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Methadone maintence taper
I have been on methadone for over 7 year. I have been completely clean from all alcohol and drugs for the last 6. At my highest dose I was at 120 mg. I have been tapering slowly for the last couple of years with several long pauses during the taper. I am at 4mg now and have been dropping down 1mg every two weeks. I am having terrible insomnia and its making it very difficult to function during the day. Its making the whole process miserable. Anyways, should I continue going down 1mg every two weeks or am I just prolonging my misery? Should i just get it over with and go down 1 mg every week (i only go once a week). I could really just use some support and encouragement because this really sucks. I am trying to keep my eye on the prize (being methadone free) but it can be difficult at times when I am feeling bad.
Thanks in advance!
Last edited by ddcmod; 02-17-2011 at 01:16 PM.
You've been on methadone for quite a long time so you're going to feel icky no matter what when coming off it, however I would suggest sticking with your current taper plan. You may feel kinda down now, but it's not nearly as bad as what you would feel like if you just jumped. every mg you go down allows your body to get used to having less and less in your system and will make the final jump at the end a lot more bearable. Congrats on making the choice to come off, and coming down from 120 to where you are now is a feat on it's own! You want to do this right though, if you're not feeling stable after 2 weeks maybe add another week to each mg drop, or even 2 if you have to. Don't make a race of it, if you jump and have to restabalize you'll end up at a higher dose again. Keep me updated on your detox I'd really like to hear how it goes!
Last edited by ddcmod; 02-17-2011 at 01:17 PM.
I see that you really want to be off of the Methadone seeing the amount that you are at. Really you are a lot lower than you realise. Methadone withdrawal is going to be hard no matter how you look at it, but in time you will get better. When I jumped off Methadone I was at roughly 60mg and that was a motherf#*Cker if you know what I mean. Methadone was my toughest kick to date and was an all out war. It litterally took about 25 days to fall asleep. Most people do not realise how long the body can stay awake. My whole mind and body were exhausted to a point I never knew possible. People that have never experienced Methadone withdrawal are always suspect when you tell them how long you stay awake when the withdrawals come. I went thru the withdrawals without any other medications for sleep or anxiety. However on day 25 I decided to smoke some weed and almost instantly all of the tension in my body gave way and my mind and body broke down and slept for 10 plus hours. Without the weed I don't think day 25 would have been my day to fall asleep, however it relaxed me enough and a piece of normality revealed itself. Pray man, there really is a God out there friend and without the belief in God. Chances are you won't make it. Maybe check out NA or AA meetings too man. For me to keep my mind off of everything I literally have to keep myself as busy as possible. Set new goals, go back to school (no matter what age you are) find a new girlfriend (Methadone killed my sex drive to an almost non existent place), exercise, find new people to hang out with. Sitting back and just thinking about how bad it is is probably the worst thing that you can do for yourself. You can make it man, I have been struggling with adiction for 17 years now and I am only 30. I finally have freed myself from the grips of death and happy to say that I have never fealt better about myself. If I can do it you can do it.
No matter what dose a client is on, and even at a reduced dose like the 4mgs. you're at now (compared to the 120), it's still advisable to reduce by no more than 1/10th your total dose. So 4 x 1/10th = 4/10ths, or almost a 1/2 mg. Try that out and see how you do.
As an aside, I hope you're taking those final steps because you really want to, and not because you're being pressured to be "drug-free" as though it's some kind of morally superior place in life all persons must strive for. That's patent BS - and here's why.....
That kind of thinking is the very source of so much of the self-loathing that always comes from efforts to socially marginalize people. It will itself promote the ongoing use of substances when the initial use by someone may otherwise have been merely temporary use during a period where self-medication helped endure a particularly distressing, emotional period in their life.
There certainly are some negative physiological effects from opiate/opioid use, but in contrast to how it's perceived in the popular media sources of today - and certainly of decades past - is far milder than popular sources would have it. And when contrasted with those of alcohol, benzos, barbiturates, and most other CNS depressants, they are slight indeed.
Given that, if a steady supply is actually easy for a modern post-industrial society to ensure.....and if unwanted physical effects of continual use are so small.... then isn't that single (addictive) quality almost a philosophical complaint in comparison to so many other threats to our health that we now face daily?
You are every bit as entitled to use technologies that are, though unnecessary, an improvement to one's quality of life as anybody else using non-addictive (and frequently addictive!) practices just as long as it's use doesn't impose an unwanted restriction on other people. Based on that simple principle, it's clear that the imposition of that one social sector's personal need for tradition actually constitutes a far greater violation of social liberty than anything you may be doing by continuing for awhile longer.
