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has anyone had an easy time tapering off of methadone?

Discussion in 'Opiate addiction' started by BDN67, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. BDN67

    BDN67 Newbie

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    SWIM is currently tapering off of methadone. He started tapering from 115 MG and went down to 55 within 5 weeks. He paused there for 6 weeks and then resumed at the rate of 5 MG a week and is now at 40 MG.

    He hasn't really had any type of WD symptoms to note. He is getting confused because of the horror stories that people write about......getting terrible pains by a 5 MG reduction when they are over 100 MG. He is starting to think it is either going to hit him really hard sometime around 15 MG or it will be totally easy all the way down.

    Has anyone here had a really easy time tapering off? Has anyone had a really easy time until they got sub 20MG?
     
  2. ex-junkie

    ex-junkie

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    once swim had a blind taper. her opiate specialist would communicate the dose with her pharmacist via phone, and it was unknown to swim the whole time. her dose was written on the back of the form that she signed after each dose, and she never once looked at it or felt any symptoms.

    this was until a relief pharmacist came to fill in, and swim explained that the dose was on the back, and that it was a blind taper and the stupid fuck turned around and said, "oooooooh 1MG, right gotcha". :mad:

    swim lost it and immediately started withdrawing bad, drove around the corner and scored to fuck off the nasty withdrawals. thus setting her back to square one.

    the pharmacist had been putting a diluent into it, and she didnt notice a taste difference or anything during the whole time. she went from approx 60MG down to 1 unnoticed.
     
  3. Cooki

    Cooki Gold Member

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    The simplest answer to that question is almost cetainly: NO. :(

    Swim has heard it on the grapevine that OPs who have reduced over 18 months to 2 years get through the 1ml- 7 days clean in relative ease, but others believe drawing your taper out like this is more detrimental and counter-productive. We all knew what we were getting into. I think this 'not rattling phenomena' swiy speak of is down to the dose you're on. Going from 100ml to 0 QUICKLY- you're right- these withdrawals would be v.unpleasant, but most people find lowering doses in small increments relatively* easy untill they get to around the 20-30ml mark. (*Relative to cold turkey!;)). It's these lower doses that can cause problems.

    BUT..swiy has done REALLY well!!!!

    Swim too, know the power of fear!! Swim thinks you have the strength to keep going and who knows? Maybe you'll be the one to make it through! (PLLLLEEEASSSE let Swim know if this is the case; she will follow your taper schedule to the letter!!;)).

    Good luck,

    Cooki



    Wow, ex-junkie, this is amazing... because swim thought they must have to do it without your knowlege..in which case- well; they couldn't do THAT, right?! I've heard of this but thought that because you knew it was happening/going to be happening, you'd end up constantly 'looking out' for negative effects? I'd like to read a thread on this....(don't worry- I'll UTFSE before I ask you to start one!). Fascinating. Never 'met' anyone who'd had it done.
     
  4. missparkles

    missparkles Platinum Member & Advisor

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    To be honest when Sparkles quit methadone she did it in a similar way to the OP, although not as quickly.
    She was on 150 mls.
    She reduced her dose by 10mls a week until she was down to about 70-80 mls.
    When she got to 70-80 mls, she reduced by 5 mls every 4-7 days, depending on how comfortable she felt until she got to 50ml.
    Then she reduced quite quickly, by 5mls ever 4-5 days until she got to 30 mls.
    She stayed on this dose for 7 days then went for three days on nothing, then made the jump to bupe.
    She was on 32 mg and reduced by 2mg per week, until the last 2 mg, which she stayed on for 2 weeks, then she stopped.
    To be honest it wasn't as bad as quitting methadone alone. It was much more comfortable.
    She does think a quicker, rather than a longer drawn out reduction, worked better for her. She needed to feel she was moving forward, not stuck at one specific dose.
    She was studying at college from September (when she began her reduction) until the following September (when she'd quit) having something to focus on, a goal, took her mind off how uncomfortable she felt at times.
    But she also found the fear of quitting far worse than actually doing it.
    She also had lots of support, so if she was ever wavering, she had lots of people to give her positive re-enforcement, point out how well she'd done.
    That was extremely important for her.
    Sometimes we look for things to stress over, after all, if life is tough, it gives us an excuse to use.
    Not saying the OP is doing this, but Sparkles knew she used drugs to alter her moods, and any excuse was good enough.
    Just be aware of that.
    The other thing that reduced the fear around quitting was she reduced her dose a week before her doctor was due to review her reduction. Knowing that she could cope with the amount her doctor was cutting her down by made her feel less scared.
    At one point she did stay on the same dose for an extra week, she knew she wasn't ready to reduce that week.
    Also by doing it this way her reduction was in her own hands, she was in control, that empowered her a lot.
    Remember, you've done awesomely well to get this far. Just wait and see how it goes.
    Quitting drugs is so personal to everyone, you may find that because you seem so focused and positive, it will help.
    Good luck for the future, and well done again.
    Sparkles.:vibes:
     
