Shenanigans--I'm joining you in quitting the opiates :)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by satchya, May 5, 2009.

  1. satchya

    satchya New Member

    I had my doctor's appointment yesterday and talked to her about the fact that increasing amounts of lortab are still not seeming to touch the pain I'm in and that I don't feel like they are the answer to my fibro pain, but that getting off them has been hard to do also. She prescribed me clonidine to take while I taper off over the next 2-3 weeks. I have been taking 4 10's a day, and yesterday I was able to take 3 10's and 2 clonidine without much distress. I will try to stay at 3 for a few days and then take it down to 2 1/2.

    I am grateful to you for showing me it is possible to take matters into our own hands when medications aren't working for us any longer, even when it seems impossible to get off of them!

    I should add that I have been having some pain relief from gabapentin but also weight gain, so she added topamax to the gabapentin (which will give me a higher dosage of nerve pain relief but keep the weight gain down--maybe even give me weight loss), so I'm still working on getting pain relief, I'm not just giving up on pain relief all together.
  2. 3gs

    3gs New Member

    thanks for posting this. I to would like to get off my lortab its not working,but couldnt get thru the withdrawls. now i will ask doc for the meds to help.

    Topamax sounds familiar is it a pain med?
  3. satchya

    satchya New Member

    topamax is an anticonvulsant medication that is used to treat migraines, epilepsy and nerve pain. It has shown promise off label as a fibromyalgia drug also :) Good luck! Also, the medicine I was prescribed to help with withdrawals is actually an old blood pressure medication that helps with the racing heart and night sweats that you get when you're coming off of opiate type medications.
  4. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    I'm not a doctor, but I know when I gave up Klonopin it was because my body didn't need it anymore because I stopped eating the gluten that was causing my myoclonus. Shenanigans gave up gluten too so this may be why she was successful. I just wanted to warn you to be very careful giving up a med that your body still needs. In my case, I would've been in much worse shape if I had stopped the Klonopin while I still had myoclonus, etc. Marcia
  5. Shananegans

    Shananegans New Member

    Good for you! The best thing you can do is give it a try! It may be that your body doesn't need the loratab any more or it just may be that your body has become immune to it. I hope the Topomax works out for you!

    xchocoholicx is correct too, I also gave up gluten the same time I weened off the MS Contin and I believe that is a huge reason I have been able to stay off of pain meds all together SO don't get discouraged if you notice your pain coming back, it's still a good idea to ween off the loratab if it is not working anymore so you can see what else you may need to feel better (or at least this is what my doc told me since the MS Contin was no longer working for me).

    Good luck to you and I hope you are fully successful. I'm glad my post helped you! And hopefully you will be on your way to victory! Please keep us posted and of course be careful, this is never fun no matter which way you do it. Also, don't rush it. Take your time and be patient, it isn't easy for anyone to ween off of an opiate. It takes time along with help.

  6. I wanted to just say that Lortab is not an opiate, nor is klonopin...

    Lortab (generic = "hydrocodone"/APAP (acetaminophen- which is hydrocodone/with tylenol)- is a narcotic* pain medication.

    Klonopin (generic= "clonazepam") is a benzodiazepine, like valium, xanax, ativan... anti-anxiety type/class of drugs...

    I wish you all luck, sounds like you're all being careful.

    I have celiac's also, but, was not able to stop any of my medications after following a very very strict diet for 3+ months..

    I ate literally nothing but brown rice, quinoa, some brussel sprouts, rice milk, rice puffs (blech- cereal), water, sometimes green beans... but, mostly,

    1.) skinless boneless chicken breasts, (one brand, that had no 'injections' to 'improve flavor' etc!), and 2.)brown rice.. those two foods were 90% of my diet for over 3 months (wasn't just for celiac's at that time... the diet was so restrictive & bland to allow my entire digestive tract/pancreas to HEAL also.. as well, I had to avoid things like broccoli, that were "estrogen dominant" foods).

    Anyhow, I'm working to get back to that diet, but having way way too hard a time- but, I'm too SICK NOT to do it. My pancreas will send me back to IU, and this time, to be admitted, with a tube down my nose, and bunch of stupid tests done, if I cannot get myself better very very quickly.

    I did have NINE- if not MORE, health problems GO AWAY on the diet, back in 03-04, as well as lost 20+ lbs that anti-convulsants hadn't allowed me to lose. All of those problems came back- with a vengence, except the weight, once I 'fell off the wagon'

    Anyhow, good luck to you all, I just wanted to clarify that Lortab(nor klonopin) was(were) not an opiate type drug.

