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tramadol for rheumatoid arthritis
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tramadol for rheumatoid arthritis

Hi there, I have been surfing the net, trying to find information about Tramadol, and just cant figure out what's true and what isn't. It almost seems like there are two very different drugs being distributed, both with the same name.

I have rheumatoid arthritis, just diagnosed 3 months ago. Im still waiting for an appointment with a rheumatologist, and being treated by my GP in the meantime.

My life has changed so much in the past 3 months, and NOT for the better! I am a complete basket case, desperate for something to give me some semblance of the quality of life I had before.

My doc put me off work quite early in this story, first telling me I needed complete bed rest, and then saying I needed to go on disability and really think about what I want to do for work from now on. My current occupation (welder) was out of the question, and I should resign myself to a more sedentary occupation/lifestyle. Ouch

I hurt so bad for so much of the day (and night). Nothing he has prescribed has helped one iota. The Tylenol 3's? Heck, I take so many of them, they GIVE me a headache!!Anti-inflammatories did absolutely nothing except cause me some pretty severe stomache pain. Doc gave me some prescription-strength gravol, which I found would also help me sleep. When I told him that, he stopped prescribing them, and gave me some apo-omeprazole to take before bed instead. I found out that it was an anti-depressant, and was reluctant to take them. I had a boyfriend who took anti-depressants, and whent completely psychotic when he stopped. I wasn't depressed, and didnt wanna be stuck taking them forever.I asked the doc to give me some diazepam or something. I had taken them for 3 or 4 years occasionally, and they did the trick.

He refused. Said that I may become addicted to them, and to trust him about the apo- thingy's.  I begged for something else for the pain, T3's were a joke. He gave me gabapentin. Said that he didnt want to give me any kind of narcotic, because he didnt want me addicted to them. Whatever, I thought. Just give me something that WORKS!  They did take a bit of pain away. |But I had to keep increasing the dosage to get any relief. I told that to the doc, and he discontinued them. (sigh)

Last week, my fiance and I ( he always comes with me, he is amazingly supportive and my best advocate) went to my appointment. Again I begged him for something, anything to help. I am a 40 yr old woman, with the quality of life of an 80 year old. I am exhausted, sluggish, hobbling around. Feeling so discouraged and hopeless. He again said he didnt want to give me any narcotic, as he didnt want me addicted to a drug for the rest of my life.

I said, "I really dont care if I'm addicted or not. If they take away the pain, I WANT them!!" He did not agree. Gave me tramadol. I have been taking them for almost a week, and  more than he prescribed. (They are actually Tramacet, same as the tramadol, but not the time release.) |They do help. Not enough for me to, say, go back to work. But I can get myself showered, fill the coffee pot without my elbows attacking me, and walk down the stairs by about noon.

Oh, how low my expectations have become.

Here's my question. If I have a chronic disease, not terminal, mind you, but  a painful condition that will be with me for the rest of my life, why the h*** shouldn't I be given something that actually works, and allows me to be a productive member of society? I dont understand and I am so frustrated!!

I am getting depressed, I can tell. (how ironic is that?!!) I tear up at the drop of a hat, I mope around, and the thought of spending the rest of my life like this horrifies me.

Am I not the textbook example of a perfect candidate for pain medication? And if he's so worried about me getting addicted, why would he put me on tramadol, which, from what I have read, is as if not more addictive than narcotic medication., and don't work half as well!!!

Am I missing something here? Can anybody here help me figure this out? What should I do?

(man, I am so sorry for rambling like this...I really need to make some friends...lol)
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Avatar_f_tn
Most people on here started taking pain meds for some type of pain and developed a dependency to them and increased the dose and then the addiction can sneak up on you so fast. It is hard to suffer everyday and to be in pain and yes it can make you very depressed. We are all addicts here trying to stay clean and supporting each other to lead lives with out drugs. Some people can take narcotics and put them down when they do not need them but that is not the case for us here. Have you looked at forums for people suffering from RA? They might could help you out on what helps them for pain. Hope you find relief for your pain.
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737030_tn?1257662720
Thank you. I apologize for my posting here. After I finished posting, I did realize that it was inappropriate. I gotta say, though. Completely turned off the tramadol.

