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Codeine withdrawal

(30 Posts)
SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 03:06:26

Has anyone been through this and would be willing to share their experience? I’m struggling a lot. It’s mostly the sleep, I didn’t realise how much of a bloody insomniac I am!!! Is this normal?

My brain is so wired up, I’ve spent the last two nights wide awake sitting up in bed all night and catching a couple of hours around 9am. Being perfectly awake to carry on through the day. Duracell bunny keeps coming to mind...

It’s so weird, I don’t even feel like myself typing this right now I feel hyper alert and the most mentally sharp I’ve felt in years.

Just a week ago my night routine was unrecognisable compared to this, I’d fall into bed, read for ten mins , watch an episode of something on Netflix and not even manage to keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes!

I’ve tried googling about these feelings and weirdly can’t find much, I don’t know if this is normal. I’ve had around 5 hours sleep over the past couple of days and am getting MORE energetic not less, is this really how much of an effect codeine has?

SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 03:07:16

Terrible restless legs too sad

INeedSleepToo Mon 21-Oct-19 03:11:27

Following with interest as I’m going to have to stop codeine soon. I was prescribed it following an op over a year ago now. I get repeat prescriptions as the op has life long side effects but it was only about a month ago I realised I wasn’t taking it for pain but just because it made me feel better in myself.

I’m trying to wean myself down to 30mg a day from a previous 180mg a day. I’m taking 90mg at the moment and dropping 30mg a day each week. Have you gone cold turkey?

It’s crazy how addictive these pills are. I’m taking melatonin to try and combat insomnia and necking several cups of camomile tea in an evening. Still getting less sleep than normal though. Have you had any other side effects?

SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 03:26:48

Hey INeed thanks so much, I feel less alone. It’s so hard isn’t it? They really are ridiculously addictive, sad to say they’ve become the highlight of my day for 5 years now.

I’m going cold turkey now (past two days) but it’s been a week since I stopped the 30/500 ones and just allowed myself 2 x 8/500 OTC ones. I’ve had to keep going to the loo every hour or so - sorry for tmi. I’ve felt emotional and like my brain is waking up very fast if that makes sense? It’s overwhelming. Have you seen the film Lucy? I feel like the main character in that!

Well done for tackling this, I’m sending lots of support. Camomile tea is a great idea m, do you buy the melatonin?

ShippingNews Mon 21-Oct-19 03:28:47

If you are going cold turkey, no wonder you are so wired. I'd try cutting down gradually in your situation. I withdrew about a year ago, and went from 90 to 60 to 30 over about a month, then 15 per night for another month. I found it easy to stop completely at that point.

SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 03:32:06

@ShippingNews well done for stopping, I admire you a lot. I’ve tried doing that method a few times over the past year and I find it unbearable, I always change my mind and end up getting angry and upset at having to ‘say goodbye’ to them. I’d had enough last week and just thought this is it I’m ready to stop. I’ve still got some 8/500s so might take a couple of them I think if I’m still awake in an hour.

ShippingNews Mon 21-Oct-19 04:01:11

Good for you, doing this. I know how difficult it is. I was taking them for years - I'm a nurse and had access without having to see a doctor so it was horribly easy to keep taking them . I'd panic if I ran out, it was awful to be so dependent on something.

I think in the end it was " all in the mind" - I hated the fact that I was addicted to something so I stuck at it until I gave up.

I still get the urge sometimes - I've always been an insomniac, so just knowing that I could go and get some low-dose ones OTC and take them, is tempting. I don't want to go down that path but it's tempting sometimes when I've had a run of sleepless nights.

I also get restless legs - I find that powdered magnesium mixed in half a glass of tonic water is very good for that. It relaxes the leg muscles , wonderful stuff.

Best wishes to you .

SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 15:22:32

Thank you Shipping smile that means a lot.

I’ve bought some magnesium lotion today as couldn’t find any powder so hoping that calms my legs down. They feel like they’re buzzing with electricity.

Sorry you’ve been through this too, I can totally imagine how tempting it was having such easy access to them, and I can just see how hard it would have been to give that up.

You’ve done amazingly - we just have to keep remembering why we don’t want to be ruled by codeine anymore.

Nyon Mon 21-Oct-19 16:22:52

I am but from co-codamol (codeine + painkillers, apparently). I've been given it for migraine but have ended up through with rebound headaches. Hadn't linked the insomnia tho! I currently just feel bloody awful with it all at the moment.

INeedSleepToo Mon 21-Oct-19 16:28:52

nyon I’m sure you’re aware but co-codamol has paracetamol in. Please be super careful as it’s very easy to become seriously ill from an overdose. If you’re really struggling to cut down and don’t want to speak to your doctor maybe use Nurofen Plus instead. It’s ibuprofen and codeine, ibuprofen is terrible for your stomach long term but it’s much less likely to do serious damage short term.

prampushingdownthehighst Mon 21-Oct-19 16:56:32

I am now down to 2x 15mg of co codamol a night from 2 of the 30 mg
I am so worried about stopping them all together, not a huge amount, but still I worry about going down to nil.
Also get terrible restless legs when I reduce the dose so will certainly look into powdered magnesium.

