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Withdrawal from pain meds question

maddysmommmaddysmom Posts: 137
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Pain Medications
I am currently taking Lyrica and Tramadol for pain, but would like to slowing wean myself off of both with the help of my PM doctor. My question is will I be able to work and go through withdrawal at the same time? I'm not in a position to take 1 or 2 weeks off right now and obviously don't want anyone at work to know what's going on.


  • I weaned off vicodin while working when you wean if done right you won't have that bad of a time as far as withdrawal symptoms .the best way to do it is go down quarter dose at a time it takes a while but it makes it easier on you that way.good luck
  • I'm only 8 days post-op, but I've been on Vicodin ES since January & I can't wait to get off of it. Thanks for in insight on how you cut back dgardineer.
  • Just curious how you are doing 8 days post op. I had surgery on Tuesday (04/28) and stayed one night in hospital. So far today or should I say yesterday Wed. has been the worst post surgery pain so I'm feeling rough. I'm assuming this is par for the course. Still having a hard time at this point discerning surgery pain from my original pain as the pain seems kind of blurred together, so I'm still anxious to see if surgery worked.

    I see you had microdisectomy on L4/L5 as well. I'm sleeping at most 3 hours at a time and then walking around as I'm in a lot of pain and stiff when I wake up. I have to roll on my side out of bed. Do you know if this is pretty normal. I'm trying not to stay to sedentary as I read it can cause scar tissue, but at the same time I don't want to over do it. I have a 3 year old who was in family care first 2 days after I came home, but he is home now. I feel bad, as I'm sorting of keeping my distance as I don't want to be tempted to bend or do anything I shouldn't to sabatage surgery. My 3 year old is the main reason I chose to do the surgery as I want a normal life back so I can do more things with him although I know he has no idea what is going on. I'm praying it worked ! : ) Please post back when you have time. Dr. has me on Vicodin post surgery every 4 hours and I also take benedryl as needed as it make me itch. Also take sleeping pill 1/2 or whole as I have trouble sleeping and the almost 15+ years of pain, the worst since I had my 3 year old has caused horrible sleep deprivation and messed up my sleeping pattern. I had this is the end of my back issues at least for as long as what is left of the disc will hold up.
  • Just mt opinion but you need to watch out taking Suboxone or the other drugs that are out there to help with withdrawls because sometimes not always the person will end up taking the replacement drug all the time instead of the pain drug .I know people that were addicted to pain killers not because of a pain problem just being jackasses and that is a way for addicts to not be high but if you are not an addict you should just do it the hard way .Like I said it's my opinion and I don't mean to offend anybody or undermine your advise .
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,863
    does not always have to be a difficult experience. The key is how you start this process and that your doctor is involved. There are some members who came off medications by going cold turkey. To me, thats about the same thing as putting a gun in your hand with one bullet, putting it up to your head and continue to pull the trigger!
    It does NOT have to be difficult.
    A slow orderly plan to reduce the amount of pain medication is key. But you also need to have your doctor behind you with this. I came off after using Oxycontin for two years, and with the plan my doctor worked out, by the time Oxycontin was completely eliminated, I had zero problems, no withdrawal at all.
    Dont trust other people to tell you how to do this, talk it over with your doctor. That is the person that really can figure out what you need to do
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Sorry to hear you're in so much pain. Is it in your back or down your leg?

    My surgery was at 3:30pm (originally scheduled for 2:30pm)...but ended up starting late, probably closer to 4pm...thankfully I stayed 3 nights in the hospital & on the PCA morphine pump for most of that time (so my pain was pretty minimal while using the PCA)...then the last day I got switched to Norco. Now I'm back on Vicodin ES, which is what I was on pre-surgery. I'm also taking Celebrex. I'm not sure if it's because my Surgeon really wanted my pain under control before I left the hospital or what, but compared to a lot of the stories (where people go home the same or next day) I've read about I seem to be doing really well pain & lifestyle wise...although I'm not 100% pain free & I do still have a tingly foot/leg & muscle weakness.

    Before I went in for the surgery my family & I did make a commitment to allow me time to heal & make the lifestyle changes I need to make and they are helping out with everything. I'm walking as often as possible through out the day & taking "big" (30 min, flat, outdoor) walks twice a day. My pace is MUCH slower than pre-injury, but I'm ok with that as long as it's helping me heal & reduces my pain.

