In recovery from Alcohol - but have become addicted to Nurofen (blo*dy) Plus

Edited , 5 users are following.

Hi All, I am a recovering alcoholic (and comfortable about calling myself an absolute addict) so I should know better. I've not had a drink since 1 August 2005 and have not smoked a cigarette since 1 February 2010 - and I'm proud of this - because I was enthusiastic about both of those hobbies. I hated them at the end of my journeys with both though.

A year ago I put my back out carrying my 1 and 3 year olds together on a new year walk. It was sore for a month and I was told to take Nurofen Plus (pain and anti inflam). I knew it was dicey and I could get hooked but it was doctors orders. I could control it...right?

I begun to like the cozy warm easy feeling that taking 6 pills a day would give me. Back recovered and soon was taking 10 - then 12. Now its a year later - and I generally take 18 pills a day. I always think Ill quit next week and its been a year. I've suffered with low grade depressive episodes and these pills gave me a lift - and supported me.

I had to stockpile going away for 12 days at Christmas - do the rounds of 8 local pharmacies buying 8 x 32 pill packs so I was covered etc. It's an awful secret and ive had enough of it. I also feel whacked out in the mornings and really low about myself.

I feel like a real idiot because I should know better. But a leopard cant change its spots can it.

I am really writing as a confession - then it's not all in my own head - then perhaps I can stop taking them. I remember taking them before about 10 years ago - for a month - and I stopped with no serious symptoms....but this time I'm terrified.

It could be worse - I have heard of people taking much more than 18 a day. I want to stop when I get back from a holiday I am taking in a few weeks. Should I taper? Should I go cold turkey? Is there an actual group I can join for support? I think if I'm honest with others - then I will get support and I will overcome the shame and I will succeed.

I have been struggling to cope as a father to two (beautiful wonderful children) under 4, a business, employees, sick parents - and these pills have come to represent some respite from all that stress. I know that stopping will give me a huge boost though. I cant wait to be free and feel better and wake up faster and secret free.

If anyone can help or advise me - or tell me of a support group - should I go to my GP?

Thanks

Henry

0 likes, 14 replies

Report / Delete

14 Replies

  • Posted

    I don't suggest going cold turkey or doing this on your own. It may be only codeine,but you can expect the same withdrawal symptoms as you would get with any other opiate. There is no guarantee that because codeine is a milder opiate you will have milder symptoms. That said, it is best that you involve professionals when you decide to get off the drug. Starting with your GP is a good idea. I would think you might like to look into outpatient settings that aid narcotic addicts get off their drug of choice. Most of them will have you stop the drug, wait until you are fully into the withdrawals(required so the suboxone will work properly) and then immediately start you on suboxone. This is a combination of buprenorphine and naltrexone. Buprenorphine is a mild opiate that strongly binds to opiate receptors making it hard for anything else you take to "get in there" and have any effect. The naltrexone is a sort of opiate "negator", it just immediately stops all actions of any opiates. So, this drug will make you feel so much better as your opiate receptors will once again have an opiate on them and the withdrawals will stop. Plus, you won't be able to pick up your Nurofen Plus and have it give you any pleasure. Additionally, if you are having any of your pain, suboxone does help with pain. I would really suggest going this route. Other options are inpatient detox. They have a gentler way, they don't require that initial couple of days going into detox. They start you on Valium to calm you, Clonidine to stop anxiety symptoms and eventually also introduce the buprenorphine. But, you usually have to sign on for a 28 day stint.

    HTH 😃

    Lynn

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      That's is the worst advice ever going from Nurofen plus to bupremorphine subutex it is absolute shocking the harder it is to come off this than Nurofen plus which is so doable without switching to the evils of subutex which even when you are weaned off subutex or detoxed the drug is stored in your muscles for months afterwards leading to the hellish paws.Codeine won't do this and cold turkey from codeine yes unpleasant but nothing compared to the damage of replacing it with subutex .What terrible advice you are giving .

