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Coming off oxycodone

sierraskier70ssierraskier70 Posts: 3
edited 09/12/2013 - 6:16 AM in Pain Medications
Hi, I had a fusion of L5-S1 in 1984 for a 50% spondy, no hardware. They just took a bone plug from my hip, ground it with glue, and pasted it in there to fuse. I've stayed active over the years, but as I get older, I was having more and more pain, numbness etc and developed weakness in big toes and ankles. L4 was sliding now with a torn disc and 2 cysts pressing on my 5th nerve root. The disc between L3 and L4 was also significantly dessicated.

I had a 2 level fusion in June. My dr originally planned to fuse L3-L4-L5, but once he got in there, he discovered L5-S1 was not fused at all, so he ended up doing L4-L5-S1 with 6 screws and rods. Recovery has been going slow. I'm a little concerned because I keep feeling something grinding in there. At my 6 week post op, he said the rods are a little flexible until the fusion solidifies and he thinks it will go away. I think it's been getting worse. I see him next week for my 12 week post op.

My big concern at the moment is I'm trying to get off oxycodone. I was sent home with 25 mcg fentanyl patches and 20 mgs oxycodone every 4 hours. I've weaned myself down to 2.5 mgs oxy several times per day, total of maybe 10 to 15mgs per day. I'm also taking Celebrex, Tylenol, and flexeril. So I feel good about that, except I've reached some kind of plateau and can't seem to take that last step off. I do ok starting out in the morning, but as the day wears on, I start getting intense aching in my leg muscles. I usually take my first 2.5 mgs between noon and 2. As evening progresses and the meds wear off, the aching gets intense where I can't sit still and this causes a great deal of anxiety and fidgetyness. At first, I thought it was my back causing it, but I have very little back pain now. I think its the oxy causing it and I end up caving and taking another half tablet.. I haven't had much other withdrawl symptoms, just the aching muscles and anxiety. I feel like a big baby complaining about such a low dose. I know many people are dealing with much worse withdrawls, but it's important to me to get off this ASAP. I just can't seem to get off this last bit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to ease the muscle aching and get off it? I do plan on talking to my dr about this next week. I hope to be off it by then, but if not, I don't want to play around with this with an "I can do it all by myself" attitude. I plan to fully discuss this with my dr and do whatever I have to to get off of it. Any suggestions in the mean time?


  • The best plan when it comes to tapering off medications is to discuss it with your doctor. Are you still using the 20 mg of oxycodone tablets? How are you splitting those tablets to get to a 2.5 mg dose? It would be very difficult to cut those into 1/8 tablet sections.
    The easiest way to taper is to take your total dosage and reduce it by a 20% reduction. which is what most doctors use when it comes time to taper off. It seems that you would have to be taking 2.5 mg every 4 hours, according to your estimates, so you are taking it 6 times per day still? Usually a tapering plan involves reducing yout total daily dosage of med, and extending the time between doses.Try extending your doses by an hour more between doses, which at the end of the day will reduce your daily dose by one. Then after a couple of days, extend the time frame another hour, which will reduce your dailty intake again by another dose....
    The muscle aches and spasms can be managed using hot showers, and the muscle relaxers. If you time your doses of the muscle relaxer, it should help with the spasms.
  • EMS GuyEEMS Guy Posts: 914
    edited 09/12/2013 - 3:19 PM
    Celebrex is a NSAID. Unless your doctor has some specific reason for you taking it, I'd reconfirm with him/her if they want you taking that now. NSAID's can negatively effect the fusion process.

    Also, since you've had a fusion problem in the past, you may want to ask about a Bone Growth Stimulator.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • 1ofmanyinpain11ofmanyinpain Posts: 60
    edited 09/13/2013 - 1:09 PM
    The first question I have is "What is the reasoning behind trying to stop taking the pain meds"?.. is it just the addiction aspect? I think that stopping too soon could cause you to have more problems in the future... Why not just cut the whole dosage to a manageable level then stay there until u start to actually Heal and Feel better? Then start the process of totally coming off of them? I had the same fusion as your first one only they used the bone from my spine that they removed and laid it down on both sides... It didn't work for me and I now have FBS... That was my second surgery.. the first didn't help either... I am one of those Chronic Pain Patients that will be on strong Pain Meds forever... so my thoughts are a lot different then most... I worry about addiction like everyone else does but I am not going to let it dictate how long I take the meds... I am only 46, but have been on them for over 20 years now off and on at first, but regularly for about 12 years... I think you should do what's best for you... YOU, not anyone else... but you should ask your Dr. for help no matter what you decide to do... Good Luck..
  • First, let me welcome you to Spine Health.........I will post our welcome information for you to read, and secondly it is not ever OKAY to take more of any medication than the person is prescribed by their treating doctor. It is unwise for anyone to give advice of a medical nature such as that over any forum.
    All patients have a responsibility to themselves and to their doctors to only follow the doctors directions when it comes to these medications , otherwise, they place themselves and their loved ones at risk of an accidental overdose, and their physicians refusing to treat them any longer.
    There is nothing wrong with a tapering plan, done correctly, it is very safe, and minimizes any withdrawal effects.
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  • I have some experience stopping oxy. I must say it is one of the easier meds to stop (compared to oxymorphone, fent. ect) People don't believe me when I say it but I truly believe oxycodone is way easier for your brain to recover from than the others, no matter how much you are on. Cold turkey is how I've done it before. Tapering for me just seemed to draw the process out to long. The sooner you get the drugs out of your system, the sooner you'll start feeling normal. Don't get me wrong, you have to be tough. The first 3 days without it suck and I personally did not sleep but maybe 15 min here, 15 there. I would always tell myself that each second that goes by, I'm getting better. (from the withdrawals) Time goes by slower than you could imagine but by day 6 you will be feeling almost normal. The ticket I think is finding things to make your brain release the natural feel good chemicals again. For me, that was listening to tunes and playing my guitar. Oh and just talking with other people. Not necessarily about what you are going through, just normal conversations to get those natural brain juices flowin! Are you still on the Fent patch? I agree 100% with 1ofmanyinpain. Don't try to stop too early, if you truly are in pain you should take your meds, that's why your doc gave em to you lol! Hey send me a PM if you have any questions!!!
  • quite clearly that they feel that they no longer need the meds......that is why they are choosing to stop taking them. Not for any other reason.
    A tapering plan is the best option when it comes to going off the meds, done correctly and followed correctly by the patient, with the supervision and approval of their prescribing doctor. We do not recommend cold turkey of any medication, since many of the medications used to treat our conditions require a taper up and down in dosage.
    It is unsafe to do otherwise.
  • Sorry I was just telling what my personal experience was, which is what a lot of folks having withdrawals need to hear. One thing to always remember...opiate withdrawals will not kill you. Cold turkey or not. Hang in there Sierraskier, hope your pain gets better!
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