    I guess I've been lucky, in that I have never ever experienced the slightest bit of discomfort, even, 'going off' of Lortab (or Norco, etc).... I certainly know the nightmarish HELL of *opiates* though, they never gave me ONE SECOND of pain relief, and every minute ON them, was hell!!!!! (Fentanyl patch, MS Contin + MSIR, Oxycontin + OxyIR, were 3 of the worst for me!)

    Good luck, here's to better health, or better quality of life, (re: celiac's diet.).

  7. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member

    I was using my Klonopin withdrawal as an example of how difficult it can be to withdraw from addictive drugs especially if given for a specific condition like myoclonus or seizures. My point was that if the source of the problem is still there, giving up the meds may make things worse.

    Here's the scoop on Klonopin. It's not just for anxiety but can help ...

    " In humans it is capable of suppressing the spike and wave discharge in absence seizures (petit mal) and decreasing the frequency, amplitude, duration and spread of discharge in minor motor seizures. "

    "The abrupt withdrawal of Klonopin, particularly in those patients on long-term, high-close therapy, may precipitate status epilepticus. Therefore. when discontinuing Klonopin, gradual withdrawal is essential. While Klonopin is being gradually withdrawn. the simultaneous substitution of another anticonvulsant may be indicated. Metabolites of Klonopin are excreted by the kidneys to avoid their excess accumulation, caution should be exercised in the administration of the drug to patients with impaired renal function. "

  8. cynicaldog

    cynicaldog New Member

    People wanting to stop a medication on which their body is dependent need to taper s.l.o.w.l.y. This means narcotics, benzos, antidepressants... trying to stop taking them too quickly will lead to misery at best, and dangerous side-effects at worst. I've noticed that when doctors suggest tapering schedules they're far too fast, (and some doctors don't bother telling patients to taper at all).

    I've taken myself off all kinds of meds in the last decade -- Effexor XR, oxycontin, oxycodone, Ativan, Celexa, Cymbalta -- always because I had built up a tolerance and wanted to let my body reset, or because I could no longer afford the drug (no health insurance). I'd initially cut my dose by about 10-25%, stay on the reduced dosage for a week, and then keep doing that to the remains dosages until I was able to stop. When I got to the point of stopping completely, I went to an every-other-day schedule for that last, tiny dose, then even an ever-third-day schedule. Overkill? Maybe. But it worked, and it was painless.

    Last August I had to get off my 30mg daily of methadone so I could enter a clinical trial in September. I didn't think my dose was very high, so I didn't taper as slowly as I normally do, and wow, I felt it. I went through a week of misery trying to adapt because I went down in increments of 50%, and methadone has a really long half-life. When I asked my doctor about it after the fact, he suggested a tapering schedule which was even faster, showing me that he doesn't have a clue about tapering and what the patients go through.

    Long story short, if you're trying to get off your meds and you're getting side-effects like chills, anxiety, sweating, diarrhea, etc., slow down. There's no shame in taking 3 months to stop taking a medication... it's not a race.
  9. Yes, I'm on clonazepam, and have been for over 7 yrs now, and it has never been anxiety. I was put on it initially to stop the side effects from Effexor XR, along with ativan, and two other drugs- just for SIDE EFFECTS of Effexor Xr!

    After I was finally weaned off Effexor by a different doctor- the prescribing rheumatologist *literally* said "No"... through his *phone nurse* of course... just flat out... "No."..... so I had to FIRE HIM, to get the required 75mg, and 37.5 mg pills.
    The myoclonic jerking never went away. So all the other drugs went out, but clonazepam stayed... and after myoclonus, tremors, spasms, etc with my MS got worse, the dosage was *increased* as well as my other medications and baclofen added too.

    But, others may not know the drug catagories, thus calling their own medication an *opiate* when it in fact is a narcotic.... some people get enough 'crap' from their own non-understanding family members, the last thing any of them need is to call their med something it isn't, and get even worse thrown on them by those they trust..

    Simply the reason I *clarified* the two medications, klonopin just wasn't clear, since the title of the original thread was quitting *opiates*.... and it *was* clear, that some *taking* the Lortab, thought it was an opiate medication... that's all.

    No harm, no foul.
  10. satchya

    satchya New Member

    I honestly had no idea lortab wasn't an opiate? I learn something new on this board every day.

    What is the difference between an opiate medication and a narcotic medication? I thought they were the same thing.

    Either way, for me the lortabs were just not doing the job. They helped when I had things like bad period cramps, sinus infections, etc., but seemed to do nothing for my searing, chronic neck and back pain and overall fluey ache. I've learned that taking Lodine (prescription strength nsaid) when I get the fluey ache takes care of that, and taking anticonvulsant medication (gabapentin 300 x 3 a day and now adding topamax 50 mg 2x a day) helps tremendously with that.

