Doc D/C'd Ultram after 7 years!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kadywill, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. kadywill

    kadywill New Member

    I have taken Ultram for seven years for my chronic pain. I usually take two twice daily, but the most important dose is the bedtime one, without the med, my legs just cannot be relaxed and without pain. I have tried a couple of times to stop the Ultram, especially when I was prescribed the routine Oxycontin, but my legs just killed me at night, so I tried to lower the dosage to just two at night; that's what I was taking until this morning when I notified my PCP that my refills had run out. His nurse called and told me that I didn't need the Ultram AND the Oxy and I should just stop the med now. Well, I'm sure that it just isn't wise for me to stop this med so abruptly and I told her so. I only have one tab left and I broke it in half to use tonight and tomorrow night. This med is the ONLY one I have EVER had difficulty stopping. No narcotics have ever been hard to stop, nor did I ever experience any type of withdrawal symptoms from any med except this one and I had jerky legs, restlessness and extreme pain when I tried to stop it before. I'll do as he wishes, but I am just so unsure of my safety in this matter. I take Mobic in the A. M. for pain and Soma at night to relax my muscles so that I can attempt to sleep,in addition to the 20 mg. of Oxycontin twice daily, but I was taking these when I tried to wean off the Ultram before, too. I foresee having to take additional Oxy IR's during this process and I don't understand why that is preferable to staying on the Ultram.
    I'm being asked to do this the very week I've returned to work and, believe me, my pain intensity is great at this time. I ended up taking my PRN Oxy IR four times yesterday just to be able to stand the back pain.
    Nursing is not an easy career when you have spinal stenosis and nerve impingement,in addition to the FMS/CFIDS, but I was forced to return to work when my LTD was denied; this made it impossible to appeal my SSD, because I HAD NO income, whatsoever. I think I know why the LTD was denied~~~~I believe it was because I refused to have the series of three epidural injections at this time. I only refused because we had no money and I couldn't afford to pay what the insurance didn't cover. I knew the bills would start pouring in and it would make us both crazy to know we'd be harrassed when we couldn't pay. AND, I think I know why my SSD was denied. In part, it was due to the fact tha I answered the dumb psychologist they sent me to, too well and that I drove myself to the appointment. I didn't plan to drive, but I had transportation changes at the last minute due to my husband's job. I knew it didn't look good, but Lord, do we have to be so deceptive? On good days, I can drive just fine and it isn't right to have to act otherwise. I'm back to work, but I've had to lower my standards of nursing care significantly. I'm now one of those nurses I used to complain about who doesn't do any more than I have to do to get by. I pray I don't start trying to be super-nurse again, cause there is no way I can work if I don't change and pace myself. I'm working 11-7 shift just to have a slower pace and that's really upsetting my med schedule. I am taking MUCH more medication for pain.
    Oh well, I know many of you understand because you're going through the same thing. It's always something.....
    Please advise, if you can!
  2. joannie1

    joannie1 New Member

    I can not believe this is happening to you. i would definitely call to ask for the Doc to return your call. I am totally shocked by this though honestly. I was told that ultram was NOT addictive and they have tried to give it to me a number of times. However I have bad side effects from it and am not able to use it.

    I am very sorry that your going through this. I hope you can find some relief.
    Take care.
  3. dolsgirl

    dolsgirl New Member

    I too am a nurse and anyone knows that you simply can't 'just stop taking it now'. What is that? I'd insist on speaking with the doctor or the office manager and arrange a tapering off dose over a one or two week plan. That's very unprofessional and insensitive. Good luck dolsgirl
  4. kadywill

