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After Narcotics Stop Helping

Jul 12, 2014 2:36 AM

Hi, all. I've taken oral narcotics for years to help ease the pain of Osteonecrosis in my hips and knees. I have recently stopped taking them because I had accommodated to them and they no longer helped. At that point my pain specialist rudely dismissed me from his practice! I am bed bound due to the pain; I can seldom sit in my wheelchair for more than a few minutes, and traveling is excruciating. I have an internist who sees me at home, but I don't know how I'll find a great new pain management doctor.

Some of my home health nurses suggested a PICC line, saying narcotics by that route may be helpful. I see two problems with that. First, I've had one PICC line. When it was withdrawn, I immediately developed two deep vein thromboses at the site, in my upper arm. Second, PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) pumps, used in a hospital setting, have a high risk of death, for two reasons. No one should push the dose administration button except the patient, but others, both staff and visitors, do, trying to help the patient. And, with all the alarms going off in most hospitals, the staff suffers from "alarm fatigue" and misses the real alarms. People die from hypoxia as the narcotics put the brain to sleep to the point that they stop breathing. Neither of those should apply in the home setting, but the risk of hypoxia still exists, and who is there to respond? Have you had any experience with this?

Now that I am off of the narcotics, I hope that my body will eventually return to it's normal state, and the narcotics will be helpful again. I was able to ask about this possibility when two pain experts were recently on a call-in radio program. They said this process depended on many variables, but could be a matter of months. Any thoughts or experience with this?

Jul 12, 2014 6:02 AM

what about an internally fixated pain pump? Not a PCA. it pumps narcs directly into the CSF of the spinal column?

Jul 12, 2014 3:11 PM

hi, I'm on opioids now and have a similar situation in that I don't feel the benefit. however, I am much worse if I lower my dose or try to ween off. my body is obviously still getting help from my morphine. I think you need to concentrate on getting a new pain doctor and also see a specialist to see if there is anything else developing alongside what you already have.
good luck! let us know how you get on!

Jul 18, 2014 7:52 PM

Hi flissyann,

I too go to a Pain Management Clinic, and have been on narcotics for 9 years. Are you going to an actual Pain Clinic, or is your Primary Physician overseeing your narcotic use ? I take just enough Morphine to allow me to get out of bed and function. I am never pain free, and if I did take the dose of Morphine that would just about take care of my pain completely, I would not be able to afford it.


Aug 06, 2014 7:42 AM

I am the Same way I was taking opiates for years 9 years and no longer helping , it's got to the point that there's more pain than there was before I started the pills vilum, Percocets oxyContin and many others , I was so tired of taking pills I wanted off of them . so now I'm on Suboxone

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