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TDS The Tapering Supportive/Social Thread

P0kemama

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Hi Mods,
I noticed we have a few of us discussing our tapering attempts off of our drugs in the past few days. I do so much better when I have the support of someone else going through the same thing at the same time. Do you think a tapering thread would be helpful? Also, would you recommend it being posted here in TDS, or Sober Support, or Other Drugs, or Basic Drugs?

Any feedback would be helpful!

Thanks.:D
 

herbavore

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It's a great idea for a thread and I think it could stay here in TDS or move to SL. Since it is here, let's keep it here.;)

What are you tapering and how is it going?
 

P0kemama

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Herbavore: Thank you so much for your supportive response! I am prescribed two different medications: oxymorphone ER for long lasting relief, and oxycodone IR for breakthrough pain. I had not been doing very well with my taper plan on a consistent basis; however, since I have read and posted here on BL in the past several days regarding other's tapering efforts and thoughts, I feel so much more motivated and positive.... oh, the magic of giving and receiving support and encouragement! Therefore, I want to maintain the momentum, and this thread is one great way to do that. My experience as an addict is that all the good intentions I have can be shot down by my addictive voice, unless I have the support of others to help strengthen my resolve to overcome the cravings and to keep focused on my main goal.

I really like the idea of tapering, vs cold turkey. As I do study Buddhism, along with other spiritual beliefs I think "following the middle way" gives me the best chance for success. I will suffer less pain and suffer less or minimal withdrawal pains that would occur with the all or nothing cold turkey approach. Just my own opinion... I respect those who choose other methods of managing their medications.

I do want to share something with you Herb... do you remember back about 1 1/2 years ago that I posted about doing a road trip down the Pacific Coast and was asking about camping sites? I did drive through Oregon and California, as well as other areas of the country, and had made reservations in various state parks. I was shocked at how many signs were around California regarding "No camping or parking overnight". If I have the opportunity to repeat the road trip, would you be able to suggest any places that I could car camp overnight? The fees for camping were fairly high... much higher than I had experienced in any other state.

I was surprised how drought stricken California was, but was just spellbound by the beauty of the ocean and the coastal areas. Anyway, I did enjoy the culture(s) of Cali so much that I took another trip out there this past May (2016) and stayed at an AirBnB residence in LA.

I ended up loving Venice Beach and 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica so much, that I walked for hours. I ended up causing a painful injury to the tendons in my leg, as I am being treated for my arthritic knees already, and exacerbated the damages by walking too much. This injury is one of several, which is another reason I am inconsistent with my taper. I babysit my toddler granddaughter and so need to be at my best (meaning minimal pain) so that I can care for her safely and properly.

I am supposed to be getting my next refill of one of my medications in the next several days. I will work on a plan to taper over the coming month, and will then post it here, as a way of gathering feedback and also to have a reference point to look back on in the coming months.
 

P0kemama

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I am just checking in and will utilize this thread as a journal if I get no responses. I am totally off of the oxymorphone ER as I have run out, and now have 4 days of oxycodone only until I can gather my refill of my extended release medication. I experience no physical withdrawal at all when I take the oxy more frequently than recommended; however, they do not work that well on my pain, and I get no "high" or relief from depression or anxiety and that is fine with me.

Mr. Root: if you happen to read this, would you feel comfortable posting your taper experience off of your opioids? From what I read, it seems as if you had a posting schedule that allowed you to feel comfortable... did you by-pass the physical withdrawals completely? Were you able to sleep?
I am guessing the mental aspects of being totally clean were too uncomfortable so you will begin ORT shortly, is that right?

Anyone who has been able to taper off of opioids and avoided the physical w/d's... especially insomnia.... could you please share your schedule? I have read a lot of different articles/posts that suggest decreasing the daily amount you currently take by a certain percentage every few days or a week... but I have not read of anyone's actual experience. It does not make me feel hopeful; also, my own failures at tapering and holding at a low dosage do not make me feel hopeful either.
 

MrRoot

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As for the popular demand I'll write up about how I experienced my tapering from oxycodone this spring.

I had been using oxycodone daily for over five years and doses had risen to 160mgs per day and it was for spinal injury in which a nerve was under a pressure. I had been using also recreationally for nearly the whole time I had been on pain management and in the end I needed +250mgs to nod so my dependancy and as well as addiction were quite high.

