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Percocet Withdraw?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Pain Medications
I had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy on my C6/C7 with fusion on June 5th. I was given Percocet and had never taken it before. It helped the pain and by week two I had cut my dose down to 2 tablets (5mg) every 6 hours and just last week I have cut down more to maybe 3-4 tablets a day, having gone back to work, I couldn't take anymore. Thursday I tried to go longer without taking it. I took one 5mg tablet around noon and around 10pm that night I got sick and quick. It felt like a panic attack without the panic...sick to my stomach, sweating with goosebumps, weak and unstable on my feet and couldn't sleep that night. Not knowing what was going on I was scared to take anything else with the fear of getting sicker. I drank about a half a bottle of Pepto Bismol (I hate being sick to my stomach) and tried to sleep. These syptoms lasted into the next morning and being scared to take anything I let the pain in my neck and back fron surgery get really bad. I broke down thinking I'm already feeling like crap there is no need for my neck to hurt...I took one Percocet tablet and within 20 minutes all my syptoms, except a headache, went away. I couldn't believe it! I was trying to get off this horrible stuff and was only taking around 3-4 5mg tablets a day! Was I experiencing a withdraw? Has anyone had this experience before? Of course it's the weekend and my surgeon isn't in and has no emergency number. My pain, I think, is at a cross roads where I don't need the strength of Percocet but OTCs aren't strong enough. My surgeon had mentioned Tramadol, which I have had before, which is a non-narcotic non addictive pain killer. I was just wondering if I was alone on this whole thing, taking such a low dose and still feeling withdraw symptoms, if that is what they infact were. I am still taking the meds until I can speak with my doctor, this is not something I want to mess with without my doctors supervision. Thanks everyone.


  • What you have described, is what I have been feeling off and on for about 3 weeks.

    My prescribed dose of oxycontin is 60mg three times a day, however, since the day I purchased my infrared heating pad... I am only taking two of these tablets per day. I had no intentions of weaning myself off of any medications I am prescribed... it honestly just "happened".

    I've been experiencing nausea, loss of appetite, neck pain, headaches and the weird goosebump sensations... a LOT over the past 3 weeks. These have all started to subside, thank goodness.

    I take percocet (7.5/325 mg) for my break-thru pain and my dose varies each day... depending on my pain. (Never more than 6 tablets a day).

    I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure other members will be giving you their experiences, too. Papa Ron is who drew my attention to these symptoms I was experiencing and I truly thank him. Having withdrawls completely slipped my mind when I was sleeping through my third dose of oxycontin. I was honestly more excited about the infrared heating pad results to even think of any medication withdrawls.

    You are very wise to speak with your doctor and have his guideance through this process.


  • If you are still in pain. My suggestion is

    DO NOT DO THIS YET! Simply give it more time.

    Talk to your doctor and work out a proper plan when the time is right. With care and planning you can taper down fully and quit with almost zero withdrawal. 3-4 a day is to many to just stop. Most people will notice withdrawal. No need to feel quilty about it at all. It is what it is.

    Been there, done that.

    Tammy, dropping a 30mg tablet is probably a big enough step to cause the symptoms you had.

    Please be careful!
  • Sounds to me like withdrawals, but you should talk to your doctor.

    I want to touch on something you said that couldn't be further from the truth: that tramadol is non-addictive. It is ABSOLUTELY addictive, and can bring you the same, and sometimes worse withdrawal symptoms. If your doctor told you that, I would be wary! I actually have used tramadol to wean from my pain meds many times in the past. It actually tricks your body into thinking you are getting the stronger stuff (although NOT the pain relief so much), and you can actually interchange them in times of low pain just so you won't get the withdrawal symptoms.

    Just be very careful if you do take them, and don't think you will not be just as physically addicted to Tramadol as you are to Percocet.

    I do agree however, that there is no reason for you to be trying to stop taking a medication that will help you live free of pain while you are recovering.

    Take care, and let us know how you are doing!
  • Yes, it sounds exactly like withdrawal. I had the same happen and it took me a few days to figure it out also, thought I had a bug of some sort, finally figured it out, took a Vicodin and all my troubles went away. This was before my fusion surgery (for my broken vertebrae that I broke from a dog attack). So, I knew I was heading into surgery, so I just kept taking them, even took one the morning of surgery just to make sure I didn't have W/D's. Now I am on percocet from my fusion and hate the thought of going through that again but really hope to drop down slowly and see if that helps me not have to go through it.

    Right now I am on the following and still need it:

    15-20 mg during day of Percocet
    20 mg Oxycontin during the night
    Tramodol for breakthrough
    plus stuff like muscle relaxers and more...

    I really really want to wean off them now as I hate being on them but I know I am not ready, so I have to just continue with them for a while ... my doc is going to give me a new script for oxycontin 10 mg to help me decrease my dose in 2 more weeks, so my goal right now is to get to just 10 mg oxycontin in am and 10 mg in PM with a Tramadol or two if needed...

