Going cold turkey from codiene, can anyone help?

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I have been taking codiene or cocodamol prescription strength for 8 years now, for unexplained joint pain. At the start I would only take one or two here and there, but slowly over time I went up to 8 a day. Over the past year I have suffered a trauma, and my in take of these tablets has gone to 20, sometimes 30 a day. When my script for codiene runs out, I buy solpediene max to get my to my next script. I'm so ashamed of myself. I have engaged in talking therapy & take venlafaxine for depression & severe anxiety, but I am an expert at hiding my codiene addiction so it has never been picked up on. Ive tried tapering but as soon as anxiety takes over I'm popping 4 pills in one go just to calm down. I know I need to make this stop because it's contributing to my mental health problems. I have decided to go cold turkey, I have no pills in the house. At the moment I just feel tired, my mood is very low and I have a slight headache.

I would really appreciate it if anyone reading this who can relate or has overcome cold turkey would share their story & advice with me. I'm feeling lost and scared right now.

Xx

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  • Posted

    My advice would be to not go cold turkey. I withdrew from codeine use a while ago and got very sick even with the taler plan my dr had arranged for me. So i wasnt even going cold turkey. Speak to your dr and explain whats going on. He will help you likely by giving you codeine and gradually reducing your intake
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  • Posted

    Hi there 

                i see alot of similar posts to yours on here,so your not alone,however the tiredness and moods you are experiencing are simply a symptom of the codeine ( or opiaite ) changing the chemical balance in your brain ..its nothing serious 

               however going cold turkey is advisable .... you need to taper your codeine intake and slowly ... but as your currently taking up to 30 tablets a day this would need to be done over a period of 6 months to a year ( could be done quicker but this may cause more withdrawal symptoms ) 

               first find the dosage that you feel ok on ( not the dosage that makes you feel high ) .. so for example if this is 20 tabs a day then you need to reduce by 1 tab every week ..... doing reduction this way will avoid any nasty side effects and will make coming off codeine allmost painless 

               if you live in the uk you can get help with codeine addiction through the local drug services .. they are not just for narcotics,they now help with prescription medications which are probally more common now than ever 

               you can find your local drug service support on google ( just type local drug service ) ... then a trained doctor will assess you and then determine the best reduction for you .. but this way you will get the medication you need without having to worry about A) were you can get them and B) how to pay for them 

               finally when you have come off codeine your mental health and general well being with improve and you will actually feel better than you did when taking codeine   .. everyones a winner 

                anyway i wish you all the best and good luck for the future 

                           bri 

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  • Posted

    I agree with what the others have said about going cold turkey. not only will you have horrid withdrawl symptoms, but you will in all likelohood relapse. The doctor prescribing them can and should help you come up with a tapering plan. If I were the dr I would be concerned if youu never came back to refill your script. Take it slowly, one day at a time. There are some people who have gone cold turkey with success, but it is never pretty and considering the mental health issues you mention, it really isn't a good idea.

    How long has it been so far? How are you feeling now? Is the issue that you are afraid if there any any pills around that you will take too many automatically?

    I have been trying to cut back on morphine lately, because I now need to drive 3 hours each way every two weeks just to get them, and due to my script situation will have 3 days without pills before my next appointment. So the fear of having none for three days is helping me save some for those days, but I still have severe pain. 

    Is the joint pain gone? 

    Take care and be strong, but know you don't need to go through this alone. If you want to just stop all at once, without tapering over say 6 months, then you would need to go to an in-patient program where they can help you deal with the withdrawl, etc. I have even heard of some places (although expensive) where they put you under general anaesthetic for a few days while you system clears so you dont experience any of the withdrawl and just wake-up clean and refreshed (well maybe that's an over-statement...).

    When can you go back to your doc? 

    Good luck and take care

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  • Posted

    Hi Nic,

    Firstly don't be ashamed, this can happen to anybody and lots of ppl go through this.

    You've taken the first steps towards quitting, and that's a great thing. Even if you don't succeed the first time, you are ready to quit by the sounds of it. My story is already on these boards, although I still take opiate meds (i'll always need them due to my illness) I've cut them down and only take them for pain relief now.

    I think you need to open up to a professional though your doctor can help u through this difficult time.

    Good luck on your journey.

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  • Posted

    I also agree with everyone cold turkey is not good it is hell and if you can do it slowly to prevent withdrawals then I strongly advise it and I know iv been ther twice now, I came off opioids back in sept and it took me 7 weeks, looking back it was so stupid I was so sick and even thought at one point I wasn't going to make it, I just spoke about it thus morning to my husband and he said it was awful to see me that sick, I would never do it again but I will never take opioids again so no worries there, I was taken them for chronic pain which I still have. Please go see your GP youl be amazed at how supportive they are and what help is available, do you have a partner you can talk to? If not don't worry there will be support on here while your going through it, just remember youve took the first steps to getting better, keep in touch and let us know how you get on and remember where here to help you through good and bad days, I wish you all the luck 😊

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    • Posted

      Wow, amazing Caroline. However, I am wondering, how are you dealing with your pain now? I look at opioids as being put on this planet (in a beautiful flower) to help with pain. We have a receptor in our spine that bonds with nothing else. I think there is a difference between dependence and addiction, and that people who use opioids to treat real pain and to function in everyday society should not be treated like junkies. We are also dependent on food, air, water... 