So after a succesfull surgery my pain disappeared pretty much completely and I had prior the surgerery admitted to my Dr. being addicted and that I had used recreationally too. I wanted to quit opiates and we decided to do a slow taper in which my IR drugs were taken off immediately week after the surgery and I kept going on for week with the dose of OxyContin before the surgery.

So in the beginning of the taper I had 160mgs of oxycodone and 40mgs of IR oxycodone was taken off so the first week was 120mgs.

After this they started to decrease the dosage 10mgs per week until there was 20mgs total after which the dose was decreased 5mgs per week.

This of course took a long time but it was worth it. I had zero physical withdrawal symptoms and I was able to sleep well all the time. They even did so that I always had the lower dose during the day so RLS wouldn't be a problem. I suffer from RLS and did so even before I had used any opiates so they started pramipexole for RLS during the last weeks of the tapering schedule.

I also had ambien during the day as a part of the experimentations of my Dr. on the week I was done tapering as my cravings were quite bad. Ambien took cravings totally away but I cannot recommend anyone to take it before consulting Dr. especially during the day.

Sadly my pain came back and I got new rx for oxycodone few weeks after staying out of it and started to use again.

For what it is worth I consider slow tapers very good way of quitting opiates when it comes to preventing physical withdrawals. I have cold turkeyed plenty of times and did rapid tapers too but those have always given me withdrawals which I don't like anyone to suffer.

It seems like that in the start of the tapering you can cut significant amount of daily dose and still feel well but after that the slow taper is the way to go.
 

Tinker55

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Slow tapers work very well for other types of drugs. I was told by my PM Group that their policy as of May 1, is any patient who is scripted opiates /opioids could take benzos concurrently from any source. There was a very large study published in March showing a 4times higher risk of death from the combination of drugs than either used separately.

I had been taking between .5 to .25 of Xanax at night for early waking for 10 years. I can deal with my anxiety during the day but at night....awful! At that dose, it didn't make sense to change to a longer lasting benzo, as Ashton suggests and my shrink didn't feel that I was at risk for seizures if I cold turkeyed it. Still wasn't happy about any risk on seizures.

So started with a reduction to .25 for 2 weeks. At 3weeks, I asked to be scripted for .25 so I could break the pills. I then went to half for another 3 weeks then started alternating nights. Since I was taking basically crumbs by two weeks ago, I wonder how much was a placebo effect? I jumped and have been benzo free for a week and a half.

Even at that small amount, I did have some symptoms-a foggiest after I dropped the dose and poor, limited sleep. Mild generalized anxiety. My sleep cycle is still screwed up-I wake up at 2:30 or 3am and can't fall back asleep. Most of the herbal alternatives aren't designed to keep you asleep so melatonin etc doesn't really help. And I don't want to create another problem by starting to use any of the prescription sleep drugs.

So TL:dr : benzo withdrawal from a low once a day dose can be done by 50% reduction of dosage over time. Talk to a dr. First!
 

CfZrx

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As for the popular demand I'll write up about how I experienced my tapering from oxycodone this spring.

I had been using oxycodone daily for over five years and doses had risen to 160mgs per day and it was for spinal injury in which a nerve was under a pressure. I had been using also recreationally for nearly the whole time I had been on pain management and in the end I needed +250mgs to nod so my dependancy and as well as addiction were quite high.

So after a succesfull surgery my pain disappeared pretty much completely and I had prior the surgerery admitted to my Dr. being addicted and that I had used recreationally too. I wanted to quit opiates and we decided to do a slow taper in which my IR drugs were taken off immediately week after the surgery and I kept going on for week with the dose of OxyContin before the surgery.

So in the beginning of the taper I had 160mgs of oxycodone and 40mgs of IR oxycodone was taken off so the first week was 120mgs.

After this they started to decrease the dosage 10mgs per week until there was 20mgs total after which the dose was decreased 5mgs per week.

This of course took a long time but it was worth it. I had zero physical withdrawal symptoms and I was able to sleep well all the time. They even did so that I always had the lower dose during the day so RLS wouldn't be a problem. I suffer from RLS and did so even before I had used any opiates so they started pramipexole for RLS during the last weeks of the tapering schedule.

I also had ambien during the day as a part of the experimentations of my Dr. on the week I was done tapering as my cravings were quite bad. Ambien took cravings totally away but I cannot recommend anyone to take it before consulting Dr. especially during the day.

