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Solpadeine addiction - anyone else have this problem?

(36 Posts)
butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 09:16:22

Hi,

I've been taking Solpadeine every day for 3 years now and feel very anxious of the long term effects its having on my body.

I know I need to stop taking them. I know the damaging effects they will be having. I don't go over the stated daily dose but obviously every day taking the blend of codeine and paracetamol is very very bad. They are extremely addictive.

I wondered if anyone is in the same position and wanted support to try and quit with me.

LovelyMarchHare Sun 22-Dec-13 09:25:10

What are you actually taking them for? Can that be treated so that you are no longer in pain and need to take medication? Or is there no longer an underlying condition?

You are right to be concerned. How do you feel if you don't take them? Have you told your GP?

Sorry for all the questions. I hope that someone comes along with more helpful advice. Good luck OP.

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 09:28:33

A first it was for headaches. I hadn't really a clue what they were but they were over the counter so I tried them. Big mistake. I take them habitually now. Tried to stop but get bad headaches, feel achy and anxious. I've never been to the doctor as the thought also make me feel anxious. I need to decide whether to do that, go cold turkey or attempt to wean off over Christmas. Feel so embarrassed writing it down. Thanks for the reply.

Dilidali Sun 22-Dec-13 09:37:14

Hi!
No need to feel ashamed, you've been very good to admit this to yourself.
From what you describe it looks like you are addicted. Codeine is an opioid, it does create dependence.
Your GP is your next port of call smile
Good luck and let us know how you are getting on.

Ginformation Sun 22-Dec-13 09:37:23

Hi butterfly, it sounds like you may be addicted to codeine. This is more common than you may think. I am a GP with substance misuse experience. This is defo something you can get help with through your GP. If you want to go it alone then i would suggest reducing gradually by 1 tablet per day each week. You may get headaches/shivery/feel sick/tummy ache but it will be much more manageable through a slow reduction. And the symptoms are TEMPORARY!

Codeine is crap for headaches anyway. You may find that the codeine was making your initial headaches worse, which makes you take more...

LovelyMarchHare Sun 22-Dec-13 09:56:05

Butterfly - I was going to say that stopping altogether straight off is unlikely to succeed. You have made a positive start by posting and recognising that something has to be done. Don't be embarrassed. We have no idea who you are in real life! Merry Christmas.

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 10:02:10

Thanks for the positive and friendly replies! I think I'm going to take less starting today. Hopefully will have stopped by the new year but I know it will be hard. If I can't do it by then I will go to the GP. It's got to the point where I know it has to stop. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

Dilidali Sun 22-Dec-13 10:05:09

Merry christmas to you too, butterfly fsmile

Crazdsky Sun 22-Dec-13 10:10:55

Please please stop. I have seen first hand the problems it leads to. Dh is self employed and has a very physical job which caused knee pain he has a dislike of doctors etc so self medicated for about 3-4 years on over the counter painkillers I begged him to stop but this just led him to be secretive about it.
Anyway one day he complained of a very sore stomach really sharp pains I called the gp he thought ibs prescribed some pills overnight the pain was worse and dh started vomiting blood. Rushed to A&e were it transpired he had a perforated stomach ulcer it was such a mess that if we had left it even an hour more he would not have made it. He spent a week in ICU and three months recovering from surgery on v little meds as they did not want to feed his addiction.
It broke my heart watching him he took those awful pills so he could carry on providing for us but he so v nearly left me on my own with 6 kids to raise.
Going cold turkey is never going to be easy and I really think you should plan to do it with the help of your gp. There is no shame to asking for help but you will need support to help you through.
I wish you the best with it

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 10:14:09

Oh no Cradsky, that sounds horrendous. I hope he is ok now! Must have been hard for you. Thank you though. Your story is making me more determined!

dozily Sun 22-Dec-13 10:19:17

Please please come off them very gradually as ginformation said. I know (from a family member) that it can be tempting to cut down more quickly but the side effects will be much worse and you'll make yourself ill. Good luck x

Crazdsky Sun 22-Dec-13 10:19:39

Yes thankfully that was nearly 2 years ago now he is much better and only ever uses paracetamol short term for pain. He has learnt the hard way that health is much more important than wealth and that as much of a pain that he is we really need and want him around for a very long time.

dozily Sun 22-Dec-13 10:22:29

Ps. If you cut down slowly there is no way you will be off them by new year - please don't aim for that as it's unrealistic. How many are you taking per day at the moment?

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 10:27:45

I'm taking 8 per day. It's definitely habitual as the first ones are as soon as I get up. The next are at about 11, then 3, then two before bed. They are almost a de-stresser but now I'm stressed about what they're doing to me. I've had my head stuck in the sand for sure. Thanks for all the advice.

Ghostsdonttalk Sun 22-Dec-13 10:34:55

Butterfly you sound like you do have a problem but you have recognised it which is a huge first step.

The advice is to drop one tablet per week so this week you will seven per day next week six etc and in eight weeks you will be codeine free.

