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Methadone - Shortness of Breath...
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Methadone - Shortness of Breath...

I'm trying to figure out what's causing me to have an allergic reaction. Plainly something is but I don't know what. I started taking methadone on 9/15 around 9/24 or 9/25 I started itching then around 9/27 I started having to take deep breaths every 30 seconds or so (maybe longer but it seems like 30 seconds).

It's been that way ever since. I am also severely allergic to everything that grows in Idaho and I mean severely. Weed pollen is off the scale right now. So I don't know if it's the methadone or something else.

I'm self-employed and clients fly me out to see them. 2 weeks ago a client flew me to Kauai (Hawaii) and all my symptoms improved a lot (or seemed to) then upon getting back to Idaho they are hammering again. I have another client ( a brand new one ) flying me to Portland, OR on Monday. I'm really curious to see if symptoms improve again while I'm in Portland.

So my question is has anyone here taken Methadone and had a similar problem? Right now I'm taking 15Mg and I'm 30 days into Methadone exactly. I'm seriously bummed out as I have never, not ever had anything work this well for pain. I'm also worried that after 30 days I'm not going to be able to get off this drug very easily if methadone is the problem.

I'm really wondering how to figure this out. Is there a sure-fire way to see?
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82861_tn?1333457511
It's the methadone.  Any narcotic can cause itching and slowing of respiration.  It sounds like the dose is just a bit too high for you right now.  Over time, your body will adjust to it and these side effects will go away, but if they're interfering with your life right now, you likely need to lower the dosage.  Give your doctor a call about an appropriate dosage schedule that will help you ease up to a therapeutic level.
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547368_tn?1332173665
Hello Stricklyforpain,

I am sorry you are having problems. It's never any fun. I am glad you have found something that eases your pain. I don't want to disagree with Jaybay because she is a knowledgeable lady. And actually I am not but I am saying that I am not convinced it is an allergic reaction to Methadone.

I agree the dose may be too high. But again you should have had the symptoms before 10 or 11 days. You body should have been adjusting during those ten days. Here's my reasoning. If it is from the Methadone why would it improve when you traveled to another location?  And if you are going to have an allergic reaction it would not have taken ten days. It may take 24-48 hours but I have never heard of it taking 10 days. It is true that you can take an antibiotic periodically for years and develop an allergy the 20th time it is administered. But in your situation with methadone it is not likely, possible but not probable.

Bottom line as Jaybay suggested, discuss this with the physician that prescribed the methadone for you. He/she will have a better answer than I. Explain the symptoms just as you have here. It will be very interesting to hear how you do when you travel to Portland.

Please let us know how you are doing. I will be looking forward to your update. And as always, Take care, Tuck
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374225_tn?1269902862
You guys rock!!!

I needed some level heads to put my feet back on the ground. I am taking 15Mg 3 times a day. I think I'll cut back to 10 Mg and pray for relief. My doctor is totally AWESOME!!! I've left her a message and we've been together through thick and thin. I imagine she'll tell me the same thing. But I don't imagine I'll be doing anything wrong if I knock 5Mg off my dose.

Still I'll be careful. Thank you so much for the calm assertive reasoning that each of you used. I feel like a babe in the forest. I love the pain relief but honestly the rest of medication scares the chicken feathers right out of me.
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374225_tn?1269902862
Do you know of any way I can improve the difficulty breathing in the short term?
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547368_tn?1332173665
I know your question was to Jaybay so I hope you don't mind my input. If you are experiencing a reaction to the strength of the Methadone once you decrease the dose it should help the breathing.

My concern is if you are having that much of a breathing issue it should not go undiagnosed. You need to contact your physician today or tomorrow at the latest. I know this has been going on for sometime but she still needs to be made aware of it asap. I would hate to suggest any medications until you are seen by you PCP. If the SOA is a reaction from too high of a dose of Methadone adding or taking any additional medication could make the breathing even worse.

