Fentanyl Withdraw Advice - Urgent

Posted , 9 users are following.

 Hi folks... I'll try to be brief. I'm a 52 year old female. Fit, active. Never have been addicted to anything I guess until now, I'm sad to say. 

Severe neck pain in early 2000 resulted in a failed cervical fusion in 2009. And that resulted in increased pain as my hardware shifted and my spinal cord Is being compressed.

I'm in a rural area in WV, known for opioid/drug abuse and a high number of drug-related deaths. If was accepted into a pain clinic not far from my home. I began a series of injections, dry needling, ablation, physical therapy, yoga... You know the drill. Ended up on Percocet for a few years and they became less helpful. Enter the fentanyl patch.

Started on 12.5 every 48 hours and ended up on 75mcg of the Mylan brand every 48 hours. It certainly helped, and continued helping for a couple of years.

Last year legislation passed new regulations for our state due to the high incidence of abuse and deaths. My pain Dr. relocated too far away for me to follow him. I met with my new Dr. (Or Nurse Practioner I believe) a week or two and was informed I would no longer receive ANY patches in ANY dose, just my Percocet. That's it. I was speechless and scared. Expressed my fear of withdrawal to her and after much back and forth she did give me clonidine. 

I never failed a monthly pill count, never missed one appointment, and never failed a scheduled or random urinalysis. She says it was just new policy, because in their opinion my neck "shouldn't hurt that much."

So, I strategically cut the remaining patches into smaller and smaller sections every 48 hours. And as I'm sure you can imagine, I'm really sick right now, and scared, and tearful.

I'm have sweats with intermitant chills that are so bad I was covered in 5 layers this morning. Very bad diarrhea, minimal appetite. I am trying to stay hydrated. My B/P it's usually in the good-low range. It's running very high. Bottom# in upper 90's or lie 100's. Pulse very high. Heart palpitations, panic attacks, bad night sweats. Very runny nose and crazy yawning.

I'm take no other meds other minipress as needed for nightmares.. Prescribed years ago. 

I'm den new to one corner of the 75mcg patch. I would estimate its 18mcg's and put it on thus a.m.

Any feedback or suggestions wold be wonderful. How long will this last? Should I do anything differently? Am I in danger at this point?

Thank you all in advance!

 

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear about your predicament, she should have weaned you off at least. If you're down to 18mg cut it down to 3-6mg patches and change them every 72 hours. You're in the home stretch, it's hard but you'll get past it just don't give up. I went from 75mg to done in one month, it was hard but not impossible. Get some anti dieahrea pulls and they really help with the withdrawals believe it or not. You can do this, you're almost over the hump.

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  • Posted

    OMG!! I am stunned that your doctor/nurse or whatever they are would do this to you!!! I don’t know if you have seen my post where I went through my medically supervised detox with my pain doctor, this past July with Suboxone, where I went into convulsions and ended up so very sick in the ER? (if you PM me I can send you the story for you to read, if that helps at all…) Short Version: I am a 43 yr old female, double amputee (below knee) recent as of May 2015, resulted from an invasive Strep A bacterial infection. Have been on 100 mcg of Fentanyl, every 48 hrs for 11 months now, but sometimes do not make it to 36 hrs and slap a new patch on, before the pain consumes me and I want to throw my body out of the window!!! I am NOT kidding! When I was detoxing, I took the patch off and took 25mg Morphine to help with the WD, for a 5-day period. On Day 3 ½ I had not slept one wink, sweating like a pig, crying, couldn’t eat or drink a thing, and I had to put on a 75 mcg patch I had left over because I was scared the 100 mcg being off for 3 ½ days would be too much. This was like 2 in the morning and I needed some relief!!! I was able to sleep for about 3 hours and then I emailed the doc at 9am. The doctor met me at his clinic on a Saturday and started the Suboxone that afternoon, after I had taken the patch off for approx. 3 hrs. The first dose went down ok, but no improvement of how I was feeling (all sweaty and agitated, just the beginning of the WD again). I was supposed to keep taking the Suboxone every hour until I felt better, not exceeding 6 doses. I took the 2nd dose and within 10 minutes I had the most explosive diarrhea in my life!! I didn’t even make it to the toilet and when I am not wearing my prostheses, I am wheelchair bound. Then with the diarrhea, I immediately started vomiting and then convulsing on the bed. Called 911. EMS came and just treated me like a drug addict, while I lay on my bed convulsing, naked, vomiting, pooping and trying to not let my 5 yr old and 12 yr old daughters see me like this!!! The ER treated me even worse!!! Like I said, they kept calling me “the substance abuse in assessment bay 7”…It was beyond horrible!! Finally, the solution was to just put the patch back on and the WD stopped. I have been back on ever since. They have suggested the cutting of the patch but its not precise enough to be beneficial. It just makes me sick and I have a LIFE I need to live. I told the new pain specialist that I cannot cope this way right now (because I have A LOT of stress right now and I can’t detox right now…the doc agreed) We will revisit in January. I just can’t believe your healthcare professionals have just left you with no recourse but to go through this on you own like this!!! That is just CRAZY and very INHUMANE!!! I feel horrible for you and I hope you make it ok and not have to go through what I did. I wish that I was never prescribed this stupid drug! I wish I didn’t have this pain, but its something I will have to live with. I don’t know what will be the next step because the doctors/nurses have no idea what my pain is like although they act like they do, which is frustrating on its own. Next the doc is talking about Methadone…replace one horrible drug with a terrible stigma for another that is equally as bad!!! I wish you luck…

