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morphine (kadian, statex) tolerance?

johnnyjjohnny Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Medications
i got a diagnosis about 18 months ago ("disc abnormalities at l4 l5 & ddd at l5 s1", which i think means they really have no idea what the problem is) & due to the kind of 24-7 unrelenting pain most of you are familiar with, i'm on 50 mg kadian per day with up to 20 mg a day of statex for breakthrough pain.

that's not where i started. a year ago, i was getting pain relief from a single 10 mg statex pill when the pain got really bad. now, to achieve that same relief, i need the kadian every day as well as 20 mg statex. & i'm getting breakthrough pain again that lasts all day, which means i'm on my way back to my pain specialist to talk about--probably--increasing the kadian.

this tolerance effect is kinda scaring me. i'm not sure if the arc of my increasing dosage is "normal" & i'm wondering what others' tolerances have been like on morphine. how often did you need to increase your dosage? did this effect slow down once you got to a certain dosage? how high can a dosage go? do you worry about what you'll have to be taking in 5 years to get the pain relief you're getting now? i would really appreciate hearing from anyone else who is using morphine for their pain management, especially if you've been taking it for more than a couple of years & in higher dosages.

the other thing i'm wondering, have you heard of anything that can be taken with the morphine to slow down the tolerance effect? i seem to remember reading something about...potassium, maybe?...& wonder if anyone has any info about this. i'm still trying to research this, & if i find anything i'll be sure to add it as a follow-up to this post.

anyway--i'm getting good relief from the morphine, with pain generally at a 3 or 4 when it's well-managed, & i feel lucky to have it as an option. very few side-effects except pain in my fingers in the morning & the dreaded constipation. but i'm a bit freaked out that i have to take more to get the same pain management--i know that's normal, but i'm really hoping to hear from some of you with more experience & knowledge of kadian, avinza & statex.

thanks so much. these forums & all the posts over the years are an amazing resource.


  • First of all, I'm glad you have a doctor who is so obviously willing to work with you! Because I am young, I have so many problems but I've been with my doctor for a few years now so we have a pretty good relationship and he listens to me but sometimes it takes a while!

    I have developed a tolerance to several medicines and the curvature would probably vary from person to person as each person metabolizes and reacts differently to everything. But I've had to rotate my medicines several times due to me having been on them for a long time and them not working! I had been on Ultram ER 400mg for close to a year and after about 6 months it stopped working as well. I take Percocet for breakthrough but I'm still at a 5 every day, at the very least! So we are going to talk next week. But from my understanding, it is common to have to rotate medications to um, reduce your tolerance/give your body a break from one you have been on for a long time. Like I said, we have to do it with my muscle relaxers pretty often!

    Don't know if that helps, but there may be more people who can help you out with that! Good luck and wishing luck along with low pain days!
  • I've only been on MS Contin for a short while after switching from Fentanyl 100 mcg. I grown tolerant to it after taking it a year and a half; I did start at 25mcg. I probably should be taking more than 180 mg's of morphine but this initial dose was calculated in order to avoid getting too much at first. Gradually it can be increased once my doctor sees I'm doing fine with it. So far I've had no side effects other than feeling a bit drowsy and constipation hasn't been an issue. I also grown tolerant to Norco after taking it for 3 years and went on to Oxycodone after that.

    What is Statex? I never heard of this medication.
  • I had to go to the Dr several times and get the MS contin increased from 1 - 30mg a day to 2 times a day and now I take 30mg 4X/day. I don't do much though and haven't worked since 16 months ago. I still have pain though my Dr says she won't increase it. I'm trying cymbalta also and see if that helps the sciatica. My heating pad helps whenever I'm sitting. Good luck with your meds and injections if you've had them yet. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Johnny,
    I take avinza 90mg (which i believe is pretty much the same thing as kadian). I started out on 30mg and then went to 60 about 2 months later then to 90mg about 4 months after that. The next dose is 120. I also take percocet for breakthrough pain but every other month the percocet is switched to hydrocodone. I was on the hydrocodone for about 2 years and it seemed to just stop working so my pm doctor decided that every month or two to rotate the percocet and the hydrocodone to try and help my body not become so "adjusted" to one med. Wish you the best of luck.
  • I took ms-contin 15mg 2x/day for 1 month and then increased to 30mg 2x/day and that seemed to do about as much as the 15 so I switched to 40mg of oxycontin 3x day and have GREAT pain relief. You can talk to your PM about maybe changing meds instead of just increasing the morphine as some meds work better for some people than others.