Do you take any medication for allergies or an inhaler? If you are on other medications they could be reacting with the methadone or they could potentiate its effect. If your breathing becomes a more serious issue you should not hesitate to call 911.

I'm sure Jaybay will be along shortly. If not you leave her a note or message on her profile page. Please let me know how you are doing and as always, Take Care, Tuck
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82861_tn?1333457511
Hey y'all, sorry I haven't been by in a couple of days.  I've been dealing with my own health issues and basically doing a lot of meditating on the couch.  LOL!

Tuck asked the same questions I do: do you have any underlying breathing issues like allergies, asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, etc.?  ANY narcotic pain medication will slow and interfere with respiration until your body adjusts to it.  

Case in point, my husband has severe asthma along with terrible sinuses.  In allergy season he occasionally needs to take vicodin for the pain.  It's quite a balancing act: either he treats the pain so he can work, or sacrifices his breathing ability.  If his condition gets bad enough, he gets out the nebulizer for a heavy-duty breathing treatment.  Add to that his sleep apnea and you've got a fairly dangerous problem.  I can't tell you how many times I've had to wake him up in the middle of the night because he hasn't taken a breath in nearly 2 full minutes.  

If you already have breathing issues, your pain doctor definitely needs to know about it.  You may only need a temporary inhaler to help you out while you get used to your pain med dose.  In the meantime, cutting your dose and slowly increasing increasing it to therapeutic levels is a great place to start.  

Try not to fall into the trap that so many chronic pain patients do - thinking that any medication will be a magic bullet that will take away all your pain.  Remember that the practice is called pain "management" not pain "removal."  There is only so much medicine can do to alleviate pain, and much is left up to the patient's mental ability to deal with it.  

If you haven't yet considered seeing a pain psychologist, give it a whirl.  There will always be times that no medication will get rid of your pain, and a pain shrink can help train you to deal with those times without having to go to an ER for relief.  After so many years of dealing with CP, I've been able to use self-hypnosis to keep me out of the ER or constantly begging for an increased dose of medication.  

Hope that helps a bit, and that you're doing better tapering up to your prescribed pain medication dose.  And thanks to Tuck for all the great info too!  :-)
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547368_tn?1332173665
Jaybay is correct and I'm sure you understand that if you have CP there are no magic pills to STOP the pain. I went to a PT and he asked me what my goal for PT was and I said, "Decrease pain and increase function." When I wrote that he and my PCP told me I have a great attitude. I didn't understand the compliment. So I asked and they both told me that so many patients expect there is some "magic" that will return them to pre-injury and take all the pain away. So that is what Jaybay is talking about and I'm sure you understand that also.

But you stated that the Methadone was really working well in controlling your CP. It sounds as through you are very active with your own business and not having an issue dealing with the flares or your CP. If in the future this becomes an issue I would also recommend a Pain Therapist. I developed methods on my own to deal with flares and "bad days."  So when I did see a Pain Therapist I did not find it beneficial.

Again please keep in touch and let us know how your breathing issues are doing. I'll be looking forward to your update. Take Care, Tuck
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374225_tn?1269902862
I figured out it was acid reflux. Crazy. The generic for prilosec fixed the problem almost instantly.
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374225_tn?1269902862
I wish I had the time to go into the stress I've been under. It's been pretty horrific. For the last 7 years there has been no break. We spent the first 3.5 keeping a child alive and the second 3.5 trying to keep our family alive and somehow keep up with the massive expenses and other setbacks a chronically ill child can place at your feet. Like I said, I wish I had more time. But the acid reflux from stress is the cause. I'm back to exercising to help with stress and so hopefully I'm better from it soon.
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374225_tn?1269902862
I have a pain therapist who will only see me so long as I have $4000 per injection to drop on his clinic. He made $8000 off me then sent me back to my GP. She is actually a doctor and is doing an outstanding and compassionate job at helping me. I'd be in a world of hurt without her. She knew about the trouble breathing when I posted here. I always try to match a doctor visit with a few questions here. More heads are better than one.
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