Monday, April 02, 2007

METHADONE FOR PAIN: KEEPING PERSPECTIVE:

Though the focus of this website is treatment of addiction (particularly with methadone), the extraordinary media attention given in recent weeks and months to complications associated with methadone prescribed for pain should also be put in perspective. Clearly, every death associated with any medication, whatever the contributing factors and regardless how the medication was prescribed and/or otherwise obtained, is an absolute tragedy! We must not lose sight of the fact, however, that methadone can offer unique long-term relief for patients with chronic and debilitating pain. An article in the Salisbury, NC, Post on March 27 describes a case in point, and the headline says it all:

"Methadone only thing that makes life bearable for arthritis sufferer."
Full story: http://www.salisburypost.com/area/357243898133166.php

11 Comments:

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous glesgagirl59 said...

I have been on Methadone for over 2 years now for CRPS/RSD and other disabilitating health problems. I was taking Oxyconting for over 10 years but it was so hard to find a druf store that carried the name brand in my area. It has been nice to get off the Oxycontin and the Methadone does kinda scare me some but I would like to find out is it safe for lonf term like q0years as I already feel the strength I am taking now does not have the sam,e effect as when I first started. what's next.

 
At 1:39 AM, Blogger jane1 said...

My jury is well and truely against the general use of methadone for chronic pain relief. Following 5 years of acute crohns disease pain and treatment including resections and an ileostomy, I became unresponsive to high daily morphine levels and the pain became intolerable. My General Practitioner (G.P.) advised methadone use, stating any eventual withdrawal would be minimal as the evidence indicated the use of this drug for illness rather than heroin withdrawal would lead to very few problems. 11 months later I am learning to my cost he was desperately wrong. This disease has nearly cost me my life, and I have faced leaving my 3 incredible children, my youngest boy being only 6 years old. So when remission came it was unexpected but felt like a gift from God (I'm not a believer!). So I gladly stopped taking the methadone 9 days ago, although a lower dose of morphine daily is meant to be easing my transmission. I am now in hell, in a place where words fail me. I will not catalogue what I am going through as Methadone is increasingly used for the use of chronic pain relief and I don't want to scare the many people for whom it offers a window of normality. But the day I walked away from my G.P. with that 1st prescription for Methadone was the very very worst days work i have ever done. We need to all take responsibility for our disease and pain management, but I believe we need better information before setting out on the the road of Mehtadone.

 
At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been on methadone for 12 years and do not know what i would of done without it. I was diagnoised with RSD and tried nerve blocks for a year, a stiminal cord stimulator and a thermocoaculations, where they burn the t3 anst4 nerve between your heart and lungs and that didn't do a things but make my face droop for 24 hours and i had the possibility of it staying like that 20% of the rest of my life. My mom was going to help me kill myself cuz my husband of 18 years left me and three sons cuz he did not want to deal with the disease and help do the work of cleaning and raising three children and he abused me and the kids for 9 years until he remarried and still tries to make my life miserable. Without methadone i would not be able to function as an indivdual. I am not high or do not feel an different except the real bad pain is gone unless i am under stress which my oldest without having a dad and a dad that abused him is talking of suicide and quit school and makes minimum wage and can not afford to live because of the cost of living today. All i can say is thank you god for making methadone and letting me be able to take 90 mg a day and be able to live but i also have to have adderall to keep me awake during the day and valium for the pain spasms i get regularly for the pain i get from stress and the disease itself. Thank you for letting me share my story with you. michelle

 
At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Vance said...

at 49, i've been taking methadone for 12 years as well, due to chronic pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis. my MD had originally put me on oxycontin, but when my health insurance was cancelled shortly after being diagnosed(this is America, after all), he switched me over to methadone, due to the cost. i currently take between 40 and 70 mg per day- i like that it comes in 10mg tablets(that can easily be broken in half, even), as it makes it easier to adjust the dosage as needed, as my pain levels can be extremely variable. i worry/wonder about the long-term effects, as i don't envision a day that i won't need pain medication, as most of mine stems from irreversible mechanical damage to my spine. i stopped drinking alcohol entirely as soon as i was prescribed the medication- but i do imbibe in a fair amount of (what i definitely find to be very therapeutic and medicinal) marijuana.
i definitely wouldn't be able to function very well without the methadone- it has been a science-send for me, and i hope that it remains easily accessible for the remainder of my life.

