Anyone "Cold Turkeyed" from the fentanyl patch?

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Hi I'm curious if there has been anyone who cold turkeyed from the fentanyl patch and if they did, what was it like with the withdrawal and how long they lasted?

The reason I ask is it seems very variable when people taper what their symptoms are. Some appear not to get many withdrawal symptoms at all and other seem to really go throught it during the taper and also at the end. I realise its difficult to compare as everyone seems to do different things as the medical staff do not have a lot of experience getting people of this highly addictive drug. Does everyone suffer when they finally stop?

I found coming of the oral Actiq not to bad (I've had worse with my cancer treatment) but my mental cravings are awful. Physically I've had diarrheoa, pain, lots of sweating, lethargy and headaches, the worst is the mental cravings just to feel "right". Having said that I am a lot clearer in my cognative ability and like that rather than the fentanyl fog. I guess its the feel good factor I miss which is the addiction part or else loss of seratonin in my brain. I still have the patch so that may be my my withdrawals having included RLS etc.

Any thoughts anyone please?

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  • Posted

    Hi Actiquser,  I was given fentanyl patches when I was admitted to hospital with a broken bone at the bottom of my spine.  The relief was almost instant although the doctor didn't tell me what a terrible synthetic drug it was.  I continued to use the patches low dose 25 mg for 15 months before I discovered just what I'd unwittingly got myself into.  My local doctor thought I was making a fuss about nothing when I said I wanted to get off it. She said I should cut the patches with scissors and lower the dose gradually for a couple of weeks and then I'd be free!!!  But I wasn't, was I?  I did prolong the process for another three weeks or so, and then I took the patch off completely.  Wow, did I suffer....  I had terrible cold turkey withdrawal symptoms, including diarreah, nausea, shaking and, horrendously, no sleep whatsoever!  Sleepless nights are horrible and the body jerks all through the night seemed eternal.  Then after three nights and days without a wink of sleep I managed just a few hours sleep and not so much shaking.  After 11 days I began to feel better and my body stopped shaking, no diarreah or nausea, and now, after 18 days I'm still not sleeping properly, just a few hours here and there and no daytime naps at all.  My body is exhausted and I just hope the damage is not permanent.  I'm a 76 year old woman and would dearly love to have a good night's sleep.  Never again will any doctor inflict such a terrible drug on me.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  Fentanyl, in my opinion, should be used only for terminally ill people who have only a short time left to live and are in terrible pain.  I hope my experience will be of help to you and I wish you good luck.  Kind regards, Kathleen

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    • Posted

      Greetings Kathleen from the windswept rainy UK. Thanks for the reply your experience is horrendous and a terrible way to treat anyone never mind  someone elderly and on their own. I find low dose 10mg Amytriptiline good for sleeping and pain

      I do consider I have got of lightly with the oral fentanyl, but I beleive that is due to still having the patch on.

      It seems really cruel to taper and then still to suffer cold turkey withdrawal symptoms at the end. Yours sound particularly severe and you weren't on it that long and you were on the lowest therapeutic dose too.

      I have been on it at least 3.5 years if not longer. I originally went on it due to an abdominal obstruction due to radiotherapy and they couldn't operate due to multiple Pulmonary emboli (blood Clots) due to my chemotherapy and the pain was intense. So I had to wait 6 months till I was clear of the lung clots to get a general anaesthetic. I  was fed intravenously. I thought the operation would solve the pain issue and I would be able to eat again (I had my small intestine removed ) but it didn't, so still left with the pain as I have so many adhessions now.

      Drs are ok about me being on the patch. Pain Dr says I'll never get of it. I want of it as I do not like my life on it.

      From your experience I'll try a taper then stop and see if symptoms get bad. Did you vomit much or was it nausea mainly?

      I hope it settles soon for you and you get some sleep soon and some energy back. I hope you get your old life back soon.

