Fentanyl Can I Just Go Cold Turkey When Quitting

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Bridget Says:


My doctor has had me on the 100 fentanyl patch for 1 year now. He is going to take me off it. Can you just stop taking it with out side effects or withdrawals. Please tell me the proper way to get off this patch. Please help me, I have the doctor appointment tomorrow and want to know what to say. So far it sounds like his plan is just to take me off cold turkey. I am scared of withdrawals. I am a mom of 5 kids and need to be ok. Please help.



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Katherine Says:

No, it is not safe to go cold turkey. I have had a doctor tell me that no one has ever died from withdrawal. Fentanyl withdrawal can slow or even stop your breathing. I have been on a 350 mcg dose of fentanyl patcheds every 48 hours for 10+ years. I was in a serious car accident w/ligament & tendon injury, then they thought chronic pain/arthritis/fibromyalgia. I was told by 2 pain management Dr.'s that some of my pain could be exasperated by the pain meds (I'm also on oxycodone for break through pain) along with valium.,muscle relaxers, trazadone to make me sleep, and a few other meds. to help me cope with all of this. I was told I needed to get off the fentanyl to see if my pain got better. I was told there were 3 options-go into a hospital for detox-then 30 days inpatient which was 2 1/2 hours away from my home, taper down over several months or try a medication named suboxen. My 1st choice was suboxen which sounded the most convenient choice. My primary care doctor had just been trained for this and was one of only a handful of dr's in our state that does it. I tried the suboxen which i was told was supposed to take away the worse of the withdrawals and only leave you with flu like symptoms-but you have to be in withdrawals to start it. It might be a blessing for some people but it definitely was not for me. It was the worst night of my life!! It had no effect at all on me. My poor husband! He had no warning! I awoke him screaming in agony, my body was contorted into positions you would see in the exorcist. During some of the night I knew what is going on but for other parts I was not very lucid and I did not make sense to myself or others. I was bruised from head to toe the next day from convulsing on the floor of the er and the back seat of our car. My dr started me on the routine dose, then she tried having me take several days worth of doses all at once and when that didn't help she sent me to the hospital. They didn't have a bed in the local hospital so they gave me injections of fentanyl and put new patches on me, gave me something for anxiety and sent me home. So I started all over-My dr wanted me to taper my whole does in 2 weeks even when the pain management specialists I had consults with said it needed to take months. I stood my ground and and told my primary dr that if I was going to succeed then I would have to do it over a longer period of time. I was able to taper 100mcg in the 1st week (keep in mind I had enough Fentanyl on board and still feeling lousy from my suboxin incident that I did not rreally notice withdrawals) The rest of it I did in 50 mcg increments that left me feeling like I was coming down with something but not sick until I got to 50. 5 days ago I dropped down another 25mcg leaving 25 left to go and I have been having withdrawal symptons. The dr,'s warned me this would occur from 50mcg on down. I just didn't expect it to take so long. I thought 3-5 days would do it. Yesterday was a better day but today has sent me right back down hill. For me it is the body pain (if I lightly touch my femurs it makes me vomit) I hope this gets betters soon and is a major factor in why the pain has not gotten better. My mother-in-law has ran a retirement home for over 30 year and she just put this into perspective for me-she has end stage cancer patients that were on 50mcg! Puts things in perspective!
Please Bridget do not attept to do this cold turkey!! Do not be afraid to take a lead role in your patient care and do not just accept what your doctor is telling you to do. Do what is right for you and if that doesn't work don't be afraid to try something else until it feels and works right for you. This will be your success!

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Verwon Says:

That is correct, Fentanyl is over 80 times stronger than Morphine, so after taking it for so long, a sudden cessation could result in withdrawal effects, some of which can be dangerous.

The dose should gradually be lowered and medical support given, to minimize the withdrawal effects and dangers.


https:/­/­www.medschat.com/­wiki/­Fentanyl/­

Are there any other questions or comments?

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Cindy Says:

Age 52 yrs. I lost my job which means I lost my insurance. I started out at 25mcg and moved up a few months later to 50 mcg then up to 75 mcg for at least 6 months. With insurance the patches cost me 85 dollars a month. I can't imagine how much without insurance. I have no choice but to go cold turkey. The withdrawals started yesterday. Last night was horrible. I think I may have gotten an hour of sleep during the whole night. It's like I am having muscle spasms...like restless leg syndrome only all over my body. No way could I stay still. I couldn't lie still because my whole body was going nuts. My restless leg syndrome was on overdrive! I take 1mg Requip for the restless leg. I take mg of mobic and mg Zanalfex for the muscle spasms. I also take Percocet 5 times a day. When the meds I have now run out I will have to do withdrawals with them also. I will worry about that when that time comes. But for now what can I do to ease the withdrawals? I cannot do the tapering down or go to rehab....I have no money or job. I am actually going straight from 75 mcg to nothing. Any suggestions on how to ease the twisting and contorting and spasms AND the RLS on overdrive? Today I plan on trying to be extremely active even though I am exhausted.

