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Is there Safe Pain Medicine that substitutes Opiates?

I always thought that taking oxycodone for pain, real pain, is not addictive or dangerous for your health. What will a doctor prescribe for pain of fibromyalgia and back stenosis and cervical disc bulges?
8 Responses
495284 tn?1333897642
Hi~  Oxycodone is highly addictive,  I think the Pain Management forum would be better suited for your question as they are more in tune to the meds out there for chronic pain.  You will be taken good care of there.  I hope you find something that will be non addictive and you start feeling better~
1855076 tn?1337118903
There is a big difference between being addicted to something and being dependent.  Addiction is a complex disease.  Most chronic pain patients do not become addicted to their medications.

As to what a doctor would prescribe for your conditions is impossible to know.  There are many different kinds of doctors that manage pain patients: pain management doctors, primary care, orthopedic ... The list goes on.  And there are just as many medications and combinations of medications, both narcotics and non-narcotics.  There is also PT, OT, all kinds of treatments and therapies.

Everyone is different and what works for one person may very well not work on a different patient, even if they have the same condition.

If you gave us some more information, we could help you a bit more.  How long have you been dealing with chronic pain?  What have you tried up until now?  What kind of doctors have you seen?  What are you doing currently?  Are you looking to make a change in doctors or medications?

This is a great forum for support and knowledge, and there are many extremely knowledgeable people here that are really helpful with just about every topic under pain management.
Avatar universal
Marycarmel. Thank you so much for your comment. There is a huge difference between addiction and dependence. I'm a chronic pain patient and I do depend on my pain medication. If you are a true chronic pain patient the pain meds work on the pain and do not cause you to get "high". They're doing the job they were meant to do. When I first started taking them I did have some tiredness and dizziness but I didn't feel high.
To the original poster. Some people get relief with Lyrica.  There's also Cymbalta. Many people use it for depression but it can also help with Fibromialgia and back pain.
Talk to your Dr to find out what your options are other then pain medications. I mentioned two possibilities and there are other treatments that might help. Massage therapy, Chiropractic care, Acupuncture. Ask your Dr if these treatments would be an option for you.  
547368 tn?1440545385
Hello and Welcome.

It appears your post has been moved into our community. You've already received great suggestions from Remar and Mary - as always. More information from you would be helpful. There are other non-opiate pain relievers that may be beneficial to you. Most non-opiate pain medications are designed to treat different types of pain - knowing what kind of pain you are experiencing would be helpful.

Lyrica is often RX for neuropathic pain - which covers a wide variety of pain producing conditions but not all. Gabapentin is similar to Lyrica but less costly. I could list other meds but again it's dependent on the type of pain.

Opiates can be addictive - but the numbers are very small. The media would like to to believe that if you take an opiate you'll surely become an addict. There's huge money made in "treating" addicts - and sadly in treating dependency when physician abruptly stop appropriate pain management - but that's another story.  

I've taken some information from one of my journals. The entire journal can be viewed at the link below.


Journal:  It is true that many CP suffers, friends, family and unfortunately even the some physicians are fearful that ppl requiring opiates on a long-term basis will become addicted or addicts. Statistically the number is very low, around 4%. The rare few who do develop a problem with an addiction are often those that have a genetic predisposition to addiction. But as a result of this unfounded fear and "opioid-phobia,"  CP patients are often labeled as “drug seekers” and stigmatized for their use of opiate medications. Worst of all, our pain frequently remains under-treated or even untreated.

Addiction is a neurobiological disease that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. It is often characterized by one or more of the following behaviors:

Little or no control over the drug use
Compulsive narcotic (opiate) use
Continued use of the narcotic (opiate) regardless of physical, mental and/or social harm
Taking narcotics (opiates) more frequently or a higher dose than prescribed
Doctor shopping
Ingesting drugs in ways other than directed
Frequent reports of prescriptions being lost or stolen.
A deep craving for the drug
Using multiple pharmacies to fill narcotic (opiate) prescriptions

People that are dependent on opiates to control their chronic pain will not exhibit the above behaviors. However don't confuse true addiction with pseudo-addiction. Pseudo-addiction may occur when CP is not being treated adequately. At those times a CP patient's behavior can border those of an addict. When one is desperate for pain relief we may become clock watchers, waiting for the time we can take that next dose. We may panic at the thought that when our prescription requires it's regular refill the physician is out of town or unavailable. These may appear like drug seeking behaviors when in all actuality they are not. The difference between pseudo-addiction and true addiction is in part that these behaviors stop when pain is effectively treated.  

Physical Dependence is our systems adaptation to a narcotic (opiate). Our body becomes accustomed to regular doses of a certain opiate.  If the narcotic is abruptly discontinued we experience withdrawal symptoms. This occurs with those that are true addicts as well as those that are dependent on narcotics for pain control. Our body can make no distinction and we experience withdrawal. There are medications that are not narcotics that the withdrawal process will also occur if they are abruptly discontinued. They include steroids, antidepressants and beta blockers.
Chronic pain is a disease. So please my fellow chronic pain sufferers don't be so hard on yourselves. If you require opiates to control your pain, you are not an addict. If you take your pain medications as prescribed for your CP, you are not an addict. We are dependent. There is no shame in dependency.      