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    • Posted

      Hi Actiquser, oh my goodness you have really been through the mill.  I thought my problems were awful....colon cancer, colostomy, bladder cancer and perhaps the removal of bladder completely, meaning 2 bags, one either side!  Still to make a decision on that. The local bag lady, as my friend said!  Also chronic arthritis, which I can deal with but which caused the use of the awful fentanyl patch!  I'm a Brit expat living in Spain for 45 years and up to the fentanyl incident have had good medical treatment here.  I will never ever forgive them for giving me that patch without even telling me what it was!  My GP knows I'm furious and still thinks I'm making a fuss about nothing!  I never vomited but the nausea was awful and so was the diarreah (horrible with a colostomy bag)!  After 19 days I think I'm just about free and last night Imactually slept for 6 hours, in 2 hour spates.     If you can face it, do try to get off the fentanyl, you'll be so relieved and I'm sure the other painkillers will suffice.  I hope you don't suffer as much as I did, some people don't, but be prepared for a few really nasty days.  Good luck and let me know how you get on.  I'll be thinking of you and wishing you we'll.  xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Kathleen I'm so glad to hear that you are sleeping better and hope you do not end up with another bag. I was lucky I didn't get a bag. I was expected to have one, but had 2 surgeons from different centres in Britain do my operation together as it was so complex. One of my fears is if I need further surgery what will I do for analgesia if  am still on massive doses of fentanyl. You will be ok now your off it your tolerance will drop dramatically.

      Yes the GPs are very glib about the withdrawals and do not have much empathy.

      You have definatly helped me and I will stop the fentanyl patches in the next month or so.

      Wishing you a peaceful night with lots of sleep. xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Actiquser,  it's so nice to think I have helped you a little and I do wish you well with your withdrawal.  It's not nice, believe me, but the relief at knowing you're off it is wonderful.  You just need to count on about three weeks for the worst times and the tapering down is great.  I feel free now and so much more in control.  Phew a nasty journey but well worth the result. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you, regards Kathleen

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    • Posted

      Kathleen,

      "Fentanyl, in my opinion, should be used only for terminally ill people who have only a short time left to live and are in terrible pain." ABSOLUTELY well said. I'm in the windswept UK too. I think, and I'm not joking, it should be a criminal offence for Dr's to prescribe the patches for people who are expected to recover, or without doing something to ensure people understand EXACTLY what they are getting themselves into, I'm dead serious. They prescribe away happily, then have no idea of the misery it causes. It is shameful.

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  • Posted

    Hello:

    Well this might help don't ever just stop the patch

    depending how old u are and the health ur in if you just stop

    the patch and depending on the level you have been taking

    you could trigger a heartatack or stroke I know bc it happend to me, sever chest pain fental needs to be weaned off of

    and can take months , to be free of it the sickness that comes

    from the w/ds is not the best time u will have the first 7days u

    wish you were dead ,,, then if done right over the next 6 months

    to a yr you will be free of the dam stuff

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  • Posted

    I apologize but I did not have time to read your whole question since I have to leave. I quit cold turkey from the patch but the doctor gave me 2- 4 milligrams of Dilaudid every 4 hours because the patch did not even work for me anyway. I suppose since I take the Dilaudid it did not affect me but I was off the patch the day before I got the medication of Dilaudid and I was ok. I don't know if all of my patches didn't have fentanyl in them or something but they didn't work worth a crap. Happy to be off of them. The best of luck to you!