SleeperTrain Mon 21-Oct-19 18:17:31

@Nyon I’m in a similar situation to you re the migraines. From everything I’ve read and been told, codeine is the very worst thing for migraines, I’ve ended up in a right state now because of it. Sorry you feel so bad at the moment.

@prampushingdownthehighst well done for cutting down, it’s so hard isn’t it? I tried the magnesium lotion this afternoon and it’s helped a lot, highly recommend giving magnesium a go in whatever form you can get. I’m afraid I’ve been a failure and taken two Solpadeine Max with 12mg in - I know it’s nowhere near the usual 6 doses of 30mg I’ve been having but I am still angry at myself. I’ve been struggling so much cold turkey, I haven’t been off the loo for three days now and got constant stomach cramps. Oh well at least I might sleep tonight!

Nyon Mon 21-Oct-19 18:23:26

@sleepertrain it’s bloody awful isn’t it? No one told me it would be like this when they told me to take them for migraines! Magnesium is really good - I normally take Holland and Barrett’s 250mg tablets but they’ve screwed up my delivery repeatedly now so buy elsewhere 🙄

cultkid Mon 21-Oct-19 18:34:44

The restless legs are fucking the worst
I've been in withdrawal so many times codeine is one of the worst
Hot water bottle really helps the restless legs and arms
Can you try some anti histamine to sleep xx

iklboo Mon 21-Oct-19 18:41:00

The problem is that it's so bloody easy to buy over the counter so you can self sabotage so easily. Well done for making the decision OP (and pps).

AdoraBell Mon 21-Oct-19 18:43:08

Codiene is an opioid. I never knew that when I was told to use it for migraines 30 years ago. They made my migraines worse and caused migraines when I took them for back pain. I’m so glad I had that reaction and never got addicted to the bastard thing.

I have no experience of the withdrawal but maybe you could speak to your GP about it? They might be able to help, not sure.

MitziK Mon 21-Oct-19 19:07:47

Done it several times. First was the easiest, because I'd been prescribed soluble - chucking a tablespoon out into the sink (then two, etc, etc) made it unnoticeable.

The last time, I moved down to stretching the time between doses, then taking one at a time and stretching doses further, then switching to OTC and doing the same. The pharmacist was the biggest help, as he supplied the OTC for far longer than usual, knowing that I was in the process of tailing them off. I actually had to keep taking one (or two, with the second at the other end of the day) every couple of days for the last week-ten days, and then I didn't need to take another once I'd got three days between taking a single OTC dose.

Stomach issues/cramps/diarrhoea can be an issue - keep well hydrated and eat light food.

Overall though, if you do it slowly, following what your body is telling you (and acknowledging that yes, this isn't getting ill/hurt, this is a symptom of reducing your medication), it's a lengthy, but relatively simple way of coming off them.

My one recommendation is to speak about it terms of tailing off the dosage, not withdrawals or Cold Turkey. Language can be very powerful and whilst a GP/Pharmacist can be great if you tell them you wish to reduce the use without experiencing too many side effects from the process, if you tell them that you've gone cold Turkey and you're rattling like fuck, so need some more, they're likely to react negatively, refuse you anything and mark your records accordingly.

Fortunately, my doctors know it massively pisses me off to have to do this and I haven't experienced any difficulties getting necessary medication afterwards.

It's so much easier to do it gradually - and if you keep reminding yourself of how alert (and smart) you feel now, just think how dull/muffled you were when you were taking the maximum dose. Enjoy the clarity and energy smile

LokisLover Mon 21-Oct-19 19:16:17

I had a morphine addiction and tried cold turkey which was hideous. I went to the dr, she helped me make a programme and was really supportive.
Took me 3 months of very slowly weaning off them. I completely sympathise and know how horrible it is. Feel free to dm me if I can help at all.

Patroclus Mon 21-Oct-19 19:30:54

move down onto immodium They also contain a very weak opiate thouh so tail off them after. Harder opiate withdrawal I only ever managed with precribed diazepam for the restlesnes.

Patroclus Mon 21-Oct-19 19:32:24

And cold turkey off codeine for 2 days i reckon you are just about there. You suddenly feel a lot better and get really strong sense of smell soon.

prampushingdownthehighst Tue 22-Oct-19 07:35:49

Yes it is very difficult and I wish everyone trying to reduce their own usage every luck in the world.
They were fantastic when I really needed them at high doses but gosh tailing off that last little bit....awful!

BuffOrpingtonChicken Tue 22-Oct-19 07:37:24

Be very careful about telling your GP. They will have to tell DVLA and you’ll lose your licence.

Patroclus Tue 22-Oct-19 08:35:43

yeah and they stick a big bloody note on your file as well, god help me if i ever break a limb.

AFistfulofDolores1 Tue 22-Oct-19 09:28:57

Taper, taper, taper! Until your body doesn't notice.

Restless legs are the absolute worst, as is the dysphoria. Both shortlived.

MitziK Tue 22-Oct-19 09:35:44

Oh, and once you've stopped taking them, be very, very reluctant to start them again, as it's very easy to assume when you've barely functioned on 8 x 30mg a day previously, that your headache needs 30mg.

From experience, it really doesn't. And having a fuckton of codeine in your system when you don't actually need it and haven't got that tolerance anymore (paracetamol is amazingly effective, too, despite how they're regarded as 'nothing' by some) is bloody horrible.

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