Dilaudid / Fentanyl Long-term Withdrawal Symptoms

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Martin Says:


About three years ago during treatment for rectal cancer, I was given Dilaudid and Fentanyl as part of a pain management program. During a 10-day hospital stay, Dilaudid was injected sub-q every half-hour by means of a pump, and Fentanyl was injected by nurses when necessary (4-5 times a day).

After discharge from the hospital, I kept the Dilaudid pump but, fortunately, Fentanyl was no longer required. I stayed on the pump until surgery 6 weeks later. Dilaudid was administered for another 10 days after surgery, but since the cause of the initial pain (a large tumour) had been removed, I no longer needed the medication. Withdrawal was limited to a couple of days of shivering (this was during a heat wave).

My question is this: how long after taking medications as powerful as these does one feel long-term effects? I ask because I still have unbelievably droopy days, days in which I have so little energy it is frustrating. My family doctor has had me tested for everything she can think of, starting with anemia and continuing through vitamin deficiencies to endocrine imbalances. I even spent a night at a sleep clinic, but I don't appear to have a problem there. I am not depressed, in that I have a wonderful life and the most frustrating aspect about this lack of energy is that it gets in the way of my enjoying myself.

Is it possible that the Dilaudid and Fentanyl are somehow responsible. I realize I'm grasping at straws, but I'm running out of possible causes.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Hyperpipe Says:

I had been on fentanyl pain patch for 8 years, years ago was on as high a dose as 125 mcg but the last number of years maintained on 50 mcg. I weaned myself off it very slowly over a number of months without any side effects until i went from 12 mcg to nothing and within 48 hours became, irritable, jumpy not able to sleep at all , runny nose and eyes. Now 3 months since i removed my last patch I am still having some symptoms of withdrawl. My doctor said it is not unheard of that it can last for months. My biggest probllem is the inability to sleep, I'm working with my Doctor to try and manage this symptom but it's just going to take time. I am glad I'm off of it and am able to manage the chronic pain without the patches.

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MG Says:

After three years, I would not think the two pain killers would still be in your system. Have you been tested to see if your immune system is in balance? It can be the first indicator there is something wrong. If the immune system is not in balance, it might be time to be tested to ensure there is no possible return of cancer.

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Verwon Says:

Hello, Martin! How are you?

I have to agree that after this long of a time period, the medications should no longer be playing a role. (The FDA classifies these medications as narcotics that carry the risk of being habit forming and they may cause side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation.)

However, even though you have a happy life, you may still be suffering some depression and anxiety. Everyone does, once in awhile. It's perfectly normal and doesn't mean your life is bad, at all, it just means that some days you feel a bit down and rundown.

Have you tried consulting a psychologist?

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MG Says:

Hello, glad to hear they got the source of pain, the cancer. I sincerely doubt you are going through withdrawal. A more reasonable concept to me is that your body has gone through incredible shock. First, the cancer eating away at you, then the surgeries.....No wonder you are tired some days.
Your body is rebuilding itself. I would urge you to listen to it, and on those droopy day, rest.
Pain med withdrawal is over. Let your body rebuild. Eat high energy foods, you might even see a dietician....Good luck to you.

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Ava1927 Says:
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I've been on fentanyl 100mcg. 3 patches every 72hrs. And dilaudid 8mg and phenergan 25mg. As needed, flexeril muscle relaxers. 10mg; for 4 years with my last dr. And I've been on my med for 15 years now altogether by another dr. That prescribed them to me. I lost my dr. Bc I was told I was late to appointment on occasion. His letter does not state a reason of any kind or anything. Mainly I was late no more than 15 minutes but he is an ass bc I drive 3hrs away to get to him. Anyways, I've been without a dr now bc the dr that saw me isn't comfortable writing or treating my medical condition chronic pancreatitis. And no I'm not a drinker that caused this, a surgeon did this to me that caused my chronic pancreatitis. I'm beyond upset, it doesn't matter what medical conditions that you must require for around the clock pain meds like me. The er dr's don't help, they give you a disappointed look, tell you its just withdrawals. Ive even been told they will not prescribe narcotics for any reason and the pain is in my head, that pain meds make u hurt more. Its a damn disgrace and they treat u as an addict. This stereotype needs to end and the damn dea needs to use common sense that if you got a medical condition that requires you to be on narcotics around the clock then they need to back-off dr's and let these dr's treat the ones that need it. I have been given narcotics to show I did try and it helped with withdrawal symptoms but it did nothing for pancreatitis pain at all. I'm so tired of the way I'm treated with no respect, no dignity either by these drs. I live in upstate, sc. If anyone can point me in the direction to get in with pain management dr that treats my medical condition then please let me know. {edited for privacy}. I have alway passed my drug panels. I actually take my meds as directed and definitely don't abuse my meds. I'm able to function normal bc it makes the pain go and is manageable. However, now I need your help to get me in somewhere that can truly help me so I can have my meds back bc my doctor abandoned me. I'm willing to drive anywhere in sc, ga, nc. Your recommendation is highly needed bc I can't take this pain anymore. Please help me!

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