into withdrawal!  I believe I have finally hit 20 mg. of Opana ER, taken 3 times a day  I had a terrible experience that night.  Thank God I canceled the work party scheduled for that night!  I hate putting my family through this again!

Thanks for sharing what made either tampering or CT. I appreciate your help.
Marie
Avatar universal
Wow that's a long taper but I don't know much about opana except it's very strong.
Taper is hard for me, I felt awful everyday and when I started to fell ok it was time to drop down some more. Maybe do half? Taper a couple more weeks then jump? CT is a week of hEll with another week for your body to readjust. Then meds change our GI and that takes time.
It's good you are doing it. Also good to Dr is helping you
1895503 tn?1332376974
Yes, it is a long taper.  From what I have heard I have to be incredibly deliberate, as I am getting into lower and lower amounts.  If it is 6 times as strong as Morphine (and I cringe when I write that), then I have to take each little mg. as a very strong little entity, and respect it a lot.  I have to respect my body's ability to handle it too.  I recently read about the inpatient detox of someone on 1/2 of what I am on now.  It was pure hell, even with everything inpatient had to offer.  When I was on 40, I called the centers here in the Atlanta area, and no program thought they could handle my situation.  Since then, I have talked to 4 detox programs (before deciding to either taper or ct my way through this IF I CAN).  3 of the 4 said they couldn't get me off this.  I wonder what other people on Opana ER are doing.  Do doctors (and ourselves) just get ourselves out here to no man's land with no hope of getting off this stuff?  As I do this, I remain stunned that I got to this place.  And, I have a major back condition and am doing all I can to deal with what pain I may have left.  I just  know I can't live my life afraid that if the little pill bottle isn't there, I will die or want to!  Plus, this stuff really messes with your emotions (especially when you are tapering of course).  It's pretty darn awful.  Big thanks to all who write me your opinions.
You are my support.  It really helps me.
Marie
1895503 tn?1332376974
I know it has been asked many time,  but how do you handle the anxiety in your taper or going ct.  The worst thing to me is the anxiety.  I absolutely feel petrified, and immobilized.  I hate these feelings.  What makes them better?

Thanks,
Marie
1926359 tn?1331591739
Marie-
For me-I was more fearful while tapering off the fentanyl (very strong drug but not sure the difference because we don't have Opana here) then when I made up my mind to go cold turkey.  I would definitely try to do a rehab centre if I were you.  As for the pain-of which I have a great deal-this time I was not afraid of it because I was still hurting so much while on the pills.  And I had a migraine for a month and ringing in my ears and TERRIBLE anxiety.  My anxiety levels have been way lower since cold turkey.  I am taking a low dosage of benzos and tapering off them and the clonidine is a true life saver.  I didn't actually throw up once during my detox-last time I couldn't even hold water.  My pain levels since detox have been manageable with tylenol arthritis twice a day, hot baths, yoga stretches, and saunas.  It takes awhile for your pain sensors to normalize-but I'm already finding I'm in less pain than I was on the opiates.  What does your doctor say?  Please try not to beat yourself up for being on medication this strong,  when we are sick and in pain we trust doctors to help us feel better.  It's a hard lesson to learn but you're only human after all.  You're a strong woman and I know whatever you decide you are going to be just great...Love...Lu
1895503 tn?1332376974
THAT WAS SO HELPFUL.  AND LULU-- IF YOU EVER WANT TO TEXT-YOU HAVE MY NUMBER.  I FEEL LIKE I KNOW YOU.

