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Experience tapering off MS contin or other narcotics?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Pain Medications
I need to taper off MS Contin. I'm taking 30mg 4 times per day. I've never had a dependancy on a narcotic before. I tried to taper last week and even got down to 2 per day. Thought I was doing well but on Monday (2 days ago) I started feeling bad. I'm not sure what is from medication and what is now going back to normal baseline pain issues. Anyway, anyone want to enlighten me and give me suggestions to ease the way?


  • Is this per Drs orders or are you doing this on your own?

    How long have you been taking the 30mg 4 times per day?

    Wishing you the best >:D<
  • I agree with Robin are you doing this on your own or through your dr?
    Tapering off meds is something that really should be handeled by the dr that is perscribing them. As there can serious issues doing it on your own.

    Every time I was on a long acting med they cut it down by 1 then 2 and so forth so your body adjust.

    So if your taking 4 now. The dr would probably have you do 3 then 2 then 1 then to nothing OR lower your dose from 30mgs down till your able to come off properly.

    Let us know how you make out. ;)
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  • hey
    i agree with above. i am an RN and have seen clients try to taper off meds. i always contact the doc to get specific instruction on how to do it. docs are really good about this.

    they will give u guidelines and instruction. u can do it. many have. good luck.
  • Thank you for your replies and concern. Let me be clear, I was not asking for instructions on HOW to taper and I am not going this alone w/out specific instruction from my personal physician. Last week when I began to taper I was doing so upon direct advice of my physician.

    I only hoped to get some friendly support from others whom have experienced the process and I thought maybe others would be able to give me pearls of wisdom based on their own experiences. You know, the little stuff that can ease the process. Like I said, I've never been in a dependency situation. Based on my experience thus far its going to be a difficult process, likely harder then we thought.

    My situation is very very complex. I was placed on the MS Contin back in June 2008. Four years ago I had 4 temporal fossa craniotomies. I'm left w/chronic post craniotomy headaches. (If interested, this is a type of headache classified in the international classification of headaches) I've also now got an unstable cervical spondylolisthesis also causing pain. Each of these types of pain issues generate serious problems. I'm delicate. The neck pain is a trigger for the head pain. If I allow my head pain to smolder it triggers a horrific headache to where I literally can't stop throwing up. Its really expensive to keep running to the ER etc.

    Recently I was seen by both a headache specialist and my neurosurgen whom performed all the craniotomies. The headache specialist wants me to go off the MS Contin and try something else. He is worried the MS Contin is causing rebound head pain and making things even worse for me. My neurosurgeon is concerned I have scar tissue or adhesions stuck to the dura of my brain. He wants to place a titanium plate where my skull bone flap was in order to separate the dura from the scarring etc. We need to make darn sure I'm experiencing pain from the dura if we're going to go to the trouble of the surgery. Its hard to remember how the pain felt (the naked truth) while being medicated like this. He can't simply experiment by just numbing the area because it would numb the brain and knock me out! Also, my primary care doctor who prescribed the MS contin wants me off because I keep losing weight to the point its becoming dangerous.

    The truth is, my doctor basically instructed me just like you say Terri. cut back one per week. But oh boy, is my head pain ramping up using this fashion. So yes, I did speak w/my doctor about getting smaller dosages to taper. He had me go back to 4 MS contin per week and stabalize. This is helping but I'm still getting pain like I have a spinal tap headache. He said to call him at the end of the week (tomorrow) and let him know how I am. He talked about starting over next week but I'm going to push it back one week because my husband will be away next week and I need to manage our business on my own! So I plan to work att his process slowly.

    Once again thank you for your replies. You seem like a group of really heroic individuals.

  • I'm sorry to hear of your situation.I've had spinal(tap) headaches,and suffer cervicle issues and the headaches associated with that..and quite frankly it will be hard to quit taking pain medication in my opinion.I've read your entire post and honestly it is a bit over my head(no pun intended-lol).Am I to understand that you won't be taking anything for the headaches?I hope that is not the case,but I see the Dr needs to understand the exact pain and cannot experiment..but I have no experience whatsoever there.I'm sorry.