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I gave this advice as a board certified pain physician. I want to shift the OP off the Nurofen in a safe doable easy way to buprenorphine, which is a safe excellent pain relieving drug. An enormous number of pain patients can really benefit from buprenorphine and should be shifted from the more harmful opiates to burprenorphine. Before you go suggesting someone's advice is "terrible" you should really ask why they suggested this. Your advice is completely wrong, buprenorphine is not stored anywhere "for months" and doesn't lead to paws at all. I can tell you this absolutely, I am on Belbuca myself, a sublingual form of buprenorphine for my own chronic pain and if I have to go off it for any period of time I have no withdrawals at all. The only difference with the suboxone is the naltrexone and that is included to keep you from relapsing, taking any other opiates on your own. I expect that if our OP gets himself involved with a proper pain physician through his GP that he could be switched over to Belbuca from the Suboxone(Subutex).

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      ok you gave the advice as a pain physchian and I gave the advice as a now qualified drug counsellor and someone who has been in exactly the same place and placing a codeine addict on bupremorphine is now actually being stopped in the area I work.You think bupremorphine isn't stored in every muscle in someone's body you are severely wrong please attend a n.a. group or drug recovery group to see for yourself the long term damage being placed on bupremorphine or subuxone does.Paws is a hideous condition which affects patients for years .I don't know how long you have been on it but you say when you stop you have no withdrawals.If that was the case we wouldn't be sending patients to detox centres to come off this terrible drug.There are 1000s of patients suffering from paws so please don't tell me it doesn't exist .I like many others have experienced it myself and the clients are work with sure would like you to say to them it doesn't exist.So therefore your advice is terrible a cold turkey from Nurofen plus is unpleasant have experienced it myself on more than one occasion.But it is nothing compared to the years of misery after being placed on bupremorphine of subutex so as someone who has experienced it I'm more in a position to advise than you .Agree to disagree .

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      You know,I just had to come back and amend my reply because I was so bothered by what is going on here. We are in the midst of an opioid crisis and it is precisely because of advise like Tex has given. Spreading of these misconceptions and myths is so dangerous. Sure, Henry is only on codeine and it is a "lesser" opiate, but for him it is THE opiate he is addicted to and he has no frame of reference. Telling him it is "easy" to get off of it is fine, but when he runs into trouble by day 2, it won't matter a bit that it is nothing compared to heroin withdrawal, Henry will be miserable and very likely to give up his cold turkey withdrawal. He will now feel that going back to codeine isn't so bad because it is a "lesser" narcotic and before long he will be one a lot more than 38 pills a day. Indeed, before long, if he follows the path of most addicts, he will find a way to get something stronger and will soon be back here posting that he is stuck on norcos or oxys. All of this could have been prevented had he gotten help when he was only on codeine!

      It really bothers me also when people misrepresent the wonderful people who staff all the different kinds of detox centers that we have. Just about all of them have been in the same place Henry finds himself in right now- someone who innocently stumbled into an addiction. They honestly want to help people, not addict them to "evil subutex" subjecting them to horrible weeklong paws.... Scaring people away from help, making them thing they can handle a cold turkey withdrawal on their own, which they are almost certainly going to fail and end up on the road to further addiction is just not something I can condone. I've been truly upset thinking about Henry all afternoon. Honestly, I have been on both ends of this "game" as a physician and as a patient.I have not seen any degree of the nastiness implied, only people who, like me, want to see you get help.

      Lynn

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      if you were referring to my reply I wasn't scaring him away from anything just trying to prevent someone who is on a amount of codeine that doesn't require the misery of jumping to a much more powerful drug like subutex which will just extend his withdrawal make it a lot worse and then face the misery of paws.That is why we as a drug service here are no longer prescribing subutex for that amount of codeine.And yes I work at a detox centre included in my job as a drug service worker and also been in the same position of Henry.If you think their is no such thing as paws think again and have the balls to stand up in a packed convention of sufferers due to the overprescribing of subutex.Codeine withdrawal is not pleasant but it's far more doable than subutex withdrawal .And thankyou for your compliment of all the wonderful work we do at detox centres .People who jump on the band wagon and call people nasty for giving the true honest facts should think twice .