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PAM Says:

DO NOT STOP TAKING THE PATCH WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR DR.i DID AND I COULD NOT FIRGURE OUT WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME,I WANTED TO DIE,I WAS SO SICK.I WENT TO MY FAMILY DR. AND SHE SAID I WAS HAVING HERION WITHDRAWS,I TOTALLY FREAKED OUT,i THEN HAD TO BE PUT ON A LOWER DOSAGE FOR A MONTH THEN I WAS FINE.

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Cindy Says:

I cannot do a gradual come down. I HAVE to go cold turkey. I have no choice. I did call my doctor and she told me to take two .5 zanex four times a day and four of my requip at night. I guess I can say it seemed to help some. I wasn't all night long twisted up in a pretzel and I do think I finally got some sleep. I'm hoping tonight will be the night everything will be better. I have tremors, my whole body feels like I have been hit by a train, and have very strong depression now. That could be due to alot of things (depression). I just lost my job, insurance, my 79 year old mother lives with me and I haven't been able to tend to her as I should be. The house is a pig sty and just reeks of sickness and despair. yuck. I have taken my last percocet so we shall see how things go with that. But, tomorrow will be better, right?

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Lamb Says:
via mobile

Get another doctor immediately, you can taper down the dose over time as I have been doing now for 6 months. Today is my fourth day without a patch and I've tried cold turkey it's a torture u don't deserve, I'm struggling a bit but it's manageable I have sertraline for the depression and take 10mg diazepam at night to get a little rest, the stronger you are coming down from the longer the symptoms will last, my doc refused to let me go cold turkey and referred me to an addiction professional. Stuff the housework mine looks like a tornado has gone through having four kids and being a solo mum didn't help but I did let two close friends know what was happening u will need support and reassurance and I promise u will get through it xo fentanyl is the nastiest drug I've ever come across and docs that prescribe it without giving you ALL the downsides such as it's really addictive and u need more and more as your body gets used to it should be shot. It has nearly ruined my life and I mean that. All the posts from others suffering at the hand of this drug has been my only lifeline.

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Lamb Says:
via mobile

I completely agree, don't try cold turkey if you have a little fentanyl left put it on for an hour or so then take it off for 2 and stick it back onto it's plastic cover and wrap in foil, try making the time it's off you longer
each time i don't know if it will work
but it sure beats cold turkey I was fortunate enough to have a supply of it so I just put some of the patch over a band aid until a third was left then took it off, still have withdrawals but not as bad, keep hydrated warm Milo is good for a bit of energy and I've been having spiralina capsules to at least get some nourishment most of my food was just coming up so this wS a better choice. Xo good luck and just think soon it will be over and u like me might feel the need to try and help those who are still going through the worst of it. Trust me it gets better :)

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Cindy Says:

Totally appreciate the comments and all. I called about another doctor but they have no openings until next week. I have no money to buy more patches to do a gradual. I called about detox centers. One place you had to have 5100 dollars just to walk in without insurance!!! I do want everyone to know....last night I laid down at 7pm thinking for just an hour. It is 7am the next morning!!!!! I slept! Maybe it's over or at least the worst is over? Aint life grand!!!! Only problem is I missed my favorite show....Big Brother. Happy for the internet!!!!!

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9
skippy Says:

been on for 6 years now 100mcg patch every 48 hours -- usually overlapping patches on 3rd day n remover following am ... does anyone else overlap or keep more than 1 on overlapping time ? it seems to be much smoother like this n i have always done this for years n years --- I also have 15mg b/t meds oc ... ps - congrats on coming off of the fent !!!!!!! -- i am so nervous -

i know i should be off already n deal with my pain more on my own !!!!! but now my insurance disappeared - my x wife took me off the family coverage -- now i cant imagine how i can pay --- so i know i will be forced to get off which may b a blessing in disguise --- but from the stories I'm sooooo scared ! thx 4 all the support n advice ! peace

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Lamb Says:

