Methadone Users

Use this section to discuss your experiences with prescription drugs, iron injections, and other medical interventions that involve the introduction of a drug or medicine into the body. Discuss side effects, successes, failures, published research, information about drug trials, and information about new medications being developed.

Important: Posts and information in this section are based on personal experiences and recommendations; they should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a healthcare provider.
ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

It's easy to wish for our doctors to have done something different in the face of problems.

I have always wished I'd never tried benzoes - I was sick for 7 months getting off of them.

Yet people here are helped by them ALL the time. How could my doctor have known I'd be the one to be hurt by them? Mia, how could your doctor have known this would have harmed you? There are many of use here who do NOT have the symptoms you do and have lives that we never had without this drug.

It goes both ways. I would hope that we always remember there is more than our experience. Hard to do when we're in pain....but I hate for someone to see only Mia's experience and think that it's the only possibility. It's A possibility. But, so is Zach's, or Susan's, or mine.

None are right, none are wrong. All need to be taken in the context our what's important to us.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

I had a break from work stuff, so I looked for the most recent post. It was RLJames in this very thread, page 15.

I am positive that at least one if not two other people over the past year or so have said the same - that they did NOT have withdrawal. One guy stopped it after a year or two. It's tedious searching, but if you really want to know, just search on methadone and withdrawal or methadone and stopping or some such. You may have to read many posts, but any of us who'd search for you would have to do the same.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

I'm sorry, maybe my brain is REALLY OFF right now in left field due to my current state of detoxing from methadone, but page 15 with RLJames certainly describes severe withdrawals from the methadone, punch oneself, which I have been doing for two days now in my arms and pain (when pain never existed before) is withdrawal from opiates sweetie :-)
I can attest to it, I am going through it right now :-)

Don't be fooled. The body becomes dependent on opiates, there is no question about that, and all of my many hours of research and my husband has also been researching this online as well, neither one of us have found a long term methadone user who had no withdrawals.

I used to be the biggest advocate of methadone, I even called the maker and thanked them for making this drug for us all, I have completely changed my mind on that and I now believe that this drug isn't safe for anyone to use, this is just my opinion. I have been crying for days uncontrollably, this isn't normal for a drug to have that much power over you when you stop using it.

I am fortunate that I realized how horrible this drug was after only 1 1/2 years, I have a chance to regain the brain I once had, but for those who have been on it for many years, I can only hope that the same is possible for them.

Mia

ViewsAskew wrote:I had a break from work stuff, so I looked for the most recent post. It was RLJames in this very thread, page 15.

I am positive that at least one if not two other people over the past year or so have said the same - that they did NOT have withdrawal. One guy stopped it after a year or two. It's tedious searching, but if you really want to know, just search on methadone and withdrawal or methadone and stopping or some such. You may have to read many posts, but any of us who'd search for you would have to do the same.

ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

Mia - he is talking about his RLS - not withdrawals. I punched my legs for years before I ever had any medication! That's just bad RLS. I still do it when the RLS gets ahead of me and I have a bad night. To me, that's just part of it. Now, you may not have that with your RLS, but many of us do. My whole family punches our legs from the misery.

Withdrawal, to me, is vomiting, nausea, hot and cold flashes, etc. And it can include other physical changes from the dependence, but major withdrawal isn't the same as RLS symptoms. Those major RLS symptoms occur without medication. Yes, stopping an opioid can (and may always) increase RLS symptoms. Dr Buchfurer has said that when you stop an opioid, you may get worsened RLS - exactly like when you stop a dopamine agonist when you have augmented.

RL James clearly says that he did not experience withdrawals. You can email him and ask him to clarify, but I read him to say that he agrees with Dr B that this was not withdrawal.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

Managing Your RLS

Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

No, the withdrawals that you speak of are heroin, not methadone. I've watched someone come off of heroin, horrible stuff as well. Equally bad in my opinion.

With opitate withdrawals the symptoms change with each day that you are off the drug, the depression may not hit you until day 4 or day 5 and the pain usually hits after only a couple of days. I NEVER ever had painful RLS in my life.

So the pain that I am feeling NOW is 100% certainly opiate withdrawals, it's not "Real Pain' per say, but it's the brain trying to get more of the drug that it wants, so it tells your body that you are in pain to get the drug again. It's all tricks you see.

If you go online you will find that the main symptoms of methadone withdrawal (from NON-RLS patients) are as follows: freaky
arms and legs syndrome - which to me means the strangest feelings in your arms and legs which also accompanies pain (its different than RLS - but might be confused as RLS by some). PAIN - Also severe insomnia, depression, crying, sadness, diarhea, confusion, pain in limbs, head or entire body.