  5. ex-junkie

    ex-junkie

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    it wasnt a quick taper, in fact it was 1MG a week, and 2 MG the next week, and continued until it was down to 1MG. swim isnt sure that made sense so shell put it in these terms...


    start dose: 60MG (approx)
    week 1: 59MG
    week 2: 57MG
    week 3: 56MG
    week 4: 54MG... and so on..

    in all honesty swims perception of time was shitty, so she had no idea she was on such a small amount. she honestly thought she was on approx 25-30MG by then. :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  6. BDN67

    BDN67 Newbie

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    SWIM is actually on the methadone program for the second time. He got off the first time after a year, about the same amount of time as this time except he got up to 140 then. The first week then he dropped 25 MG and didn't feel anything. He went 5 MG a week until he got down to 5 MG then jumped off after a week. He doesn't remember it being bad at all.

    anyone else go 5 MG a week all the way down? what was it like?

    The first time he did the drop it was really easy....so easy he thought that everyone was crazy for saying it was hard. He thinks that it is because he was very positive and really wanted to get off. Just like you said the blind taper was really easy, I think the mental portion of it plays as big of a part as the physical addiction.

    SWIM kind of fears that this time it is going to bite him in the ass since last time was so easy. Your body should react the same though, right? He was actually up to a higher methadone level the first time so with less MD this time for a bit shorter time period he should have similar results, right?

    SWIM was hoping to hear from other people who have heard about similar experiences. He is hoping that this time is just as easy and is very motivated and positive towards the taper. He wants to be prepared, though, and hopefully hear some things that will confirm his confidence.
     
  7. Dickon

    Dickon

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    Ah,

    The perennial methadone tapering speed question! I think ex-junkie's experience of the blind taper and research on this (check the file archive or failing that google it) seems to show how much of the withdrawal is related to expectations.

    My cat has tapered down from 150mg to 30mg (or was it 25mg?) once by 5mg a day with no problems whatsoever. He more recently quit from 225mg a day by cutting down by roughly 5mg a day (faster at the beginning), and it really wasn't bad at all until he got below 40mg/day. However, after he quit he had a fairly bad time for some weeks. I've written about it here: Screaming in the night air.

    I do think the bottom end of a taper is in general the worst part. One happy story is that I have a friend who quit from an 85mg/90mg a day script by tapering down over 18 months. He claims it was painless, using a little lofexidine when he jumped from 5mg/day at the end. I don't think this would ever have worked for cat as he's too impatient for this method, and I guess it's a case of matching the speed of taper to your own psychology. Cat once quit from 200mg/day with only one day at 100mg and then nothing. This wasn't pretty, but was doable with some clonidine.

    If you are sure this is a one time thing and you'll never go through a withdrawal again, I think it will be easier to go through. Your confidence is great to see and will really help you get through.

    My cat is now over a year away from his last taper and is so glad to be away from it. Life is so much better for him without methadone! Think positive and get yourself free.