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    • Posted

      Hey

      My question for u is r u still taking something to get u through

      ur with draws bc if u are it sounds like ur trading one evil for another let me know bc there is a much easy way then cold turkey

      and much easy then the evil u will be going through its not easy

      by any means the best thing u can do is sleep through it if u

      can but pm me and I can help

      Boom

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    • Posted

      Hi,  My cold turkey was hell but I got through it in about three weeks. I think I'm totally free now but still need a miId lorazepam to help me sleep.  I won't keep on them though, just a couple of weeks.  Good luck,  Kathleen

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    • Posted

      Hi,  My cold turkey was hell but I got through it in about three weeks. I think I'm totally free now but still need a miId lorazepam to help me sleep.  I won't keep on them though, just a couple of weeks.  Good luck,  Kathleen

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    • Posted

      Hey sweetie

      I got really good news and really bad news for u the bad first

      any were u have fat on ur body is were the fental will still be very small doses but it's still there and it takes months to come off of it the docs know this and that's why it takes 3-6-12 months

      to full be out of ur system just bc ur only 3 weeks in doesn't mean it's out of ur system now the sleeping thing still means it's in ur system try weed to help with the sleeping what ur taking has its oown demons also if u have acess to a hot tube it will

      help to pull the fental out of ur system faster

      extremely sweating will work as well but keep in mind the rule of thumb here is will power and if u were on it for 1yr then expect

      For it to be 2 months before ur clean I'm working my way down from 200mgc to 2migc in the last 6 months and it's been very hard

      and using break through meds I will need the rest of my life

      keep in mind I've been on fental for over 15 yrs had 60 knee

      operions pins needing 2 knees and a hip

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    • Posted

      Not sure if you were talking to me but the reason I got on the patch and have to be on pain medication is because I have degenerative disc disease from the bottom of my spine to the top of my neck. I also have cracks in my neck and fibromyalgia. The disc disease runs in my family but I have gotten it the worst of anyone and I have no idea why. I'm trying to avoid surgery because it can make you worse if they mess up. Plus it takes two years to recover from the surgery and you are worse off in those two years than you are when you're in pain without it. I would have to have 2 separate ones for my neck and then my back. It just sounds like so many wasted years of my life. I found a doctor that said she can help me without surgery so I hope it happens. After that is when I will get off of any opiate and then have to suffer the complete withdrawal. I hope they taper me slowly but we'll see. Anyway if you weren't talking to me I apologize but if you were I just wanted to explain to you that I'm not just taking medication just to take it. Thank you very much for caring!💖

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    • Posted

      Hi kaboom,  Thanks so much for the information.  I did feel that the worst withdrawal symptoms were over once I stopped shaking and the nausea went but, as you say, I guess it's not as easy as that to get of Fentanyl and that's probably why I still need help sleeping.  At least those initial hellish feelings have gone....there were times when I would have preferred to die....and I hope those feelings never come back.  This forum has been a godsend to me as the doctors don't seem to be capable of telling us what we're getting into with Fentanyl and I'm so grateful for all the tips and information I've received from everyone here.  I've also got spinal trouble and two replacement knees, but was only given the Fentanyl patches when I broke a small bone at the base of my spine through coughing!!!!  My main problem now is tumours in the bladder, after the colon was removed through cancer, so I'm totally incontinent and have a colostomy bag.  I can deal with those though.....just let another doctor approach me with another Fentanyl patch and I'll be strung up for murder!!!!  Good luck with all your problems and it's so nice to have met you, and everyone else, on this forum.  Kind regards, Kathleen

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    • Posted

      Hello

      ohmay my dear

      ok let's get started with croinc pain comes other things bone loss from the croinc pain and the heavy meds as well things they

      don't tell u next it sounds like ur in big trouble ur options here are not good I'm only telling u this bc I' don't bleave in sugar coating anything bc u should know . Ok with ur back a spinal fusion

      would help u big time good thing about that no more pain the

      problem with croinc pain is if ur body still hurts bad and u found

      Meds that work and u stop them yup its going to suck

      now u do have a few things here that might help please

      look in to pain management John hopkins and testrone bc

      woman have it in there body's as well as men and its there

      To help heal our body's and if ur low and I would bet u r it

      helps with pain control as well

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    • Posted

      You were lucky but it was probably because you were getting dilaudid an opiod ever 4 hours to replace the fentanyl. I did a very quick taper and am off now but still have withdrawals symptoms but not too bad. Still early days and hope it improves.
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