But the main symptoms of withdrawals that I have read from others going through it are "freaking arm and leg syndromes" (again different than rls but similar) - severe PAIN and SEVERE AND UTTER INSOMNIA.
Mia

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

Okay now I am having anxiety and panic attacks, all night last night and all day today, I got 30 mins of sleep last night - that was it.

CAn someone tell me if panic attacks and anxiety are relieved by Ultram and Trazedone? That is what I have to get on tonight, I cannot take another day of this crap!

tunesmith
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Post by tunesmith »

Mia, read what Sam Baily wrote to you on the ODR site. What you are experiencing is normal for withdrawals - the racing heart, the panic, the depression... all normal. Stay the course. As Sam says, don't do more drugs just to feel better for the moment. If you are to rescue yourself from your situation, you must go through the fire.

This too will pass.

TS

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

TS - you are awesome, thanks so much for your support!! Wow, this methadone is some serious stuff, had I known then what I know now, I would have never ever taken this stuff.
Thanks for the wonderful support you have given me.
Mia

tunesmith
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Post by tunesmith »

And I will continue to support you. Whatever it takes.

I know it seems like forever, and in some ways, it is. But you made a decision to stop and you're riding the wild stallion because of it. Soon your ride will end and you'll be on the other side. Don't give up Mia.

Keep breathing!

Yer pal,
TS

Neco
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Post by Neco »

I've been gone a few days, so I'm coming in and trying to catch up on this..

First and foremost..

The issue of Methadone not being safe.. I take BIG issue with that statement - and I do not like to attack other people for their opinions.. But Mia, you have consistently appeared to be easily scared - and their is nothing wrong with that.

You are legitimately going through a bad experience because of a medication you took for a long period of time. I have been in the early stages of Methadone withdrawal, several times, and it was not fun..

Now, I'm going to ask people to take a subjective look at what I'm about to write.. Because, A) I have extensive experience with various optiates, and other drugs. More experience than most people on this board combined. B) I've been through a lot of the downsides, & C) I don't intentionally make statements that could be misleading or innacurate to save face.

First and foremost, Methadone is a POWERFUL drug, and like all powerful drugs comes with a certain requirement of understanding of what it will do to you. Unfortunately a lot of doctors may not warn us of what will happen if we have to quit, or if we experience some of the common & less common side affects.

However, I take great offense to the idea that Methadone is any more dangerous than the thousands of other drugs out there.. And the simple fact of the matter is, unless you suffer a medication interaction due to negligence, or take too much either accidentally or due to negligent prescribing - Methadone will NOT kill you. It may do a lot of other unpleasant things, but you're not going to die if it is given the proper respect it deserves and the doctor knows what they are talking about when informing the patient.

On the subject of withdrawal.. Dr. B can state what he likes, in all honesty. But we don't have specifics of what he is reporting. Duration of prescribing, Average mean dose of methadone, how many times per day, etc.. Methadone withdrawal is very real and people will go through it. Some people are lucky and DON'T get withdrawal, but just like uncommon side effects it will happen to people - and possibly for unknown biological and pharmacological reasons.

Withdrawal can be anything, from mild pain to full on opiate withdrawal symptoms. Methadone IS an opiate in many respect, engineered or not. Increased RLS is a standard response to many RLS medications being stopped. Whether or not you consider this a withdrawal symptoms is really semantics. Because it was brought on by the action of stopping your medication. Be it an opiate, Dopamine Agonist, or Benzo.

Hot/cold flashes, sweating, restlesness, screwed up bodily functions, throwing up, are all withdrawal symptoms of practically all opiates, as well as various other medications.. It's not limited to Heroin. It all depends on how much you take and what your body can handle once it stop receiving the drug.

Methadone is still the most well-studied, safest opiate we have available today.. It does NOT rot your teeth, but it can cause dry mouth (just like ANY opiate). Not brushing your teeth combined with dry mouth is what leads to the poor state of many an addict/patients dental problems and rotting teeth issues (ever seen a picture of "Meth Mouth"? Crystal Meth isn't even an opiate and its disgusting).

Mia, I truly feel for you.. I really do. But you got what amounts to rare or uncommon side effects. (and until your health is confirmed as improved, you cannot absolutely claim the methadone did it - It would be horrible to find out this was coincidence and I hope that is not the case) I'm pretty sure that these things only happen to a minority of the population who takes methadone. There are million of pain patients and addicts taking Methadone and a good deal of them are likely to be women. Something this bad could not escape media scrutiny for long - even if it manages to at first. Methadone has been around since the late 1930's. If it were this dangerous to everyone, then it would have had to have come out by now.