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Henry like you I became addicted to Nurofen plus but was taking 32 a day I went to my dr and gone thrown a leaflet to the drug and alcohol services which was the biggest mistake ever as I was put on a much stronger substitute medication with no explanation of what is was it was a way too high dose of subutex which is so much harder to come off than the Nurofen plus it took 8 years to be weaned down and ended up having 2 devices. The best advice I can give you is not to go down that route.If you can allow yourself 2 have 2 weeks off life I would just bite the bullet and go cold turkey it is like having a bad case of flu if you have a good gp you could tell them of your situation and ask wether they would prescribe anything to help you sleep but most gps won't if you have a addictive nature so I would stock up on loperamide some night nurse and vitamin b the physical withdrawal should be over in 5 days unfortunately you might suffer from post acute withdrawal the lethargy brain fog and depression for about 6 months but then it will all be over as 18 a day is not good but certainly achievable.I found tapering down impossible as one pill just leads to another.You have beaten alcohol and nicotine so feel sure you can do this and please don't be talked into any subutex medication as the post acute withdrawal after than is so bad it leads people back into continuous relapse and often back to the original opiate to avoid the hell of paws.Best of luck go for it and get free before if overtakes your life it cost me 10 years of mine x

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Dear All - but especially @allaroundanne and @Tez22,

      I did not mean to cause a scrap and I have read both of your opinions and thoughts with great interest and also respect for both points of view. Thank you.

      For what it's worth - I will just stop Feb 4th when I'm back from France. I don't want to risk taking more medications.

      I will try and taper down a bit beforehand. I am glad that I'm 'only' on 18 pills a day. I think I will manage - I cant afford to take 2 weeks off life (i would do if we were talking about Alcohol, Coke etc). I will just accept that its going to feel like I got a bad cold and grin and bear it. TBH - if my mood was better I would be less anxious about all this - but I'm in a bit of a low grade depressive episode at the moment. At least I know myself and have a grasp on whats going on here.

      I am not sure what effect 18 pills has on me except that the first 6 calm me down a bit and the rest are inconsquential it seems. I am a runner (I'm just off for 7 miles now) and I'm too bleary to run in the mornings anymore. I am sure that when I'm off these then Ill feel a lot better and less lethargic all round. Maybe this low grade depressive episode is to do with the codeine? No idea. Ill never know unless i stop them.

      I never want to stop drinking again, I never want to stop smoking again either (this is why I dont start these up again) and when this is over...Ill never want to stop Nurofen Plus again....so I cant imagine ill ever go back to it. Then I'm just left with the exercise, the food (cereal in the night), the obsessive thinking, the sex...hmmm. I work the programme which does help with all this!

      I am interested to hear of any other opinions or advice if anyone is reading this.

      Thanks all - in the interim. I will tell you how it goes....

      Henry

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Henry good luck just keep telling yourself this is a bad case of flu and it will pass.I would stock up on Imodium for the stomach trouble and buscopan for any tummy cramps .Night nurse to lower your temperature and help you sleep.Try and eat although some days you may not feel like it so get some complain.This is not easy but can be done .After the physical withdrawal you will be hit with a low mood and this is where you may find antidepressants helpful for a time.Long baths or swimming to get rid of the toxins and fresh air please dm me if you want further advice I have done cold turkey from a stupid amount of dhydrocodeine several times.As for the above scrap you mentioned plse don't worry it's water off a ducks back but going down the subutex path will just ruin you life .I know it happened to me and work with a lot of fellow sufferers.Good luck keep us informed.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Edited

    Hi Henry,

    Nice to meet you! I'm a recovering Nurofen Plus addict - in fact, i'm just into day 10 of my current cold turkey from the drug.

    A bit of background about me -

    I'm a 40 year old from Scotland, and i've been addicted to codeine based painkillers for about 4 years. I have tried 4 serious attempts at coming off the junk, and got everything crossed that this is the last time.

    What you wrote kinda resonated with me in that you stumbled into the dependency on the drug. I was exactly the same. I was give codeine after an operation in October 2015, and the demon of addiction has followed me around ever since.

    My most recent behaviours around the drug - I was Codeine free for about a month last year between August and September. Then started using again. I wanted to be free of it for Christmas. In the run up to the big day, I came off the drug, but I wasn't mentally ready and started using over the festive period; that really angers me. I've a 5 year old and a wee one who is 2 this year. I wanted to be clean for them, but I couldn't do it because I wasn't prepared to put them, or anything else, above my addiction.

    So, I cold turkeyed before Christmas, failed, used heavily for 2 and a half weeks, then had to cold turkey again, last week. I was using higher amounts than you - fair play to you for keeping the number of pills at a steady 18. I could use anywhere between that number and as many as 40. In the past I have consumbed 64 pills in one day. It's hard to actually admit that, but it's true.