    kadywill New Member

    may well be a return of my pre-med pain, but I experience a lot of muscle cramping, jerking, pain and restlessness. I do have a lot of sweating from Ultram use, anyway, so I don't know about that. I don't have the runny nose and chills stuff. Anytime I experience severe pain, I experience nausea and sometimes vomiting, so I don't know if that is a real "withdrawal" symptom, either. I have NEVER exhibited dependence on any substance; not in the way I've seen patients have. I have never felt a desire for a high feeling, nor have I craved or sought a med when I stopped it. I never desired alcohol or any type of prescribed med and I've never taken "street" drugs, so I just don't know. Heck, I've never even held a cigarette! Ultram was my best friend, pre-Oxycontin usage. I don't even think the Oxycontin has given me the overall pain relief that Ultram did and I never really had to increase my Ultram dosage to receive optimum effect. The Oxycontin may well have to be increased if/when this is stopped. Lord knows, I don't want my doctor to consider me a seeker or noncompliant in any way, so I'll do as he asks, but I hate to have to. I've finally felt as if I've had a measure of control over my chronic pain and I feel as if I'm taking two steps backward now AND at a time when I'll need good pain management, since I've returned to work.
  5. kmelodyg

    kmelodyg New Member


    I have been on Ultram for the past 6 years too. My doc has not wanted me to stop taking it even though it dosen't work very well for me anymore. I take Lortab 10 mg. 5 times pd, and use Ultram for breakthrough pain. You should not have withdrawl symptoms from the Ultram if you are on another narcotic. I have gone a week or so without them because I ran out early. It did not change anything for me, but I was not able to control the breakthough pain. I would let your doc know that you either need a higher dosage of the oxycontin, or you HAVE TO KEEP TAKING THE ULTRAM for breakthrough pain. For some reason too, Ultram helps me fall to sleep and helps with my anxiety. If it works for you, you need to stand up for yourself and get it back.e dosen't want to help you, find someone else who will. Good luck and keep us posted!!!

    Lots of love,
  6. zggygirl

    zggygirl New Member

    That caught my attention. I did a search on Ultram before I started it. There were a a lot of studies done, and the one thing that stood out in all of them to me is that it is a serotinin reuptake inhibator. They stressed this in the studies since people were having serotonin syndrome reactions when combined with SSRI's.
    So that may be what is causing you so much agony.
    I found all this info at the neurology forum- you will find it with a search-if not I'll figure out another way to get the site to you if you are interested.
    Oh, also there is a question/answer thing there under Ultram as well as the studies. Doctors will answer e-mails that people send in. One of many was someone wanting to stop Ultram-the doctor posted a protocal (?) on exactly what they give their patients. Might be of use?
    Let me know what you think.
  7. catgal

    catgal New Member

    Hi Kady~~I took Ultram for 2 years. My physician told me "according to the manufacturer" that Ultram was non-addictive, not a narcotic, not an opioid. I never got a high off of it, and there was nothing about it that made me think there would ever be any problem getting off of it. I never abused it.

    But, when I went to get off of it--it was pure Hell. I didn't understand what the problem was. So, I went to an Ultram site on the net where they have a Board like this--and it was filled with people going through horrendous withdrawals from Ultram. I also read case files where many have/are sueing the company. And then I read exactly how Ultram works. The pill itself does not have an opioid or narcotic in it. However, the mechanism for which it works is for its components to attach themselves to your own endorphin or own natural opioid center in the body, and thus, milks it so to speak. In short, you become dependent to your own body's natural opium so to speak.

    For me, it was definitely not my original pain returning--it was pure withdrawals. I got the sweats, my legs cramped at night, I couldn't sleep, I felt like I was coming out of my skin, I got the shakes, I couldn't function or go to work, it was a flaming nightmare! I went to see my physician and told him exactly what was going on. Had he not known me for a long time, knew that I was a therapist at a Chemical Dependency Treatment Program and certainly knew what withdrawals looked like, and knew what kind of person I was--I don't think he would have believed me. But I also took 20 pages off of that Ultram Board site where post after post talked about what hellish withdrawals these people were going through coming off of Ultram.