    Oh, I just thought of something else...I had a drain in my back for 2 days. -I assume this helps with healing, but I'm not sure how it affects pain management.

    Anyways, I wish you the best & hope you find adequate pain relief soon.

  • I am totally with Dilauro on the withdrawal thing. Patients can be tapered post op off their medications with little to no symptoms following their physicians directions.
    That's one of the reasons that you have doctors, is to follow their advice regarding going on and off of pain medications. A taper of 10%-25% of your dosage is the standard formulation regarding going off properly used pain medications.
    Suboxone is primarily used in the treatment of drug addiction, not dependence which comes with using pain medications for the treatment of chronic or longer lasting acute pain. It is not supposed to be used for patients who were using pain medications properly. It is also used occassionally in the treatment of chronic pain in former addicts, usually under the treatment of an addicionologist or a pain psychologist.
    If a patient has been using their prescribed pain medications properly and it is time for them to stop taking them, their Pain management doctor or their surgeon will wean them down ( taper) them over the course of a certain time frame, which will minimize the withdrawal symptoms that they may or may not have.
  • Yes, working with your PM , you will be able to go to work and function while you are tapering off the medications. Lyrica , as you might know, needs to be tapered, usually at 25mg-50 mg at a time. It is not that difficult a medication to stop taking.
    Tramadol has been known to cause withdrawal symptoms in some people, however, those symptoms can be kept to a minimum using a proper taper. Talk to your PM and I'm sure that he will work with you on developing a taper that is right for you. Good luck,
  • hi! why not talk to your doctor about this? :? there is a medication called Suboxone which helps with the problems associated with withdrawels. if you do go down slow and take your time you will have the best chance of success.. :D done correctly, you should have no problems with work! talk to your doc! :-C Jenny :)
  • i understand the problems associated with Suboxone. :? i also mention that is she goes down slow with her meds she should have no problem. :? either way, my point was to see her doctor!!! :D Jenny :)
  • I feel much better now to begin the process. My problem is, I read too many horror stories from medication forums and think that could happen to me. I know someone personally who tried to quit cold turkey and hold down her job. She could only say she had the flu for so long before her employer started putting two and two together. I could never go that route.......I'm too much of a wuss. :)
  • If she went cold turkey, that is why she suffered from symptoms of withdrawal. Anyone, if you are taking some medications for a time, will experience withdrawal symptoms.
    Withdrawal is not life threatening, nor is it really that difficult to get through. It is similar to having the flu. But those symptoms can be kept to a mimimum if your doctor does a proper taper and if the patient follows the directions of the doctor.
    The only time that withdrawal can become life threatening, is if you have other co-committent medical conditions going on with the withdrawal like a heart condition or diabetes or something similar. The rest of the time, it may become uncomfortable if it is not done properly, but it is not life threatening.
    Sub has a purpose, but for most of us here, we will not need it, nor should we want to try. The withdrawal from it is worse than it would be for most of the medications we may find ourselves on, except for methadone.
  • Last February when I stopped taking pain meds I was on Neurontin. I found that by tapering down some and stopping, my withdrawal was very less intense then on my previous surgeries. I intend to place my Neurontin use as the last med I will taper off and quit once my SCS is placed and my surgery sites have healed up.

    That is if I get the pain control from the SCS that I hope I do! I would suggest that perhaps doing one med at a time may be easier than doing multiples at once. If Lyrica helps with withdrawal symptoms as neurontin seems to since they are related. My personal choice would be to taper the pain med, then the Lyrica.

    I stopped Percocets last year and did not taper down much at all. When I stopped them the symptoms where very, very mild. I would have had no trouble at all working through them had I been at work at that time. I read about the link to Neurontin and reduced withdrawals later.