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    • Posted

      OMG Justine! I'm so sorry you went through all that, and that you were  treated so poorly. I try to keep who knows about my pain meds to a bare minimum, but an unsavory family member found out and it was all down hill after that...i was treated me like an abuser as well.

      I genuinely hope you feel better and can safely come off your meds. Thank you again ? 

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  • Posted

    Hello shawnkatt1

    I can imagine you are in a bad way, after seven years on that strength patch. Wow. Luckily, I can never imagine this sudden discontinuation would ever happen here in the U.K. ( sorry that's not much comfort to you.)

    Stay hydrated. Drink lots, I found fizzy cola, pop, etc helps, and it has sugar in too which will help (forget the diet for now!). Even if you vomit,  keep drinking as some will be absorbed anyway. Ask your doc if they will give any bentos (Valium, xanax etc) even for a few days or a week to take the edge off. 

    Try and distract yourself, I know it sounds so easy. Expect this to last a while longer. It is impossible to say, everyone is different. From 1 to 3 weeks, then the worst should subside. But remember to keep drinking. You can't go for that Time with no fluids.

    And if you are really concerned about you blot pressure and heart rate, go to a hospital.

    This stiff is a nightmare to get off of, I will be honest. But it can be done, so start with it, and GOOD LUCK!

    Hope this helps.

    Mark.

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  • Posted

    Hello shawnkatt1

    I can imagine you are in a bad way, after seven years on that strength patch. Wow. Luckily, I can never imagine this sudden discontinuation would ever happen here in the U.K. ( sorry that's not much comfort to you.)

    Stay hydrated. Drink lots, I found fizzy cola, pop, etc helps, and it has sugar in too which will help (forget the diet for now!). Even if you vomit,  keep drinking as some will be absorbed anyway. Ask your doc if they will give any benzos (Valium, xanax etc) even for a few days or a week to take the edge off. 

    Try and distract yourself, I know it sounds so easy. Expect this to last a while longer. It is impossible to say, everyone is different. From 1 to 3 weeks, then the worst should subside. But remember to keep drinking. You can't go for that Time with no fluids.

    And if you are really concerned about you blot pressure and heart rate, go to a hospital.

    This stuff is a nightmare to get off of, I will be honest. But it can be done, so stay with it, and GOOD LUCK!

    Hope this helps.

    Mark.

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  • Posted

    Hi Shawn, sorry to hear of your treatment which is unacceptable and shows no duty of care to you. Unfortunatly its up to each individual  doctor what they prescribe.

    I would suggest you are going through protracted wthdrawals which I did this summer to come of oral fentanyl as well as the patch. I had to do it twice NO fun.

    I suggest you get plenty of loperamide for diarrhoea, clonidine for the sweats and RLS, diazepam if you can get some, paracetamol for headaches, some good movie dvds, plenty of sweet fizzy drinks. Stay indoors for 5 days with company and help.

    Take the piece of patch you have on off completely. either stay in bed near a bathroom or lie in blankets and hot water bottle on a sofa. Take as much loperamide as you need. This acts on the gut receptors not those in the brain. It wll stop you being incontinent simply through not getting to the bathroom in time. Explosions are not uncommon as others will testify.