    We had to substitute percocet for Ultram and gradually decrease it over a period of weeks, and then the last week I finished off with darvocet. Doing it that way I was comfortable and did not suffer withdrawals. But prior to that--coming off cold turkey was a horrible experience.

    At the hospital where I work, when Ultram came out--it was the "Wonder Pill", and the docs used it on all their patients instead of narcotics/opioids. A year later, it started costing the hospital so much money to medically detox these patients off Ultram that they completely pulled it from the pharmacy. My clients in treatment (who have tried about every legal and illegal drug out there) tell me that Ultram was the hardest drug they ever came off of.

    DO NOT allow your doctor to discontinue the Ultram you've been taking cold turkey. There is absolutely no reason for you to go through that kind of misery. Your body builds a dependency on it, and though withdrawals can affect people differently--if you are going through any major discomfort--get some help or go to another physician that will help you.

    Due to major back problems that developed later, I take 20mgs of oxycontin 3x's a day and have for 3 years now along with 10mg percocet for breakthrough pain, soma, klonopin, and bextra. And, I understand that oxy is extremely difficult to get off of. However, with my medical problems and age, I am going to be on it or something like it for the rest of my life. But, I knew what I was getting into when my physician started me on the oxycontin. We talked about physical dependency and tolerance at length. However, I was told the opposite about Ultram based on what the manufacturer had told my physician, and thus did not expect any dependency or withdrawal problems. I was not prepared for the horrendous withdrawal I went through with Ultram and felt lied to, deceived, and betrayed.......and in a hell of a mess!

    So, get yourself some help. Some people slowly titrate off using lower & lower doses of the Ultram--some (like me) drop the Ultram altogether and use a substitute slowly decreasing it and going down to lower and lower meds. I had no discomfort that way, but alot of people tell me that when they've tried to titrate off slowly using the Ultram--they get down to that last pill and just can't quit. And, I've heard the same with oxy. However, given the seriousness of my back problems and being 54--I am not worried about ever getting off the oxy. It is what keeps me going, allows me to work, and gives me some quality of life.

    Get some help. Do not allow yourself to suffer needlessly. Best Wishes to you, and if I can help--just post me. Blessings, Carol...
  8. fibrodoll

    fibrodoll New Member

    I was taking ultram on as needed basis. Not very often cause I have to be hurting bad before I take anything.

    About a month ago I was taking it once a morning, cause I hurt so bad in the AM. I started getting severe neck pain and jaw clenching. I found when looking at different med side effects that this one of ultrams. I stopped taking it, since then no more jaw clenching.

    My neck pain isn't as bad. I've just been prescribed oxycontin and am hoping it will help with my overall pain.

  9. Dara

    Dara New Member

    but with Vicodin. Now, I hope I don't get yelled at here from all of the nurses who post on here, but this was my experience. My doctor had been treating me for pain, this was before I was diagnosed with FM. I had gone to the same doctor for over 25 years at the time. He knew that I really did hurt, but didn't know why. He had sent me in for x-rays, I believe of the neck. I was having tremendous pain in my shoulders at that time. Well, the x-rays came back normal, as usual. I got a call from his nurse, she told me that the x-rays showed there was nothing wrong with me so therefore I did not need to be taking pain medication and "she" wasn't going to OK a refill. My doctor and I had a very good relationship, he knew me very well, and knew I was not "seeking" drugs, other than for pain of course. I was able to get a message to him, bypassing his nurse, when he returned my call I asked him what was I suppose to do about the pain now, telling him what his nurse said to me. He was so mad that she had done this. He knew nothing about it, he refilled my medication and from then on I never had another problem with refills. The problem I did have, was when I went in to see him his Nurse wouldn't speak to me or even look at me. So, just maybe this is her doing and not the doctor's.

    I know that most Nurse's would never do this without the approval of the doctor, but there are some people who like to use what power they have, and this can apply to all professions. I would call your doctor and have a conversation with him, if you can't reach him by phone then I would make an appointment.