It's hard but I promise you it's worth it, I'm day four now with no patch and my thoughts are becoming clearer I think I've been in a daze for so so long and not realized. You say you still have some left? This is what I did last week I got a new patch I put half of it on my skin the other I left on it's plastic and taped it all down, after 48 hrs I removed the plastic and stuck it all down this way your not wasting any if you have limited amt left. Do the same with the next one this time Try make the next one last the three days they are meant to keep your body as cool as possible as the hotter u are the more you will get, with the third one fold some over on itself more and more as you can until eventually you will look at what's left and know you just want it off you, I have chronic pain but as most will know the effectiveness wears off as u become more used to the drug. Acupuncture works not to bad, I've heard hypnotherapy is fantastic if you can find a good one who specializes in pain management, good luck my friend I know you can do this and when you do the new found respect that you have for yourself will make it worthwhile, forget the ex try think positive if you have like I did panic attacks just remember they don't last forever, keep hydrated drink plenty even if it's little often. Keep in touch day or night if you need some support I'm a kiwi well a new zealander but we all share this dilemma from what I've read in the exact same way. Be strong but cry , scream , curse the world as I do at times haha it's natural to be scared I sure as hell was it will be worth it I promise you.

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Lamb Says:

It's hard but I promise you it's worth it, I'm day four now with no patch and my thoughts are becoming clearer I think I've been in a daze for so so long and not realized. You say you still have some left? This is what I did last week I got a new patch I put half of it on my skin the other I left on it's plastic and taped it all down, after 48 hrs I removed the plastic and stuck it all down this way your not wasting any if you have limited amt left. Do the same with the next one this time Try make the next one last the three days they are meant to keep your body as cool as possible as the hotter u are the more you will get, with the third one fold some over on itself more and more as you can until eventually you will look at what's left and know you just want it off you, I have chronic pain but as most will know the effectiveness wears off as u become more used to the drug. Acupuncture works not to bad, I've heard hypnotherapy is fantastic if you can find a good one who specializes in pain management, good luck my friend I know you can do this and when you do the new found respect that you have for yourself will make it worthwhile, forget the ex try think positive if you have like I did panic attacks just remember they don't last forever, keep hydrated drink plenty even if it's little often. Keep in touch day or night if you need some support I'm a kiwi well a new zealander but we all share this dilemma from what I've read in the exact same way. Be strong but cry , scream , curse the world as I do at times haha it's natural to be scared I sure as hell was it will be worth it I promise you. Same advice I gave Bridget hope it helps

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Cindy Says:

Last time I wrote (yesterday?) I thought maybe the worse is over. I ended up sleeping pretty much of the day away so had a rough night! Lamb you mentioned the panic attacks and not being in your right mind. I have the panic attacks too. Being NOT in my right mind I had to take myself off of FaceBook and no texting. I have hurt some very precious people.
Skippy I pray you have patches left over. I had none. It is not a pretty sight and with you going through personal issues too.....get help where ever you can!!!! It's gonna be a rough ride!
Lamb you are so precious I wonder if you know that?

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Katherine Says:

I wrote on this page previously of my experiences with fentayln for 10+ years and now I'm proud to say I am completely off it and have started to ween off the oxycodone also. Life does get better, I promise you! Things are clearer and I have more energy. I have to say that I am very concerned with the previous comments about cutting patches in half. I know that it is very difficult if you have lost insurance and can't get more but by cutting the patches in half you are either going to get a full dose or none at all. You will not get 1/2 one day and 1/2 the next. The patches are not designed this way. Even though it may appear to have meds on both half that is only the time release substance you are seeing. This can be as painful and dangerous as going cold turkey. Try to spread out the amount of days you are wearing it. If you use it every 48hrs go to 36hrs. It is going to be very tough but you can get through this and if worse comes to worse and you can't stand it any more try going to the E.R. and explain to them you are not a junkie looking for a fix (yes, even though are dr.s put us on this for medical reasons, they will view you this way.-great stigmatism huh) Have them contact the doctor who prescribed the meds directly. They can sometimes direct admit you to detox right in the same hospital. Even if you have lost your insurance they usually have to admit you if there is a bed available. The hospital bill and E.R. bill can be paid $5 a month as long as you explain you situation to billing and most hospital have grant type money donated from private donors that in low income situations you may be eligible for. Even if it takes forever to pay the bill at least they have the meds (usually meds such as tranquilizers and meds to help with pain but are not narcotic) and knowledge to ease you off the fentanyl. I know for me just getting my story out there and knowing I was not alone helped me cope with my situation better. Good luck, your heading in the right direction even if it may not feel that way right now. In a few months you will be giving hope to someone else going through the same thing and feeling all alone.