    All best wishes

    Dickon
     
  8. w//e

    w//e Silver Member

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    SWIM had a very easy time tapering. The dose went down 2 mgs per week on 2 separate days- 1mg + 1 mg. Never noticed a thing because in swims mind it is all in the mind.
    The issue began when the taper was forced to stop at 8 mgs. due to an unforseen hospitalization. Thats when the nightmare began but that was 3 years ago and all is great now.
     
  9. Crackedup

    Crackedup Silver Member

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    SWIM has been tapering off methadone for the last 6 months from 100ml in 5ml a week steps until 20ml, then 2ml steps every 4-5 days. They are now down to just 2ml a day, and coming off completely in 3 days time.

    It has been fairly easy the most difficult time being around 25ml then easier below that.

    The issue SWIM's found with methadone is that unless on a very high dose the effects seem to wear off a few hours before the next dose is due. Luckily the dose can now be taken home as it was always a bit uncomfortable before the daily pickup at the chemists.

    It has been a much easier ride since then as the dose can be taken before getting out of bed each morning. Also on a dose below about 40ml they've found it useful to split the dose to stop from rattling later on, taking about 2/3rd in the morning and 1/3rd later in the day.

    Having the odd diazepam on hand always helps to get through the rough times too! Hope this helps.
     
  10. ex-junkie

    ex-junkie

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    you know, people dont have to get down to 20MG. why prolong the agony for any longer than is necessary.

    one way of doing it, is to switch to a weaker opiate for a week and then commence short bupe taper.

    or do what swim did, she went 3 days without methadone, then commenced bupe- she was on 55MG when she did this, but also purchased street doses. her dose could have been anywhere between 55-120MG daily. it only took swim 5 days for the bupe part of the detox and it was easy! that took 9 days of her life, and she was able to go onto naltrexone on day 9.

    im not sure how they work naltrexone induction around the world, but i do know they flush people with narcan which has the same effect- only the naltrexone is longer acting, making it better to use for "flushing" than narcan. (small naltrexone doses= 1-2MG every couple of hours). **please note for anyone silly enough to try this on their own, that benzos, clonidine, promethazine injection in the butt enabled swim to do this transition without hanging like a motherfucker.


    read this thread for dosing, medication combinations.. http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112851
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  11. jloops

    jloops Silver Member

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    Way to go, swiy. Swim guesses this answers the OP's question more or less in the affirmative. Swim always thought it was possible... 20 and counting (down!) for swim's part...
     
  12. moda00

    moda00 R.I.P.

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    great to hear, as swim is in the early stages of tapering off mmt. she is supposed to decide when and how to decrease, each week having the option for that week's doses, and can go down by 2-6 mg at a time per 24 hour period (1-3 mg per dose, but on a split- q12 hr- dose that is) she has made a couple 2 mg reductions and has honestly felt really awful, but thinks a lot of her symptoms which may feel like withdrawal are due to her inadequately treated thyroid issues and changes in another medication she takes as opposed to the small mmt reduction, but it sucks having the psychological aspect and wondering/surmising how she could feel such a small reduction so strongly- she has to think that she is not feeling the methadone at all but it is other health/medication stuff going on and hopes that her endocrine appointment this week will help with some of the other concerns, as will catching up on sleep (that really does her in).

    When swim came down 30 mg over the course of about 5-6 weeks, very rapidly, she didn't feel a thing, but once she got to the point where she did start feeling it, that is when she restabilized for awhile. Her current taper is the continuation of that, so she is already down 30-some from her highest dosing point, but is taking this portion of things really slowly as it's not worth feeling crummy or struggling with schoolwork or parenting or god forbid, relapsing, and she is cutting herself some slack now since the other minor medical issues/meds are getting sorted, but in the meantime, she just wanted to let OP know that she did drop 5 mg at a time (each week) and not feel much of any WDs, and will keep ya posted.

    Swim also knows of others who have had fairly painless tapers from higher doses, but agrees that many say to slow down the rate of taper if/when one starts feeling it and when one gets into the lower dosing ranges (seems that between 20-50 mg and on down is that point for many people). But listen to swiy's body and think positive!! Glad things are going well, and this is encouraging for swim to read during her taper as well.

