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Kadian Question

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Pain Medications
Hello! I was googling my wierd dreams issues, and this forum popped up. It seems like a really good resource!

I have a question...I have to wait until Wens to call my pain management Dr, as he's out of the office Mon/Tues this week (boo!). Some background, I have Osteoarthrits, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and suffer some pretty severe hand/foot/knee pain. I'm a former athlete, so I have a really high tolerance for pain. But a couple years ago what I thought were just general aches and pains turned into something far worse! Luckily, after nearly 2 years of utter hell, I found got the right combination of Drs and medications (thank the lord!). I also have Ehlers-Danlos type 3. (wierd flexy joints. not quite double jointed, but very nearly) I've also had really bad migraines ever since I was a child (7 or 8, I can't remember).

For the past 9 months I've been on Kadian with Percocet for break-thru (Oxycodone seems to be the best for pain relief for me, but I have been REALLY hesitant to jump on the Oxycontin bandwagon....hence my various jumps from MS Contin, the 2 months of pure HELL on OpanaER, and then Kadian last spring). I've been pretty happy with it...I don't get the nausea that other meds have given me, and it provides a 23-hr pain control for me (I take it every 24hrs, instead of every 12. On really bad days, I do take one in the middle of the day, but that is usually when I'm in the middle of a flare, or a really bad weather change), and my insurance is really great about covering is. I only have a $10 co-pay for it, my Dr wrote them saying MsContin wasn't right, and yadda yadda...so they took the formulary co-pay off. Yay! So, it's great for that reason too. (I spent close to 7k on prescriptions before we got the right combo)


In the past couple of months I've been having this HORRIBLE dreams. I already have very vivid dreams (always have), but these really take the cake!! Sleep parayalasis, racing heart beat, feeling of suffocation, etc. I've been able to handle it pretty well, until last night.

*side note...I have not changed my doseage OR any other medication in the past 6 months. Also, yesterday was a one-dose day. I just took it in the morning at 7am. My dreams started about an hour after I went to bed....so 2pm-ish. I gave up by 4am and just got up. I couldn't shake them.

I woke up screaming my head off (woke up my children!), yet I could not move, period. I has this sense of these black evil-spirit like shadows hovering over me, and I really felt like they were holding a pillow over my face, trying to smother me. I had to slowly talk myself out of the dream, and try to meditate to control my breathing, to keep it going. I really thought I was going to die or something. And it was SO real. I'm not sure if it was all a dream (including the trouble breathing), or it sort of happened (not the spirits flying around, or the pillow), it was SO freaky. I was too terrified to go back to sleep!! (and sleep is something I need, or I really struggle. Not enough sleep sends me into a flare each and every time)

I'm really freaking out about this...I'm SO exhausted tonight, and yet I'm scared to death to go to bed. I only took a half dose of my medication today, and didn't take anything for breakthrough pain, took the bare minimum to be able to actually function, simply because I am terrified for tonight when I go to bed!!

Is this normal? or a really BAD side effect? Do I have anything to worry about?? I did call the after-hours this morning at a semi-decent hour, but the Dr on-call said he couldn't comment on my situation because he wasn't familiar with my medical history (and alot of Drs hear the Ehlers-Danlos, and they don't want to get NEAR me. Or they want to turn me into a science experiment), and MY Dr is out of the country. (and as much as I am worried, I can't bring myself to bother him on his anniversary trip!!! I helped plan the trip...I would feel awful bothering him...especially since it's the first time they have been away in 15 years. Anyway. I know. I should get over it!!)

Then my other question is....if they decide to take me off the Kadian, whats next? Opana was a NIGHTMARE (didn't do a thing for my pain, and we doubled the dose compared to my Kadian!), MsContin only works for 6hrs for me (and my insurance won't cover more than 2 a day). I'm REALLY hesitant to switch to Oxycontin, and I'm not sure how I feel about those patch thingies. *sigh* I can deal with the dreams, but not if they are like last night. That scared me...what made it worse was the fact that my husband is currently on the other side of the world. What if I stop breathing???

Sorry for the long post, and I appreciate any thoughts on this matter. I just have a business to run, small kids who need to be in school in the mornings, and I cannot spend all day napping because I couldn't sleep the night before. Not to mention, I'm really scared to nap!!! I also can't quit taking anything completely cold turkey, so I HAVE to still take it.

Talk about a being stuck between a rock and a hard place!