MMT is legal. Methadone has few negative physiological effects associated with long-term use (especially 4 mgs!). So there's really no compelling reason other than one's own personal comfort saying you must quit MMT completely AT THIS PARTICULAR TIME.
You may well find it much easier at some future date to dismiss the psychological symptoms which are, after all, the major source of even the physical symptoms you are now finding so difficult. And enduring them when not ready risks sabotaging the very desire you now have for reducing opioid use at all. So be very certain you are doing it for yourself only.
Sweet, I was on methadone for over 30 years if you can believe that. I saw many people come and go on the program. It is a very hard drug to come off of. I switched to sub so never really did myself. If you are determined to get off, you have to do it as slowly as you possibly can. It's not like short acting pills. The withdrawal lasts awhile. I would go down 1 mg. a month which will give you time to adjust to each new dose. You will still suffer some w/d unfortunately. Exercise, get busy and look at the Thomas Recipe for things to make you feel a little better. Use benzos sparingly to get some sleep.
I am getting of methadone because I want to. I am not being pressured by any outside source to be "drug free" or because of some social stigma that is associated with methadone.. I consider myself to be drug-free even on methadone. I am proud of my 6 years clean and I don't feel that is any less of an accomplishment because I am on methadone.
Right now, I am at a place in my life where I am ready to get off methadone. Also, I have goals in the near future that would be restricted because of that fact that I am on methadone. For example, I would love to do an international volunteer program. That would be a little difficult if I am on methadone.
Mycos recommended to drop my dose in smaller increments than 1mg. Unfortunately, the clinic I am at can not drop doses in half milligram increments. So if I want to drop my dose by anything smaller than a milligram, I am going to need to remove it from my bottles.
I agree that there is a psychological component to coming off methadone. At the same token, there are definite real physical symptoms. My main complaint is constant fatigue. It makes it very difficult to get through the day. (If anyone knows how to combat constant fatigue let me know.) I am so close to being off methadone and I am determined to complete this taper. Only 3 more milligrams before I am off!
Last edited by sweetnsour11; 03-03-2011 at 02:39 PM.
Trying to taper
had major fusions in my back so got on methadone a few years ago but have tapered down from 40mls. to 71/2 as of today. My Dr. Retired and I think this is a good time to get off altogether. Do you think it would be to hard to cut down 2mils every two weeks. I have enough medicine for 2 months. Anyone out there can answer. thanks
Willy, I really think 2 mg. every two weeks is too fast after a few years on methadone. It is not like other opiates. The slower the better. If you only have a limited amount, I would work it out making the smallest drops possible. I know a lot about meth and the main thing I know is that it is quite difficult to get off of. Don't get me wrong, it can and has been done but in order to be successful, it can't and should not be rushed.
Sweet, I agree with you about being clean even while on maintenance meds. I felt the same way and while there is a psychological component to getting off any drug, with methadone it is certainly a physically difficult thing to do. There is nothing wrong with being on a program, but when we want off, we want off. I am on subutex right now, working hard at getting off that. My only advice is do not rush it. Do not suffer any more than you have to.Even though they only bring you down in 1 mg. increments, you can break the doses up so you have 1/2 mgs. in the end. In my opinion, that's your best bet. Make it as easy as you possibly can.
thanks for the quick response. I am on the pill form but I can get close. Anyway you are saying instead of cutting back 2ml next weel only cut back 1. thanks again
so what your saying is if im on 71/2 mils per day I should only go down no more than 1/10 of that. like I said my Dr. is retiring and I really done what to start with someone else unless I adsolutely have too. I have about a month and a half of medicine left so I would like to get off within two months. Do you think it can be done? thanks
Originally Posted by Mycos123
so what your saying is if im on 71/2 mils per day I should only go down no more than 1/10 of that. like I said my Dr. is retiring and I really done what to start with someone else unless I adsolutely have too. I have about a month and a half of medicine left so I would like to get off within two months. Do you think it can be done? If I cut this down to 1/10 of my dose how long should I go before cutting it down again. thanks again
Originally Posted by Mycos123
so what your saying is if im on 71/2 mils per day I should only go down no more than 1/10 of that. like I said my Dr. is retiring and I really dont what to start with someone else unless I adsolutely have too. I have about a month and a half of medicine left so I would like to get off within two months. Do you think it can be done? If I cut this down to 1/10 of my dose how long should I go before cutting it down again. thanks again
Originally Posted by Mycos123
mycos 123, thats a crock.
coming off methadone is not only psycological, HAVE YOU DONE IT YET.
very easy to come on here spouting your techical babble, but it is a physical addiction totally, i know coz i tapered right down to 1mg at the clinic,
(yeh was using on the side, coz 1mg just didnt cut it any more) then went ct, by my own choice, i moved to another country.