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Bridget Says:

I am proud to say I am off the nasty fentanyl patch. I feel so much better now. I can think better, my mind isn't so fogged up! And I sleep a lot better as well. I look back now and I hate that patch. It is the worse thing I have ever taken. I have a lot of patches left. Does anyone know what I do with them? Throw them away? Give them back to my pharmacy? Any suggestions??

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Bridget Says:

Thank you so much! I do appreciate all your advice.

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Lamb Says:

Take back to pharmacy mate and feel the satisfaction as you turn and walk out the door free from it. Cheers and well done you!

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skippy Says:

wow -- i will be back --- lamb ,, thx 4 the support ! u are amazing n congrats -- thx so much for the advice --- after all this time i feel i just wear the patch cause i "have to" n yes the pain is bad but needing the patch just sux especially when as said regardless of how strong it is it only works for a certain amount of time then it just levels off n like u said mentally n physical challenges --- i take klonopin as well so the panic attacks will concern me ? hmm -- thx for the support -- maybe we can do this together --much respect peace

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Lamb Says:

Yea the panic attacks are not pleasant to say the least but... I just keep thinking this is one more panic attack that I don't have to go through again, keep focussed and remember a panic attack can last 5-20 mins so ride them out. I'm happy to be your support person, the panic attacks that were happening several times a day have dwindled to maybe one a day, still early days for me 12 days with no patch and my mind is starting to come back, I actually think I've been living in a cloudy room all this time without realizing. Fentanyl was the first thing I'd think of in the morning and the last thing I thought of at night, I'm a single mum of four and my kids are finally getting their old mum back. I realized I was 'dependent ' on fentanyl the night one came off and I was beside myself, I realized I was 'addicted' when sometimes I'd put an extra patch on just to feel normal for 3 days. My days completely revolved around the patch and I felt no end of guilt when I felt I was letting my children down by being so weak! I heard something today on radio that was so true when you tell people that care about you that your ok when your not your just lying to yourself. My doc wants to put me on clomadine patch? As soon as she said patch I said no way! I don't trust my doc anymore y would you tell someone who's struggling getting over an addictive drug to start 'using' another? Excuse my language but f'k that. I feel completely let down by my doctor when I admitted to them 12 days ago that I had a problem and it was making me depressed so I want off it they wrote me out a script for 16 more of them?! Hang in there. How much fentanyl are you still taking? Thanks for the offer of support we need as much of that as we can get to remain strong.

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dexlvr Says:

You poor thing. We are going through basically the same thing. My Husband lost his job and his Insurance ended on 7/31/2012. I can pick up Ins. where I work but more than likely it won't be in effect until 9/1 or even 10/1. Most of my meds are filled as well except I'll be withdrawing off Ambien and 100mcg of Fentanyl until my Ins. takes effect. I am VERY worried about this as well and I have a job where withdrawing would GREATLY interfere with it and with my Husband not working right now I cant afford to take off in order to go into the Hospital to detox. The only thing I can tell you is I'm sorry, It SUCKS big time!! and go on line and such Ins. for pre existing conditions and see what type of ins. is available to you by state or federal the only thing about that is it's expensive as Hell!! I guess I'm gonna call my Pain Dr. tomorrow to see what they suggest. I wish you very much luck. :)

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Angel Says:

I have been on Fentanyl patches for over 10yrs. and I was told that quitting them cold turkey could cause a stroke...I am on about 9 meds, the rest are mostly antihistamines, an anti depressant, Xanax-cuz I can't understand myself without it, due to chronic ptsd/anxiety, and Bentyl for my IBS...I go through so much crap with these patches that I want off of them...My Dr. and Pharmacy have accidentally left me empty handed through a holiday weekend that put me in the hospital several times...sitting in an waiting room in a wheel chair and vomiting violently, passing out in the restroom and the inability to keep still made me think I was going to die and I was so dehydrated it was killing me...the ER waiting room attendees acted like I mattered not and wished I'd go away...the bathroom I passed out in is across from the registrar and I had the string in my hands...my roommate saw the red light go off and watched as no one came to my aid...this has happened too many times and they say there is nothing they can give me for breakthrough pain and I am tired of being dropped to the floor and vomiting just vacuuming the floor...anyone ever gone through getting off this stuff in a less brutal manner then at home, alone or in a room to go crazy and want to die?

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