Overuse of prescribed oxy, my journey to cutting down.

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Hi guys, so I've been chasing over on Melissa's thread, and have decided to start my own instead of hijacking hers.

The story so far... I was taking double my prescribed dose of oxy so 400mg a day instead of 200mg. I've fessed up to my pain doc and gp and am starting a 5 week reduction regime that's organised by my gp.

I'm really hoping I can stick to and carry on with the correct opiate dosage to manage the chronic pain I suffer without spiraling out of control on the meds allowing me to function in life.

Thanks in advance for any and all support, and if you want to share your journeys on pain meds please feel free.

Charlie.

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  • Posted

    Hi Charlie.

    Sorry, saw this post after the Melissa one!!

    My nightmare started approximately 7yrs ago when I went to the Dr's with problems in my lower back. After an MRI scan it showed I had degenerative discs in my lower back & i kept trapping nerves & suffering from slipped discs etc.

    The Dr put me on Oxycodone to start with before moving me over to Oxycontin. She offered me morphine but the name & knowing what morphine was frightened me as it was so strong. It wasn't until I was on 800mgs of Oxycontin a few months later that I found out Oxycontin was actually 2.5 times the strength of morphine!! I didn't even know what an opiate was till this time after reading up on it as I was getting all these side effects!!!

    I was at times taking 1500mgs Oxy on bad days. I know, I should be dead!!!

    This drug at one point was more sort after in the states than Heroin!!!! Really it was!! Due to how popular it was, the dealers were charging $1 per milligram. Even $100 for 1 x 80mg tablet!!

    After going back to my GP who put me on this, she refused to see me. Turns out the other Dr's at the practise had been having a go at her for putting me on that amount & how i was their highest patient in terms of money, being a burden on their budget for£3.5k per month.

    After she refused to see me I saw one of the other Dr's there saying I wanted off the Oxycontin. He just said to cut down. Sorry but that is just like giving an alcoholic a bottle of JD & telling them not to touch it!!!!

    I decided to change surgeries and managed to taper down to a prescribed 320mgs per day but, every time I tried to drop lower I just couldn't due to the worst withdrawals. I tried & tried but just couldn't do it after doing so well upto that point!!

    After months of battling with & at first being turned away from the substance misuse service, im now on 105mgs of methadone per day & haven't touched any Oxycontin now for around 3months!

    I am now having to battle the service as they said that I'm the only person they treat on Oxycontin or infact I am the only person they treat whose addicted to prescribed medication! Everyone else they treat are heroin addicts.

    They want me off the methadone by April when I'm still craving the Oxycontin & still suffering WD's at night so I'm still not at my optimum dose yet they want me off it, that's another battle I'll have to fight I guess. It almost feels like, if they take me off it & get there way, that my only option to avoid getting really sick from WD's is to become a heroin addict to get treatment!!??!! Makes sense hey!!! Ridiculous NHS systems!!!

    I know people will say that no one forced you to take it. But I trusted my Dr that never once at any time was I told how addictive this drug was & how if not careful it could & would destroy my life.

    I have never in my life touched illegal drugs at all, I haven't even smoked weed just to see what it was like!! I was an Operations Manager before this on £50k per yr & i had a brand new Lexus parked on my drive. Now I have nothing. No job, no car, nothing.

    I guess what I want out of all this is for anyone that is at early stages of taking Oxycontin or is thinking about taking it PLEASE DON'T!!! IT WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE. It wasn't while I was on the 800mgs when I was really suffering but my main problems started when I was reducing and, also now I am off it. The depression kicked in around 320mgs along with the horrible Withdrawals, every single day, some say through reducing too quickly. Either way it has been hell for me & still is as I'm convinced it has done damage to me in my brain that will not change back. My memory is terrible. I forget a conversation I had 2hours ago!! I have zero motivation at all, never. I can't get exited about anything. I don't look forward to anything like I used to.

    I don't live now, I just exist & it's all down to the Oxycontin.

    So, please please please, think before you take this stuff, you will think you can control it but you can't, you won't! If like me & you are one of those people that have no will power or have an addictive personality this will destroy your life I promise you. And most of the time, when you try to get help, you will feel like you are being treated just like a junkie.

    I could tell you loads more but if you've managed to get this far without falling asleep through boredom, I will stop waffling on now.

    But seriously though, please listen to what I have tried to get across. Your life will not be the same again if you get addicted to Oxycontin. Afterall, I suppose they don't call it Hillbilly Heroin for nothing!!

    Take care

    Ritchie x

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    • Posted

      Wow Richie,

      That's a hell of an experience you've had, I'm totally appalled at how you've been treat by the medical professionals who've put u in a sitch and then abandoned you. (Yes, I read your whole post lol).