  • I see you're getting your permanent SCS tomorrow. Good luck to you!!! Here's hoping for a complete success and a pain free life. :)
  • Fentanyl a very potent pk , i quite cold turkey, it turned it to be the worst time of my life, I didn't feel normal for 2 months, i had to do BIKRAMS YOGA everyday 2 times a day to try to even sleep. It did not work. seems to me, IMO, withdrawal should not be compared to the flu, it's not mild, it's worse than being tortured , i don't know how some people experience 'MILD" withdrawal, that is beyond me. if you are trying to get off pain meds, BLESSED BE YOU for trying.. your efforts will be rewarded by being drug free.! I agree with Dilauro though, tapering should be the best way. How did you do it DILAURO?
  • I do not recommend quitting Fentanyl patches cold turkey. This is a very potent medication and you need a doctor's assistance when dealing with this medicine. I am happy for everyone that has been able to wean off their meds successfully because it means they are feeling much better.

    When you say "you'll be blessed for getting off your pain meds, and your efforts will be rewarded...do you have mixed feelings about pain meds? I just curious about that. Yes, it's good to be pain free and not need meds for pain mgt anymore.

    I'm glad that you didn't run into big trouble getting off the Fentanyl and I glad that you are doing well.
  • Fentanyl is one of those drugs that should be tapered. I am sorry that you had such a terrible withdrawal but that is because of the medication you were withdrawing from. I don't know why you chose to go cold turkey from it, but it doesn't surprise me that you had a difficult time.
    I withdrew myself from 300 mcg. of fentanyl back when my RSD was flared up, so I do know what it is like.
    For MOST drugs, withdrawal is very similar to having the flu. In some cases, just as with the flu, some have worse symptoms than others, the same is the case with cold turkey withdrawal. Medical withdrawal ( tapering) properly done, minimizes the symptoms and is more prolonged because the dosage is cut down every few days.
    Even cold turkey withdrawal symptoms can be managed with some over the counter meds. It is not going to make it go away completely, but it will help with the symptoms if someone does withdrawal cold turkey.
  • Just wanted to update & let everyone know that I haven't taken any Vicodin ES since 5/13/2009. I just kept cutting back on it & eventually stopped. I still had a couple of days of creepy-crawly skin & night-sweats, but it was worth it to just be done with it. I'm now just taking Advil or Advil PM. -I'm having a horrible time sleeping & it does help some, but not enough to get a REALLY good sleep.
  • To hear you have stopped. I am getting close myself, I am down to 1 5/325 Oxy a day. I actually take 1/2 tab about 6-7 hours apart in the day time. I plan on doing this for another day and then snipping into 1/4s and seeing how that gos.

    In the past I always got ticked off and just quite. With my SCS surgery and not being at work I am taking my time.

    I was taking Ambien and am finding it is screwing up my thought processes and giving me some monsterous headaches so it has to go too!

    When it rains, it pours...

    The good news is my pain is in remission and stays away as long as I am doing nothing. The SCS handles it when I do something and it does flare!
  • I've had a constant dull headache and mild flu like symptoms. Not sleeping well at all. I'm beginning to rethink my decision to withdraw, but still forging ahead.
  • You want to look at is your pain OK? If it is and you don't need the Oxy for that it is probably time.
    If your functional and not really having severe problems I would just wait it out. usually it only take 2-3 days for it to pass with me. I am preparing to take the last one tomorrow, I plan to 1/4 it and see how I feel. I may not even take it.

    Did you ever actually talk to your doctor about this? I know I did not bother as he does not do pain meds for very many paitients. I just know it is time and I have done this before.
  • subject of withdrawal and after testing the water on here i dont think that its a good topic to get in to .....
  • stop taking pain killer ? from what i can gather we are left with constant pain post op?? i have been told that i will have to take my pain killers for the rest of my life as the pain i suffer with is unbearable without pain killers ..i read with confusion that some of you are taking about giving up your pain killers as if you were quitting smoking!! tel me have you folks cured you back pain are you now saying that you are pain free?? because that's the only reason that i would have to come of my pain killers ..as soon as the level of pain killers drops in my body the full force of the pain comes racing back and its hell my pain killers do a very good job of masking hoffific pain ,,as far as i can tell after back surgery many require constant pain killers for ever .now if some one has found a cure for chronic appalling back and leg pain please share it with me as i dont want to be taking pain killers all my life..but as i suspect you have not and you just want to stop taking your pain killers i have to ask why ..do you want to be in pain ??? i am confused with this post ...
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