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    Weaning myself off narctoic pain meds
    DDDGuy509 posted:
    Have been on pain meds for years because of degenerative disc disease and two bad knees. This past year however some serious gastric issues have surfaced. Namely constipation. Have been evaluated and the conclusion was just that, constipation due to pain meds. I have decided I no longer wish to be on narcotic pain meds for the rest of my life and through my Dr.'s am slowly weaning off the oxycodone first, then the morphine sulphate. May use suboxone for the morphine per my Dr. who is speaking to a friend of his about it.

    So far so good with the oxy drawdown. No major withdrawls. I have noticed the back pain is stronger though now going through the drawdown.

    My Dr. said once off the pain meds we will look at Celebrex or something else for the pain. Plus going to have another serious look at the back, another set of x-rays, or mri's to see how bad its gotten in the past many years.

    If anyone else can relate to this I would love to hear from you!
    Determined to get off these and find out what if anything can be done to releive th eback pain, and that includes surgery if necessary.
    bren_bren responded:
    Hi there DDDGUY509, it sounds like you are trying like hell to grab hold of your health, and I applaud you for that. I'm surprised that a doc didn't pick up on your inability to maintain "normalcy" and didn't address it on his own.

    WIthdrawls are very difficult and should be monitored closely by your physician. I can only say that i truly hope your doc is stepping up and helping you out here. I would (if I were you) demand that your doc "experiment" with the Clexa as if it were your only med. Myself and many more patients have had much better luck introducing one med at a time, for the sake of identifying side effects and effectiveness. It will help you to determine things in the long run.

    Much luck, and please try and avoid surgery. There are many more options available out there -- you need to ask. In the meantime, you are welcome to come here for support! Take care and live pain free, B
    annette030 responded:
    I don't know what the future will hold for you and your back pain. But, if you want to get off the opiates go for it.

    My husband tapered off of methadone after he had his hip replaced surgically. He had no withdrawals at all with a moderately quick taper. He was lucky that the hip no longer hurt much, but you will have a different experience with your back pain, as you already have noticed.

    I checked my drug handbook and the suboxone has about an 8-11% risk of constipation in users, so it may or may not be useful for you. You could be one of the ones who do not have that side effect, but since you have had it with other pain meds, you might be more likely to get it with suboxone.

    I am not a big fan of surgery for back pain, I don't feel the possible benefits outweigh the possible risks for pain. But there are a lot of other possible treatment techniques to try. Best of luck to you.

    Take care, Annette
    karenb111 responded:
    i am going thru narc abuse and i still have to deal with bulge discs in my neck. i would ask about tramadol, it really works and i dont feel so addictive to it
    DDDGuy509 replied to bren_bren's response:
    Thanks for your support. In addition to my regular Dr. I am seeing a Psych. for the anxiety and some depression related to my situation. I am trying to grab ahold of my situation and see if I can get to the bottom of how bad the back is.

    My Dr. keeps telling me that the gastric issues will end for me at some point. I hope so, because I see where just about everything used to treat pain/arthritis issues has a risk of constipation. Not exactly encouraging....but going to look/talk about ALL options for the back. Again, thanks!
    DDDGuy509 replied to annette030's response:
    Hi Annette:
    thank you for your imput. So far no major withdrawl issues with the oxycodone. More Psychological I think. I have tapered off from 1 and 1/2 pills a day down to just one a day in addition to two Morphine Sulphate ER tabs. At maximum dosage I was on that 1 1/2 oxyies and two Morphine Sulphate extended release per day, so have been on a low dose for years. My Dr. said he didn't think I would have any withdrawl issues with the oxycodone.

    I have a Psych. helping me with the issues related to this, anxiety etc.

    The morphine will be different/tougher. I go see him early next month as he was going to talk to a friend of his about suboxone. I know then you have to been weaned of that too I believe. Tackling one med at a time for me obviously. Thank you for your support!!
    annette030 replied to DDDGuy509's response:
    A lot of folks like the suboxone, I think it is a matter of how you look at things. You are correct, you do generally wean off of it too, but I think I have heard some folks here continued to use it for pain. If it does not make your constipation worse, that might be what your doctor is thinking about.

    If I were weaning off of all pain meds, I would just go for it, and skip the suboxone. My husband has weaned off of morphine, oxycodone, and methadone at various times in his life. For cancer treatment, and for his hip problems he has taken all kinds of narcotics over the years. He is 66 now. He said he never had any trouble going off when he set his mind to it. No withdrawals at all. I was there for the methadone, so I can vouch for that one personally.

    If you decide to continue without the suboxone, just go slow and you will be fine. Keep in touch.