    If you are in pain, take the meds, wean VERY slowly, use the Tramodol to help but you can get W/D's from Tramodol too.
  • Reducing opiate medications needs to be done under the supervision of your doctor. I keep seeing the word addiction thrown around, but it is not addiction that you are dealing with, it is dependence. If you are taking your medications properly, are not taking more than you should be, it is dependence . Your body becomes accustomed to having certain levels of the pain medication in your system , and when the levels are lower than your body is accustomed to, it lets you know by worsening symptoms of withdrawal. Your surgeon/PM doctor should have discussed dependence with you when you were first prescribed opiate pain medications and the fact that your body will probably become dependent upon the medications after some time.
    If you beleive that you are ready to try a step down in the amount of medication that you are taking, is to consult your prescribing physician and tell him that you would like to reduce the amount of medications that you are on.. He /she can provide you with a relatively painless taper plan over days or weeks that will safely get you off the pain medications.
    Tramadol is addictive. despite the claims of the manufacturer. In fact, it can cause even worse withdrawal symptoms than some of the opiate pain meds.
    Use it sparingly and seldom.
  • The same thing happened to me the very first time I took Percocet after my initial back surgery in 1979. I couldn't sleep, etc. I asked my Dr. what that was all about and he told me that I was going through Withdrawals. The first time was in 1979 and the last time was in 2003. In between those years I must have withdrawn from one med or another about 100 times maybe more. I would consider myself an expert at withdrawal so, that's why I say that is what happened to you that night.
  • To reinforce the statement that.

    You can stop the meds when the time is right without all the misery. Talk to your doctor and set a slow careful taper. When done properly most people will notice little to no side effects/withdrawals.

    Don't get in a hurry.
    Follow the schedule.
    It is not a big deal if done correctly.
  • I took tramdol of only 4 days and had to stop because they were not taking the pain away but were making me really high. I suffered terrible withdrawl from them. Just because they are not narcotic classified don't think that they can not be addicting. thankfully because of the pain i ended up getting a small perscription for hydromorphone so not only did my pain go away so did the withdrawl. fortuantly i don't have a problem coming off the hydromorphone as i generally lower my dose before they are gone.
  • Take your time, don't do it quickly or you'll regret it. It can be easy or hard. Cold turkey can be really, really bad. I've done it, a week or so of hell and all for not, wasn't ready to stop taking and ended right back where I was. Have a plan, remind your PM doc that this is your idea, he will respect you for trying to do it and if you're not ready, you'll be less hassled going back up again.
  • I agree...take it very slow and your doctor can usually give you something to help with the symptoms. When I cam off my fentanyl patches, my PM doc gave me something...just a few...but it helped with the anxiety feeling.

    Oh, and good job describing the difference b/n addiction and dependence. I usually say the word addition, but it sounds horrible and I only take the amount prescribed...so I'm not abusing for sure. I got soma the other night and it didn't seem to work too well...I guess I thought it would knock me out b/c I'd be so relaxed. About an hour later, when I went to take my "old" muscle relaxer, I realized, "wait, my spasms really are better...just b/c it didn't knock me out doesn't mean it didn't work". So, I've realized some times I have the potential to 'overuse' my meds for effect...so I have to be very careful. I do use my narcotics the way they are written or less or else I'd be in a pickle and run out and have none and w/d before I got them again. I've heard a lot of stories of people doing that. WEll, I'm rambling....sorry

    I w/d from percocet once and it wasn't nice...it was as you described, but I could barely make it to the bathroom to vomit every 30 minutes...it was horrible. When I got off the patches, I didn't withdraw b/c my PM doc helped me with an antianxiety med...but only about 10 of them so I didn't get used to those. :) It's such a hard boat to row....Best wishes to you and hope your surgery worked well
  • Any of the opiate medications and some of the other medications that we are put on need to be TAPERED instead of just stopping them. Lyrica , Baclofen,Tramadol/Ultram/Ultracet, Neurontin, Tegretal, Topomax and I'm sure that there are others all need to be tapered and reduced under the direction of a physician. In fact, all of those medications come with instructions from your pharmacy that tell you not to just stop taking them. I know that Baclofen can cause seizures and so can Lyrica and Tramadol.
    Please be very careful when it comes to these medications and stop to read the printed directions that come with the medications before you take them. At least once.
  • my fellow pain sufferers have given some very good advice .just to ad my bit ..see you doctor ..if you are in pain and require narcotics there is no problem with that ..the problem comes when you miss a dose or increase without supervision.long term pain requires long term pain killers .when you are on narcotics they take a little time to get in to your system but if taken as prescribed you should not have any problems{constipation is normal as is sickness at first but the sickness can be handled with tonic water and anti sickness wrist bands or if that doesn't work anti sickness meds} the constipation can be sorted with movicol {you will have to take that for as long a s you are on meds}
    no one would chose to be on long term pain killers but sometime its necessary please go to you doctor be honest! about your drug requirements and sort about a new program
  • What do you do if your doctor won't prescribe anything strong enough to ease your pain? I was taking hydrocodone, but it wasn't helping, so my doctor changed it to darvocet! That's even weaker. When I called today to say that the darvocet isn't helping the nerve pain, he called in a lydoderm patch! He just seems to refuse to prescribe anything stronger. I just want to control the pain.

  • Rusty,
    Do you have a PM doctor or a regular doctor? My regular primary care referred me to a pain management doctor as she doesnt like to prescribe opiates on a long term basis. What is your pain for? Give the doctors all of your symptoms. Sometimes, something as simple as physical therapy helps. I think doctors are reluctant to prescribe any strong meds because they dont wanna the backlash on them for doing so. I recommend looking for a pain management doctor (mine was actually the one that found i wasnt havent headaches, that it was all coming from my neck). A few tests and they should be able to come up with a routine to help you manage your pain. Good luck to you.

  • The doctor that I'm referring to is my OS. I didn't think about calling my primary care doctor. The lower back pain is the same pain that I had before the L5/S1 fusion. Silly me, I thought that surgery would alleviate the pain. It's been 6 wks, but if this pain doesn't start to ease up soon, I'm going to have to consider myself a person with chronic pain because the pain is constant, and I'll find a PM. Thank you.

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