What you wrote is exactly what I think is going on with me -- hyperalgesia, increased pain while on the opiates---yes, I have this.  And I have ringing in my ears now, especially in the late afternoons and evening. I have anxiety in the mornings A LOT.  It helps when I do a super structured activity.  I have clonidine, and when I start to taper again, I will take it.  I have .2 which I am suppose to take at night.  i don't know if this is strong enough.  I love hearing that your anxiety levels are lower OFF the med.  This is my biggest desire.  I so want peace!!  I plan to be having peace in the next couple months.  This is just taking soooo long.  I am impatient to taper.  I know myself. I may try to make progress on the 5s ERs I have.  I need to count them--probably 120 of them which is about 13 days I can last, I think.  Unless I am able to taper down to taking 2  5s and then tapering a short-acting 5.  See it is hard since I can't cut the extended relief tablets!  
   I can't be too frustrated with my part in being on these meds.  I have pain issues, and had major back surgery (a new disc placed).  But, I think I have been feeling better the past week.  I am now on both Lyrica and Savella.  I think these or one of them is helping a great deal.  Perhaps this will help you too.
  Big hug,
Marie

And, yes Fentanyl is comparable, but it is a constant dose of a short-acting med (believe it or not).  It is a bit easier than an ER (bc it was recommended I change to it bf tapering) , but it is a bear too.  The fact tx center want me to change to another drug first is the reason I won't go.  I am too scared that it may not be a smooth transition.
   Big hug.  I will be praying for both of us.  For sweet sleep, and health
1926359 tn?1331591739
I just wanted to add that when I was tapering I was so anxious my hands would go numb (usually in the evening) and I couldn't catch my breath.  I went to yoga and forced the breath down into my belly but as soon as I would leave class I would be hyperventilating again.  Within 24 hrs of stopping the opiates all those symptoms vanished-never to return-along with the ringing and pressure in the ears and the constant headache.  I took 2 clonidine at bed time for the whole taper and then amped up my dose for detox.  Detox is hell-but if you have the right tools and the right attitude and medical support (and forum support) you won't die from it-I found I felt better mentally and emotionally almost immediately.  Physical agony I can deal with-but I wanted my soul back...Peace... like you said.  Wishing you peace Marie....Love Lu
1895503 tn?1332376974
I love your replies.  you have so many of the same symptoms, and have had the outcomes I want.  So did you taper for a while first?  and then go ct?  When you say detox was hell do you mean that first you were tapering (during which you were anxious incredibly) and then you went ct (which was hell)?  

It is wonderful to think I can possibly have peace of mind soon!  I so want this so much!  

Big hug,
Marie
1895503 tn?1332376974
I have gotten so many great suggestions.  And a lot of hope to get past this crazy anxiety with the anxiety.

Where I am is at a point of throwing in the the option of whether to do an assessment of how many 5 mg Opana ER's I have that could be used to push this taper ahead more quickly.  (I will look through my old medicine bags).  The problem is I can't cut ER tablets so it seems that cutting and using ERs won't work! Bummer.

If I go through this with a zesto, I can probably get through it.  I will have to use the clonidine and all the tools at my disposal.  But I could finish in January -- actually in 2 weeks IF my body lets me work this plan.  Oh, is the new scale downstairs in the mountain of boxes.  I am going to find out!

Thanks Marie

Should I hold off through the holidays and this travel to Utah or push ahead?
Avatar universal
Marie, i am on a taper off of Norco.  1/2 tablet twice a day.  The anxiety I have is pretty bad in the mornings, but subsides as the day goes.  I am also taking Buspar, a non-addictive anti anxiety med which is slowly starting to work, the anxiety seems to get a tad better everyday.  I'll pray for you, hang in there! Merry Christmas!
Avatar universal
"The only way out, is through it" - wisest words I've ever read.

You're going to have anxiety.  You're going to have withdrawls.  It's going to suck ... but you can get through it.    My anixety was at it's worst when I tried to taper - I would have middle of the night panic attacks when I'd THINK about quitting.  But when I finally put my mind to it and went CT, it was the best thing I did for me and I just trudged through it.  

Opana ER was the last opiate I was on - my pain management doc told me in no uncertain terms (when I asked about other options - I wanted off all the drugs) that I would be on pain medication for the rest of my life as my back was THAT bad.  I have four non-existant discs and severe disc dengeration ... I had back pain, arm pain, hand pain, leg pain, hip pain.  Key word:  HAD.