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my name is mike I have been in chronic pain for ten years. I have had five surgeries for ner ve decompression bone removal cartilage debridement. Have tried every med from cymbalta horrible to oxycontin great if you want to keep increasing dose and r spending your money. I started taking methadone ten mg four times a day it cost me less than 25 dollars a week and I have no high feeling with great pain relief. I do believe this med should be perscribed a lot more for people with both nerve and muscle tendon bone or whatever pain. It has truly saved my life because doc would not perscribe oxy or anything else saying that there is nothing they could do surgicaly so I would have to deal with the pain. Not acceptable I went to a pain management doc who is wonderful I truly think he is my guardian angel for without him I would be dead or in jail.four doc later if I. Was put on this sooner could've saved a lot of bad years.

 
At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last post it was 25 dollars a month not week sorry. I also had nerve blocks nerve meds like cymbalta lyrica and all types of opiates. I am now 31 years old and feel like normal again I hope these two posts will help somone els try methadone for its great pain releiving abality. Not just for addicts. My pain level was a nine before methadone now its a two three tops. Thanks again methadone mike410

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Margaret said...

Absolutely Methadone is appropriate for long term (as in "x" hours) pain relief. Also for "x" years! Why people have such weird ideas that if you take something daily for pain it's "bad"; I just don't get it. My doctor said it's like being diabetic and having to take insulin in order to function/live a decent life. And yes...people DO kill themselves due to overwhelming pain. Not just the pain, but the mental anxiety and massive depression that pain CAUSES, so why not take something every day? It's not immoral, it's not "bad", it's not "weak"...it's trying to live your life as best you can! Methadone is inexpensive, extremely effective, and yes, addicting...but so what? WHO CARES? Whose business is it anyway? Last time I checked, no one was being canonized for suffering from chronic pain; meaning, pain is not noble. Being able to live your life IS. For some reason, people think that if you have to take pain medication every day, that somehow, it's bad. WTF? WHY? Would they rather chronic pain sufferers just...suffer? For what reason? SO WHAT IF YOU GET HOOKED? I speak from experience. Instead of being massively depressed, in constant pain, unable to enjoy my life and my loved ones, I have CHOSEN to take Methadone under a doctor's care! So, because someone thinks (and again, it's no one's business but my own) that I shouldn't take something every day, in order for me to work, contribute to society, enjoy my life...what is up with that? Ridiculous! You know what? It takes a LOT OF COURAGE to make the decision I have made, to risk telling friends and family that yes...I will be taking methadone for the rest of my life, because without it, I HAVE NO LIFE. So there. All you naysayers can stuff a sock in it. Don't tell me how to live my life. I am not hurting anyone; in fact, without methadone, I might be on disability/welfare/whatever! Instead, I am able to work full time! I am not a drain on society; I have self-respect; I am proud of my decision. Tell me again why I shouldn't take something that has so drastically improved my life? (crickets chirping.) Yeah, I thought so.

 
At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Margaret said...

And note to "Jane1"...your GP was an idiot for stating that methadone withdrawal, because you were using it for what he viewed as a more legitimate reason than those awful dirty disgusting subhuman junkies (in his mind), would be non-existent or somehow lessened than if you were using it to get well from heroin/prescription RX addiction, is ridiculous and self-delusional to an extreme! And Jane: you were deluded into believing it. Guess what? Opiates are opiates! They don't care that you are some fine, upstanding citizen or some down in the gutter junkie! The brain only knows that if it's not getting what it's used to, well, there is gonna be hell to pay. And on what factual basis did you OR your doctor base this idea on? That somehow, because you guys viewed your use of it for pain as more "worthy" than its use for helping people get off heroin/prescription pain killers/whatever, that because that was "evil" or something, so somehow, you would be immune to addiction? Tell me again how that works? If you take "x" amount of anything per day, FOR WHATEVER REASON, then OF COURSE there is going to be withdrawal. Please don't really expect anyone to believe that because your use of methadone was somehow "sanctified" by using if for some medical condition, that you were excused from withdrawal? That makes ZERO SENSE!! Do you know why most people start using heroin, or abusing pain killers? Because OUR brains don't make enough serotonin! Yes, I tried antidepressants, but they didn't work. What worked? Well, those nice pills for my severe back pain! I felt so much better! Even when I had no more back pain, the pills helped me get through life, deal with things, feel alive. Lots of people who are presecribed antidepressants find they don't work. So, I found something that did. Then I was hooked. So now I take methadone and you know what? I am never ever ever high. I am normal. I feel OK. I feel sad, I feel happy, I feel tired, I feel energized, I feel happy/sad/whatever. Just like how I always had heard other people feel. And I NEVER did. I probably was born with depression, literally! Depression enhances and can even cause pain. So now...I take my little bit of methadone every day, I work, I work out, I enjoy my life like never before...all without being "high". It is just like taking blood pressure medication or insulin. This stuff keeps me alive. Also, after abusing RX drugs for so long, the brain needs time to heal, and guess what? Methadone allows the receptors to "recept"..meaning that 30% of the receptors are not affected and can start producing serotonin on their own again. So methadone allows the brain to heal itself. Please, someone, tell me the downside to any of this? I'd love to know.