    The blind taper seems intriguing to me too.. I like the idea of being able to control swims taper, but also think that a lot of it is indeed psychological and that could circumvent that. But I do think if one can be really in tune with their needs and their body without the addictive mindset skewing things (perhaps someone who is generally in tune with their body via exercise, yoga, etc. and who has been off heroin for some length of time in mmt prior to tapering?) may be better off regulating their own, whereas some people might be better off having someone else design a schedule for them or do so blindly? I will have to check out the research referenced as I had not heard of that concept before. i guess for swim she finds it important to regulate since in the past the recommended doses and pace of increases or decreases did not fit her very well, perhaps just because of her body and the fact that she is a rapid metabolizer and has some other health conditions, maybe that affects it? but yeah, she just finds that she does not often respond to the same standard increments or plans well- ex. needing a split dose, sometimes needing to go up or down in smaller increments than most report ideal to gauge ideal effectiveness, etc.

    sorry sorta off topic.. but swim would be interested, OP and others who have shared experiences, in what research was read, what doctors and friends told swiyou, and what swiyou swiyourself expected before commencing a taper, and how the taper did or did not meet those expectations? how long one had been on it, motivation for getting off, etc. and how one thinks that may have affected their experience tapering or their symptoms?

    take care~! and hugs and congrats to those who have successfully tapered or are in the midst of it! :thumbsup:

    edit to add: crackedup references a sort of splitting of dose- swim does this all the time, except instead of 2/3 and 1/3, she takes equal ratios at a 12 hour interval- but she wonders if even for those who do not need split dosing when on the normal, higher maintenance dose, may benefit from splitting when getting towards the lower doses in a taper? I will do some research and see if I can't find any studies on this and post them up- I know splitting has been addressed as useful during pregnancy and as necessary for some individuals throughout entire course of treatment, but exploring it's use as a tool in tapering is a new one to me... it makes sense purely in swim's head though, that maintaining more stable levels of mmt in the body by more frequent, lower doses, would create more stability in the body and thus possibly lessen potentially uncomfortable symptoms during taper.. anyone else utilize plits for this purpose or have info on this idea??
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  13. deltakilo

    deltakilo Silver Member

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    ISHO it's F'ing impossible. SWIM'd rather go ct off of H than taper off of M. SWIM went from 120mg to 20 in 6 mo on his own and the entire time was hell.
     
  14. EastCoastAndy

    EastCoastAndy Silver Member

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    Methadone is worse to come off of then heroin. It really has been in all swims experiences being on it
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  15. Trapped_under_ice

    Trapped_under_ice

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    The truth is that it's generally easy to taper down methadone from large doses. It's easy to go from say 150 to 50. However the lower you get the harder it becomes. The last few mg's are going to cost you some pain.

    Generally methadone is very difficult to taper from, it's best to get on another opiate when you're low enough and then take it from there.

    Eventually when you reach 10 mg, it will be hard(at least if you need to do it fast). Also, you'll have to dose multiple times a day because the metabolites don't accumulate. SWIM had to dose every second hour when going from 10 to 2 mg. However going from 150 to 10 was pretty easy in six months.

    If you want to do it fast, take a small dose DXM along with the done. SWIM used about 5 mg dxm powder along with liquid done(if you have tablets it's easy to make). SWIM used orange juice to mask the taste.

    EDIT: The key to doing a taper is to do it by percentage of dose rather than milligrams. Cutting down 5 mgs from 150 to 145 is nothing but if you cut 5 mgs down from 10 mgs, you'll pay for it. Try to split the doses up as much as you can to get the blood levels stable. It's a little annoying to wake up in the night to dose but anything is worth getting off this crap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  16. xdogjs

    xdogjs Newbie

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    AFOAF was on methadone for 7 years due to an automobile accident and subsequent back surgery. Since he was in recovery for alcohol he was against taking any mind altering opioids for fear of relapse. His misinformed doctor told him methadone was perfectly safe, he would not get high off of it and he would not experience cravings. Nor did he mention the addiction factor.