      I just wish you the best with managing your pain otherwise, but when people tell me "you need to learn better pain management" or say "I'm not prescribing this..." or "I'm not calling you a junkie but..." or "we can't give you a script release 12 hours early" or..... I offer to give them a fractured skull so they know what it is like to live with severe pain on a daily basis. Those who have abused these drugs have turned us all into criminals (including our doctors). I read a great quote on this topic the other day "if you ban everything that may allow people to kill themselves, you better ban rope".

      But I am impressed, keep it up and if you can live without them, great : )

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    • Posted

      Not to well if I'm being honest, Iv had some real low points and sometimes just wander what this is all about but on opioids I couldn't function either, I still had pain but added to that severe weight loss, brain fog..I couldn't even get a telephone message right at work which caused problems, so many conversations with my children I don't remember and the list goes on, I totally understand your point but for me I think they would have got me in the end, I do wander tho a life of pain and the mental effects on my health but I'm taking one day at a time and it's hard but I have children (18 & 22 ) and a supportive husband so I have a lot to keep me going, I can only go in my own experience and no that they do work for some people just not for me,

      Oh and my gp is brill, never made me feel like a junkie however iv had neuro surgeons tell me there's nothing wrong now that makes me really mad and I can tell you if he could spend an hour in my shoes it might bring him back down from that throne he sits on 😂😂

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  • Posted

    Thank you every one for your advice. It has been 6 hours since my last dose. No physical symptoms at the moment, just the cravings, also anxious about the days ahead. My joint pain is bearable as I'm using topical treatment. I don't think I could taper as knowing I have codiene in the house I will take them all until they gone. I justify this by telling myself that a few more won't make any difference & I'll try again tomorrow. My gp knows I'm having trouble with the tablets, but she thinks I only take 8 a day. I have an appointment on Friday, until then I can't get anymore codiene. Xx

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    • Posted

      I would be very concerned about how much paracetamol your taking along with the codeine. It will do serious liver damage. Have you at least used cold water extraction? You may think tapering wont work hut i can almost garauntee cold turkey will not. Cold turkey withdrawals are unbearable. Your brain and body will be screaming out for codeine woon enougy and you will become very ill. Being honest with dr is the best way forward still but entirely up to yourself.
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    • Posted

      Wow... do you at least have family/friend support until Friday?  Do you need to go to work or take care of kids or things? I don't want to scare you, but by Tuesday... Go to emerg if you need to. Tell them you have excrutiating pain somewhere (and you may). They will likely not send you home with anything, but will at least give you a shot of relief. 

      Be strong, stay calm, have a bath, stay in it for five days if you can : ) I wish you the best, but don't know where you are or what services are available to you. I know if I run out I am screwed as well, so I do my best not to be... But just the stress of worrying what (may) come next can be enough. Some people do it cold turkey, but... Can you at least get some over the counter light codiene to relieve some of the symptoms this coming week? 

      My thoughts are with you. 

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    • Posted

      When you see her be honest about the amount you take and how you dont trust yourself with large amounts, she needs to see the full picture otherwise your fooling yourself and her, can you not get an emergent app for tomorrow or Tuesday
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  • Posted

    I admire your soul searching.

    I admire your commitment.

    But going cold turkey from the mega doses you have been abusing is ill afvised.

    You need medical intervention so that your efforts and commitment will yield success.

    Speak with your physician.

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  • Posted

    if i was your gp i would switch you to codeine sulphate tablets ( with paracetamol ) ... i know these exist as my wife had them for scoliosis ... they are avalible in 15mg,30mg and 60mg,and i beleive they are also in 120mg but cant be sure 

                as conor stated in his reply taking too much paracetamol in combined medications ( co-codamol ) isnt good ... so by taking the paracetamol out of the equation you still get the active ingredient which you need 

                worth asking your gp about this ..and any decent doctor would rather you take less paracetamol since too much does damage your liver 

                     good luck with the gp appiontment 

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    • Posted

      Yes Brian i was put onto 30mg codeine tablets without the paracetamol. GP said i didnt need paracetamol and my liver sure as hell didnt either.
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    • Posted

      great .. how do you feel now,and has the codeine on its own made any difference .....?

                      another tip ... if you suffer with the most common codeine side effect ( namely constipation ) then theres a sachet called "cosmocol" ( also known as movicol ) .. take one sachet in the morning which will help ..... these are prescription only however ...

                      opioids play havoc with a GI tract ( bowels ) and can cause us to strain and pass blood (rare ) ..... 

                       great to see things are going in the right direction 

                             good luck conor and happy xmas 

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    • Posted

      I no longer use codeine at all i successfully tapered off. However i do use a butec patch now instead but find it much more managable. No highs and lows with it.. just consistant pain relief. No doubt addicted to that now as well but it just isnt as much of a problem for me.
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