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5 Day Taper Down off Meds Realistic

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Medications
I have been on Opana 40mgx2 a day, Percocet 10/325x5 a day, Soma 375mg x 2 a day, Ambien CR 12.5 x 1 a Day, and Claritin. All of this for a couple of years. I am about to take a new job and am nervous about the Drug Test. All of these are legally prescribed drugs, but ones that could make a positive drug test. I have not abused any of them and take them as prescribed.

I have already started to reduce Opana even before this, so now I am at 20mg x 2 a day, and have 10mg's already.

So my choices are:

1 - Gamble on the Drug Test and hope it all works out

2 - Start now, Cold Turkey

3 - Try a 5 day Taper down:

Day 1 - 10mg Opana AM, 4 Percocet, 10 MG Opana PM
Day 2 - 10MG Opana AM, 3 Percocet, 10 MG Opana PM
Day 3 - 10 mg Opana AM, 2 Percocet, 10 MG Opana PM
Day 4 - No Opana AM, 2 Percocet, No Opana
Day 5 - 1 Percocet
Day 6 - Nothing

Will my taper work, has anyone done it that quickly?

My goal even before I started looking for this job was to get off all of the drugs, I am not confident to this day that I need them all anymore, but rather my body is dependent on them. I had a 3 level Lumbar Fusion in December of 08.

If I can't physically go without, I'll know that after being off them for a few weeks. Can always start up again after I start the new job. None of these drugs ever interfere with my job.

Your thoughts?


  • I am going through a very similar situation.
    I am currently tappering off Opana which started almost a month ago (I have been on Opana for over a year). I was also taking 20mg twice daily. I also was taking Soma 2-3 day and Norco 3-4 day.
    Although they wrote the Opana schedule for 5 weeks, I had to do this in 4 because my insurance wanted to charge me two co-pays for 7 pills.
    The first week I was on 15mg am, 10 mg pm (5mg tabs)
    Second week: 10mg am, 10mg pm
    Third: 5mg am, 5 mg pm
    Fourth (it is this week) 5 mg once day.
    Each week I was able to only get by 2 Norco a day for the first couple of weeks, but when I started the 5mg twice daily, my pain was really bad, and also started having withdrawal symptoms. In this last few days when I have gone to 5 mg day the withdrawal symptoms have worsened, hardly any sleep despite taking Ambien, and now have to take the Norco x4 and was taking Soma x3 until fours days ago when I ran out and my PM didn't call in my refill before Fri. The Norco doesn't even work well, and only for about 4 hrs.
    Needless to say I have a call into my PM right now to get an apt ASAP because I can't take this.
    My goal was to get off the Opana completely, only relying on Norco/Soma prn because I have concerns about increased pain sensitivity with having taken opiates for so long, and I too have concerns about drug screens for when I am able to go back to work. I have been on ER Tramadol before and am going to ask about going back on it. I worry too that Opana is looked at differently since it is hydromorphone although I don't know this for sure.
    I have been drug screened while on Tramadol and Norco (not Soma) and only had to show proof of my prescription. If your just taking Norco and Soma it will clear your system quickly. I had a UA with my PM and had not taken my Soma for two days before that and it was negative.

    This is just my experience and know that everyone is different. Considering what you are on I would not stop all together as I suspect your going to be really sick. I was suprised how sick I am doing this over a month.
    I don't know what kind of work you do but I know that there are jobs that require a proof of the prescription, explaination for why your on it, and I have heard sometimes needing a note from the Dr.

    It sucks that we have to go through all of this and know that taking narcs are frequently frowned upon. I wish more people understand that if it were not for the medications that we couldn't perform a job well, and actually being in chronic pain is more of a risk.

    Good luck

  • Since you have legitimate prescriptions for those medications, you shouldn't have any difficulty with passing the urine screen for employment. Bring the bottles with you, and show them to the nurse who is conducting the test. They will note the scripts on the paperwork, so you should be in the clear.
    Doing a taper is unneccessary in my opinion.
    However, if you do decide to do a taper, it is going to be too fast I think for your body to adjust well. Ideally, tapers should be done over a few weeks, depending on your dosages.
    When I took myself off oxycontin, I cut my dosages every three days anywhere between 10-25% of my then dosage and experienced minimal withdrawal symptoms.
    At higher doses, a cut of 25% is not felt as easily as it is once you get to lower doses.
  • If your ultimate goal is to reduce your medications to nothing, then you should set up a proper taper schedule with your doctor. In my opinion, a 5-day taper from that drug regimen is dangerous, especially without medical approval and supervision.

    There is absolutely no reason to put your health and well-being at risk over a pre-employment drug test, especially when you have legitimate medical reasons and legal prescriptions for the drugs. In my opinion, it's much more sensible to educate yourself about the laws and regulations that protect your legal use of the drugs, so that you can advocate for yourself effectively and make sure your rights are not violated through the process.
  • I didn't mean to imply that I advocate not going through your doctor for a proper taper. My previous posts show that I don't.
    Trying to do a taper on your own can be dangerous, Bionic Woman is correct.
    We should all spend a little bit of time learning and advocating for ourselves and our rights as chronic pain patients.
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