    I also take 4-6 5mg hydrocodone a day for BT which may need to be adjusted because its not doing quite as much as I would like when BT pain comes on.

    But as long as your not nodding off constantly there is little danger in increasing your dose. I have a friend who has been on pain meds for 5 years and now takes 180mg of ms-contin per day and 180mg oxycodone IR for BT everyday. Opiates are quite non-toxic as long as you have the proper tolerance for the dose you are taking.

    Wish you the best of luck with your pain!

  • fancypants:

    thanks for the reply. what i hear you saying is that part of the process of using painkillers is switching meds to avoid the issues that arise from taking any one med for too long--yes?

    once i wrap my head around it, that makes sense. bleh to change--especially since the kadian is working--but i can stretch a little to handle that. so i guess what that means is that there maybe is no such thing as a person who's been taking morphine for years, because that's a situation that both client & dr would try to avoid. interesting.

    thanks so much for your reply!! i hope you're doing well today & more of the same for tomorrow! :)

  • meydey321:

    statex is morphine sulphate. i take it for breakthrough pain, opposed to the kadian which is also morphine, but slow release.

    when you say you're taking 180 mg's of morphine, are you referring to the ms contin? i didn't think that was morphine--now i know. so you take 180 mgs a day?--did i get that right? i'm at 50 mgs with the kadian, so i guess that means i have at least a bit more room to increase.

    i actually booked an appointment with my pain specialist for next tues to talk about the breakthrough pain, so i'll followup then too & let people know what happened.

    it's really good to hear what other peoples' experiences have been with pain mediation. thanks again for your reply.

  • Hello Johny -

    I myself take 60mg's of Kadian daily, along with Roxicet (Oxycodone) 5/325's for break-through but I also take Lyrica 100mg's a day for nerve pain...and I believe the Lyrica to be my "ace in the hole" that has kept me from needing higher doses of the others as time has gone by.

    It might be something to ask your Doc about and as for me, adding it to my daily regimen had provided the right combination of meds to keep my pain under control...20 to 30% less than what it would otherwise be.

    Take care and all the best to ya -


  • charry:

    i'm trying to get through this breakthrough pain without taking more meds until i see my doc, so my heating pad is my new best friend.

    it sounds like our trajectories on morphine are similar. thanks for the reply--it's just good to get a sense of what's potentially ahead for me.
  • cj062373:

    thanks for the reply. my back's flaring up from computer time so i'm going to bail until tomorrow, but i really appreciate you taking the time to reply. i'm getting the sense my experience is fairly "normal".

    i'm keeping a pain journal now so i think that's going to help a lot with my visit to my pain dr next week.

    take care.
  • Yes, I take 180mgs of MS Contin a day- 60mg every 8 hours (3 pills a day). It's a low dose for me since I switched from 100mcg of Fentanyl. I'll be having a morphine pump permanently implanted soon in order to get back some quality of life. I'm in constant pain all the time and my meds help make it bearable. I just lay in bed with ice packs and take my meds- that's my everyday life. I'm allowed 6 oxycodone/apaps a day for breakthru pain.
  • meydey321:

    i'm amazed at your emotional & mental strength--to be where you're at pain-wise & yet be on here helping other people out.

    thanks again for your feedback.

    the morphine pump sounds like it will provide some welcome relief--congrats on being on a path toward reduced pain.

    i'm thinking of you & wishing for the best for you!!
  • You just made my day; you're so kind O:) I hope your appt goes well next Tuesday.

  • meydey321

    you get what you give!!!! :)

  • everyone:

    thanks for your replies. my back is driving me crazy today & i'm still trying to allot part of my computer time to researching co-meds (to take with morphine to slow down the tolerance effect), so i'll just say thankyou to all who replied for sharing your experience & knowledge & leave it at that. it's really helped me alot.

    & if i find any interesting material re co-meds i'll be sure to post it.

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