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Discouraged & Tired: Trying to taper Lyrica

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Dahlia, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    I'm about 2 1/2 weeks into the program and had been experiencing some great reduction in symptoms. I have been taking Lyrica for pain for many years and decided that I should start weaning myself from this drug. I'm familiar with the method for reducing the dosage in a safe way but psychologically the experience of withdrawal symptoms has been jarring. I had been on quite a high with the improvements in my life.

    Since changing my Lyrica dose I've experienced disrupted sleep, general body ache and muscle tension, increased back and leg pain (the TMS symptoms) and some depression, most of which feels like withdrawal. I've been through withdrawal from narcotics about 3 years ago so I know what it feels like. I guess rebound pain is possible with Lyrica.

    Nevertheless, I feel a little depressed and could use a good word to keep this in perspective and to not increase the Lyrica but stay the course!
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I totally understand your desire to stop taking Lyrica. One thing to keep in mind is that we are not doctors, so can't give any medical advice. We can only speak about our own experiences and what has worked for us. In short, you should only taper off your medications when you feel comfortable and under the consultation of a physician. Dr. John Stracks submitted an excellent response to our Q&A with an Expert program to the question, When should I stop taking pain medications. He wrote:

    Like many issues with TMS, the process is different for everyone but in general people gradually wean the medication as they become more confident of their ability to handle the pain using TMS techniques. I do NOT think that you need to stop the medication completely at the beginning of your TMS treatment (ie continuing to use some medication initially does not sabotage the TMS treatment process). If, as time goes along, you are not using less medication then you probably need to do more psychological work or re-read Dr. Sarno's book (or Dr. Clarke's or Dr. Schubiner's...) to figure out what's causing the pain. Many people have told me that in the end they keep medication handy for flare-ups even though they find they never actually need to take the medication because the flare-ups are so much more mild than they once were.​

    Medications like NSAIDs (Aleve, Motrin, etc) can generally be stopped fairly quickly as there is not a significant danger of withdrawal symptoms. Narcotic pain medications (Vicodin, Norco) can be stopped quickly as there's no danger in doing so; in reality, though, withdrawal symptoms from stopping narcotics are strong and most people wean these gradually over the course of weeks or months. Anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium) MUST be weaned off gradually as stopping them abruptly can cause seizures. Weaning narcotic and benzodiazepine medication should probably be done under the supervision of a health care professional.​

    The key thing that Dr. Stracks wrote here is that you do not have to stop taking the medications when you first start this approach. You can start doing this work, and then slowly reduce your dosage of Lyrica once you confidence in the approach has increased and some of your symptoms have reduced. The most important thing is that you do whatever you are most comfortable with. You know your body better than anyone else. If something doesn't feel right than it probably is the right thing for you to do.
    Lily Rose and Ellen like this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Congratulations on your success with symptom reduction! I had a similar experience with pain medication withdrawal. I had been taking tramadol for pain for 15 years at the maximum dose. And a couple of weeks after learning about TMS, I was pretty much symptom free and decided I needed to stop the tramadol. I did the withdrawal very slowly and with consultation with my doctor, but it was very hard both physically and emotionally. I had rebound pain, insomnia, restless leg, and major depressive symptoms. I increased my anti-depressant and just hung in there. It took a couple of months before I no longer felt like I was having withdrawal symptoms. I haven't had that 100% symptom-free experience since stopping the tramadol, but I'm about 80%. Despite it being hard, I'm so glad I stopped the medication. I am much more in touch with my emotions now, and while that was hard for awhile, it has helped immensely with my progress in identifying and dealing with repressed emotions. And that is such a crucial part of long-term improvement in my opinion. So I encourage you to hang in there and know that it will get better as your body adjusts to life without medication.

    And welcome to the forum!
    Forest, PKat and Lily Rose like this.
  4. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Thank you all for your support. It means so much to have a forum like this to turn to.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Mary Boz. It's great to know you are improving. Sr. Sarno and Steve Ozanich both say healing
    takes its own time.

