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How much medication post treatment

Posts: 12
Joined: May 2010

How long after treatments are complete do you need to stay on pain medications he is on 50 mcg patch Fenadyl and Lortab. When should you start tapering off. Beginning to think the meds are as much for the mind to cope with the change in your life as they are for the physical pain.

CLRRN's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Chantil.....my partner Mike was on up to a 100mcg fentanyl patch every 3 days and liquid morphine (roxanol) for breakthrough. The docs pretty much left it up to us on the timing to start the taper. He completed treatment on 6/17 and didn't start tapering until the first week of July. He completed the taper and "officially" off all pain meds by 8/5. It was a slow process and he had a hard time going from 50mcg to 25mcg and 2 restless nights w/insomnia but other than that...he did great.
The meds definitely masked some of the emotions but he was in a mental cloud on the patch and I'm glad he's off (so is he because he can now drive). They advised him not to drive while on the patch (since the end of may!!)

I wish there was that magic pill to help us all adjust and deal with our "new normal"

Hang in there!!!


RushFan's picture
Posts: 223
Joined: Aug 2010

Just after treatments, I peaked at 75 mcg Fentanyl patches (25 + 50) and Lortab.

By the time I went for my first follow up visit post treatment (six weeks) with surgical onc, rad onc and CT scan I had weaned myself off all. I probably would have kept on with the Lortab, but ran out...I didn't really need it but I think I became slightly addicted to it.

I would say the pain was still very strong at three weeks out and started to taper off in weeks four through six.

I hope the same for your husband as I think I was one of the fortunate ones regarding this issue.


miccmill's picture
Posts: 248
Joined: May 2010

My husband ended up on Methadone as the Morphine did absolutely nothing for his pain. Unusual but not unheard of. He was sent to a Palliative Care MD who got him Methadone which finaly relieved his pain.

At week #2 post treatment he told me he didn't have pain anymore. It was earlier than expected and he had already started lowering his own dosage. By week #3 he was finished with all pain meds.

He had 36 straight hours of insomnia but no other bad side effects.

We also called the Pain MD just to check to get instructions on how to wean off and he said go ahead and keep doing what your doing.

He really, really needed pain relief for about 3 weeks so the Methadone was a godsend.

Now the pain in his should is back (from the original neck dissection surgery) but it's easier to handle without narcotics.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Mark is approaching 5 weeks post treatment. He wanted off all medication ASAP as soon as that last rad was delivered. What he found was he still needed pain management. For some time a sore in his mouth was very painful and the gargling with salt water and baking soda, and applying topical lidocaine is what helped him get through. Now his pain seems more a residual of the extensive surgery he had in May. He has been using ibuprofin with codeine, but is trying to bump down to just ibuprofin. When he tries to go off completely his pain spikes...so he still needs something.
It was helpful to hear from others about the insomnia coming off pain meds. Mark had a very sleepless night last night...the first in a long time. Thank you for giving me an understanding of why that may be happening.

RushFan's picture
Posts: 223
Joined: Aug 2010

I too had bouts with insomnia, drove me nuts...although I was able to drink one or two Enures each night. I would wake up the same time every night and be WIDE awake. About 7-10 days post meds I began to sleep better, and no more naps.
I'm still up two times every night for the restroom and dry mouth.

Sorry if that's too much info.

A great week to all,

Greg53's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Apr 2010


You'll know when to start tapering off and to quit. I was like everyone else and wanted off the pain meds ASAP. I stopped right after treatments...mistake. Went back to them and then stopped at 2 weeks post..another mistake. After that I slowly started tapering off and by 4 weeks post I was off the stuff. Use it as long as it's needed. Hard enough to heal up with no pain. And Chuck - had the same insomina also. Now like you - up spit, p, up spit, p....like clockwork, twice a nite.

Positive thoughts!


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