    Take care, Annette
    DDDGuy509 replied to annette030's response:
    Hi Annette:
    when I first informed my Dr. of what I wanted to do he did say he thought I would experience some withdrawls, I assume with the morphine sulphate. He has said many times he didn't think I would have a problem with the oxy wean. generally not. I am on 15 mg. of morphine sulphate extendedrelease 2X a day. I am assuming I would just slwoly wean off that in small doses like the oxy? Thanks for you input. Take care. Your husband should be congratulated for what he has done too!
    Geradine4733 responded:
    It appears that you are getting professional help for the withdrawal. What about the pain? If you can live with the pain, good for you.

    I do not know what your pain is but it sounds like it was severe with the strong meds. Maybe your pain level is better now. Most people can not function with severe pain. They rely on pain meds to lower the pain so they can be contributing members of society.

    I take Celebrex. It helps wih the inflamation - about like Aleve or Aspirin but it does not deal with the pain. Good luck.
    annette030 replied to DDDGuy509's response:
    I agree with you. Just taper very slowly down and you probably won't have much trouble other than your pain will probably get worse.

    I worked with heroin addicts in a treatment facility in the early 1970s. One of the older addicts who had been on and off heroin for many years, told me that the withdrawal is like a bad case of the flu, hot and cold flashes, shakes, bone aches, etc. But that it only lasted a few days. Of course, that was when one stopped abruptly, not with a slow taper.

    It is great that your doctor is on board with whatever you decide to do. When you get down to the lowest dose of Morphine ER available (I think you may be there already) and are ready to go down some more, he may change you to a different med or a different delivery system, like immediate release morphine pills. DO NOT split the dose of the Morphine ER in half, those kind of pills should never be broken, split, or chewed. You are doing great.

    When I tapered my husband off, I reduced him to the smallest dose twice a day, then once a day, then every other day, then off completely. Methadone works a bit differently than Morphine ER so your doctor may well have a different plan in mind for you.

    Take care, Annette
    DDDGuy509 replied to annette030's response:
    I gave it my best shot. Unfortunately I have made the decision to go back on my regular dose of meds for now. I was not prepared for the big spike in pain I was dealing with, with the drawdown on the oxy. The other factors which contributed were a family health emergency and the fact I am now a care giver to a very ill family member. Found the pressure and stress too much to bear at times.

    Going to talk to my Psych. this morning about my decision and whats going on. Curious to ask her what the success rate is of people like myself who maybe were weaning off meds without the help of anything, and secondly going to ask her if she thinks my reg. Dr. may be able to swap a pain med for my oxycodone, say, which is NOT as harsh on the tummy.

    It may take a couple of tries like kicking smoking I am thinking, and with me personally it took many tries to quit smoking.

    But I feel like for rightnow at least, I need to take a step back, and catch my breath, as I have a very full plate and feeling it. But I thank you all and esp. Annette for your support and input. It is REALLY appreciated.
    kittydiaz replied to DDDGuy509's response:
    hey there...can i offer another option. acidopholus has helped me tremendously with constipation. and when my pain doc recently put me on the morphine sulfate he also gave me a prescription for a laxative j.i.c.:-). don't need it as the acidopholus is doing the trick just fine.
    DDDGuy509 replied to kittydiaz's response:
    What is acidopholus exactly? I have been eating Activia lately, and NEVER ate yogurt before. Would like to t hink its helping. Thanks for the info though!
    kittydiaz replied to DDDGuy509's response:

    wiki can describe it better than i can..:-)
    annette030 replied to DDDGuy509's response:

    I am behind you whatever you decide.

    All opiates decrease the peristalsis in the gut, they just seem to nearly halt the bowel's mechanical action pushing the fecal material forward in many cases. Everyone's reaction to this is somewhat different, but few people get by without having this side effect at all. I do agree that a different opiate may have less of this effect on you. It also seems to be dose related, so the lower the dose, the less constipation in many people.

    Alternating to a different opiate often allows one to take a lower dose due to the limited cross tolerance between opiates, so changing opiates may well be of use to you. This is true of both the short and the long acting opiates.

    You might discuss with your doctor trying a stimulant type laxative, although you probably are already. There are several kinds. Most doctors start with a stool softener, then move to a stimulant laxative, but which kind of stimulant varies from doctor to doctor. Everyone has their favorites.

    Probiotics and acidophilus work in a slightly different way. They replace helpful organisms that may be lost when you take antibiotics for instance. They may or may not help in your case, but they shouldn't hurt. Just don't put of definitive care while waiting for these to work.

    It DOES sound like you have an awful lot going on right now. Wish there was something I could do to actually help you. Your analogy to quitting smoking is accurate. Like with quitting smoking, I would pick the best time to make any major change in your meds. The fewer other stresses going on in your life the better.

    Don't worry what the success rate is with other people in your situation, those are other people not you. You will do fine. Think positively.

    Take care, Annette

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