I have been treated for the past two years with antidepressants, as well as Ativan and Darvocet for what my doctor is calling fibromyalgia. I have been off antidepressants for about three months and feel that the depression has abated. However, I seem to be dependent on the Darvocet and Ativan and would be perfectly happy with a lifetime supply of these medications, which I know is not feasible. Hardly a day goes by without pain and/or anxiety. Any suggestions on how I can be weaned off these medications, and is there any replacement therapy?
Fibromyalgia is a somewhat vaguely defined condition with generalized aches and pains. Antidepressants are often useful in the management of such chronic pain, offering some relief with minimal side effects and no danger of habituation. The same cannot be said of Ativan (lorazepam) and Darvocet (a combination of Darvon [propoxyphene] and Tylenol [acetominophen]).
Lorazepam is useful in psychiatry for anxiety and agitation but can be habituating and cause dangerous withdrawal syndromes when abruptly halted. Darvon, while only a modest analgesic, has the drawbacks of being an opiod drug. It is very susceptible to abuse, can trigger serious emotional instability, and is a significant cause of death due to excessive drug ingestion. Over the years the drug has achieved a certain name-brand recognition and false aura of harmlessness. Very little reason exists to prescribe it at all.
These drugs can be safely eliminated by very gradual tapering of the dose under professional supervision. Rapid withdrawal can be disastrous! Please discuss this with your doctor and figure out a plan.