Addiction to Drugs/Tylenol #3

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Hi,Patricia:

I have been on Tylenol #3 for 25-30 years.  Just one tablet a day in the am.  I was prescribed it as a teenager for ulcerative colitis.  The idea was that it would lesson the pain and keep me from going.  My colitis has been under control for many years now.  But when I try to get off the drug, I seem to have a physical reaction to it which then of course leads to anxiousness.  I have tried going to a half tablet a day in the am at different times over the past ten years.  Each time, I begin to feel that rumbling in my stomach so I invariable pop the other half and hour or two later.

I'd like your general impression on getting off of it but also whether or not you think I MUST get off of it.  I do register higher than normal liver enzymes (I get this checked out each year), but whatever additional tests I take for this matter never shows any sort of liver problems....  

Thanks very much.

Answer
Lex,
Please accept my apology for the delay in responding. I became ill suddenly. I am so sorry.
Tylenol 3 is a very low dose of an opioid drug, codeine. Even after 25 years you will be dependent on it, however, if you are under a doctor's care there should be no problem. That is why you experience anxiety or other symptoms when you attempt to cut it in half. Your body is very accustomed to it. If it has been helping, that's good. There are many other treatment options available today which you may want to investigate. However, if you choose at some point to get off the Tylenol 3 you won't have much of a problem, maybe just some anxiety, sweating and mild diarrhea for a few days. (Doesn't sound very appealing, does it)? I have never heard of anyone being treated for ulcerative colitis like this, but like I said, if it works, so be it. My suggestion would be for you to consult with a good gastroenterologist. He/she may keep you on it, and give you better methods of treatment as well.

Addiction to Drugs

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Patricia M.

Expertise

I will attempt to answer any serious question on substance abuse, including alcohol, illegal drugs and/or prescription drugs.

Experience

As a nurse, I bring a strong background in pharmacology along with a working knowledge of the effects of addiction. I am a believer in 12-step programs, and also medication-controlled programs for certain addictions.

Education/Credentials
Nursing school with diploma. 20-plus years nursing in general hospitals, med/surg and in later years employed by psychologists who also handled substance abuse problems. I am up-to-date with current treatment options, including medically-supervised programs and 12-steps.

Awards and Honors
Dean's List while in college. I have taken extra pharmacology courses because I enjoy it, and out necessity to stay up-to-date.

Past/Present Clients
I volunteer here on AllExperts in the Pharmacology area and also Medical area, in attempt to offer the questioners a "nurse's perspective", where I've received many and varied questions and problems, including some relating to addictions.

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