 
At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Margaret said...

Last note to "Jane1"...you state that you are "...against the general use of methadone for chronic pain relief...". Please explain "general". Do you mean for a headache? Do you mean menstrual cramps monthly? You need to be more specific. Also, you seem to have had no problem with "...high levels of morphine..."!! So which is it? It's somehow OK to take high levels of morphine but not take a daily dose of methadone? Again, I just cannot get over the fact that you and your doctor felt that you would somehow, magically be excused from withdrawal from methadone because "...evidence indicate the use of this drug for illness rather than heroin withdrawal would lead to very few problems." Again, anyone who took 5 seconds to think about that would realize it makes no sense. The body does not differentiate between "illness" and "heroin withdrawal" if you are on a daily dose! Ah, the politics of drug addiction. YOU were hooked, but gee whiz...it's OK! It's not cuz I'm a scummy junkie! In case you can't tell, that makes me really mad. And, Jane, you should not suffer; why don't you see a methadone clinic and taper off? Or maybe not? If it helps you, then why not stay on it? Again, it's not noble to suffer. No brownie points awarded, I guarantee you. If methadone helps you live your life, then stay on it! Look at it like any other legitimate drug - because IT IS!! PRobably half the people at my clinic are there for pain management: lifetime pain management. But, if you think it's better to suffer, to go through agony, for something that to begin with, is not bad because YOU ARE NOT ABUSING IT...then feel free! Try thinking about methadone as you would insulin...you have a legitimate medical problem (severe pain); what do you do in order to live your life and enjoy it? You MANAGE your pain. HOW do you manage your pain? Well, with something safe, and proven effective, and that does not destroy your liver...c'mon. Wouldn't it be nice to feel better? Not high...just normal. Rethink your stance on methadone. Used properly, it is a miracle. I see it and live it every day. I am 50 years old and finally, am pain free. You are not going to be given any awards for suffering, THAT I guarantee you. Good luck, and be smart.

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often forget how many others there are just like me- and it's encouraging to read the (majority)of your experiences and I thank you for posting.
I suffer from chronic pain- the kind in my spine that cuts through my daily dosages of morphine and oxycodone and my new doctor in my new city told me yesterday that he wants to put me on methadone. At first I was like, whoa buddy.. but after he explained its benefits and I did my own investigating- I'm looking forward to trying this out. I am 41 with lumbar spinal stinosis and advanced degenerative disc disease, with a touch of sciatica and without pain medications I, like many of you, could not function. I have been on perc's, oxycontin, oxycodone and morphine sulfate 12 hr. I have tried diclofinac and other anti-inflammatory med's, but my situation has worsened to the point it's just bone-on-bone action. Also I've had cortisone injections, PT, nerve ablation therapy but the results do not last. Hang in there people, it's always darkest before the dawn!

 
At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to Margaret - studies have consistently shown (to the extent that it should be knowledge for all doctors) that the use of opioids in the management of severe pain dramatically reduces tolerance, addiction, "opioid high", withdrawals etc. (as opposed to identical dosing and use in the absence of pain).

In short, while opioids still may have their dangers, used in a controlled manner for a legitimate reason the problems are minimal.

 

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