I have a feeling you would be just as upset if it were Vicodin (I've been through Vicodin withdrawl and it can certainly be painful), or Oxycodone, or something else. Nothing wrong with that either, but what this comes down to is bad luck. I don't think that's really fair to the rest of us, to have people run around screaming that Methadone is dangerous and shouldn't be given to anyone - because they were one of an unlucky few.. Imagine what would happen if vaccines weren't allowed because of these kinds of situations? Or the thousands of other drugs out there?

What happened to you is sad. No one should have to deal with side effects like that, but what role did your doctor play in this? People are often reluctant to blame their doctors for anything. But the doctor and the pharmacy are your FRONT LINE defense, for getting these kinds of warnings, or at least handing you a pamphlet of some kind from the manufacturer (and they all come with these). It's not that your doctor is evil, or a bad doctor, its more of the system itself and how a lot of doctors could be a lot better trained.

Maybe you shouldn't have called the manufacturer and thanked them, I mean that is pretty embarrassing for you, and you probably didn't want to share that. But sometimes these things happened. Methadone may not be the medication for you, but Methadone has saved millions of lives and it comes down to a fine line that society draws in the sand, about risk vs benefit.

I'm pretty sure anyone on this board taking Methadone would also go through withdrawal if they had to stop, but no two withdrawals are ever the same.. Oxycodone withdrawal can be just as brutal as Heroin, but that doesn't make Oxycodone bad for everyone, just like it doesn't make Methadone bad for everyone.

If you believe it is a dangerous drug, then that's your right. But too often many good treatments get slammed by misconceptions, because a few people had uncommon or rare side effects, or had to go through withdrawal - and all the people who had no problems don't say anything because they have nothing to complain about. It's the same phenomenon you see in customer service. You almost never heard from the satisfied customers.

I really don't know what else I can say. We clearly have sympathy for you, and you are going through a bad period, that no one should have to go through. But we are also very defensive of out treatments here. So we're not going to all nod our heads and pat you on the back when you call Methadone dangerous, despite your experience. You know, you can die from drinking too much water too? Does that make it any more dangerous? Food for thought I guess.

As I said before, and others have said.. We've all experience varying degrees of side effects. Some have tiredness or fatigue and have to only take so much, compensating with additional medications. And some of us have no problems.

I'm not any dumber than I was before starting Methadone. My teeth, as bad as they are, aren't in any worse shape because of it. I am not overly tired or fatigured, and my head is pretty clear compared to someone not taking it at all. Far as I know none of my organs are shutting down, and I'm in relatively good health.

I'm very sorry this has happened to you, and we will always support you in these hard times.. Detoxing is not easy, and it looks like you've found a support forum to help with that too. But try to consider how long of stretch you got without RLS hanging over your head, and take that into consideration. Withdrawal may feel like it, but its not the end of the world. It is longer and can be more painful than other opiate withdrawals, but that is because Methadone has a long half-life, not because it is somehow dangerous. It will pass and in a few weeks, you will be back to your normal self, and be able to renew your search for an RLS medication more suited to your medical considerations.

Ultram, being an pseudo-opiate, will likely help with the anxiety and panic attacks, as will the Trazadone (and sedative of sorts). Trazadone is probably more dangerous than Methadone though.. (more food for thought) but the Ultram should help and might even relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms..

Just watch out for constipation and stuff like that..

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

Zach, thanks for your long response. I appreciate your opinions about Methadone, as I see that you feel very strongly about it (as I once did).

I still believe that Methadone is a bad drug though, based on my own experiences with it and based on the hundreds of others that I have read about online who have had bad experiences with trying to quit it as well.

Please know that I have been a bad alcoholic before - now sober -- (spent 3 years in AA) and I am a 20 year ex-smoker -- and I am NOT about to allow another drug to have that much control over me again!

Remember, I have only EVER taken 5mg per day, if a dose that low can cause all of these problems, that is one scary drug.

I caved in last night and took the Trazodone, it calmed my racing heart and made me tired, but it caused SEVERE RLS in me - which was a very strange side effect. So I then took the Ultram to combat the severe RLS that I was having and within 30 mins I was sound asleep, and slept a full 8+ hours!!! I have not slept for more then one hour at a time in a while, so I woke up feeling great!

Trazodone is not nearly as dangerous as methadone, not even close. Trazodone is used on almost every patient in the Psych wards and also it is the staple of the drug rehab units around where I live. If it were dangerous, like methadone, I don't think it would be given out like candy in the psych wards to help patients sleep. It is an antidepressant and has been around for a very long time over 50 years I think. It doesn't kill people like Methadone has that is for sure.....

