dependent on codeine

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I have been prescribed codeine for over a year for lower back pain, and believe that I have become dependent on them. I restrict my does to only 2 x 2 30mg tablets in the evening as I know that they are addictive. So in real terms I am probably just a baby addict and have nothing to worry about. In my own mind I know that I am dependent as I can't wait to sit down and take my lot of tablets. I then feel good in myself and even positive for once! I am also on antidepressant which don't make much of a difference. Recently I have had a lot of weird symptoms during the day, pain, irritability, overexcitability, nervousness, tension, crying etc which makes me wonder whether the codeine is wearing off and I need my next lot of tablets. Also I have been wondering where to get a secret stash of codeine from in case my GP suddenly decides not to give me any more. So far I haven't given in but have broken down with suicidal thoughts again. Am due to see the psychiatrist next week. I am worried about the dependency and sometime try to only take 3 tablets but then I feel REALLY rough the next day and i am back on 4, wishing I would take more, stopping myself because i am worried about becoming even more addicted. Viscious circle and I am fed up with it now. Do you all think that I am dependent or am I making a meal of it? Please help, thank you!

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  • Posted

    Your not making a meal of it honey !!! Firstly you can emotionally or physically dependant on codeine so you may well be one of those. I wouldn't want to tell you if you are as I think you maybe know the answer yourself. I'm recovering codeine addict 20 pills plus a day at my worst for 8 years and I personally took them for pain but then I realised the high(dunt) made me feel amazing !! It made my day go faster stopped my depressed feelings from feeling too real. There is a different way for everyone to stop the cycle your on it took me to have an overdose and a family intervention to get off them for good but it's not easy. Go to your gp and be honest if your ready too that is. Your taking safe ish amounts but you should have your liver checked incase of damage from prolonged use (I was lucky and don't have any so you should be fine). Your gp should be understanding as this is becoming a massive problem as they are cheap and easy to give out to cut down figures for themselves. Ask to taper down or to speak to a drug therpy team or possibly cold turkey is something that may suit you. Here if you need to talk x
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    • Posted

      Hi Nicola, thanks for your reply. I don't think cold turkey is for me as the physical sensations are driving me nuts. My blood results are fine. I was just looking at the drug lofexidine to detox with and i think that will be the route i will try. I have been close to taking an overdose so many times and taking the codeine always seems to get me out of it and lets me face another day. Then the same thing happens again and again so i think that the codeine is actually part of the problem. The Gp put me on another painkiller last week for nerve pain, 10mg of Amitryptelene and i totally lost it. I haven't been myself since i took that one tablet. So i think its time i tried to get off the lot. I think the nerve pain is part and parcel from when the codeine starts wearing off,. I am really dreading this but will have to give it a go as i can't go on like this. Thank you for your response. Kind regards Cintapoppy
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    • Posted

      My treatment for coming off codeine was subutex as I had an adverse reactions to suboxone which is the preferred treatment for this addiction in my area. I was given the option of methadone but that's a scary thought so I have now been on subutex since 13th of January and I haven't taken a pill other than subutex I've have dodgy knees and hips which is at its worse leaves me in bed for days but since starting my treatment I have had a level of pain but I simply need to live with it as it will never leave me I've managed to keep my job which involves walking roughly 20 miles a day. I can't say enough about subutex they have saved my life I'm now reducing with help of local drug service. I hope any of this helps as I know what a dark scary place it can be thinking you need to take your last one. Xx
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    • Posted

      I have taken 8 paracetamol 500 mgs/codeine 30 mgs a day for more years than I can remember,but they do me no good for my chronis and excruciating osteoarthritis pain in my spine, knee and thumbs.   I guess my body is immune to them now ?

      Anyway is was the Amitryptilene I noticed in your message.   I was recently given a low dose 10mg like you for pain - I think it goes up to something like 200 mg for use as an anti depressant, which I didn't want it for, although of course i get depressed with all the pain, but I've been there and don't want to take more tablets for it.

      I tried it for a couple of days and felt just like you - woke up and wondered who I was.  My brain was fuzzy and I felt like hell.   After trying for a couple more days I phoned my doc and asked could I just stop it, as I'd only been taking it for such a short time, as it was killing me, and she said it would be OK, I wouldn't have to be weaned off of it after such a short time and with such a short dose.   Dreadful stuff.

      Yesterday I was given Bu Trans morphine patches 10 micrograms, and am scared to start them to be honest.

      I have no idea what will happen, as the morphine tabs they gave me (slow release) had the same effect as Amitryptelene - I felt like another person.

      Also it says you definitely can't drink ANY alcohol with them.

