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Thread: Help stopping codeine - taper?

  1. #1

    Help stopping codeine - taper?

    I take 135mg 3 times a day.
    I want to stop as it's took over my life.
    I've done cold turkey before but find it almost impossible as I can't deal with withdrawl symptoms. I can't find much info on tapering, I'd like to know:
    If I taper off, will I still get withdrawls?
    How much should I taper by per dose/Day?
    What do you recommend? Taper or cold turkey?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2005
    Shielding off the weakening beams of salvation shining upon the mournful gloom of Earth
    ^Hey mate, the idea of tapering is to minimise withdrawals, hopefully to the extent that they are only minor little symptoms. If you do it slowly enough, you should feel totally normal during it. Ideally, you aim for a 10% reduction in dose each time you do it, but you'll find that pretty difficult and longer tapers often involve backsliding; its hard to maintain the motivation to quit a drug for months on end, in my experience. Can I ask what is the actual dose per pill you take (if that is how you are doing it)? Are you using cold water extractions?

    I used codeine for almost 10 years, with periods where I was taking 1800mg a day for weeks. Oddly, when I first got addicted to it, the withdrawals really sucked despite being very shortlived, but over time they eased up to virtually nothing but slight weirdness, and that was cold turkey stopping. I don't understand it, I did get addicted to heroin- the withdrawal from that was intensely painful so perhaps its a matter of perspective. But, I will say that the doses you are taking are small for a codeine addict, and this should mean that the ensuing withdrawal from any doseage will be relatively shortlived. For me, codeine withdrawal was only ever rough for a day, and often after that it would vanish; sometimes I would wake up in the morning feeling horrible, 12 hrs after my last dose but by mid-afternoon its been finished, so less than 24hrs. More often then not, weeks of binging on extremely high doses mutliple times a day amounted to brief withdrawal literally no more painful than a mild cold. This was insidious though, because I saw that the punishment was mild, I could binge pretty determinedly with little consequence.

    Not trying to dismiss the difficulty you face; I know that the withdrawal can be tough. All of the above is anecdotal but very real; I would, of course, suggest cold turkey, if you really want to quit. I say that because c/t from codeine can very mild- I would actually suggest allowing yourself maybe 12 hrs of just feeling it, and seeing if you can handle it, all while knowing that you do have your dose at hand. I think that me being exposed to codeine withdrawal so reguarly and over such a long time desensitised me to some of the effects and removed the anxiety of the experience; its hard to be fearful of something that you know will be mild and over pretty fast.

    All of that said, none of this made it easier for me to quit, as such. As I said, without the stick, you just eat carrots all day (okay, I know that destroys the analogy but whatever), and the brief withdrawal period had no effect whatsoever on how mentally addicted and compelled towards codeine I was; this lead on to heroin, rehabs, all that fun before finally leading over the course of 5 years to suboxone, and where I am now- opiate free. Its only taken 10 years to get here, yay!

    That was a long post- I never said I quit all drugs- but feel free to PM me if you have any questions. All the best.

  3. #3


    Thankyou for your response! Well I'm female and small so don't know if that's why my body is taking it harder but generally with cold turkey, I have three days of absolute hell! (RLS, hot/cold sweats, naseaua, feeling unbearably uncomfortable etc)
    The longest I quit for was 30 days, I still had zero energy at the 30 day mark & decided to go back on them.
    I take 30mg codeine phosphate (So no apap etc) no need for CWE.
    I think I'd have the willpower to do taper as long as I didn't have the withdrawls as that's the one thing that makes me want to start up again.
    I think you're right though, cold turkey could be my best option, just have the fear of facing the withdrawls again, I really struggle to make it past two days now

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