    After 7 years of unpleasant side effects; weight gain, sweating, insomnia, constipation, etc. he decided to kick.

    He tried the slow taper and just could not stand the near constant withdrawals. He tried cold turkey and it was too much for him so he opted for a naltrexone rapid detox. This, regardless of what the websites say, is NOT a magic bullet and there is quite a bit of recovery time involved. 2-3 weeks, sometimes a month or more.

    There are posts about others whom have had a relatively easy time kicking methadone. Everyone is different and these posts are few. So my answer would be NO. There is no easy way to taper off methadone. Further, there is no easy way to kick methadone.

    From observing AFOAF I believe methadone to be the hardest substance to detox from mainly because of its long half life and saturation levels in the body.

    I realize methadone has gotten a lot of heroin addicts off the streets and I am not saying don't use methadone. I am merely saying examine and research all your options before even trying to take on this monster.
     
  17. Killa Weigha

    Killa Weigha

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    ^^Exactly what the fuck SWIM talking about. The posts where "oh, that shit was easy" and "tapering is the best way"? ONLY if one has access to an arsenal of drugs for methadone side effects, drugs for the drugs for methadone side effects' side effects, drugs for depression, drugs for upset stomach, ad nauseum. Why anyone thinks it's better to start feeling increasingly shitty (during taper) for however long it takes then transition to absolute and complete shittines (after all the methadone has metabolized and the brain begins it's twisted mindfuck of a detox process) is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY beyond swim's comprehension. SWIM stands behind his signature (below) 100%. Unless, of course, one has unlimited pharmaceutical access.
     
  18. kailey_elise

    kailey_elise Gold Member

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    The point is, lots of people DON'T feel "increasingly shitty" during a methadone taper, and some people have put all their recovery processes & support systems in place so that when they ARE finally off of methadone, they DON't feel a "twisted mindfuck" at all.

    Everyone's different. Some people come off of methadone easily, some people don't. People come off of methadone for different reasons as well, which affects their mindset and how they feel during the process and afterwards.

    There ARE people, plenty of people, who have pretty much painless detoxes off of opioid maintenance drugs. Asking currently active opioid addicts if they had a good experience coming off of methadone or buprenorphine will probably garner you a "Hell no!" answer, whereas asking the same question of someone who is in a stable place in life, who also feels at ease with themselves and comfortable in their own skin will get you very different results. ;)

    ~Kailey
     
  19. Killa Weigha

    Killa Weigha

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    With absolutely no pharmaceutical help? Cold Turkey? Really?.... REALLY?
    Not sayin it ain't true but SWIM's known lot's of addicts who've tried (some even succeeded incl. SWIM). The word "easy" never came up in conversation about the ordeal. Do tell.
     
  20. missparkles

    missparkles Platinum Member & Advisor

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    This word "cold turkey" gets used so much, when really once anyone stops using their DOC, even if they do a taper, its still cold turkey. I believe cold turkey to mean using your DOC one day, and then just quitting the next day with nothing to aid you, that's cold turkey. As far as tapering off methadone and feeling ok, I did it. I reduced gradually from 150 mls and made the jump to Subutex when I'd reached 30 mls of methadone. Then over a few weeks reduced the Subutex. I have to say there was so little pain that I hardly noticed I'd quit. Just a few hot and cold flashes, the odd sleepless night, but nothing I can really remember now. But it was 6 years ago.

    Kailey Elise makes an excellent point, if you use the time you're reducing on methadone to get the thing and support in place for when you actually stop the methadone, it will make all of the difference. If you're in control and proactive in your own detox it can make all the difference, cos you're sending yourself that positive message, that you can do this. And that's what its about. I have to say if you're really not ready, or don't really want to quit, no amount of planning is gonna make it easier. Cos you're gonna feel deprived, and your mind will take you to places you just don't wanna go.

    Get what I mean love?

    This post explains exactly how she did it...

    https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=693484&postcount=4

    Sparkles.:vibes: