Oxycodone – Cold Turkey

Two weeks ago, I had been on oxycodone for close to two months. In my first month, my average daily dose grew from 20 mg to 60 mg, and in month two it averaged 85 mg. (mix of Oxycontin and Oxycodone). I had a very painful abscess and a very painful drain inserted as well.

Once my drain was removed, it was clear to me that there was no longer a need for any pain reliever. I was sick and tired of being on Oxycodone, I felt very depressed, and could not think one straight thought, I was just so over it.

Because of this, I chose to do a cold turkey (even though this is not recommended if you have been on a high dose for an extended period).  In the following, I will try to describe chronologically my experience on stopping the use of Oxycodone without weaning it off first. 

Day One
I was at the hospital to have my drain removed and had ingested 70 mg in the morning hours. By 9 am. I stopped taking the drug and have not taken it since. 

As expected, I started getting withdrawals at around 4 pm. Throughout the evening, I experienced the following: Suddenly it was too warm in the room, I got cold sweat, and then again suddenly was freezing to an extent where I thought I would never get warm. I woke up a lot during the night with the same symptoms, but I was determined. I wanted to quit. I slept in the living room overnight. 

Day Two
Same symptoms as day one, but now also includes strong irritability in part because of the lack of sleep. I started getting second thoughts of if I should continue to do this. I got used to covering myself continuously with blankets in a split second, for then only 30 seconds later have my wife open the window because I was burning hot. Sometimes my legs were frozen while my tummy was burning and vice versa, it was very challenging. I had a major fight with my wife, where I screamed at her that she better support me on this, no time for being sensitive or expect me to be reasonable in any way. I stuck the day out without relapsing. 

Day Three

Symptoms grew slightly worse probably also out of exhaustion. I was constantly considering going back to the drug, and then wean myself off of it instead. But for some reason, I managed to keep myself motivated. Another side effect was also extreme depressive thoughts. I handled those by not allowing myself to think about anything that involved fundamental or painful emotions in me. I just cut it off as they started entering my head, by telling myself: Not now, I am doing cold turkey. That can wait until another day. Admittedly, I did some crying throughout the days, and on this day I was close to relapsing, but I stuck it out. The night was terrible as well, but I did manage to get some sleep. 

Day Four

Amazingly I woke up with most symptoms gone; it was clear to me that the worst part was over, and I got through the day well. 

The first few weeks
Especially in week one I had severe insomnia, with close to only 3 hours of sleep most nights. Entering week two my insomnia started to go away, and life got back to somewhat normal. I did not, as I had expected to, get any diarrhea, but rather kept being very constipated. I had to get the laxatives going to break out of this. That said, I had major surgery that involved my colon, so that might be part of the cause. In week two, my sleep rapidly got better, and by the end of week two, I would say that I was back to normal. As I am completing this blog post, 15 days has gone by, since I touched oxycodone, and I consider myself completely normal again. All side-effects are gone. 

Afterthoughts
I never discussed going cold turkey with my family, or my doctor, I just went for it. That was a mistake. It is critical that the people that surrounds you are ready to support you and are committed to accepting that there will be some friction the first few days/weeks.

Cold Turkey is not recommended and weaning the drug off over four weeks can be done without any of the significant withdrawal symptoms. If I ever need to get off a drug like that again, I will probably use this method instead. 

My dilemma was that I felt I needed a little time to be completely my old self before going into a six month of Folfox Chemo for rectal cancer. I was lucky, after one week I started feeling healthy, and I enjoyed getting my energy back again. Especially being clear minded again, and have the mental capacity to read, write, and deal with administrative tasks in my life, was wonderful.