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Thread: Long-term Opioid Use

  1. #1
    Senior Member NikkiMaya's Avatar
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    Long-term Opioid Use

    I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience? I have been on opioids, specifically Opana ER 20 mgs 2x per day and Oxycodone 10 mgs 4x per day for about 2 years. The drugs have never been very effective for me, but I felt like I had to give them a try and find a dose that worked at least a little bit because none of the other medications I tried were working and my pain level is often quite high.

    Recently, I believe I have reached a level of tolerance with the Oxycodone, and I have had some unpleasant symptoms with my body possibly craving a higher dose (I have always used the correct dose, and used less than I could have).

    Taking all of this into consideration, I recently decided to get off of these two medications and substitute with Subutex, a non-opioid painkiller. I will begin the process of detoxing from these meds in two weeks. It seems like because the medication isn't doing much for me, and I'm having negative symptoms, it's the right thing to do. I don't want to increase my dose because I don't think I will get additional pain relief.

    My main question is: has anyone used opioid painkillers for more than two years and found them to still be effective at reducing pain? Do you have to keep increasing the dose? Is this a sustainable option?
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  2. #2
    nikki - I have been on short acting oxycodone 10-15 mg per day for 8 years. The need for increasing the dose hasn't occurred and this amount is still effective.

  3. #3
    I have been taking methadone for almost 3 years now and some days' I take a 30mgs, some days I take 40 but haven't felt the need to increase beyond that.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by arndog View Post
    nikki - I have been on short acting oxycodone 10-15 mg per day for 8 years. The need for increasing the dose hasn't occurred and this amount is still effective.

    That's my dose for the last 2 years too and I agree.
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  5. #5
    Member georgeh's Avatar
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    I was on extended release morphine (MS Contin) at 30mg/day for 10 years and never felt the need to increase the dose. I switched to 50 microgram/hr. fentanyl patches 2 years ago and I've not felt the need to increase that, either.

  6. #6

    Pain sucks!

    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiMaya View Post
    I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience? I have been on opioids, specifically Opana ER 20 mgs 2x per day and Oxycodone 10 mgs 4x per day for about 2 years. The drugs have never been very effective for me, but I felt like I had to give them a try and find a dose that worked at least a little bit because none of the other medications I tried were working and my pain level is often quite high.

    Recently, I believe I have reached a level of tolerance with the Oxycodone, and I have had some unpleasant symptoms with my body possibly craving a higher dose (I have always used the correct dose, and used less than I could have).

    Taking all of this into consideration, I recently decided to get off of these two medications and substitute with Subutex, a non-opioid painkiller. I will begin the process of detoxing from these meds in two weeks. It seems like because the medication isn't doing much for me, and I'm having negative symptoms, it's the right thing to do. I don't want to increase my dose because I don't think I will get additional pain relief.

    My main question is: has anyone used opioid painkillers for more than two years and found them to still be effective at reducing pain? Do you have to keep increasing the dose? Is this a sustainable option?

    Ihave been taking a cocktail of oycodone and Avinza, morphine sulphate ER, for over ten years. It is very normal to develop a tolerance for opioids. Each individual has unique body chemistry and may have various tolerances. But, as a rule, one will progress from the initial dosage to a slightly higher dose to just achieve the same affect , and then after a bit of time even a higher dose. Some long term pain sufferers have to put their bodies into a reset mode so the dosage doesn't get out of hand. Sometimes, one will hit a dosage level that will last for a longer time. That's a blessing. The resets are no fun as it really is going into a state of withdrawal for a time. Also, you wondered if the additional dose would help ease your pain. The chances are if you had relief before the additional dose will establish that level of relief again. I just went through some serious surgery and my dosage was upped to 120mgs from 75mgs. Yes,
    It help with the post surgical pain. Problem now is I have to reset to 75 MSG. That's going to take a couple of weeks of weening off the higher dose. Your brain gets used to the higher dose and will at times produce pain to fill the receptors want for the higher dose. I hope this helps your decision. Pain sucks! Being dependent on drugs also sucks! It's a a matter of what sucks the most, or perhaps somewhere in the middle.
    Last edited by snorp; 03-16-2012 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Typo
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  7. #7
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    Chad has been taking 60 mg of Oxycontin (20 mg 3x a day) for 6 years and he's never had to titrate up nor ever described a feeling of craving more. It seems to still do a good job for him. He does augment with percocet (immediate release oxycodone for breakthrough pain) occasionally.
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  8. #8
    Subutex is a long-acting opiate. You'll need to taper from the Subotex. You could also do a slow taper from the opiates you are taking now. A 10% decrease in dose per week as tolerated should work. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/.../ucm191523.htm

  9. #9
    It took me a long time, over year, to get my doctor to increase my pain meds to a level that worked for me fairly well. I take 40mg Oxycontins twice per day, and the 300mg Gabopentin 3X day. Plus 10 mg Oxycodone IR for breakthrough. At levels below what I am currently taking I didn't think that they were working very well until I ran out of them. Once I was without them for a few days I learned that they were actually doing a whole lot more to deaden my pain than I thought. Meaining that although I thought that they were not working, when I was without them I found out that they were doing a lot. My pain without them is debilitating and I can not even function without them.

    Your dosage actually sounds to me to be pretty low. I do not know if the dosages for these pills are affected by size or anything though. I am around 200# so maybe I require more than smaller person would. For me though at a dosage as low as what you are taking, until I was off of them for a few days, I probably wouldn't think that they were doing me much good.

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