      I guess the difference between us is that I knew how strong oxy was before I started taking it. After being diagnosed with Systemic Sclerosis (Ssc) I was put on opiate pain meds, from co-codamol through morphine and finally onto oxy. So i knew what it was I was about to start taking.

      I'd read about "hillbilly heroin" and in fact discussed this exact thing with my pain doc before accepting a oxy prescription. He kind of explained it like this...

      Think of pain as a liquid, an opiate med is the kitchen towel that'll soak up that pain and take it away from you. If you only use the amount of opiate needed to soak up your pain, the high it can cause won't happen as it's doing its job, and no more.

      If however you use more opiate than needed to soak up the pain, that'll be left floating around your system, and that's when the euphoria and high feelings occur.

      So with that knowledge on board, I was quite aware and cautious of the oxy from the beginning. Like I said tho the extra dose "here and there" kind of snuck up on me. Until I realised a couple of months ago that I'd slipped into a higher than necessary dose. It took a good ten weeks for me to get the courage to fess up and deal with the issue. I think the nature of this drug is that it makes you lean towards secrecy and that is dangerous if you're slipping into too much usage!

      Bearing in mind I've got a lifelong disease that's always going to cause pain, probably getting worse as I get older. I need to be able to take something that allows me to have a life without being in agony. And it's oxy that allows that to happen.

      I'll always be acutely aware of how dangerous this drug can be, and is to a heck of a lot of patients. But at the same time I need to live a productive life.

      I'm sending you some good karma Ritchie and really hope you manage to get through this awful point in your life. I'm sure that your emotions will return once you're free of the methadone. That drug is renowned for numbing ppl, and I've heard that antidepressants and counselling are a huge part of any recovery.

      Are you seeing a gp as well as the methadone clinic staff? I think you need to, at least go talk to your gp about how crap life feels atm.

      Sorry, I've rambled on... I'll let that lot sink in before I carry on lol!

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    • Posted

      There's loads more I could have put but I have a tenancy to waffle on a lot so tried to keep it to a bare minimum lol.

      I feel for you & the pain you're in, like you say, you don't have a choice really do you, especially if you wanna get up in a morning!!!

      It does make you lean towards secrecy you're right there. I'm not blowing my own trumpet but, I really am the most honest person you could ever meet & i mean that but, when I was taking the 1500mgs, obviously I was running out early so I had to lie about it saying I would be working away when my script was due etc etc. I hated what I was turning into!!

      At times I would eat that many, I had occasions where I would have eaten the lot after 10days!!! Obviously at times, I had to suck it up & accept the withdrawals but, they really are the worst thing in the world & i remember at the time feeling really sorry for heroin addicts if this is how they felt. So I hated that bit, all the lies, even to my partner, who I would never, ever lie to, I cannot begin to tell you how much I hated myself for it Charlie!!! But I've learned to accept that if you are an addict, it is part of it , but obviously I really really hated it.

      Apart from what I mentioned on the Melissa thread about side effects, my sex drive has also been zero for the last 3yrs & it's horrible. I've swore to my partner that I still fancy her as she thought I had gone off her!

      I was that adamant that my testosterone level was low, I've had 3 blood tests for it at my new GP's. On the last test 3wks ago it showed up that it was quite low. I was so relieved & it also proved to my partner that I was right all along about many opiates & not just Oxycontin that it gives you this problem as a side effect!

      Christ, every morning when I woke up my duvet would be like a wigwam but not anymore lol.

      I don't go to a methadone clinic to pick the stuff up. I go to my local pharmacy & take it there in the back room.

      The substance misuse service I go to to get my script every 2wks should provide counseling but they don't. Now I just go there to pick up my script & that's it.

      The first counselor I saw, gave me her mobile number to call anytime whenever I felt down etc, I would ring her at the beginning when I first moved over to methadone from the Oxy as, I know now the 30mg dose they start everyone on was miles too low for me. I took the first dose at 8.30a.m & by 12.30 I was going into full blown withdrawals! The councelor would never return any of my calls. I even had it on one occasion where I arrived for a meeting with her, after an hour drive, and she had booked a holiday & not told me, another occasion she was off sick & no one rang to tell me, so very unprofessional. I could write a book Charlie honestly. Perhaps I should about my whole 7year & still ongoing battle through hell, lol!!

