Actiq Withdrawal

Definition

Withdrawal is a physiological process that may occur if you stop taking Actiq abruptly. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how much Actiq the individual was taking and the length and route of administration. While the symptoms of Actiq withdrawal are not life threatening, potent withdrawal symptoms prevent some individuals from quitting Actiq use.

Causes

An individual can experience symptoms of withdrawal after sudden cessation, a significant reduction in dose or after receiving naloxone, a medication that prevents opioids such as Actiq from working. A baby born to a mother taking Actiq during pregnancy may exhibit signs of fetal withdrawal syndrome. An infant who has been breastfed by a woman using Actiq may suffer symptoms of withdrawal if the child were suddenly unable to nurse.

Symptoms

Symptoms of withdrawal from Actiq manifest themselves within hours of the last dose and can last up to several weeks. Patients often report diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, headaches, agitation, strong cravings for Actiq, body aches, insomnia, restless legs, loss of appetite, sweats, chills and overall flu-like symptoms. Some patients report an acutely unpleasant sense of "skin crawling" or itching so severe that they scratch until skin ulcers appear.

Physical

The physical manifestations of Actiq withdrawal are frequently overpowering, lasting for several weeks. Common physical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal Cramps.
  • Blurred Vision.
  • Insomnia.
  • Sweating.
  • Tremor.
  • Vomiting.

Psychological

An individual who has discontinued Actiq may experience psychological symptoms of withdrawal, including agitation, anxiety and restlessness. A patient who has taken Actiq to reduce acute pain, such as that from cancer or another terminal illness, may feel apprehensive about feeling overwhelming pain once they discontinue Actiq.

Possible Complications

Since doctors prescribe Actiq to control a patient's severe pain, there is a risk the patient's pain will return once she has quit taking Actiq. Resurgence of pain may complicate Actiq withdrawal. Additionally, the symptoms of withdrawal may exacerbate a patient's illness.

Treatment options

It is very important that an individual who has become dependent on Actiq seek out professional rehabilitative care, especially if they used this potent opioid to relieve acute pain. The first step in treatment includes detoxification, a process that lowers the level of Actiq in the body. Many people try quitting on their own in the process of self-detoxification, sometimes called going "cold turkey." Self detox is uncomfortable and lengthy without the help of medicines that reduce withdrawal symptoms and shorten the duration of detoxification. Some individuals devise their own therapies by concocting recipes using ingredients intended to reduce the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. One such concoction is the Thomas Recipe, which includes valium or some other benzodiazepine such as Librium or Xanax to control cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms, Imodium to relieve diarrhea, L-Tyrosine, vitamin supplements and a hot bathtub in which to soak to reduce muscle aches.

Outpatient treatment for Actiq withdrawal and detoxification typically relies on replacement drugs such as methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine to help individuals stop using Actiq without spending a great deal of time or money at an inpatient facility. Some feel the largest drawback is that it trades on addiction (Actiq) for another (methadone and the rest.) Outpatient treatment is best for individuals who have used Actiq recreationally or whose pain has subsided. A person who used Actiq to control pain, and is still in pain due to their chronic or terminal condition, may experience better results in an inpatient setting where physicians can monitor their condition.

During inpatient treatment, specialists treat individual symptoms with a combination of non-opioid mediations. Physicians prescribe medications to calm anxiety, reduce nausea, decrease diarrhea and to reduce derivatives of adrenaline that become elevated during withdrawal. This multi-faceted approach is more comfortable than self- detox. Additionally, inpatient treatment reduces the amount of opioid in the individual's body, not just substitute one drug for another.

Rapid detox is a safe and effective medical procedure that cleanses the body of Actiq while the individual remains in a comfortable "twilight sleep" induced by specially trained physicians. This form of treatment provides detoxification with minimal symptoms of withdrawal to facilitate rehabilitation. After rapid detox, patients typically stay in the hospital for three to four days before discharge home or to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Some patients may even engage in rehabilitation by telephone.

Rehabilitation usually includes counseling and other social services to help the individual address any family, social, medical or legal issues that contributed to or arose from dependence on Actiq. Family counseling improves any environmental stresses or factors contributing to dependence on Actiq or other opioids.

Participating in professional rehabilitation offers the best chances for long-term recovery from Actiq dependence. Specially trained physicians administer medications that reduce the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms, improving an individual's chances for success. Counselors and psychiatrists help individuals overcome any social or psychological issues relating to Actiq use and abuse.

Actiq withdrawal is a physically uncomfortable and demoralizing experience. If your withdrawal symptoms prevent you from discontinuing this potent opioid, consult with your doctor or rehabilitation specialist. Overcoming Actiq withdrawal is the first step toward life-long recovery.

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