    Day 3 is the worst and improves after that. You have to keep drinking to keep hydrated. Opiate withdrawal will make you crave sweet things so fizzy pop is good let it go flat if you are vomiting. I lost about 14 pounds in weight. After day 5 you will feel much better. I still get the very occasional sweat/cold issue and I'm 2 months off. Pain gets worse to begin with, known as hyperalagesia in all sorts of places and quickly settles. Chilli cream ( caspian cream is good for this). Knowing it improves after day 3 should keep you going. Try to get in contact with a detox councillor to support you if you can. Otherwise keep blogging here. These great people helped me do it. Unforunatly when I cold turkeyed from Actiq/abstral (oral fentanyl) from 4 a day I could not have the luxuary of staying at home, I was up and about between severe bouts of diarhoea, dehydration and didn't eat for 5 day. I spoilt myself when I came of the patch and stayed indoors. Movies should be funny to make you laught to raise serotonin levels.  Start to exercise as soon as you can within your disability again to raise seratonin. Magnesium suplements help as do a sense of humour. It is do able. The fear is worse than the reality so good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your advice, and kind words. The mid/latter part of the week I'm not putting anymore patches on at all. I'll be home home worth my husband for 3 days...i have been staying dosed on benadryl and Imodium... And banana popsicles 🙂 The hubs is being very helpful, as is my service dog. This forum has been a godsend. Thank you again!

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    • Posted

      Shawnkatt,

      I just wanted to "second" some comments Actiquser said, as they are so important and I can't believe I missed them in the first posts:

      Make sure someone knows what you are doing, even if you don't want company (I often could not stand the company even of people I am usually very close to, in my withdrawals. All these weird emotions and feelings that just appear from nowhere are normal in W/D, as the fentanyl really messes with your brain. It is horrible stuff.)

      So this could just be a quick post on a forum like this one to say, "hey I'm still here, still suffering, but still going". That's fine, no shame in admitting it is very hard work, because it is, no matter how tough people think they are.

      Or it could be a relative, friend, detox counselor, social worker... even a chat to the Samaritans (I did this twice. Both times it was the Middle of the night, I hadn't slept for days, and I was crying for no apparent season ( NOT like me at all). That ten-minute chat just pulled me through, both times. And remember (again I am re-emphasizing Actiquser's advice here!) everyone on this forum I am sure, will think about you and root for you to pull through. The results are SO worth the effort. So stay in contact, and make sure someone you trust knows what you're doing.

      Lastly, I think it was Mark Twain who said (sorry I don't think this is the EXACT wording): "I have been through many awful experiences in my life. The vast majority of which, never actually happened". So, don't worry yourself sick, either. Just take each step as it comes. Good luck and keep posting!!!

      Mark

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  • Posted

    sorry I forgot to say insomnia is a big issue coming of this drug as well as episode  of being weepy and upset but only last a few hours thats why I got diazepam to take if this happened. It did a few times and thats not me. I do hope you have someone supporting you. I was on my own as my partner died a year ago. I told my relatives what was happening to explain my behaviour. ( not wishing to socialise). I got this drug for effects of cancer treatment.

    Remember it gets better and keep blogging to let us know how you are doing.

    Everyones experience helps others as Fentanyl withdrawal is relatively new and it will be forced on many others.

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  • Posted

    Hi everyone, just wanted to share an update. 

    Currently I'm on just 6mcg of the Fentanyl patch. Put it on last night, as I'm hoping to go 72 hours without chalking it again. Still  feeling like I have a bad case of the flu combined with wanting to crawl out of my skin. My husband is with me 24/7 right now, although he seems to be spending a lot of time in the basement workshop out of the line of fire, but he's a shout away. Keeping close check on my BP, taking boatloads of Imodium and benadryl, as suggested. And banana popsicles are my current savior.

    On a side note, I managed to make it too a previously scheduled psychiatrist visit, someone I've seen five years for depression treatment. Brought him up to speed, Ann's i know he could see I was suffering terribly. He offered to put me in a suboxone clinic, which I promptly declined. However, I did ask if he could prescribe Xanax, or something similar for the jitters and  sleep... He declined stating he was "afraid I would become addicted!" Seriously. I have no words.

    Tomorrow I will see my PCP if I can make it there.

    Thank you all again, you've been a Godsend.

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