    Also, have you considered calling your pharmacist and asking what, if any, adverse affects you could have from stopping the Ultram suddenly?

    I read that they, the FDA, were considering reclassifying Ultram because they have found that it is addictive, not like they thought in the beginning. Also, it was said that some people really do get a high off of it, which I think is why they were going to reclassify it.

  10. PAT

    PAT New Member

    NO ONE has the right to tell someone that a drug isn't physically addictive, only psychological!
    If a person has PHYSICAL withdrawal symptoms, you can't just dispute that fact, and say it's their imagination.
    And by all means, your doc should let you be involved in the decision making about drug changes, and give you the chance to do it slowly.
    This whole thing aggravates the heck out of me. When I have chills, nausea, restless leg, and a sense of doom after a sudden withdrawal of Ultram, you'd better believe I am not imagining things.
    I hope no one ever takes my Ultram away, but if they do, I will make sure I have Zanax or something to get me through it.
    Patti G
  11. starstella

    starstella New Member

    to see your doc as soon as possible or speak to him personaly and describe the withdrawl symptoms you are experiencing. You will experience the physical symptoms noted above. I have stopped Ultram twice, had the "heebie jeebies", restless legs, shakes, insomnia, etc. Let the doc see for him/herself your symptoms.
    I resumed taking the Ultram both times, although I was past the withdrawl period because the bottom line was that I do have chronic pain. Trying to live with unremitting pain in my view is not conducive to living a full life.
  12. ladybird1

    ladybird1 New Member

    I have taken Ultram (50mg/once a day) for a little over
    a year(sometimes twice a day if I'm really achy).
    I notice if I don't take them for a day or two and then go back on I will either get sweaty or nauseated or both.
    THere are also times when I feel a little spaced out after
    taking them.
  13. kadywill

    kadywill New Member

    I've made a decision to use my prn Oxy IR to help me wean off the Ultram. I've done more up-to-date studying today and I understand WHY my doc wants me off the drug and I'd like to do it more gradually, but he apparently didn't think it was necessary since I'm taking Oxycontin 20 mg BID and Oxy IR prn. I can take the IR Q2h prn for breakthrough pain, AND I WILL; my instructions have always been to let the doc know if I required >5 Oxy IR a day and he would increase my Oxycontin dosage accordingly. (I started out at 10 mg. a day initially and the dose was increased when I told him I was needing about 7 or 8 IR a day) He'll just have to see that the Ultram WAS greatly reducing my pain, and if truth be told, was lifting my mood a bit, I think. I'll miss it as I really believe it was a great pain reliever. I'd have been content to just go to the very maximum dosage of Ultram per day in lieu of starting the Oxycontin.....I was that happy with it.
    Anyway, tonight I took my last 1/2 pill, so tomorrow is cold-turkey day! I took 6 Oxy IR today and at this time, my pain level is about a 7. I was asleep and the pain woke me up awhile ago.
    Oh well, the saga continues and I'll keep you informed.
    BTW, my PCP is a good doctor and I know he doesn't want me to be in pain. I'd have just appreciated a call/explanation from HIM instead of the receptionist relaying this scary info to me. I've been a nurse for nearly thirty years and I am not stupid, nor have I EVER abused any substance. My doctor knows this to be the case and he is the one who prescribed the Oxy for me, explaining that, with my diagnosis, it was warranted. I'm frightened of being unsafe with my withdrawal process, but I'm MORE frightened of returning to the level of pain I had several years ago. I've JUST returned to the workplace and I hurt terribly just walking down those concrete floors~~~~I'm afraid, that's all.
    Thank you all for all of this valuable and wonderful information. I've printed it out and have gone to the websites mentioned r/t Ultram. If I should experience true withdrawal symptoms, me and this info will go directly to my doctor's office, prepared to debate the issue. I trust him, but I know that mistakes are made.
    I love you guys!
    As always, with love,