Avatar universal
I agree with your opinion ...but most think if you take opiods ..u r an addict and need rehab to get free from these drive drugs...I'm on them and I have to hide it because I'm an admin of a group that's getting people off heroin and pain pills.. I was chosen because I asked...when the main admin wanted help...now here I am.. an admin to get people clean and I'm on fentanyl ..percocet and SOMA ..lyrica and other meds...I have multiple sclerosis and fibro ...what do I do? ..
1855076 tn?1337118903
Tuck, I'm so glad you mentioned pseudo addiction.  I'm not sure how many suffer with it, and I suppose it's easy for it to be mistaken for addiction, though I think there are subtle differences between the two.  I imagine its very frustrating to a patient that had it.

After one of my hand surgeries my pain was so out of control.  They had increased my normal pain medication dose a bit to cover the pain from the surgery.  When my nerve block wore off I was in agony even though in PACU they gave me the increased dose before I left so this wouldn't happen.

I'm not someone who would increase the meds without my doctor telling me to.  I'd was too afraid of overdose and doing something that would void my pain contract.  So I called my pain management doctor who was managing the pain, even the post surgery pain.

I explained everything and she told me to double the dose snd call her in two hours.  Still no relief.  I call her in two hours and she decided to add in a different narcotic.  I had to get someone to go get the script, have them go to the pharmacy and  then bring it to me.  By then I was ready to chop my arm off.  But it did the trick.  I only needed the extra medication for a few days.

I imagine that's similar to how someone with pseudo addiction would feel -- though their doctor isn't as responsive as mine wss -- feeling totally desperate and in so much pain that you can't take its.  No other modalities are helping -- ice, ibuprofen, elevating the limb -- and you can't even think or distract yourself because the pain has escalated bro where it just takes over..

America, your right, a lot of people think you're an addict when you take pain meds.  I've encountered this problem with my sister who knows nothing about chronic pain.  I had even offered to let her come to an appointment to talk to the doctor and she could ask questions but she wasn't interested.  Though it's interesting to me that she has the nerve to ask me for pain meds when she had an abscessed tooth one night and didn't want to go to the ER.  I told her I didn't have any.

I don't think you can't help addicts just because you're on pain meds.  Your supervisor doesn't need to know.  Unless you have mandatory drug screens for employment, though as long as you have a legitimate prescription.
547368 tn?1440545385
Amerika8465 - The response to your question, "what do I do?"  You keep doing what you are doing - helping ppl. I agree with Mary.

How can the fact that you have Chronic Pain that requires opiate therapy disqualify you from helping true addicts? It can't. Obviously if you were an addict then your work would be hypocritical - and I'd question how effective you could actually be. That's not the case.

HIPPA law precludes your employer from even knowing your DX or medications. There are exceptions that an employer has the right to know about drugs that may impair you or put yourself or colleagues at risk.  Some of those exceptions include if you had to drive as a part of your job or you were operating heavy equipment. Other than those types of situations you are guaranteed privacy - and need not tell anyone.

I bet you are good at what you do - or you wouldn't have the position. Remember you are not an addict. There is nothing to feel guilty about and no need to apologize.

You're correct in that society seems to think if you require opiate therapy to management your pain - you're an addict. Ignore them my dear. They are media brainwashed and never hear the other side of the coin. Ppl in general are uneducated or ignorant when it comes to Chronic Pain (CP).

The Pill Mills, Addicts, Sellers and Recreational Drug Users have tarnished every CP patients reputation. We are labeled. I hope it brings you some comfort to know that there are Physicians, Pharmacists and several Chronic Pain Societies that are fighting to change things for us. I don't know how long it will take to swing the pendulum back, at least a bit - but I am hopeful it'll come.

Hang in there our friend in pain.


547368 tn?1440545385
I've been in the same situation post-op that you were in - however I was in the hospital and they did listen. It's frightening. I'm glad your physician listened to you also.

Pseudo addiction can apply to any of us that suddenly find ourselves in a situation that were are no longer being prescribed our pain managing opiates. We hear it here most every week. It often occurs when someone has been unexpectedly discharged from their PMP and are panic stricken.

Chronic Pain can be blinding. If not recognized and properly treated it can destroy lives and lead to an early death - just as addiction can do - but obviously not for the same reasons.

Even the FDA.gov website says this:
Pattern of drug seeking behavior of pain patients receiving inadequate pain management that can be mistaken for addiction
        Cravings and aberrant behavior
        Concerns about availability
        Unsanctioned dose escalation

    Resolves with reestablishing analgesia

It's recognized - just not acknowledged adequately by physicians. It's an on-going challenge to get government and physicians to admit that opiate therapy is a needed and beneficial therapy. The percentages of chronic pain patients that ever become addicted is tiny 4% or less. The media (and some medical providers) would like us to believe it's the opposite.

We all have to stick together. We have to provide support, guidance, education and understanding to all Chronic Pain patients - and anyone else who will listen.

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