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 Post subject: Chronic pain sufferer
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:09 pm 
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This is something I have never done before - talking about my addiction in a forum that is. I have been on pain medication for about 5 years. It started from a low back injury and I was prescribed low doses of Percocet but the pain mgmt doctor that I was seeing kept increasing me every time I asked (and I always asked!) to the point where I was on Fentanyl patches and Oxi ER and something else for break through pain - I don't remember what it was exactly. Needless to say, I always went through my monthly prescriptions. Toward the end of the 2nd year, I actually started cutting up the Oxi's to get more comfort and a better high. I then moved to another state and had to find another pain mgmt. doctor. The one I found said that most of the pain that I was feeling was probably due to all the meds and experiencing withdrawal every 2 hours or so. He suggested I take Subutrex to get off of everything so that we could see where I really was with pain. I get TERRIBLE withdrawals and was afraid to do what he said. I thought, that's crazy, if there was such a thing as a drug that would keep you from feeling the withdrawals, everyone would use it! Right?? So I paid a fortune and signed up for a rehab place instead. First they put me through a week of detox in a hospital-actually a psych ward-then brought me into the home setting. I have never been so sick in all my life! I went home after 5 days in the rehab house because I was still crawling out of my skin especially at night, and not sleeping or eating. Very sick.

When I got back home, I tried to kick it in the privacy of my own bedroom but I was still in bad shape. I called the pain mgmt doctor and he said, why didn't you take the subutrex like I said?? He put me on it and WOW! I instantly felt like myself, but not high. I continued taking just subutrex for about the next 4 months and tried to ween off but failed miserably at it! I kept getting so sick! I was down to a quarter of a 2 mg pill a day and still couldn't get the diarrhea, etc. to stop.

My chronic pain was actually getting worse during this time as well so the doctor recommended adding pain pills to the subutrex. He said it was an off the label use but he has found that it works. That it keeps you from building up a tolerance to the pain meds. He put me on Ultram ER and a hydrochodone type med, mild, and subutrex. It worked pretty good. I didn't ever seem to get to where I felt that I needed to up my pain meds.

Well, we moved again! I went back to the state where I started but didn't return to the original pain doctor that kept upping my meds so much. But I did make an appt. with a "popular" pain mgmt doctor in the area. The very first visit, after reading my file that had been forwarded from my previous doctor, he commented that I wasn't crippled as far as he could see so why the need for all the meds? He made a few derogatory remarks about my previous doctor that put me on the strange combo of subutrex and pain meds, and then made one last final stinging comment "And I see you've been in and out of rehab. So what do you want from me?" Granted, he was right about me not being crippled. I am a 50 year old woman, with young children, and I just went through a total knee replacement this past year. Besides the herniated discs in the lower back I have an old foot fracture that now needs surgery and is very painful. So I'm not crippled, but I have a lot of pain problems!

Now that this doctor has made me feel like a total drug addict, he doesn't even ask about where my pain is, how bad it is, etc. but instead he puts me on 20 mg of Opana ER. I took it and it did absolutely nothing. The next month I go to my appt and I don't even get to see the doctor but his assistant instead who made a remark that she could increase it slightly but that would have to be it. I now take 30 mg of Opana ER twice a day (or I should say, I am supposed to) but I cut them in half instead and am out of my medication in 2 wks time and must resort to my subutrex for the remainder of the month. Last visit they took a urine sample and I am sure that when I go in for my next appt they will tell me they are done with me. Just a bad person, who takes pain medication and has been in rehab. I hate this awful cycle!

The amount of subutrex that I had to take this last time in order to not feel sick, scared me. And that brings me to my question: I am taking 8 mg of subutrex 4 x's a day. I only have about 100 left of an old prescription and then I will not even have that as back up. Do I look for a different doctor? Am I crazy or is this chronic pain actually treatable and managable? I'm tired of feeling like less of a person for needing the medication and for always getting so sick so easy!


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:19 am 
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Hi Palmtree,
First, I would say "yes", if you can find another doctor, do it. If you want off the pain meds, find a doc who can prescribe Suboxone. There's a web site that matches Suboxone patients and doctors - "naabt" (I think that's it). It helped me when I recently moved. I don't know alot about Subutex, but if you want to end the cycle, you might want to go with Suboxone instead. They are different, but I'm definitely not the best person to explain it. Check through this forum, maybe try to get the good doctor to explain it.
I used to be on Opana also for chronic pain. Long story short - in December I got really, REALLY sick and that offered me the opportunity to start the Suboxone. It's not a stretch to say it saved my life. There is also a school of thought that says taking many opiates long term actually makes the pain worse. Personally, I believe this. The Suboxone is doing well keeping my pain at bay. It's not completely gone, but with chronic pain, I don't think it ever is. The trick is finding a way to make it tolerable.
I will be on Suboxone long term and I am just fine with that.
I wish you the very best and let me know how you are doing.
Melissa


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 10:07 am 
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Hi Melissa,

Thanks for the thoughtful advice. You're right about the trick to treating chronic pain is actually just getting it to where it is tolerable. I agree. The problem I have is that most of what I have that is causing pain is "treatable" and requires some surgeries. Because the knee replacement surgery was such a bad experience pain-wise I am afraid to go through any more. I had been on subutex for a little less than a year, I think, at the time of the knee surgery. I did tell the pain management doctors at the hospital what I had been taking but they were still very unsupportive. That was one of the reasons that I wanted off of subutex to begin with because of the constant stigma related to it and to explaining what the drug is to every doctor you see and why you take it. I am shocked at the lack of knowledge by doctors out there - even in the hospital - regarding subutex or suboxone. The difference being, with subutex you can take opiates with it.

You had mentioned that you took Opana before. I was curious, if you don't mind sharing, what was your experience like? Did you find it to be a useful medication or did it fall short? I think I read somewhere that it is an older opiate not used much anymore. I know I have to go to a special pharmacy to get it - your standard one's like Walgreens, etc. have to order it special. That causes me to question why the doctor put me on it??? Like I had mentioned in my post, he saw me for about 15 minutes on day 1 and hasn't seen me since. His only comment was "I see you've been in and out of rehab..." and of course, I had gone to detox to get all those meds out of me. Nothing like what he was thinking. But I have to continue to pay the $50 co-pay for seeing a specialist even though I only see his assistant and she hands me a script!! Crazy.

Anyway, thanks again for responding. I agree it's time to look for a different doctor. Then they can label me a "doctor shopper"!!!! LOL.

Palmtree


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 12:07 am 
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After I stopped suboxone last December, I found out my pancreatic pain was still there. I didn't want to beg doctors for meds, but if thy offered them I'd accept. None did of course. I didnt want to be a 'drug seeker'

After a few months, I had enough of being in pain after every meal and I had lost 40 pounds because pain control was just not eating which wasn't working out too well. Advil/Tylenol didnt really help either.

I found a new pain clinic in Illinois (I'm just over the border) and I had to fill out about 20 narcotic forms (you know, I only go to one doctor, one pharmacy, get this, I CAN'T GO TO THE ER?!?! How can they say that!). They had a section saying what I used in the past, and I didn't put suboxone down.

When I saw the doctor, he asked what I had used before and how much. I said 'oxycodone, 6 10mg tabs a day'. He asked 'how did you get off of that?'.. "Suboxone". He said "ooooh".

Long story short, he offered me 1 5mg hydrocodone a day. Of course, a patient is in no position to argue with a new doc, or to argue at all. I asked why so little and he said "you don't want to get dependant again"

Only choice I really had at that point for pain control was Suboxone again


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