    I've weaned off of meds before,but your situation is totally different.When I did this my pain was not so bad(years ago)and I have never taken MS Contin.I wish that I could be more help,but I feel I would be doing you a disservice if I tried to answer your question.I hope that someone else can be of more help than me and that you find all of the answers that you need.
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  • Hey Robin, thanks for acknowledging me. No, the headache doc is going to be trying a different management and I'm hoping the Neurosurgeon will help with the pain issue too. Like I said, we're changing my treatment.

    I'd read somewhere that sometimes one becomes very anxious feeling while tapering off MS Contin. I noticed last week I became anxious which is not something I'm prone to in general. Now that I know this, am aware I may have an issue in the near future while trying to taper down, I'll be asking my physician about this and possibly be prepared with anti-anxiety meds just in case. Its this kind of thing I want to understand going into the process. Help clear the path. What kind of support aides help one get you thru it.
  • =D> great idea about asking for the antianxiety meds. a mild sedative will ease tension. u r right about that. i have seen many clients get anxiety and suffer from withdrawls . . . . i have come to believe the two go hand in hand.

    from my personal experience with this fusion surgery i was in excruciating pain. i am not a fan of any drug. i hate taking them.

    i found that taking a sedative along with a muscle relaxatant worked well for me. actually worked better than the narcotics.

    ps all written is from personal experience and should not be considered medical advice--> we should all add this disclaimer to our signatures----> of course it is all from personal experience
  • :) Mind you this is only my situation,but maybe it can help in a tiny way...or at the very least you might not feel so alone or that your feelings are unusual.

    When I weaned off of pain medication back in 2002 I did it kind of quickly and felt very anxious.At the time I was not taking any other medication other than my synthroid-but no meds for pain,muscles,stress,etc.,and my Dr(new Dr-long story) did put me on a pretty high dose of anti anxiety medication.My reasons for not taking pain medication however were personal,not medical and the personal issues themselves caused a great deal of stress alone.I have no idea how much stress I would have had/not had if the personal aspect had not been an issue.Or THE issue.Which alone makes our cases so very different.

    I have to be perfectly honest with you Bridgie
    and say that reading craniotomies,skull bone flap,titanium plate ...well,please excuse me but that made me nervous and I felt a bit out of my league to say the least.

    Weaning off of MS Contin,which in my understanding is a pretty potent painkiller,could (I could see) cause some stress.Not only from the weaning process and fear of pain,but the pain itself.I'm no longer taking any anti-anxiety medication on a daily basis,but am prescribed ativan .5mg 2x's daily as needed.I prefer the as needed as opposed to the type of medication that has to be taken daily to be affective for two reasons.The first being that it's faster acting and also because I don't have to take it every day.This might be something to keep in mind when you discuss your ideas with your Dr.

    With the business and your husband being away I can certainly understand why you would push the process back a week or so.I don't blame you for taking it slow and hopefully the Dr approves.

    YOU my Dear sound like the heroic individual!

    **A gift for YOU~image
  • I only try and put myself in ones situation when I have been relatively close to the same as theirs. I take the same dose as you bridgie, and this is all hypothetical with only helping in mind.
    Week 1. 30+30+15+30
    Week 2. 30+15+15+30
    Week 3. The 30mg MS CONTINuous Relief whenever pain is the worst morn./night+15+15+15
    Week 4. 15+15+15+15
    Week 5. 15mg MS CONTIN morning 10mg Immediate Release morphine sulfate as needed then 15mg MS CONTIN night
    Week 6. See where you're at.
    ;) I hope you can follow my muddled thinking as my PM Specialist would say it's more of an art than science. bridgie keep your chin up you've battled FAR worse. God-Bless and pass some of that chicken soup. Never meant to offend only encourage.
  • I tapered off that exact same doseage of mscontin. I had diarrhea and three days of bed rest( I left it cold turkey) My legs didnt barely have strength alot of muscle spasm but all in all it was a little easier than tapering off 5 mgs of klonipin.
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