      I saw a proper councelor last year through my GP but after my 8 sessions I was worse than when I started. Every day feeling very very low, suicidal etc. She said that she couldn't really treat me till I was off the Oxycontin because it was due to that, that I was there. So it was a vicious circle because at that point, I had been trying for months to get help to come off the Oxycontin but no one would help me. Door after door was slammed in my face & all because "It's only Oxycontin which is a prescribed medication, it isn't Heroin" the problem i faced was that no one (or at least I hadn't met & still haven't met anyone yet, that really knows what Oxycontin is in this country) If I lived in USA, it would be a totally different matter, as much more is known over there about it. Perhaps because it's an epidemic over there where it isn't here???

      As I said, that's only a brief outline of my journey through hell but again, I've waffled on too much.

      There ya go, and you think you ramble on. Lol

      Ritchie x

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    • Posted

      That response is VERY WELL SAID!  I was going to say something along the same lines, but you said it so well that there's no need.  I have to add this:  I'm on morphine myself..prescribed by my Dr.  I've gone back and forth from oxy's to morphine for many, many years but always found that the morphine worked better for me.  About 2 yrs. ago my Dr. told me that I had to get off of the morphine.  I was taking 100 mg. long acting and 50 mg. short acting morphine 4 times a day.  She cut me down to 60 mg. of the long acting morphine first.  I was still okay with that amount, but then she decided to cut me down on the short acting morphine!  Just like that!  She said that she would be retiring in a year or so and that I would not find another doctor anywhere who would prescribe me the pain relieving meds that I really need to function properly.  I am trying to take myself down more with little success..and I see her again this month.  She usually prescribes me meds for 3-4 months and I get a month's worth at a time.  I've managed to stay on my prescribed dose for many years, but with the reduction I occasionally take more for the pain.  Then I try to do without when I can so I don't run out.  I've got terrible fear of going without!  The worst thing about being on this type of medication--at least for me is the disdain that I get treated with by people who "just don't get it!"  My family have pretty much disowned me, and look down on me because they think I'm not successful enough in life.  It's extremely frustrating, and I talk to them less and less as time goes by.  I've got severe back problems, fibromyalgia, and osteo-arthritis.  I'm unable to work (unless it's my own schedule) and I make jewelry and sell it.  I'm just beginning to write my first novel,  and it's about all types of abuse.  Although it's fiction, I'm writing much of it about things that came from personal experience.  It contains parts that I've pulled from my memory about my own childhood and my dysfunctional and disdainful family.  I hope that some of you will read it when it's completed.  I'm no longer young but tell people that tho my body may be older my mind, spirit and heart will always be young!  I think that what I'm trying to say is this:  Don't be around those who judge!  There are plenty of good people out there who won't...I will keep you all posted, and I hope that you do the same!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Charlie, I too have chronic pain but when I first started taking oxcocet,(containing acetaminophen) it wasnt strong enough so my dr. switched to oxycodone (too much acetaminophen is bad for your liver and kidneys) except I had kids to care for so i couldnt be buzzing and i couldnt drive, they also dont last long...so i was switched to MS CONTIN which is sustained release morphine, at first you get sleepy but you get used to it and can function properly..i have been taking it since 2002 and never boosted my dosage, maybe you need to switch to something lower dosage but long lasting and get good pain control, you wont have withdrawal.as it is an opiod, i am thinking tapering on oxy, you have a tolerance to higher doses maybe a switch to lowest dose SR MORPHINE would work.you need to stick to treating PHYSICAL PAIN and not getting high....knowing you have been abusing it and admitting it to your dr. Is a GREAT start and you are lucky to have a dr. Willing to help you and not just cut you off and dump you....Chronic Pain unless you have it, people REALLY dont understand what its like...have you thought about WHY you are abusing? If its recreational or if it is to dull emotional pain, either way maybe you could talk to a counselor?? If you need someone to relate, i dont mind at all lending support...I REALLY Wish you well in your trying to get things worked out...give yourself credit for asking for help NOW vs later, the longer you wait the deeper the hole to dig out of...Best Wishes!!

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  • Posted

    So I'm just over a week into my reduction programme back down to my prescribed dose rather than twice that much (from 400mg to 200mg) and in doing ok.

    The fact that my doctor was amazing has really helped a lot, and the intro of pregabalin has made a huge difference to the pain killing effects of the oxycodone.

    I think it's important here to note that the increase in dosage wasn't for any *high* that oxycodone can give but was because I'd become tolerant to the drug and it's pain killing effect was gradually reducing. I didn't increase my dose in any great amount at a time, and didn't get a high that many ppl speak of. But I'm acutely aware of the dangers of any opiate and its ability to creep into your life and take a hold. This is why I paid (in the UK it's unusual to pay for medical treatment) to skip the NHS waiting list, and saw my pain doc to discuss the issue within days rather than months. (That's a whole other topic btw, waiting times for treatment in the UK are seriously out of control)

    So, my journey continues and if the last week is a marker of moving forward. I'm very hopeful that I can reduce the opiate usage, and supplement that with pregabalin to achieve the optimal pain reduction that allows normal (as much as possible) life to occur.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the update Charlie. Thats great news, I am really very pleased for you.