    I see that you are planning cold turkey for next month. Honestly, I'd say it's the way to go. I know some will disagree with me - my own track record of cold turkey and relapse is nothing to be proud of, but I tried tapering with my GP and found it impossible to stick to. I can't function on an active tapering programme knowing there are pills within my reach! The suboxone (sub) route i've heard can be successful, but I understand it needs close, close monitoring and a precise plan of action for tapering. Sub is much stronger than codeine and you will need professional help to use it successfully I think. I've been around loads of forums where people have used suboxone on their own terms and started at a crazy high level - what they are then left with is something that takes much longer to quit than codeine.

    I think the fact you stockpiled the pills, without the need to consume them all, and you average a number every day suggests that you are dependent, and maybe not completely addicted. That is good news! An addict would probably not be able to control their urges knowing they'd stockpiles lying about the place.

    Now the bad news - even at 18 pills a day, your body will have built up quite a tolerance and expectation, so withdrawing the pills will cause some symptoms. Exactly what is hard to say, because everyone is different. Normally, the worst withdrawal symptoms begin around 12-24 hours after you last take your dose, and the symptoms peak between the 72 hour mark. Sometimes I find day 4 hard going too. Generally, the 5th day after your last dose, you should start to feel better. I'm still feeling the effects, even 10 days into detox, mainly headache and aching legs. The fact that you are a runner might help you out here - people who are more used to exercise tend to do better during withdrawal.

    As for what you do next - i'd say sharing your situation with someone will help. I opened up to my GP back in 2017 and one of my friends knows. Accountability does help in these situations, although my addict voice still managed to isolate me enough that I went back to my old habits. There are groups that you could join too. What you might find is that the elation of coming clean from the drugs may be the motivation for you to stay clean - the joy I find in feeling things again after I detox is incredible. It's just a shame it's a really unpleasant journey to get to that point. At this moment, there will be loads of questions buzzing around your mind. I pop into these boards quite often, so if I can help you out in any way, just let me know.

    I wish you well in fighting the good fight,

    G.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Edited

      Im getting there. The week has been hard. I tried to go cold turkey - but i couldnt quite do it.

      So I did 8 pills on Monday, 6 on Tues, 4 Weds and 2 today (Thurs). I feel like i got through the worst on Tues and Weds.

      Ive felt very tired...slept a lot 7pm-7am - bit of Nytol. I've felt tearful and like im wading through treacle. I will never go back to Nurofen Plus - its been awful stopping.

      On reflection ive been tired for months probably becaise of these pills.

      I will keep you all posted. I feel good about my progress.

      Thanks All

      Henry

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Im better. Its been exhausing but more energy today - i even went for a 3.5 mile run. Last dose was 1 pill on Friday. Never again. I wasn't even getting anything from taking the 18 pills a week ago.

    Never going back. Free. Thank God...and thanks to all of you for your words and your support.

    More later.

    L&F

    H x

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Buprenorphine should be a last resort option.

    I am currently on 8mg a day following a 8 year addiction to Codeine, Dihydrocodeine and Tramadol.

    I tried all other aspects of 'getting clean', but none worked for me.

    I went to a drug abuse clinic who weighed up all the options. The first one was to get my GP to put me on a taper plan which they (my GP) refused to do. (basically because they had to prescribe me 600mg a day codeine and reduce it 10% weekly, and also the tramadol 600mg a day). They basically said they cannot prescribe that amount as its WAY over the daily dosage).

    The second option we tried was I went cold turkey and they prescribed me diazepam (20mg a day) and zopiclone (7.5mg at night) both these drugs took the "edge" off ever so slightly but I still suffered quite badly. I lasted 3 weeks and couldnt handle it anymore and cracked and relapsed.

    the last option was Buprenorphine, but they were reluctant to start this at first due to it being way more potent than codeine and tramadol, but after umming and ahing for a while they decided to put me on 2mg a day. This worked immediately and all my WD's went away(obviously!). After a few days though I started to get mild WD's late in the evening and when I woke up I started to get goosebumps, yawning and watery eyes so they upped it to 4mg a day. Once again after a few days I had the same problems as 2mg so they finally upped it to 8mg and now I am being help steady on 8mg and have no symptoms whatsoever.

    I am now 7 weeks into the treatment and it has changed my life big time. gone are the daily traits and habits I had when i was on the codeine and i've started to put my life back together.

    I have a plan to start reducing slowly once I hit the 3 month mark of being on 8mg.

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up