it did take a blimmin month to actually get some sleep, you tellin me thats in my head. i dont think so.
sweetnsour, good on ya. methadone in my opinion robs our souls, i know this from my own experience, i dont care how legal it is, it does something to us, we dont feel our normal emotions, the ups and downs that is normal life.
good on you for wanting off, in your own time, (maybe you can reduce yourself slowly, clinic dont have ta know everything ) that way if you feel you dropped a bit quick, you can boost it yourself, i know goin down was always easy, but askin to go up again posed problems..
i guess, it would be like me gettin off subs this last time round, get something to help you sleep, that seems to be the worst thing. and yeh, something for energy, i guess tho, time is wot sorts it out the best, and we cant speed that up...
all the best, it truly is better on the other side. im now coming up 3 months clean, and im pretty stoked about it.....
thanks cheeky going down 21/2 on monday the 8th.
breaking it down
I lost my Dr. as I said and I have enough Meds. for 84 days if I do just what Im doing now which is 71/2 mils per day. I want to taper off till I run out, so I will do some more figureing. I think this will be the best way.
Last edited by willy boy; 03-05-2011 at 09:24 AM.
I'm not an expert on tapering off methadone as I switched to subutex rather than doing it. But I promise you, in my many many years on methadone I've seen people taper and fail but I've also seen those who tapered successfully. The ones who failed went to fast. The trick is to do it as slowly as possible, especially when you're down to the lowest doses. Stay on the dose you're at until you feel relatively comfortable than go down no more than 1 mg. It might take a month at each dose and it might be helpful to go down 1/2 mg. at the end. It isn't the easiest drug to get off of but I've seen it done many times. You can do it and I wish you all the best.
[QUOTE=newyorkgal;312767]I'm not an expert on tapering off methadone as I switched to subutex rather than doing it. But I promise you, in my many many years on methadone I've seen people taper and fail but I've also seen those who tapered successfully. The ones who failed went to fast. The trick is to do it as slowly as possible, especially when you're down to the lowest doses. Stay on the dose you're at until you feel relatively comfortable than go down no more than 1 mg. It might take a month at each dose and it might be helpful to go down 1/2 mg. at the end. It isn't the easiest drug to get off of but I've seen it done many times. You can do it and I wish you all the best.[/QUOTE
Thanks Newyorkgal reading your post has really helped me so far, going down a little more on Monday. thanks again...........................Bill
I made it down to 1/4 of 1 mg of methadone!!!!
So I finally made it down to a a quarter of 1mg of methadone (0.25mg). In all honesty, this detox has not been as bad as I originally thought it would be. There have been a few trying moments along the way where I didn't feel that great. Nothing I couldn't handle though especially when I kept in mind that this is the last time I EVER have to go through this. I am proud to say I haven't used any other drugs (i.e. no xanax or pot) along the way to help with the detox. I have just taken it very slowly (literally years in the making).
Thanks to everyone who gave me advice and support several months ago; it gave me the motivation I needed to not give up. Also, the advice about dropping my dose by less than 1 mg increments (via removing methadone from my bottles) made it a lot easier. Plus, I felt like I was moving forward by continually going down on my dose instead of dropping one milligram every two weeks.
So now that I am only taking a quarter of a milligram, am I low enough just to stop? Should I continue to lower it even further? I think I have about three 1 mg bottles left (I am done with the methadone clinic). BTW, I have virtually no symptoms of withdrawal right now other than the occasional series of sneezes.
Thanks so much
i believe your low enough now to where you should be able to quit all together. Ive come off methadone twice in my lifetime and the first time i did a taper and the second time i did it cold turkey. And i almost think cold turkey was easier for me then the taper. The w/d were not as prolonged as they were the first time. They also werent as bad for some reason. When i got to about 20mg the first time i just remember feeling awful and for the next 2 months like that. The second time i came off 60mgs cold turkey and it was awful for about a month but then i was fine. like a lightswitch, one day i woke up and i felt great. This was about 28 days after stopping the meth cold turkey. But everybody is different. Im just giving my opinion based on my own personal experience with detoxing. Im glad to hear you are off and it can be done we dont have to live the rest of our days on it.
Sweet, I think you did this perfectly!!! I'm so glad you took the advice given here. While some can do it c/t, to me that sounds like a nightmare for most of us. Getting yourself down to 1/2 mg. is amazing !!... You could either make another drop or use 1/2 mg. as your final dose. You might feel a little discomfort when you're all done but I don't believe it will be anything at all that you can't handle. You did a great job!! Willy, haven't heard from you in awhile. I truly hope your taper is going as well as Sweet!!