Sadly my pain came back and I got new rx for oxycodone few weeks after staying out of it and started to use again.

For what it is worth I consider slow tapers very good way of quitting opiates when it comes to preventing physical withdrawals. I have cold turkeyed plenty of times and did rapid tapers too but those have always given me withdrawals which I don't like anyone to suffer.

It seems like that in the start of the tapering you can cut significant amount of daily dose and still feel well but after that the slow taper is the way to go.
Mr. Root, I'm curious if you ever tried methadone? I wonder how it compares to high dose OxY for pain.
 

P0kemama

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Thank you, Mr. Root and Tinker, for sharing your experiences and thoughts around tapering. Mr R: As my doc is (are) opioids, I especially appreciate all the details. One of my chronic pain issues sounds similar to yours: I have an impinged nerve in my back that causes varying degrees of pain and the pain is transient as to area of my body: it can travel from lower back into my leg so is very difficult to treat. No doctor I have seen recommended surgery, and would not even guarantee injections as being helpful.

However, I want to taper for several reasons: I would like to have some extra pills available for an emergency situation; i.e. my drugs get cut suddenly due to doctor shutting down office ( a previous provider lost has DEA privileges around scheduled drug prescribing); overall prescribing laws are changed; the high cost I pay now, with insurance covering the drugs, but not the doctor, will rise to a point that care will become prohibitively expensive; and I want to get clean so I can see if the kind of overall lack of energy I have to deal with increases or decreases after have a break from opiates.

I find it interesting that you were successful with use of the Oxycontin only for most of the taper. I find my ER medication to have more of an addictive quality to it than my IR oxycodone. Your experience around the minimal insomnia and avoidance of physical withdrawal support my tenacity in holding on to the belief that tapering is the best way to get off these drugs. After suffering in 2013 from going cold turkey, I never would voluntarily use that method again.

Tinker: Question: Your PM group's policy as of May 1st that any patient who is scripted opiates /opioids could take benzos concurrently from any source. There was a very large study published in March showing a 4times higher risk of death from the combination of drugs than either used separately. Do you mean that is what it is, or are you missing the word not: any patient who is scripted opiates /opioids could NOT take benzos concurrently from any source.

I was getting low dose ativan from my PM doctor, who in June stated he would no longer prescribe it and said I would have to find a GP to continue to get them, and he wouldn't even allow me another script for tapering purposes.

I am going to work on a tapering plan that is reasonable and I will use my time lock safe to help keep me on track.
 

Tinker55

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Jun 2, 2015
Messages
767
^^^^^
You are correct-the practice guideline required all patients to halt benzos. No exceptions.

If possible, I would taper off the benzos. Your PM people may refuse to write a script now but that might become a guideline that no benzo use is allowed. The CDC guidelines as well as new research has many reputable PM groups very nervous:they are consistently looking to lower the dosages and/or switch patients to lower level opiates/opioids. My group isn't unreasonable: no pill counts or being called in for random testing. My issues are well documented and I've even had instrumented fusion-and I still get nagged.

If anyone is interested, there's a lot out there about the debate about CDC regs. I would advise anyone who is a PM patient to be aware that they may have to taper soon.
 
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MrRoot

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^ That really sucks if there aren't any exceptions to that. When my PTSD was bad I couldn't even think about going without benzos but benzos are of course a double edged sword because CBT is shown to have inferior results when benzos are around.

There should be atleast some portion of patients who are allowed to be on benzos while on opioids as for example those suffer from a mental and physical trauma from accident or assaults etc. traumatic incidents.
 

P0kemama

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I am feeling a bit down today. I worked the past several days to get my house clean, shop for groceries, and prepare my daughter's favorite meal as her birthday is this week-end. I did not stick to my taper very well, as I put my cleaning as a higher priority, and I did need my meds. Well, today is the day my oxymorphone was scheduled to be delivered by Fed Ex... yes... no face to face pick ups allowed. They were to be delivered by noon, but were no where to be seen.
I guess I got that typical addict type of restlessness and nervousness, as I was worried that I would not get them this holiday week-end. When they were finally delivered at 12:40pm, my daughter asked if they were pain pills. I could not lie to her, although she did not know that I was on them this past time. I said yes, and she got so upset, as she remembered how sick I was and ended up going to the ER when I cold turkeyed back in 2013.