      All the BS that Purdue Pharma Reps came out with about Oxycontin lasting 12hrs, eventually they admitted that they were wrong!! So, they advised Dr's to up the dose, this is where all the overdoses began etc.

      With me, the pain relief would only last around 1hr, so where they got this 12hr rubbish from who knows. Still, while ever the Purdue sales Reps were getting bonuses from $70 - $250k why should it matter hey ;-)

      Very well done for getting this far Charlie, and like you said, you need something to help you with a quality of life, something you wouldn't have without it.

      Well done!!

      Take care

      Ritchie x

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    • Posted

      That iss another issue that we have to deal with, and it all fits into the same big bowl!  Prescribed medication gives bonuses to the Doctors, pharmacists, and the pharmaceutical companies.  They love the type of medications that are for pain control.  The Doctors get a slap on the wrist once in a while, and then panic to cut us down on our meds.  AND you are certainly right about the amount of time that meds are supposed to work for.  They don't even come close!  We are all different, and that includes our body chemistry and our DNA.  Where do they get these stats from?  I wonder if they make it all up! 

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  • Posted

    Thanks Ritchie,

    These last few days have been tough, haha as soon as you think *this is easy, I can do this* you rightly so get a reminder that it's not easy at all!

    So, I've persevered on with the reductions but I think from what I've read that pregabalin is only really effective at the 300mg marker per day for serious pain. I'm tapering up quite slowly, so i should expect some pain in the process.?

    I must admit though, you're right about how long oxycodone lasts once you've built a tolerance. I find it lasts around the 8hr mark for me, but I'm really hoping introducing pregabalin will cover me on the original oxycodone dose. By the way, my oxycodone is called Longtec is that the same as what you were taking Ritchie? Or is it different somehow?

    I've never heard of Purdue, I'll look them up on Google now though, knowledge is power eh!

    Charlie.

    P.S. Thanks for sticking around Ritchie, it's been super helpful talking to you. Kinda gives me the umph to succeed, knowing the pitfalls is good.

    You've been invaluable.

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    • Posted

      Hi Charlie.

      I have never heard of Longtec so not sure to be honest.

      Purdue Pharma are the manufacturers of all Oxycontin, it may say a different name but it will be Purdues baby.

      They were fined around a total of $624.5mil for basically lieing saying Oxycontin was not addictive & it would last 12hrs. Basically they miss sold the drug making $ billions in profits. Kentucky were the last ones to file a lawsuit back in January for $1billion but, I believe Purdue have now paid kentucky up, to the tune of somewhere around $24mil. Not sure of the exact amount??

      You don't have to thank me Charlie!!

      I've not found anyone else that has been on the same amount of Oxy than me, especially here in the UK. I don't want to either to be honest as if I do, I know someone else will be suffering. I know it's hardly an issue here in the UK, unlike it is in the USA where it is an absolutely massive problem, or at least it was not too long ago. Purdue have made a tablet now that cannot be crushed, claiming it cannot be abused. If you cannot crush it, you cannot snort or inject it which is what a lot of people who abused it, did do. They also burnt it sucking the fumes through a straw. Why you would do that I don't know!??

      Tell me Charlie. The Oxy tablets you now take. When I took them, mine had an 80 on one side & "OC" on the other & also 120 on one side & OC on the other. What do yours say on them?

      You don't have to thank me Charlie. It's nice to talk to someone that knows some of what we go through!

      Catch you later

      Ritchie x

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    • Posted

      Hey Ritchie,

      Yep 80 on one side and oc on the other, they sound identical. I do know though that Longtec are cheaper than the Napp oxycodone as that's why the doc switched me over. The 80's are I think £300 ish per 56 as opposed to nearly £500 by Napp. Same drug, different supplier.

      It's all crazy how much these meds cost, it costs pennies to produce and they're making billions. Mind u, nothing else has worked to reduce my pain so I should be grateful to a certain extent. It's just a shame they're so dangerous in both addiction and overdose wise.

      Right then, I'm off to keep myself busy lol I've been making sure I'm not idle and therefore thinking about my pain, as that's a dodgy place to be while I'm reducing these meds. Oh one more thing occurred to me, my doctor actually prescribed the whole 5 weeks reduction script in one go, if I was out of control it would've been like handing me the keys to the sweet shop... it was my gf who pointed it out.

      I'm lucky to have her support.

