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Any doctors on? Need help re Codeine addiction, 900mg daily.

(42 Posts)
deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:10:48

Can anyone help - my xp has confessed this is what he is taking. What are the physical / mental effects likely to be? He says he is suicidal. How can I help him?

wuglet Sun 01-Nov-09 21:19:10

This is a useful website.
He needs professional help though.

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:30:51

He's in regular contact with the GP who has referred him to CDPS and also receives counselling. I was so worried for him today. I want nothing more than for him to be well and I am terrified he is going to do something stupid.

Thanks for the link - off to look now.

teatank Sun 01-Nov-09 21:31:42

youve opened my eyes i had no idea codeine was addictive. i do use it quite a lot but will nip it in the bud now i have seen this post

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:36:13

It's an opiate - same as heroin. He has been struggling with this for years, it has been hellish. My SIL is a doctor who says it's amazingly common because it can be bought over the counter. In the US it's illegal to sell it that way. Scary.

lou031205 Sun 01-Nov-09 21:38:08

You need to find out what he is taking/where he is getting it. Codeine is only available on prescription on its own. Over the counter it is always mixed with other drugs, i.e. paracetamol, ibuprofen, etc.

If he is taking high doses of these, he could become very unwell very suddenly.

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:40:32

It's prescribed. The doctor has just increased in by a third. Before that he was taking shed loads of Nurofen Plus which is combined with ibuprofen.

Squishabelle Sun 01-Nov-09 21:41:44

Agree - he cannot buy this over the counter.

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:45:47

He has been buying codeine over the counter, in the form of lots and lots of Nurofen Plus, from many different chemists for years.

The Codeine phosphate he is currently being prescribed by his doctor, as I have said.

BoffMonster Sun 01-Nov-09 21:50:21

I was on 120mg at one point, supervised by a consultant, and she told me this was the same level of opiate as a recovering addict gets. 900mg is crazy and it really sounds like he needs help.

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 21:52:57

I am so frightened he is going to harm himself. He was utterly dejected today and I had no idea he was taking so much. I have no idea what to do to help.

Did your doctor take you through a staged withdrawal? This is what he has supposedly been getting from our GP but it has gone on for at least 18 months now and the amount has actually increased.

BoffMonster Sun 01-Nov-09 21:56:46

I think he needs a proper referral to a consultant. I had to have a phased withdrawal off the 120mg a day and it wasn't very pleasant. God knows what 900mg would have been like.

BoffMonster Sun 01-Nov-09 22:00:43

I think I had to drop 15mg a day for the first week, 30mg for the second and so on on, until I was off the stuff.

But I wasn't depressed or anything like that, and hated taking it in the first place.

If you are truly concerned he is going to do something stupid I really think you need to ring a GP and get professional help for him, tonight if necessary.

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 22:03:29

Thank you. The doctor says he is not depressed but it seems to me that he clearly is. He's been referred to the drug prevention service. Don't know how that will differ from what has been happening so far. He doesn't seem to be able to drop even one pill.

lou031205 Sun 01-Nov-09 22:14:26

Wow. Well, I am relieved he is taking just codeine, because otherwise he would have been OD on other drugs as well. 900mg is equivalent to about 135mg of morphine per day. The usual max dose is 240mg per day of codeine.

BoffMonster Sun 01-Nov-09 22:14:42

He sounds like he needs to see a psychiatrist, presumably as a result of getting a view from a different GP.

LeonieBooCreepy Sun 01-Nov-09 22:21:07

Message withdrawn

deeplyworried Sun 01-Nov-09 22:28:33

Yes I would have thought a psychiatrist would be the next step for him. I am desperately scared for him, I don't know how on earth he's going to get it under control enough to stop.

Off to bed, I am exhausted from crying and fretting all day. Thank you all.

Ladyanonymous Mon 02-Nov-09 13:20:10

He won't be sent to see a psychiatrist for an addiction issue, he would need to be diagnosed with a mental health problem first (other than depression. The mental health team won't deal with him until he has got his addiction under control.

He needs to keep going to the Drugs Service and he needs to want to stop and be motivated to change, and that means by cutting down gradually or getting on the waiting list for a residential rehab and going to the Drugs Service once or twice a week in the interum period.

No one is going to wave a magic wand and make him stop taking the drugs, he has to help himself to a large degree here, and at least identify times when he is using that he feels he might be able to delay or cut out.

BoffMonster Mon 02-Nov-09 18:10:40

You can be sectioned if you are about to end your life. A psych would be necessary then.

stinkypinky Mon 02-Nov-09 18:19:55

Get GP to refer to community addictions team. He could be put on methadone or subutex, and weaned off in time, once reasons for addiction are identified and addressed. They can refer to psychiatry/psychology as indicated. He would have regular keyworking sessions too.

Ladyanonymous Mon 02-Nov-09 19:30:22

I'm sorry but no doctor prescribing Methadone who is worth their salt is going to prescribe Methadone for a Codeine detox (esp someone who is saying he is suicidal!)and if it was used on a VERY short term basis (ie 4-5 days) then it would be within a contolled rehabilation environment.

He would have had to have made several serious attempts on his life to be sectioned for that reason.

stinkypinky Mon 02-Nov-09 20:00:39

Ladyanonymous With respect, I have seen it done, long term and with good results. Different areas have different ways of doing things. I also disagree with you re the sectioning issue - this is dealt with on an individual basis.

Deeplyworried you say he is in touch with his GP, and that he has been struggling with this for years. His GP has referred him to the appropriate service, so hopefully he will engage, and get through it. He is lucky to have such a caring exP.

MissMoopy Mon 02-Nov-09 20:22:00

I work in drug treatment and we regularly work with people like your ex. The safest and easiest way is to switch to Methadone or Subutex and agree a safe and achievable reduction regime. He needs referred to your local community drug team who will take the prescribing over from the GP. He would get counselling and psychiatric input at well. If you are worried he might actually attempt suicide you need to speak to his GP who can refer him to Crisis Resolution Team or you can take him to Casualty if he is saying he is definitely going to try to take his life - he would be seen by a duty psychiatrist.
Good luck x

MissMoopy Mon 02-Nov-09 20:25:02

Lady anonymous - a doctor would and does prescribe Methadone for codeine dependency. It is a well used treatment option. And he would be given it by daily supervised consumption to significantly reduce the risks.

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