    Holidays like Thanksgiving can trigger repressed emotions that can revive our pains,
    so don't let them spoil your Turkey Day. Be thankful for your progress so far and have
    faith that you will soon be like a new person. Many of us have been through it and know
    that if you stick with TMS healing, you will get there. Happy gobble gobble.
    Lily Rose and PKat like this.
  6. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Right you are about the holidays! Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I have so much that I am thankful for!
  7. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    From William Henley:
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    I try to remember a mantra, any mantra, when I feel myself sinking.

    Walt is right about the holidays having the ability to make things more stressful. Not just the holidays, though, but the change in weather. Colder weather prompts recoil as the body huddles inward. This can generate an overall stiffening of muscles, in which pain follows.

    The power you seek really is inside you. It is a matter of believing in yourself. You can count on that 100%! :)

    with grace and gratitude,
  8. PKat

    PKat New Member

    hi there MaryBoz - Well done you for coming so far!
    I'm with Ellen. Although I'd only been taking Tramadol for a year, I had to wean myself off tramadol slowly…and boy did i learn that the hard way!:confused: So, I spoke with my doctor and we came up with a reduction plan that involved compatible over-the-counter medication to help manage the withdrawal. it worked well… I very much agree with Lily Rose that the power is within you. in addition, given you've been adding a chemical to your body's chemical make-up for a while, it takes time for your body to re-adjust to producing the chemicals itself. so it's like learning to ride a bike again, you might get a bit wobbly and fall off a bit, but you'll get there. I totally recommend having a chat with the chemical gurus to assist the transition (your doctor and/or your local pharmacist…is that what they're called in the US?...)
    anyway - all the best with becoming drug free - what an exciting step for you!:D
    all the best
  9. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    After a couple of days, withdrawal symptoms melted away. I'm so encouraged. I am holding at this level for a while but I think that getting the rest of the way is manageable, especially if I don't rush it. Thanks for the support!
    Ellen likes this.
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    This is so empowering! TMS has a way of making us feel like we are not in control of anything. Reminding ourselves that we are the master's of our recovery can help us realize that we are in control of our symptoms.
    Dahlia likes this.
  11. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    I was in the same boat about 1,5 years ago. I've been taking Lyrica for 2,5 years (75 mg in the morning and 150 mg before I went to bed). My neurologist told me that there's no such a thing like withdawal symptoms with Lyrica (ha ha!). I also had a withdrawal with tramadol 10 years ago but that was harmless compared with Lyrica. Taper as slowly as possible, then it is manageable. I reduced the dosage 15 mg/14 days and that was too fast for me. Some people taper off very fast without any problems, some don't. I had exactly the same symptoms you described. If I had known this before I had never taken this medication.

    So if you taper off very slowly and in small doses (I opened the capsules because the smallest dosage available is 25mg) your body can adapt to the new situation and produce GABA on its own again. Never the less, withdrawal symptoms can occur, so be patient because they will disappear, it's only a matter of time and patience. I don't like to frighten somebody because I know that this can act as very bad nocebo. But I decided to do so because you already experienced these symptoms which are very typical for a Lyrica withdrawal and I hope that it helps a bit that I managed it and I am "well" again (ok, as well as one can be in constant pain, ha ha). By the way, daily meditation does nearly the same for me as Lyrica did. Not as fast of course and not as easy, but more longlasting and much more safer ;-)
    So good luck and always know: it will pass!
    Dahlia likes this.
  12. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Thank you so much for your comments. They are most helpful. I will move slowly with taper. Also, I never would have thought to open the 25mg capsules and take part but that is an excellent idea. I have a greater sensitivity than average to many medications so this is not the first time I have had withdrawal from something that a doctor has told me "cannot" cause withdrawal.

    I have been studying hypnosis with a hypnotherapist for 2 years now, specifically for pain management. It has become a very powerful tool for me and has helped me lower my pain levels and become more active (all prior to my knowledge of TMS, which is recent). Hypnotic techniques enabled me to eliminate my dependence on Ambien for sleep, for example. So I will be using that with Lyrica withdrawal as well.

    Anyhow, thank you again - much appreciated!

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