Now -- any drug can kill you, I do realize that, but as you have warned me in the past, Methadone is not like other drugs.... and it should never be given to just anyone and everyone (as you have stated in the past). In the wrong hands it is very dangerous. And in my opinion, it's dangerous coming off of it too, because a person will do almost anything for "relief" when coming off of Methadone. I would have given anything to feel better last night, anything. That makes the withdrawals dangerous in my opinion.

And why is someone like me who mostly only took 5mg daily, for only 1 1/2 years (and a lot of the time I only took 2.5mg daily) - why am I having these horrible withdrawals - it's not normal in my opinion to feel this horrid when coming off of any drug, and that is why I will never ever take an opitate again. Coming off alcohol and cigarettes was a BREEZE COMPARED TO METHADONE!!

I was told by my doctor that Ultram is NOT an opiate and that it is NON-Addictive. I have since read otherwise online, so I have decided to only take the trazodone and the ultram every 3rd or 4th night (when I haven't had any sleep in 3 or 4 days and I cannot take it anymore).

This way I will not become greatly dependent on either one of them for sleep or for pain. So I won't be taking either one of them tonight. I will only be using them once or twice per week until I get through this horrible phase of the withdrawal.

I do have a serious question for you though.

I actually quit taking the Methadone on May 6th (Last Wednesday night), but then I took 2.5mg at 3:00AM on Saturday evening - May 10th (early Sunday Morning) - because I caved in to the withdrawals - I have since thrown out the entire bottle of methadone.

So my question to you is this, did I actually quit on May 6th or May 10th? Did taking the 2.5mg on Sunday put me right back to square one again?

Because I have been told by others that it will take a minimum of 2 weeks to get through the withdrawals and that it could take up to 5 weeks actually.

Thanks for your response, and we can both agree to disagree on this matter.

Mia

Neco
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Post by Neco »

Mia.. You're gonna have to ditch the Tazadone.

As you pointed out its an anti-depressant and after you took it - your RLS went nuts.

However, I would encourage you to switch to the Ultram, possibly as a sole solution. However I have serious concerns about Trazadone and Ultram being mixed.

Back when I took Ultram (and by the way, withdrawal from it is not that bad, pretty much minor aches and temperature changes) I had a seizure because I mixed it with an anti-depressant. It totally ruined my ability to take the drug thereafter. I began experiencing loss of muscle control at random times that led to physical injury.. So I would caution you to look up whether or not Trazadone is safe to take with Ultram.

Frankly if the ultram works for, Trazadone is likely unneeded. I've seen the warning list for Tazadone as I copped some from a friends wife at one time, and it wasn't pretty - but the stuff does help you sleep.. Perhaps the side effects were more risky for men or something I can't recall, however. Anyway..

Ultram isn't technically an opiate, its kind of like Methadone and Hydrocodone, only not as much an opiate as they are. It does bind to some opiod receptors, and that is why it helped your RLS and I'm guessing if you were able to sleep, helped ease your W/D symptoms. However it can be habbit forming just like everything else..

That being said. You need to learn to make a clear distinction between addiction and dependance.. As your statements on Methadone seem to indicate you either can't tell the difference, or were never explained the difference.

The reason 5mgs of Methadone daily is doing what it is to you, is because your body became dependant on it. Dependence and addiction come hand in hand but having one condition does NOT mean you have both.

Addiction is a physchological problem. Like your Alcoholism would have started out as. You overindulge because you want to feel better about yourself, because of whatever reason, and you constantly feel the need to be in that happy state.

But from all accounts, that wasn't your issue with Methadone. Methadone didn't hold any power over you, except the legitimate truth that it relieved your RLS symptoms. You weren't taking more than you should have, and maybe didn't even feel any kind of buzz.

But going through withdrawal is a sign of dependence, in the absence of addiction. Dependence is a legitimate medical side effect of many medications. Now you could argue it had a grip over you because you feared withdrawal, but that's not really the same thing, is it? You seem to be comparing your Methadone withdrawals to your alcoholism as if it was some kind of addiction - but it wasn't.

I just hope you understand that distinction. Quitting anything can be tough, and ultimately you decide what goes into your body (as it should be).

I truly encourage you to consider taking the Ultram as your daily treatment (assuming you are not taking any medication that will cause a problem with it, mainly SSRI's and drugs that lower the seizure threshold). Tramadol is still a psuedo-opiate but it is also considered weak enough in the US that its not even a controlled substance, except for in 1 state out of 50. There is always that risk, so its up to you if you think the med might be too addicting or anything like that.