Have a look at www.codeinefree.me.uk

Belize Sun 22-Dec-13 10:41:33

I understand where you are coming from as I do tend to take them at the drop of a hat. I don't take as many as you a day but I do often take them every day for weeks on end.

I also worry about the long term effects of paracetamol on my liver, funnily enough not so much the effect of the codeine but understand that that of course is the addictive element.

Good luck and I would definitely agree to do it really slowly, don't go cold turkey or you will feel completely dreadful and probably OD on the darn things. It's like losing weight, crash diets never work.

shouldnthavesaid Sun 22-Dec-13 10:59:56

My mum was highly addicted to them when I was a child - her advice is to cut down gradually. She also stopped going to the chemist unless she needed a prescription, as it removed the ability to buy them if that makes sense? She can't take codeine at all now, gives her hallucinations.

It's so easy to become addicted, especially if you take them for physical pain - I sometimes have to take the 30mg stuff and it can be so relaxing/so good at relieving pain, that I can see how it could become addictive.

Hi. i can't PM you for some reason butterfly but I have been in your shoes. PM me if you like? x

Footle Sun 22-Dec-13 17:58:03

I was never addicted to them but it's the nearest I've come with a substance - except chocolate. I took them for headaches when a friend recommended them. It got so I'd be pleased to feel a headache coming on ( more and more frequently, strangely enough ) because then I felt justified in opening up another little sachet and dropping the damn thing into the water and hearing it fizz .. At this point I discussed it with the friend, and realized that she actually was addicted. That was enough to stop me. I was lucky.

OP, I'm surprised you take them at bedtime - the caffeine element is quite strong. Perhaps that end of the day would be a good time to start cutting down ? Good luck, you're brave enough to talk about it here, so you're brave enough to give it up.

MrsFlorrick Sun 22-Dec-13 18:12:11

Addiction to OTC painkillers is extremely common.

Don't worry.

As you are am safely taking the max dose four times a day (8 tablets). It will not be too difficult to cut down.

Start by removing one dose. Do that for 5 days. Then remove another dose. Another 5 days and then the last one.

Another thing you can do is not take any early in the day (you don't say how you "spread your doses out).
Leave the first dose as late as you can. Then take. It will help you cut down another dose.

Lots of people on here are very correctly recommending a GP visit. I would try to cut down slowly (as described above, you'd be off the tablet in less than a month). Once you tell your GP, its on record and every time you genuinely require pain relief, you probably won't get any.

Best friend at Uni was quite keen in Nightnurse. She developed an addition to it after a car accident and she had a cold at the time and couldn't sleep. She sought help at GP but it still haunts her and she still 20 years on can't get prescription pain relief when she actually needs it. It was particularly bad after she broke her arm and no one would issue pain relief because of her "past".
For a start it was 18 years after the Nightnurse addiction, she wasn't physically dependent on Nightnurse it was psychological and after an accident. And yet she was refused any pain relief in hospital and after because she had gone to GP for Nightnurse problems almost two decades earlier.

Lots of people will now come and flame me. To those, yes GP is the right place for addiction. But there are serious consequences that follow you forever if you do.

Have a go and set yourself a limit of mid January to try to wean yourself off before you see the GP. It can be done. You would only be doing exactly what the gP will suggest anyway.

Good luck. thanks

Ledkr Sun 22-Dec-13 18:15:29

Take less each day even if you snap some off one if the tabs each dose.
It's very common and you should see gp but if not just decrease everyday and drink plenty of water to flush it through.
If you want to do it you will do.

lookatmycameltoe Sun 22-Dec-13 18:21:41

I am a HCP and I agree with the previous poster. Opioid addiction will be in your medical history FOREVER. If you can come off them on your own please do. I've just had an awful case of a patient having disfiguring major surgery who was preventing from having any opioid analgesia from the pain specialist because of a short-term drug addiction 25 years ago. He has suffered immensely because of his honesty. I don't want to frighten anyone but there is good info on the internet if your addiction is minor.

MrsFlorrick Sun 22-Dec-13 18:36:34

Lookatmycameltoe.
Sort of glad you're backing me up here. I thought I'd be flamed.

OP. honestly. You take just 4 doses a day. It's completely doable.

Have a go at cutting down start even tonigh by cutting a dose out.

We are all here with support if you need it!!!!

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 19:47:34

Thank you all so so much for your responses and support. I've certainly got a lot to consider. It's going to have to be gradual as if I don't have any for a full day I feel ill and anxious. At the same time I've felt unwell today and keep wondering if its signs of liver damage. The support I've had on here though is very helpful and has truly touched me. Thanks for the non judgemental kindness.

revivingsnowshower Sun 22-Dec-13 19:51:23

Well done for recognising you have a problem. Do keep coming back for support. You say that the pills have become a destresser. Maybe this hypnosis download could help. I use them and I find it very relaxing and helpful in dealing with stress. I don't find it works like magic to make your problem disappear sadly, but combine with other methods like slowly cutting back, maybe giving yourself small rewards for progress , posting for support etc it will be a helpful extra stress reliever/motivator
Hypnosis download

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