One more question; seems like the majority of you guys (gals) have some degree of pain in your day-to-day lives. How do you deal with it? What do you do? There has to be something. No way should a person live like this in the 21st century.
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Avatar_f_tn
You do not have to apologize for posting, you are in pain and looking for help. I just take Advil or Tylenol for my pain. I try to exercise also. You may be a person that can take pain meds and not develope a addiction to it. Hopefully when you see the specialist you will get better help with pain control. I have a friend with RA and at 18 she was on disability and she has gone thru several surgeries for knees, hips. She lives in constant pain and takes pain meds as needed, steroids. I worked in a clinic and we did Remicade infusions for several RA patients and many seemed to have some relief from it. can be very painful and I hope you find the best treatment for you. Best of luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I suffer from Arthritis and have taken both vicodins and tramadol.  They dont really take away the pain -- just muddle up your circuits so you dont care as much.  My doctor says "that's why they're called narcotics"...lol

My rheumatoligist recommended that I try Enbrel or Remicade and I told him I didnt think I could afford it.  He told me to ask how much it would cost me at the pharmacy when I left.  So I did and the pharmacist said the Enbrel was $1350 per month and the Remicade $2700.  Then I said -- well how much for those pain pills he prescribed and she said $21.00.  I replied: "  I'LL TAKE THE PAIN PILLS PLEASE "

Later, after being encouraged by an aquaintance that suffers from Ankylosing Spondylistis ( and has a narcotic pump implanted in his abdomen) I contacted the drug company that makes Enbrel to see about assistance and they provided some to get me started.

I really didnt want to start - because they are injections and they are VERY expensive -- but I have to tell you I consider it a MIRACLE DRUG.  I have a huge increase in my range of motion and phiysical stamina.  I am not chronically fatigued every day.  AND -- while I havent thrown away my vicodins --- I rarely take them.  Sometimes when I do a lot of work or physical activity I will take a 1/2 or maybe a whole 5/500 but generally not more than 1 per day.

I think that perhaps I didnt give my shot properly the other day because I have had more stiffness than usual and yesterday I took 1/2 a tramadol.  I feel better today though.

Bottom Line:  I would ask your doctor if he thinks one of the new biologic medications: Enbrel, Remicade, Humira - might work for you.

Alll the best
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation.....I do not have a lot of advise to offer in regards to other options but I wanted to share my experience with Tramadol.

I once had severe withdrawals from Hydrocodone following a back injury.  Last year I suffered a compression fracture in the same area in my back.  I was terrified of being put on another narcotic and was told Tramadol was the answer.  The first few weeks were great....I quickly became tolerant to the medication and was taking 10 - 12 50mg tabs per day.  I went on a cruise with my family and suffered from the first seizure in my life.  I spent two days of my cruise in the basement infirmary.  After recovering from the seizure, my blood pressure was dangerously high for 24 hours afterward.  I was assured by that dr that my seizure was most likely from the heat and dehydration.

After returning home I began having 2 or 3 seizures a week.  The neurologist immediately made the connection with the Tramadol as seizures are very common with higher doses.  Although I was taking a lot, it was not more than the approved dose per day.  I immediately stopped the Tramdol and the withdrawals were hellish!  Worse than the withdrawals from Hydro.  I even decided to go back on the Tramadol and wean off.  Luckily I found out about Suboxone and went that route.  

Also, after the first few weeks of Tramadol, I had horrible side effects.  I was constantly nauseated and just felt like i had no quality of life.  

I suppose my advice is to not get caught up in the false security of Tramadol not being a narcotic.  In fact, I just read that some states have now made it a scheduled narcotic.  If you are not satisfied with options your doctor offers, it is worth finding someone that will listen and help find feasible options for you.

Best of luck and feel free to contact me should you have other questions.....

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