Also.. You "quit" your methadone from the time you take your very last dose. Because it has a long half-life, you essentially prologune your withdrawal period an average of 2 - 3 days each time you take more Methadone. However what you should have done in the first place, was inform your doctor that you wished to stop Methadone and that you wish to gently taper off - and then onto a weaker medicine (like Ultram) to make the withdrawal process as painless as possible.

Methadone withdrawal will take a couple weaks.. But if you find that your Ultram is giving you significant relief from withdrawal symptoms, and RLS symptoms, I urge you to start taking it regularly. You will pass through your Methadone W/D phase much easier and then if you stop the Ultram, you will likely only have to deal with mild withdrawal symptoms at the most.

One more piece of advice... Ultram is a short acting narcotic. Although Methadone technically is too, its long half-life is what gives us our high duration of relief.. I know you and I pretty much get through 24 hours on our respective doses.. The ultram is going to be a sharp contrast (possibly) and you might consider asking your doctor about Ultram ER which is a time released formula. It will give you a slow steady dose over a 12 hour period, and you might only need to take 1 or 2, 100mg tablets a day. Also don't be put off by those numbers - Ultram is considerably weaker than Methadone.. Lowest dose comes in 50mg, and the daily max is 400mg.

bharrod
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Post by bharrod »

Okay, thanks Zach for all that great information. I must admit that I want to take the Ultram every night for the bad RLS that I am having lately, but I am fearful of ending up "dependent" on the Ultram.

And you are right, I am not "addicted" to the Methadone whatsoever, I don't think about taking methadone, like I did with alcohol. My body has become majorly "dependent" on the methadone though for sure.

I am fearful of the Ultram though, I do not want any drug having that much "power over me" - the way that the methadone has done. And I fear that the Ultram will do that too, maybe not as bad, but still......

I have a chance of having minor RLS now that I have totally quit many triggers like alcohol, cigarettes and caffiene. Before (when my RLS was very bad) then I was using cigarettes, alcohol and TONS of coffee all day long...........This is not the case anymore. So I am hopeful that I will not need any treatment for my RLS at all, that I can manage it with a hot bath before bed, like I did for many years.

But, right now, the RLS is worsening over time because of coming off of the methadone, so to get me through these rough couple of weeks, I will need the Ultram here and there I know that, I just need to make sure that I do not become dependent on it, or else I am back to square one again.

I don't want to have to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life. I want to find good health without pills.

Mia

Neco
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Post by Neco »

I totally understand your feelings, about not wanting to have to take a pill every day..

It all comes down to our personal feelings. Hopefully a month or so from now, the RLS will have calmed down, and your changes in cutting out the triggers will be a big benefit for you. But there is also the reality, although not often discussed (even here), that RLS is a progressive condition.. Even if you are able to go without meds for the next 10 years (I hope so, for you) you may eventually find yourself in a miserable state that cannot be relieved without medication...

Each of us has to come to terms with our own method of treatment. I used to be very resistant to pharmaceuticals because of experience with Ritalin as an adolescent, however I guess for me I reached a point in my life where I have had to learn to cope with a few crippling medical problems, and I just decided it wasn't that bad to take a couple pills a day..

I definitely fear for the future, and what would happen if I were forced off Methadone for whatever reason, and had no other medications as a recourse.. I don't so much fear the withdrawal, as I would fear having to cope with severe RLS 24 hours a day.. I know I would not make it more than a week or two before trying to kill myself.. And I just hope that if my doctor ever retires soon or something else comes up, that I am able to find a way to continue getting my Methadone, or at least a suitable opiate alternative.

I hope your RLS is not bad enough that you need meds again, but if you do, we'll be here to give you more advice. Always remember you've got your Ultram on hand if you really need it.

mackjergens
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Post by mackjergens »

Mia,
At some point in you life you will probably have to take some med every day. I have to take blood pressure meds twice daily, also thyroid, diabetic med twice daily and then I take Ultram for my rls daily. For me I feel that taking a daily med for rls is nothing more than taking the other meds, there is NO way I could just stop taking my b/p meds or thyroid med or diabetic med.
I honestly think had I had an rls med 30 yrs ago, and has slept well,I would not have to be taking the b/p, thyroid, and even diabetic med. Going without sleep for well over 20 yrs, did alot of damage to my body.

At that time I was young and could just keep pushing thru life on 2-4 hrs of sleep per night, but now look at me at age 62, more problems than I care to talk about. PLEASE think seriously before you punish your body with going without sleep while you are young, because I can tell you, it will damage your body and you will not be able to do that when you are older. so try to figure out something to control your rls.

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