The last thing in the world I want to do is upset her, as she is pregnant. I feel so bad. This should give me even more motivation to taper off my pills and be done with them, but the truth is, I just want to take them and get numb so these bad feelings go away. This situation just sucks. I did have to show her the bottle and the return address as she actually thought I was going to the streets to buy my pills... she could not believe a local doctor did delivery only. She did believe me after I showed her the pharmacy website. I feel so much guilt and shame, as well as fear that she will not let me continue to babysit, although I would not be able to babysit without my medication due to her very long staircase in her house that I have to chase my granddaughter up and down every time I am there.

I am so "good"... I only take my prescribed meds... I do not even drink a drop of alcohol... the ua's are very sensitive and I get sick if I drink while I am on opioids anyway.

She made me feel like I was a dirty junkie addict....well, she went home so I will see what develops this week-end and hopefully she will come to some sort of acceptance.
 

VastEmpty

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Poke -

im sorry to hear that you aren't feeling well and about your daughter. When you are a parent, there is nothing that sucks worse than disappointing your child. I'm so sorry you are in that position.

i wish I had more words of wisdom or something - but I'm also having a down day. Sending you all my best vibes though!

- VE
 
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P0kemama

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Many Thanks, VE, for reaching out... I appreciate you caring about me in spite of dealing with your own down day. Sending you those positive vibes right back at you!
 

Squeaky

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I'm Moving my thoughts to this thread from the one I've been using....
Been trying to taper for about 4 weeks now. Started at 150 mg oxy and 6 mg lorazepam per day. Both scripted for pain and panic attacks since two back surgeries (got 6 screws and two rods)
I'm not thinking about the benzos yet, but I am down to 30 mg oxy today( that's my plan for today anyway)
I got from 150mg to 120 mg no problem. But getting to and staying at 90mg oxy was like stopping a car with no brakes. I decided to just go cold turkey as I have done once before from 60mg/day adter my first surgery. On that day I had so much bone soreness and abdominal cramping that I wound up taking 60 mg that day just to survive. Next day was 45, then 40, 35, and now today will be 30 mg. all of this is IR oxycodone and no Dr supervision. My current plan is to get at least one more Rx and have a stash for future pain OR be off this stuff for a couple of weeks without telling Dr so I can get straight back to what I need for pain mgmt. The last time I quit the oxy was at 60 mg/day and when I needed back on it the Dr refused to start me back at anything higher than 2 norcos/day.
I am suffering as this is a very fast taper, but it is manageable. I take 3mg lorazepam at night with a dose of oxy to sleep. Another dose of oxy and lorazepam around 5am and sleep two or 3 more hours. And one dose of oxy midday. This gives me a break from the WD's in the morning, noon, and night. It only lasts for about an hour but it gives me little targets to hit all day long and that gives me hope and determination to stay on course.
I have had some great support and advice for months now on BL.
Thx Closeau and POkemama. You guys are great.
 

P0kemama

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Squeaky: Isn't it sad that you cannot be honest with your doctor that you are trying to taper off your pain medication and gain his insight and support? But no, if we tell them that, then they think, in some cases, that we can do without. You must have been in shock when your Dr only gave you 2 norcos a day!

I definitely support your decision to stay quiet... when I am finally successful with my taper, I plan on continuing to visit my doctor in order to build an emergency stash of my meds. Basically, the older I get, the more pain issues I experience. Also, with the DEA scrutinizing opiates and pain management the way they are, who really knows how long we will even be able to get the amount and types of medications that we currently are prescribed?

Your daily taper schedule sounds very reasonable... I am happy that you are able to handle the withdrawals. It is a fast taper... nothing like ripping that band aid off!! I think you are using a lot of common sense in that you are delaying the benzo taper for now. I have read so much here on BL about benzo withdrawals that it will be better for you when you can concentrate and do that taper slowly.

I currently am dealing with a migraine type of headache.... I don't know if it is from too much caffeine the past few days or what... but it is making it difficult to motivate myself to skip a dose of my meds. Your post is very motivating, Squeaks!

Keep up the good work!:)
 

Squeaky

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Sorry to dissappoint, but the WD's got too bad. I broke down and took 25mg oxy at 4:30 pm today. That will likely mean I'll take total 60 mg today (should have been 30mg). My bones were just hurting way too much today and I felt I earned a break. I will get back on track tomorrow.
 

