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Avatar universal

is it possible to detoxify from methadone

im 38 was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 10 years ago. I continued working and it only bothered me maybe 1 or 2 times a year.  Then i would go to see a specialist and he would give me a steroid injection and I was fine.  Until 4 years ago when my 70 hr. work weeks... [More] finally caught up to me.   The degenerative process began slowly but within 1 yr. i could not open my hands to dress or drive and all of my joints in my hands, knees, elbows and feet began to deform.  I was prescribed the usual pain meds but by the time i had joint replacements and other complications I was disabled and in awful pain just to perform normal daily living function was impossible.  I attended a presentation in SC given by a pain management clinic.  They were encouraging [atients with chronic debilitating pain to take methadone as a miracle pain medicine that would allow us to function again and not have to swallow pills all day because it was long lasting.   By this time I was willing to try this miracle.  In south carolina the state ruled that patients prescrobed methadone for medical conditions would be treated at a program, but they would be seperated from patients who were there due to drug addiction.  The bottom line is that 5 years later after i moved due to my husbands work, I find myself in a state that doesnt have the same laws as SC and if I am to continue taking methadone i would have to enter a drug program and be treated with other addicts.  What i am wondering is it possible to safely get off of this?  I do not want my life to be controlled by a drug program, and frankly I dont want to be treated with suspicion and disdain by a group of drug program staff who tend to treat everyone the same and having to travel daily to a program to be medicated would be impossible.  I have awful pain driving and my spouse is working in the field and isnt home during the hours these programs operate.  Please, can anyone tell me if i can get off of this?  I want to try to take one of the new rheumatpid medicines that are now out and see if the progression of this disease can be haulted, thus stopping the pain.  I just cant live my life under the control of what has become a mightmare.  Any suggestions.  My dose of methadone was raised in the winter time to 70 mgs. daily.   Would I risk having a stroke or heart attack trying to detox at home on my own?
4 Responses
501792 tn?1261114706
Hi Cellie-

   Sorry to hear of your problem in your new state.
There is a low fatality risk when it comes to withdrawing from opiods.  Usually people who have had heart problems, high blood pressure or seizure disorders are the ones at the highest risk for those types of complications.
However, going through withdrawls dose raise your blood pressure so it is never a good idea to go off of medications without medical suport or observation.
Although the low fatality risk, No one can say that it is an impossibility to suffer a serious problem during withdrawls no matter how healthy you are so you need to do this with a DR's support.  Low risk does mean there is a possibility things could turn very serious.
Methadone withdralws can be very intense. More intense than most opioid.  
You will want to get support with other medications for the symptoms.
Clonodine will help keep your blood pressure regulated, medicines used to treat anxiety like valium or klonopin will help ease muscle spasms and restless legs(not to mention the awful anxiety withdrawls themselves cause) immodium to help calm your intestines(opioids slow down intestinal function and removing them from your system will cause your intestinal tract to start over working) you will want to request a sleep aid so that you can get as much rest as possible. Which will be very difficult.
Withdrawls cam last  a long time and often months later you may still not be feeling quit yourself.  

With that said, why dont you find another pain management DR. It is obviously in record that you were being treated for pain and many PM DR's now prescribe methadone. From what you said your main reason for stopping the pain medication is because of this other state law which would require you to be involved in a substance abuse program. Are you sure you will be able to function with the chronic pain you have.

My advice is to find a DR before you do anything.  Find out what can be done for you.  
Why put yourself through h e l l(and thake my word for it, withdrawls are truely horrible and painful) and lose your ability to function because of the pain if there may be other options.

Hope you will not do this alone and go see someone you can aide you either way.
356518 tn?1322267242
You need to find a good PM and he will alter your meds so that you will not have to enter a drug program and be in intense pain all the time. You do not need to quit taking meds as you have a disease and need treatment. There are many other wonderful pain meds out there besides methadone. You should not be worrying about detox just get a PM dr and I am sure they will know the laws and work it out so you can get relief without having to withdraw from pain meds that you obviously need.
Also don't ever take any advise on these forums to seriously. Although there are some exec lent members here some will tell you things that are not necessarily true.
I would say to you to find you a Pain managment dr and let them change your meds so you can function and live as pain free as possible. And again you do not need to detox just have your meds changed.
My mom n law used to take methadone and now she takes oxycontin and she does really a lot better than the methadone. Thats something you need to discuss with ur dr though.

Good Luck!
Avatar universal
after my failed attempt today at finding a good PM doctor, i am really so dissappointed and hopeless of ever getting off this stuff or of being able to get out of those drug programs.    where does someone find a doctor like the one that you mentioned?
501792 tn?1261114706
Have you tried going to the type of DR that diagnoses your type of Chronic Pain.
Whatever kind of DR that told you that your condition is causing this type of pain and put you on Methadone can refer you to a PM DR is your area. If they dont know of any sometimes they will treat you themselves. You can take your records to a primary care ophysisian and ask them what you can do to either continue to take the methadone without the drug program or be put on a different medication if there is no one that prescribes it around you for pain.
Alot PM's only take patients when they are referred by the DR which diagnosed them to try and lower the amount of people only attempting to get narcotics for recreational use.
Have you tried calling all the PM's in your area to check if they will take you on with your past medical records?

It sounds from your post like you are in one of the drug programs as it was the only way to continue with your medication? It also sounds like you want to get off of it.
If you prefer to just get off the medication you can try to find a regular DR to help you ween off of it by decreasing the dose by small amounts over time.

I'm not sure how you get out of the drug program as I'm not familiar with the way a methadone clinic for addiction may work when someone wants to leave.

I/m so sorry your stuck in this position.
And it sounds like you have very few options where you live.

What I would do is, go to the type of DR that diagnosed you. Tell them everything. Let them look at your medical records are ask them if there is any way to help with the situation.

I'm really sorry your feel so hopeless. Getting a PM DR can be very difficult sometimes. Just keep trying and hanging in there.
And if you really want to get off the methadone and there is no one to help you can always go to a in patient Detox.

I hope this helped a little
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