    I also take tramadol 50 mg 5x a day. Very few doctors realize that tramadol works as a serotonin and norepinenphrine reuptake inhibitor (just exactly like the "new" fibro drugs being released). I've actually been taking it for almost four years now and it was the first "key" in helping me take control of this disease, and is the most help for the depression aspect of it.

  11. satchya

    satchya New Member

    I have a bad habit of trying to taper too fast. I needed to read the advice about tapering. I always try to race myself to see how fast I can stop taking something (typical oldest child type A perfectionist personality).

    I was taking 4 a day, then 3 a day, yesterday I took 2 and a half. So far today I've only taken a half of one and it's already almost 1:30. I'm going to go take some more right now and get my butt out of "race" mode. I'm an idiot.

    Thanks for the reminder to go about this in a healthy way. My doctor even said to call her if she needs to prescribe me more so that I can taper slower, so it's not like I'm going to run out or anything.
  12. Shananegans

    Shananegans New Member

    Hydrocodone is an opioid which is a synthetic opiate, just as Methadone is a opioid. The difference is an opiate is naturally occurring and an opioid was made in a lab by humans to mock an opiate. I didn't think to correct the word "opiate" because they are usually considered in the same class as far as addictive medications go. One can become just as addicted to an opioid (if not more so) than an opiate and they are all considered "narcotics".

    Just wanted to further clarify on that.

  13. (and we're all constantly learning on here, for sure; if only doctors, NP's, etc were forced to read a few different message boards RE: pain and or chronic illnesses, a couple times a week- imagine what THEY might learn??)

    Anyways- to further confuse, here is more on narcotic/opiate/opioid medication classifications...

    "Narcotic Analgesics"

    "There are two types of narcotic analgesics: the opiates and the opioids (derivatives of opiates). Opiates are the alkaloids found in opium (a white liquid extract of unripe seeds of the poppy plant)."

    "Opioids are any medication which bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system or gastointestinal tract. According to Wikipedia, there are four broad classes of opioids:"

    " * Endogenous opioid peptides (produced in the body: endorphins, dynorphins, enkephalins)
    * Opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine)
    * Semi-synthetic opioids (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, dihydrocodeine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, nicomorphine)
    * Fully synthetic opioids (pethidine or Demerol, methadone, fentanyl, propoxyphene, pentazocine, buprenorphine, butorphanol, tramadol, and more)"

    Opioids are used in medicine as strong analgesics, for relief of severe or chronic pain.

    *** "Interestingly, there is no upper limit for the dosage of opioids used to achieve pain relief, but the dose must be increased gradually to allow for the development of tolerance to adverse effects (for example, respiratory depression)." ***

    According to eMedicine, "Some people with intense pain get such high doses that the same dose would be fatal if taken by someone who was not suffering from pain."

    "There have been debates over the addictive potential of opioids vs. the benefit of their analgesic properties for treating non-malignant chronic pain, such as chronic arthritis. Some experts believe opioids can be taken safely for years with minimal risk of addiction or toxic side effects. The enhanced quality of life which opioids may provide the patient must be considered."

    More Information on Specific Analgesics

    * Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    * Codeine (Tylenol #2,3,4)
    * Darvocet (Propoxyphene/Acetaminophen)
    * Darvon (Propoxyphene)
    * Duragesic (Fentanyl Patch)
    * Hydromorphone (Palladone, Dilaudid)
    * Morphine (MSContin, Oramorph)
    * Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone)
    * Percocet (Oxycodone/Acetaminophen)
    * Percodan (Oxycodone/Aspirin)
    * Talwin NX (Pentazocine/Naloxone)
    * Ultracet (Tramadol/Acetaminophen)
    * Ultram (Tramadol)
    * Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen)

    Doctors help add to the confusion, in my experience, because, often times, THEY have called medications something they are NOT, or, they call medications which are of the same class, by different names (that mean the same thing)..

    They have so many drug rep visits, samples left with them, told what they TREAT, but, sometimes, have no time to really read up on what the drug is actually classified as...

    my pain clinic prescribes Provigil to some patients, and, the nurses, and even the Rx'ing NP, call it an amphetamine... despite the fact that studies say it is not-

    I believe though, this may be due to the frequent wording of "amphetamine-like" effects/properties.. (and similar sentences/phrases) often used in studies, and drug information on Provigil...

    However, if they read them through, and carefully, they would also see that Provigil exists, partially, to serve as an ALTERNATIVE, to the 'amphetamine' drugs out there, to help treat narcolepsy, EDS, & work (shift related) fatigue/sleepiness disorders that had previously been treated with amphetamines.. Supposedly one thing, is that provigil has less potential for abuse, and also that it does not raise heart rates (I don't know about that one... but, I take a heart medication, and Provigil has been the only thing ever given to me to try for my severe fatigue/excessive daytime sleepiness, etc)

    Anyways, this post is far too long, I'm exhausted and it's showing.