      I am now housebound at a not very old age, and my only pleasure is a glass of wine with my dinner.   Alcohol isn't important to me - I never have spirits or anything, but I do enjoy my glass of wine, once a day.

      Has anyone had any experience of this as I really need some advice before I start them.   It seems awful to seemingly put a glass of wine before excruciating 24 hour a day pain, but I don't have many pleasures in life any more, and that is one of them.

      Would be grateful to hear from anyone with their comments - thanks.

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  • Posted

    Codeine is an extremely addictive drug and I totally understand what you are going through. I was taking 8 -10 30 mg codeine tablets per day. I'm sure ifyou speak to your GP he/she will be understanding and help as it is a very common problem. Have you tried splitting the dose and maybe just cutting down by 1/2 to start? Thinking of you. You will be OK x
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    • Posted

      Hi Jo,

      many thanks for your reply. Have you managed to come off them? And if so, how did you manage it. I will try not to take the 4th tablet tonight, but it will be horrible tomorrow. Still, its a start. Many thanks, Cintapoppy

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    • Posted

      Hi Cintapoppy. I have come off them however I don't believe personally it was the best way. I spent 28 days in a private clinic as I had great health insurance. Due to "complicated" withdrawal I was put on a fentanyl patch so they basically replaced one addiction with another. I then went cold turkey and it was hell for 2 weeks. In hindsight I wish I had just cut down the codeine very slowly but as the clinic cut me off immediately it wasn't possible. Just do your best even if it's cutting down quarter a day each week. Be strong x
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    • Posted

      Hi Jo,

      i am sti ll ruminating the best approach; when you say 'cold turkey and it was hell for 2 weeks', what were your symptoms. I am asking because i get depressed, v anxious and at times panic attacks, are these included in "hell"? I understand that when coming off BP can go through the roof as well which can be dangerous.Your feedback is much appreciated. Thank you

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    • Posted

      Hi everyone is different but yes for me it was anxiety, depression, agitation etc. The physical symptoms weren't so bad it was the psychological ones. But like I say everyone is different and will react differently. I just didn't have faith in myself to cut down I just kept giving in and felt like a failure but that's just me. If I had that time again knowing how my mind reacted I would definitely have been stronger and cut down super slowly x
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    • Posted

      Hi Jo, thank you so much for your reply, its really helpful! I shall bear in mind that it can be an emotional and mental rollercoaster and try to be prepared for it, as much as one can. I only took 3 last night for the 2nd night running and I can feel myself already go awry. I think I will stick to 3 for the next couple of days and then only take 2, etc etc. Maybe that will work, but i guess the withdrawal symptoms are more long term? So i won't know whats withdrawal and whats me. Its baffling, I still need to get my head around that one. Thank you for your help, and I wish you well.
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    • Posted

      Hi Cintapoppy,

      How are you doing with your taper?

      I'm on 4 X 30mg daily codeine due

      to a 64+ a day Nurofen plus addiction.

      I "came clean" to my GP about 3

      Months ago and had to drop from

      604+mg of codeine to only 180mg

      And its been hard but we can both

      do it 😊 I really hope you are well.

      Kate.

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate

      I reduced down to 2 over 2 days which was quite fast. I did get withdrawal symptoms but the worst was that all the nerve pain was back unbearably. Since I posted my above post i also researched what could be causing my original symptoms which noone had ever bothered to listen to, and kind of said was in my mind! Because I had a breakdown when the pain started I felt I had to accept this and thought i was just weird. However, I have found the cause and the symptoms ALL check out. Spoke to a physio about it and she couldnt treat it as its too specialised for her and she referred me to another physio. The GP has also accepted it now as a physical thing (and even seems a bit sympathetic) and will refer me to a neuro surgeon for further assessment - if funding can be made available. The condition is Pudendal nerve neuropathy with PGAD which is why the Codeine is helping me cope with the symptoms by numbing everything, although it doesnt take all the pain and sensations away but at least I can cope. I have got up about an hour ago and the pain in my lower back is already quite bad, so today will be a bad day, which means i have to lie on the floor a lot and ride it out. So whilst i am addicted to them i dont think that its the right time to stop. By the same token I don't to want to increase them but maybe I should just to be more comfortable during the day. Yesterday i just crIed in despair. So i am still on 4 tablets. I have bad side effects to normally used drugs for neuropathic pain otherwise i would try those again. Not really sure what to do, icing and the heat helps a tiny bit but no lasting effect. So I think the pain has been getting worse and what i wondered about the withdrawal symptoms may not be right, or maybe its a bit of both. Who know.

      Anyway, well done on cutting down and coming clean. I read a lot of reports to understand that that must have been really tough on you! Congratulations and i hope you can succeed with the rest of them.

      Cintapoppy

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