P0kemama

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^Please do not beat yourself up... I am the last one to judge.
Due to my migraine, I have let myself down in that I did not attack my taper schedule with the confidence I felt yesterday. I have cut down just a bit, from the doses I took Tuesday, and at least I had an illuminating thought.

I realized that I was posting I would start "tomorrow" or "when I got my next re-fill" it was never at that moment. Squeaky, I realized that after I posted my last response to you about my migraine. So, instead of taking another dose of pain meds, I took my migraine medication. It took the edge off of my headache, and I did not indulge in extra opiates.

I read somewhere that when quitting an addiction, every time we take a step in the direction opposite of using, such as posting, skipping a dose, taking a decreased dose, calling a friend, journaling...even waiting an extra 10 minutes before taking the next scheduled dose, we weaken the addiction. That is why I plan on not giving up... I have read accounts on BL of people struggling for years to quit their drug of choice. Those that stuck with it are the ones who came back to report success. I am not giving up, even though I have not yet had a "perfect taper" day for awhile now. But, I started right around 4:30pm today to taper, not tomorrow, not the week-end. If I was not posting that reply, Squeaks, I may not have realized that I would never start my taper. So, I am now going to be aware that I can start a taper at midnight, if that is what is called for. And, because we are chronic pain peeps, when we have extra pain or have to increase our dosage for a time, so be it. I have to make sure that my overall direction is a decrease in the meds I take. Whether I use a week, 2 weeks, or a month as a measuring point in time, as long as I have decreased my dosages even 5% or 10% during my designated time frame, I will be happy. I will keep a journal to record my statistics, so that I am not fooling myself, or else I will use an old blog that I keep private, to record all my stats. But, I will come here to check in and process my successes and my setbacks. I hope you get a good sleep tonight, S.!
 

Squeaky

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I have kept a daily record of every pill I have taken since my first surgery(about a year now). I don't know why I started doing it, but now it is really nice to see my progress when they were raising my dosages and now to see how I got myself down to where I am.
 

Jabberwocky

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I read somewhere that when quitting an addiction, every time we take a step in the direction opposite of using, such as posting, skipping a dose, taking a decreased dose, calling a friend, journaling...even waiting an extra 10 minutes before taking the next scheduled dose, we weaken the addiction. That is why I plan on not giving up... I have read accounts on BL of people struggling for years to quit their drug of choice. Those that stuck with it are the ones who came back to report success. I am not giving up, even though I have not yet had a "perfect taper" day for awhile now. But, I started right around 4:30pm today to taper, not tomorrow, not the week-end. If I was not posting that reply, Squeaks, I may not have realized that I would never start my taper. So, I am now going to be aware that I can start a taper at midnight, if that is what is called for. And, because we are chronic pain peeps, when we have extra pain or have to increase our dosage for a time, so be it. I have to make sure that my overall direction is a decrease in the meds I take. Whether I use a week, 2 weeks, or a month as a measuring point in time, as long as I have decreased my dosages even 5% or 10% during my designated time frame, I will be happy. I will keep a journal to record my statistics, so that I am not fooling myself, or else I will use an old blog that I keep private, to record all my stats. But, I will come here to check in and process my successes and my setbacks. I hope you get a good sleep tonight, S.!
This piece of wisdom is probably the single most important thing I discovered when getting off methadone. So very true.

Small, consistent steps are so much more successful and manageable than trying to do it all at once. It is the single best strategy when it comes to freeing ones self from the clutches of dependency.
 

P0kemama

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Toothpaste and Squeaky: Thanks for the supportive posts! It is so helpful to hear about your successes! It creates hope for me to know that the strategies I am starting to use have been helpful in the past for you both. I will not give up this battle...that is for sure!

I don't know if it is b/c I am breaking the addiction or what, but my pills are starting to lose their effectiveness in giving me that energy rush. Today, I took a morning dose, and nothing happened until 20 minutes later when I got drowsy and feel asleep. It was not what I had planned for my morning. I do not need a pill that only makes me want to sleep the day away. After my headache yesterday, I have chores to do that I have put off. I really hope that the pills keep acting like duds. Of course, I need the pain reduction properties of them; however, I also rely on them to increase my energy. I will utilize my other pain management techniques more often if the pills cause this much sleepiness.
 
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