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Luxx: Tramadol Taper


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Hello everyone, apologies if this is a little all over the place, I'm incredibly overwhelmed by this website and its wealth of information and resources, of which I think I will likely owe my life to when I finally see the other side of this nightmare.

I'm currently in the process of doing a Tramadol slow taper, it's terrifying and isolating, compounded by the seeming lack of knowledge from healthcare professionals about the unique chemical profile of Tramadol and the anomalous withdrawal process it entails. As a result I have, thus far, been embarking on this tumultuous journey alone, with no clinical oversight to keep me grounded. I'm re-assessing that evaluation although fear of mismanagement and retribution holds me back from seeking out clinical support.


I had a terrible experience a few years prior wherein I entrusted the expertise and knowledge of the medical professionals to keep me safe. I was taken off a large dose of Tramadol SR 200mg cold turkey and the anhedonia that followed was a completely untenable situation, so I went back to getting high, feeling like I was trapped inside the consequences of my youthful recklessness forever, at least going back made reality feel ok to reside within again.


For the past year I have been doing a slow taper, although reading over this site I have come to realize that my "slow taper" maybe wasn't very slow at all. I started at 100mg SR and came down 25mg at a time, going through "mild" but doable withdrawal, stabilizing, feeling my brain heal a little bit, then coming down again every few months. Now I'm at 20mg IR. The plan was to do 2mg reductions every 5 days, but I'm not sure what to do. I want this over with, I want to be free, but I also don't want to damage my brain in the process.

I'm finding it hard trying to strike a balance between not wasting my life away "going slow" and not going so fast I do more damage than good in the process. My executive function is clearly disrupted as I go through this and there's no way I can hold down a job or really live my life at all whilst it's ongoing, so I'm afraid I just don't have the time to do 10% reductions until it's done, that will probably put me a year or more out, and as my twenties begin to slip away I just can't afford to loose any more time. I'm afraid going too slow will do more damage in terms of my ability to reintegrate back into society functionally. I don't know, I've become very time-conscious as my brains begun to heal and now I have aging anxiety. I want to do great things with my life, the longer I'm tied up with this **** the harder that's going to get. I'm just trying to listen to my body and do what feels right, but the constant mild withdrawal > stabilization yo-yo makes me scared i'm ******* up my nervous system in the process.


I can't believe I was taking such a massive dose of Tramadol to begin with (up to 1000mg at my worst, though I usually sat around 600mg for most of the time) like have I just ***** my brain forever? The fact that freaks me out now when clearly it didn't before tells me my ability to grasp consequences is clearly returning, and hence my executive function is healing, but has anyone ever fully healed from such a massive sustained dose of Tramadol before? It's hard to find stories out there, because it's not a particularly popular drug of choice. I don't feel fully understood by the opiate addicts because it's both an opiate and SNRI?, and I don't feel fully understood by the antidepressant takers because there is also the component that I was using this drug to get high and hence was taking massive doses of it.

The thought I've done irreversible damage and will never get back to "baseline me" is the thought that keeps me up at night, but I also know that that's a very common fear for people going through this to have, and I have observed lots of healing already, so obviously my brain is doing its thing and proving it's possible. I'm just so scared of doing this wrong, there's so much at stake.


Does anyone have any guidance for me? 

Started Tramadol 100mg SR in 2013, slowly increased dosage and consistency until I was taking it daily and physically dependent by mid 2015.

From 2015 - 2018 I slowly increased my dosage taking up to 1000mg a day.

CT attempt in 2018 and experienced mild psychosis followed by severe anhedonia after 3 weeks clean, returned to 400-600mg a day after another 4 weeks trying to wait out the withdrawals and being prescribed an antidepressant to deal with the anhedonia.

June - Dec 2019: Quick reduction from 600mg/day>200mg>100mg>75mg

Jan 2020 - April 2022: Sat between 100mg/day - 200mg/day

April 2022 - March 2023: Got serious about getting this **** out of my life once and for all, slow taper from 100mg SR > 75mg SR > 50mg SR > 25mg SR > 25mg instant release switch > 24mg IR > 22mg IR > 20mg IR

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  Congratulations for getting your tramadol use to such a low level!  This alone is a huge accomplishment. You say you were also on an antidepressant.  We need all your drugs in your drug history, so please add the information about your antidepressant, as well as any other drugs.  No need to put in symptoms, explanations, etc, simply the drug names, dosages, and dates. See this example: 


March 12, ’22: Lexapro 5 mg, Xanax 0.5 mg, Trazodone 50 mg

March 29, ’22: Lexapro 4 mg, Xanax 0.5 mg, Trazodone 50 mg

April 17, ’22:  Lexapro 3.8 mg, Xanax 0.5 mg, Trazodone 50 mg

May 19, ’22:  Lexapro 3.8 mg, Xanax 0.5 mg, Trazodone 25 mg



Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  


How to List Your Drug History in Your Signature


Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 


How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain



This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 


Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs


Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization



Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the reduction becomes exponentially smaller.  Micro-tapering is the other option.  


 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  


Micro Tapering


Brassmonkey Slide Method of Microtapering


Tips for Tapering Tramadol


Here is a link with checklists of common WD symptoms: 


Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklists



Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 


Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms


Stability is really important when we are tapering off psych meds.  Please read the link about stability:


Keep It Simple, Slow, and Stable



We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Omega 3 Fish Oil


I know you want to taper off your tramadol faster than the suggested 10% every 4 weeks.  However, this drug has 2 components - a synthetic opioid component, and and SNRI component.  (Please read the link I gave you above on "How to Taper Tramadol".)  This makes it even more important to taper especially slowly and carefully.  Not only that, but tapering too fast may not actually get you off the drug faster in the long run.  We see many people get into serious and severe withdrawal from a too fast taper, and this can take years to recover from.  Many people are unable to function or hold down a job because of tapering too fast.  You have a better chance of being able to work, function, and live a semi normal life if you taper according to our harm reduction approach.  You may even want to consider micro tapering, which is easier on your nervous system, because in essence you are tapering 2 drugs at once, and this is even harder on the nervous system.  


In your signature, you said "April 2022 - March 2023: Got serious about getting this **** out of my life once and for all, slow taper from 100mg SR > 75mg SR > 50mg SR > 25mg SR > 25mg instant release switch > 24mg IR > 22mg IR > 20mg IR". 


Can you please give us the specific dates that you did each of these reductions, as best you can remember?  Thank you.  Depending on how fast you have been reducing, you may want to hold for a while on your current dose of 20 mg.  


Another thing is that this drug has a short half life of about 6-7 hours. Do you take your dose once a day, or do you split it up into multiple doses each day? 


Edited by getofflex

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  


***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.


Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg


Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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  • getofflex changed the title to Luxx: Tramadol Taper

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