9 days clean from Methadone
It has been has been over 9 days since I took my last dose of methadone! Several months ago, I never thought I would get to this point. I was discouraged because it seemed like any successful tapering stories involved switching over to suboxone. On top of that, I kept reading all the horror stories of tapering off methadone. While it has not been exactly fun tapering off methadone, it is definitely manageable. Each day I am feeling better and better. Also, I feel like I am starting a new chapter of my life and I am excited to see what that brings.
If you are tapering off methadone, my advice to you would be:
-taper slowly, especially when you get down below 10mgs.
-taper below a 1mg. (I tapered all the way down to 1/8 of mg. Even what seems like a ridiculously small amount of methadone help).
-EXERCISE during your taper! (For me, running was the one thing that has made me feel "normal" during my taper. Even when I felt bad, I would force my self to go out and run and I would always feel better. There is a reason for the term "Runner's High".)
-while you might be uncomfortable at times, it passes.
-Go to meetings! (While I was on the clinic, i was receiving random drugs screens. Now, I need to be accountable for my own sobriety and I think meetings help with that).
Thanks again to everyone who helped me during this process
Wow, sweet, good for you!!! Everyone trying to get off methadone should definitely read your thread. You did it so perfectly! With methadone, unlike other opiates, slow is definitely the solution as well as coming down to the lowest possible dose. I realize there are people who kicked c/t off pretty high doses and it is great that they did it. I really mean that but methadone is exceptionally hard to get off of because of the extremely long half life so doing it the way you did, getting down to such a low dose, was the way to go !!!! Good Job!!!!!
I am a drug counselor, and have seen several people successfully taper off their methadone. Best to do it slowly, no more than 2 mg per week if you are on a "higher" dose (over 150 mg), then slow down to one mg per week. It is not a linear process; stop when you feel like you need to. Your body may need to rest, recover, and heal. You have to really work on yourself, on your recovery; even if you were not ever addicted to any drug, a so-called "normie" you would have to work on yourself to grow as a human being.
Be kind, gentle, and loving toward yourself. You have made great progress! Keep finding ways to nurture your body, your mind and your heart. Eat well, exercise, take supplements, get sober supports, find a hobby that makes your heart sing. Have a purpose; everyone needs this whether you are in recovery or not. The "eating well" part if very important; make sure you eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa), cut out sugars and processed foods. Make sure that you are eating real food and no "energy drinks" or coffee. Those last two can fatugue your body and make you feel very tired. Get your B vitamins, extra Vitamin D, and as much sunshine and fresh air as you can.
Good luck to you sweetnsour11! Good luck to you all and God bless. Make sure that your clinic works WITH you, and really work with your counselor (if your clinic has that to offer).
over 6 weeks since I quit methadone!
It has been about a month and half since my last dose of methadone. I feel great and I am finally starting to feel like myself again. It is amazing how much better I feel in just 6 weeks.
Back in February ( when I first posted about trying to get off methadone), it seemed like there was no end in sight to this detoxing process. It was depressing and I was getting discouraged. I am glad I stuck with the detox, though. It wasn't fun and I definitely never want to have to do it again, BUT.... the end result was worth the temporary discomfort.
Right now, I am optimistic about life. I feel like my life can only move forward from here. Getting off methadone was a huge step forward and I am excited to try to improve other areas of my life, too.
Sweet, great job I'm so happy for you! Stories like yours are the reason I started mmt. I was/am in a dark place right now where I don't feel like I have a hold on my addiction, however I like to read stories like this as a reminder that it IS possible to recover when I am ready. I pray you continue to be vigilant and I'm sure you've been through enough to know now to stay away!
Originally Posted by sweetnsour11
There Is Life After Methadone
So it has been almost a year since I got off methadone. It was by far the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. Getting off methadone was a life changing experience for me. It led me to examine other aspects of life and make changes in those areas too. I am now a full time college student, I work part time, I've run two half marathons and I make the effort to live my life to the fullest. When I was on methadone, I had the attitude that I had permanently screwed my life up and taking methadone was just a daily reminder of that. I realize now that is not the case at all. I am happy with life and I feel like I am moving forward in a positive direction. There is life after methadone!
Also, I want to thank the people on this board that were super supportive when I was miserable detoxing.
For people detoxing off of methadone or suboxone.......it really does get better. I am living proof of it.
sweetnsour ....... I remember you tapering off methadone last year. You did it the hard way tapering all the way down to nothing off the methadone. I congratulate you on your success. Staying clean for almost a year now is awesome! You have to feel great about yourself. So happy to see another success story that hung in there! God bless.
I am not a dr. My statements are based on years of experience and related education. Consult with the professional of your choice regarding matters of concern.