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Codeine Physical Dependancy Query
  1. #1
    Hopelesslemming is offline New Member
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    Default Codeine Physical Dependancy Query

    Hey guys,
    Firstly i apologise if this has been asked before but i have looked through this form and trawled the web for the answer to no avail so thought you guys may be able to help (I have spoken to both a doctor and pharmacist and neither seemed to be able to give me an answer).

    I have been taking co-codamol 30/500mg (so 60mg codeine between 2 and 4 times daily) for legitimate pain, never recreational for about 3 years, but over the last 12 months i was taking it daily to rid of the pain. I realised this pain could be rebound/withdrawal from overuse and decided to stop to give my body chance to adjust. I did go through a few days of the typical withdrawal symptoms so i know there was some physical dependancy there.

    I have now gone 11 days without any codeine product at all and am still experiencing some of the original pain, but not as regularly as when i was taking it daily but bad enough that OTC products aren't working (which is why i was put on the codeine in the first place)

    How long does it take for my body to get rid of the physical dependancy?
    My question is, how long do i need to go without the Codeine before i can take it again as and when required for the legitimate pain?
    The last thing i want to do is go straight back to the daily use because my body is still physically addicted.

    Thanks in advance guys, im really struggling to find an answer to this!
    Catrina likes this.

  2. #2
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopelesslemming View Post
    Hey guys,
    Firstly i apologise if this has been asked before but i have looked through this form and trawled the web for the answer to no avail so thought you guys may be able to help (I have spoken to both a doctor and pharmacist and neither seemed to be able to give me an answer).

    I have been taking co-codamol 30/500mg (so 60mg codeine between 2 and 4 times daily) for legitimate pain, never recreational for about 3 years, but over the last 12 months i was taking it daily to rid of the pain. I realised this pain could be rebound/withdrawal from overuse and decided to stop to give my body chance to adjust. I did go through a few days of the typical withdrawal symptoms so i know there was some physical dependancy there.

    I have now gone 11 days without any codeine product at all and am still experiencing some of the original pain, but not as regularly as when i was taking it daily but bad enough that OTC products aren't working (which is why i was put on the codeine in the first place)

    How long does it take for my body to get rid of the physical dependancy?
    My question is, how long do i need to go without the Codeine before i can take it again as and when required for the legitimate pain?
    The last thing i want to do is go straight back to the daily use because my body is still physically addicted.

    Thanks in advance guys, im really struggling to find an answer to this!
    Welcome!

    After 11 days without codeine, you have probably finished with the acute physical symptoms of detox/withdrawal. There is likely some lingering symptoms though like trouble sleeping and lethargy. It can also take some time for your body to adjust to being without opiates and that often leaves us more sensitive to pain (rebound pain). You will need to be patient for a bit longer to really get a handle on what is rebound pain and what is the pain from your medical issue(s). Almost always, if you give it some time your pain will begin to respond to over the counter pain relievers. The time is somewhat different for each of us but you shouldn't be too far away from settling down.

    To try and answer your question about physical dependency: There is a fine line between being physically dependent and being fully addicted. Either way, it's a vicious cycle. After 11 days, you will have metabolized the codeine and you are drug-free. However, if you begin to use codeine again your body will pick right up where it left off. If I am understanding your question and your goal, you want to know how long it will take before your tolerance for codeine diminishes making it more effective for pain control at what hopefully will be a lower dose. This is your goal as opposed to stopping the codeine permanently. Is this accurate?

    I can tell you from personal experience that after abstaining from any opiate for a few weeks, your tolerance will be lower and you will respond to a lower dose but it won't last long--a matter of days--before your tolerance goes right back to where you started. This is why it's such a vicious cycle.

    I hope this helps. If I'm wrong about your goal, please post and let me know more about what it is that you want to do. Get your dose under control? Get off the codeine permanently? What is the cause of your pain and how long has this been going on? I can promise you this, with continued use of any opiate, your tolerance will increase making it necessary to take a higher dose or a stronger opiate to get the same pain relief. It's just the way it is unfortunately. Opiates are really intended for acute pain and only on a short term basis. They aren't the answer for long term treatment so it's important to work with your doctor(s) to figure out alternative treatments. I can also say that in most cases, once you are clean of opiates for a few weeks most people do get relief from over the counter meds. I didn't really believe that either when I was newly clean but it's true.

    Peace,

    Cat

  3. #3
    Hopelesslemming is offline New Member
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    Hi Cat,

    Thank you for replying. Reading your reply actually made me sit and think what it was i wanted to achieve as well.
    My long term goal would be to stop taking the co-codamol on a daily basis. If i could get to a point of time where i was no longer relying on pain relief at all, that would be ideal.

    I think my original question was aimed mostly around the rebound symptoms
    I was originally prescribed the co-codamol by a misguided doctor for migraines (i know it is not ideal for this and can facitilate worse headaches, but at the time i was naive).
    So i took the co-codamol when i suffered a migraine, perhaps once or twice a month and it worked so i just accepted that for a number of years.
    I went through a bad period last year where i was working on computers a lot and so probably quite innocently suffered with more headaches, so went back to my tried and trusted co-codamol, which sorted them out, however, fast forward a year on and i am using it nearly daily just to be pain free....now to me, that sounds like a rebound headache from what i understand.

    I have had countless investigations and preventative treatment and referrals to specialists for the headaches but, actually, if it was just the one or two a month that i had years ago, it was acceptable.
    So, in summary - i understand that i got myself into a vicious circle of co-codamol and rebound and co-codamol and rebound, so i wanted to stop the physical dependancy so i can stop the rebound headaches and go back to using the co-codamol if and when i get a migraine (hopefully i dont get any but it was about 1 or two a month for years before the increased co-codamol)

    I do understand the basic concepts; if i start taking it regularly ill build up tolerance and dependancy quicker than before etc.
    But being 11 days free, if i say took one dose tonight (i dont have a migraine so wont but just for hypothetical sake), would i instantly go back to having withdrawal headaches tomorrow? Or would i need to have used it for a few days in a row before i start to build up those levels of physical dependance where i get withdrawal symptoms again?

    I hope that makes sense, its actually quite difficult trying to word what it is i want to know.
    I am carefully using the word dependancy and not addiction - i never took the co-codamol when i didnt have pain, but the more often i took it the more i had pain (which i understand to be withdrawal/rebound) so it was a physical dependance as opposed to psychological addiction. I do not have cravings for it, and in fact ive got a large full box of my prescription which has been sat in my cupboard for the last 11 days with no urge to take it.

    Again thanks for your response before, and if youve managed to understand the above drivel, i look forward to your reply again!

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