I've been completely off for over a 100 days and I have almost absolutely no pain at all.  I spent all day yesterday walking around the mall shopping - 6 months ago I would've been in severe pain even on all the drugs.  Now?  I'm almost pain free.  

I fully believe your body creates more pain because it craves the drugs.  

I also believe there are other alternatives that may make a difference - for me, MSM & Osteo bi-flex (along with an overall healthier lifestyle) have made a huge difference.  
1926359 tn?1331591739
Holly-Great post.  You are inspirational to me because our stories are so similar.  My docs told me I'd be on pain meds for rest of my life too.  I refuse to accept that.  I can't wait to be at 100 days...I feel the exact same way about how I'm approaching my pain and my life...In the driver's seat without some drug dictating....(:
Avatar universal
tapering to say the least is tuff ......you dont avoid withdrawals just spread them out over a loger period and make them less sever........after 8 1/2 mo of methadone tapering I had my share of it and was ready to give up many times.....but I stuck it out delt with the withdrawals and broke free from one of the hardest frugs to break free from im do happuy I dident give up my advise to you is strengthen your determination  and resolve make a pack with yourself no mater what your not going to give up and slow down your taper as you get lower in dose you will make it off fine opana is becoming the new oxy it is strong addictive and snortable it will be the scurge of 2012 good luck keep posting I got your message and your plan sounds sound and always KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS......Gnarly  
1895503 tn?1332376974
We all made it through Christmas, although it will be awhile before life gets a bit more routine with schedules...  I am still tapering, with the right to go CT if ever ready!  I just went down to 19 mg Opana ( three 5mg of Opana ER plus a chip off a 5 mg short-acting Opana).  I am hoping to continue my taper while my motivation is strong, and I have great WILLINGNESS.  Hopefully, I can get my NP to trade my 20mg Opana ERs for a prescription for 10 mg Opana ERs earlier than my regularly scheduled appointment.  I am weary of tapering after 3 months of doing this.  Gnarly, thanks for discussing the taper.  I am focusing on each tiny little step -- at a time.....Marie
1926359 tn?1331591739
Good for you Marie...Your strength and determination is inspiring....Hugs...Lu
1895503 tn?1332376974
I am now on "about" 16 or 17 mg. a day of my Opana ER.  I set a goal of being on 15 mg. by Saturday.  I would love to connect with people who are tapering.  I am going to the doctor's office to get 10 mg tablets of Opana ER (I am trading in my 20 mg tablets if she asks.  This is a big deal.  I believe I am ready.  I know I am burning bridges to getting my medicine, this has to be alright at this time.  Wow, once I get them, I won't race through my 5 mg ER tablets as quickly! Maybe I can try to hit 15 mg today.  I try to do this as gradual as possible so I avoid the incredible sickness I got when i went too fast.  Big hugs to all.
Love,
Mariei
Avatar universal
Hi Marie just read your story. I could never taper tried so many times it was agony. I can't speak to opana don't know it. What I do know is a drug is a drug and the more power you give it the more is controls you. You are way ahead of the game here you're going to have to dig deep the pain is in the resistance the drug has you trapped and afraid. But guess what here you are so you know what's right for you. I am a breast cancer survivor 2 years and an addict. The opiates nearly killed me they robbed me of myself why battle breast cancer if the opiates are going to kill me. I also ended up in a pain clinic with all kinds of diagnosis on my back but I was there for pills and I got them OMG that's when the road to he'll began. Well here I am 13 days clean I'm struggling to fight the obsession for relief in a bottle and I have much more emotional and mental anguish than physical pain, but I'm an addict you may not be. Anyway I went cold turkey the Thomas Recipe took me two tries and I am weaning off benzos didn't take any for a day and yesterday I took .25. I have not been eating right and paying the price starting today I will be on the whey protein shakes vitamins and supplements these drugs deteriorate are muscles and wreak havoc on our central nervous systems and I need to be more patient I want to be better yesterday. It was a ling walk into the woods but I'm on my way out. Whatever you choose to do you will find answers and support here. I did just put one foot in front of the other and remember to breath. Sharon
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