  • unfortunately nightmares are one of the unpleasant side effects of many pain meds. I, too had to try many different drugs before I found the right cocktail to manage my pain. I also experience dry mouth to the point of waking up 2 or 3 times a night in need of some serious ice water. I'll still take the side effects anyday if it helps me live a better life.
  • I've had dreams like those. usually on the older tricyclics I take or have taken. Since you cut your dose in half I'd see what that does and how you manage. Maybe try taking it at breakfast so it is at its lowest levels in the night? Perhaps if you can hold out till your doctor returns he will have a better suggestion. I would be hesitant to change the pain med if it works. Maybe he will add a sleep aid to put you a little farther into your sleep pattern to see if that helps?
    The last time I had these issues I convinced myself it was OK and I treated them like going to the movies! Stupid I know, but it worked! I would go to bed thinking, "hmmm, I wonder what will be playing tonight" Not easy with nightmares, but hey any port in a storm!
    What about caffiene? Has your intake of that changed? It will rev up your mind and the pain med puts you to sleep. My theory is your mind gets bored so it does something while you are asleep?
    I hope some or any of this helps! I will say you are not alone! I once laid in bed beside my wife while she slept and cried because of one of those dreams. Scared the living soul out of me! I was sitting in a recliner rocking my 6 month old son and dozed off. I did not drop him, but it was so vivid I saw images outside one of our windows after I woke up! Had to be a dream as it was a second story window!
  • I had the same exact experience with Kadian. My husband would have to shake me to wake me up. I would be screaming. I knew I was in a dream but couldnt come out of it and it was like Devil-demon stuff which scares me. I would wake up with pounding heart feeling like a heartattack. It was aweful. It also took about 2 weeks to get out of my system after I stopped taking it.
  • I did not know about Kadian! That's a whole other level if someone has to wake you up from it! I'd be on the phone getting some advice!
  • I'm on Fentanyl patches and I do get those night terrors sometimes. My husband is used to me slapping and punching and he is such a trooper about it. I too had the black mist coming at me dream and was so real because I thought I was awake looking at the bedroom. I guess I screamed because I woke up clinging to my husband and he was saying "there, there..". Talk about freaky!

    Hi Lys, have you tried Fentanyl patches? It is 80 times stronger than morphine and it is available in generic form. I only pay $10.00 for 15 patches. The normal schedule is 1 patch every 3 days (10 patches per month) but my doctor writes mine for 2 days because it wears off faster for me. Some people just metabolize it quicker than others. I like it because I don't have to worry about taking pills, but I do need Norco for breakthrough pain. Another medicine you can try is Methadone; I heard it is very effective as well. The effectiveness of Opana is very controversial and there has been a lot of debate about it here. If you have to go off Kadian, I hope your doctor finds something that will work best for you. Take care
  • Sorry guys for not getting back to all of this sooner. My demon-children (I'm dreaming about them! hhahaha j/k) have been sleeping a TOTAL of about 3 hrs a night all week, so I'm just exhausted. Take into account that i've dropped half my dose in pain meds, and well, I'm a mess!! But with my husband halfway around the world (literatly!), I don't want to have another night with those wicked dreams!!

    To respond to some of the questions above..

    * Nope, I don't drink caffeine. It tends to make me jittery, which then makes my knees and ankles hurt more, because I can't sit still very well! The ONLY time I ever take it, is i will make myself a latte when I have a REALLY bad headache. I get wicked migraines, and I learned that "saving" caffeine for when I have them makes treating them more effective.

    * Haven't tried the patches, methadone, nor oxycontin. I am SUPER hesitatant to do the oxycontin route. THere's just SO much publicity about it right now, and the shortage, etc. Ugh, the thought of trying to track it down makes me stressed. Don't need more stress!!! Methadone...I don't know. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think I need more information. I think the patches may be a good way to go...we've been discussing them for the last 6 months....I've just been hesitant because I know they are SO much stronger. Plus I was doing really well on the Kadian, and then all of a sudden, bam! These dreams! (but I've always had crazy dreams)

    *dmoonchild YES! That is exacly how my dreams are....like black demons are circling around me...shoot I "wake up" (I think I think I'm awake, but I'm still asleep) some nights, and I can "see" them still there. I mean, I've ALWAYS had insane dreams, I remember my dreams from when I was 3 years old...but these have really taken the cake.

    I agree, having dreams like this, they aren't worth the trade off of daytime pain control. And since I've not been sleeping, *sigh* I don't know. We'll see what she says on Wens. I just hope if we DO change my meds, I can GET the script, because I'm leaving Wens afternoon, and i won't be back for 3wks! And I am stuck with whatever she gives me because there's no way I can just come home early this trip. I'm flying on an award ticket, so I'm stuck. lol

    Thanks everyone for the thoughts on this. I guess I'm glad I'm not the only one who's dealt with this...I don't feel like as much of a freak! It just stinks. I hate having to even be on these medications, but I also need to be able to be a mom. *sigh*

    I need to go sleep. I wish someone would start a store for moms to take their kids and take a nap. Like kids go in soundproof play area, and moms get to go sit in nice fluffy beds with soft blankets for an hour or two. I'd pay $100 for a 2-hr nap!! =)
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