      Charlie.

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    • Posted

      Come to think of it mine said Napp pharmaceutical on them!

      Apparently the ones that are abuse resistant have OP in place of OC on the back. You would think with all the fuss over the years in the states that you wouldn't be able to get the crushable ones over here still, as I think it's been a few years now since Purdue released the non crushable ones onto the market??

      The first GP that put me on it then refused to see me, I was genuinely going on holiday for a week so, I had to go from dailys to one weeks worth, which my partner took control of while we were away. When we got back & i went to the GP surgery to start off the daily scripts again, the GP put me back on monthlys again!!! I didn't realise at the time till i dropped the script at the pharmacist & i waited for the daily 4 x 80 & 4 x 120 to be handed over.

      He gave me 2 x boxes of 56 of each plus 8 of each & said, "so you're back on monthlys now then?"

      It took me every ounce of willpower I had that day to not eat a load of them & to wait till my partner got home & hand all of them over . The first thing she said was, "so, how many have you had" :-)

      I obviously got on the phone to the Dr also to sort it out to go back to dailys but, she didn't even think what she had done. My partner went mad, she just couldn't believe it!!

      .yes, keep busy, that is a must!

      TTFN

      Ritchie x

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  • Posted

    Morning guys,

    Thought I'd update this thread with the latest in my journey.

    So, things are getting very real for me atm and the cutting down isn't going as I'd like. I'm in a shed load of pain, and I'm going to ring my doctor today to discuss slowing down reductions until I can't get a handle on my pain levels.

    I'm hoping he's sympathetic, but bracing for the worst.

    Anyhoo that's all for now, I'll let u know how it pans out.

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    • Posted

      Hey Charlie

      I know you really want to cut down but, please dont do it and be in loads of pain for doing it. Theres nothing worse than being in loads of pain & when you are, you would give anything not to be.

      If it means stopping the reducing for a while im pretty sure your doctor will understand. It just aint worth the suffering matey.

      Good luck with the Dr

      Ritchie xx

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    • Posted

      Hey Richie,

      I've struggled on, but I'm definitely going to speak to my doctor on Monday as I'm in serious pain. It's just totally taken away the little livable life I had.

      I've checked bnf and prescribing guidelines are not over 400mg per day but more in certain cases. I think I can manage on 130mg twice daily which would be well below max guidelines. I'll talk to my doctor who hopefully will agree with me.

      Thanks for the reply,

      Charlie.

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    • Posted

      Well, my gp prescribed me 800mg per day but i think that was way over the guidelines.

      Im sure your gp will up the dose to enable you to be comfy. Even what you ask for is know where near the recommended daily dose of, is it 400mg per day??

      All the best for monday. Let us know how you get on.

      Good luck!!

      Ritchie x

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    • Posted

      Evening @Ritchie2168

      I waited until my scheduled appointment on Thursday to see the doc, I didn't want him to think I'd necked all my meds, or was trying it on. Anyhoo, he's upped my dosage to 120mg twice daily, which is ok I think.

      If I'm finding that it's not lasting the 12hrs I could split it into 3x80mg doses add he's giving me 80's and 20's rather than the 120's which are particularly sketchy to source. Pharmacies have trouble getting a hold of 120's and that could be a real glitch in my programme.

      So I've been on that dose for three days, today is day 3 and I'm managing my pain levels ok. I had an odd reaction to the pregabalin at first, but it's really great at disguising any opiate withdrawals (loss of evidence of this online) so I stuck with it. The lip numbness has subsided now, which I was hoping it would.

      All in all I'm actually ok, and feeling positive moving forward.

      Thank you to everyone who's contributed to this and offered support. You're a good bunch of ppl, and I'm especially grateful to you Ritchie smile

      Charlie x

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    • Posted

      Hi Charlie.

      Im really pleased for you that your Dr is helping & not thinking you're trying it on, theres nothing worse when you are actually in genuine pain.

      Over the years of fighting my addiction to Oxycontin ive come to realise that a hell of a lot of Dr's just do not know anything at all about the drugs they give you, they just look in their drug book & say "try this one" which is what my old Dr did with me.

      Ive just found out that the agency that i use, come April 2017 will no longer be treating people like me who become addicted to opiates through prescription medication, they will only be helping heroin addicts, (Not Good!!!!) The consultant that i see has said he wants me totally off methadone by this date, this is virtually impossible as i still believe i am not on a stable dose as of yet, so ive benn panicking somewhat.

      Guess ill have to cross that bridge when i come to it hey!!

      Im so pleased your Dr is listening & helping you, sounds like you've got a good un!!

      Take care & keep in touch

      Ritchie x

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