Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Hasn't everyone at some point ran out or short on their medication?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Pain Medications
This also made me wonder based on a post from below. Hasn't everyone at some point and time ran low, or out of their pain meds?
I don't think it's terribly unusual to happen occasionally. I know I have done it and had to call my doc and see if she would see me a day or two early. She used to do that, but now she is much stricter with patients. I only did that twice I think in the last 3 or 4 years, but still.
My problem is that I take my medication and it is awesome for 4 hours. Then I have a 2 hour wait before the next dose. Well, if I'm camping, or it used to be riding my horse or whatever, I'd be in agony in about an hour, say screw it and take another one. I found this usually happened during camping trips or traveling because I DON'T want to miss anything!!!
I haven't done it for a while because obviously, hence my whining and crying below I can't ride anymore... But, I think it happens sometimes.
I am much more careful these days, but like this past weekend was hideous for me, so yes I took a couple extra so I'll be short some during the week till I see her Thursday, but what are ya gonna do.. The good news is, I talked to her this morn and told her my situation, which she wasn't too pleased with, but also how awful I have been feeling, etc., she said she would review my chart before Thursday and she said she thinks she would be able to up me one pill a day. That would be so awesome! That would really take the burn and sting out of a huge part of the day. Wish me luck and as usual - Thank You all so much for listening! Marion


  • Hi Mouse - [Short acting meds - are not useful for chronic pain - they peak and dive too quick]

    No -I dont run out - never early -If I am getting close to running out, I am on too few and start documenting this for addressing with my Dr. - I am on long acting meds, Extended Release. And they will normally last for 9 to 12 hours. The Instant Release are for Break Through pain and they handle those times when I have a pain peak that needs dropping. I take small doses and can take them up to 9 times per day. Over the years that I have been on these, I know what is a 1 pill or 2 pill pain and then I evaluate the issue[in 60 to 90 minutes] and add as needed.

    As for the ER meds - I have 2 doses per day and a 1/2 dose - that I can also decide when to add it, because it allows me to use it during a really active day.

    I dont' run out, because I use them up as prescribed and needed. I have had 2 years though that I wound up in Emer Room because the Dr never prescribed my meds for HIS VACATION. The guy in charge of the ER - sent a nasty gram to him, so this year, I had my meds for the whole month that he was gone.

    Chronic pain needs a slow release med - they allow you to have the bottom of the pain drop out and for me, I just notice the pain drop in a multiple of levels. If that is enough, I don't care, the rest of the daily BT meds is saved and ands to the lenght between refills.

    You don't want to get red flagged. That is picking up meds early or running out and looking for them. That really tips off the Dr's that you have a problem. On the other hand - you do need to make sure that you have enough meds for an extra day or so, just in case!
  • My doc did talk to me about putting me on a once or twice a day timed release morphine pill. I am worried about it because in the ER or after surgeries, morphine has never worked for me. I am still in excrutiating pain and they have to change me to lortab or percocett to control it. I am also worried that it might make me goofy. I wondered if it might be a good idea to get a prescription for two of them or something to try over the weekend and see how they make me feel. I have to be able to drive to work by 6:30 every morning and not be groggy, or drowsy and be able to function at work. That is why I like the lortab, it doesn't do anything except get rid of the pain - for a while.. The interim is hell tho. I'm not sure what to do or try. May I ask if that is what you take, the morphine timed release and how it makes you feel? Thanks - Marion
  • I've never run out of meds either. I've had days where I've taken an extra pill, but there are also days when I don't need as many as prescribed.

    It's also in my surgeon's medication contract that you should call in a refill one week in advance to make sure you get your refill when needed - this gives THEM the extra time they might need. But, by now, my surgeon's office refills within one to two days whenever I reorder anyway, even if I don't need my refill until the following week.

  • I am on them- have been for 3.5 years and in my work, I cannot be "goofy" anytime. That is just a preconceived notion that does not exist for those of us who are on them long term, and take the meds in response to the pain. I am not pain-free - just pain reduced!

    Now the short acting that you are on do have those tendancies and that hit is what the brain gets hooked on.

    On the ER meds- there is no "buzz" the pain just drops off to a level that it is not the first thing on my mind.

    I drive and I have asked the police to check me, while on meds and I asked them to check me when I was in pain, no meds. The police adviced me to take my meds and keep my prescriptions with me. They told me not to drive when I was in that much pain. I could not concentrate on it. So I don't drive when I am in a lot of pain.

    Just my experience! and My humble opinion!
  • Me running out of meds is not a option. I can't even get out of bed without them. The meds just reduce the level of pain and don't take it away. There is absolutely no way I would put myself in jeopardy of doing this. I hate the ER and being out for a day is where i would be. No matter how you look at it, it is my responsibility to get them in time. I use them daily and anyone who needs them this badly wouldn't let that happen. I thing the doctors think along the same lines as well. If you need them so badly you wouldn't let yourself run out of them. The doctors trust you to take them the way they are prescribed. If it is not enough don't wait till your next appointment call them and say this pain is so bad can i take a extra one and move my appointment up. This is not something you do on your own and ask for forgiveness later.

    If you have issues with the morphine get the chart notes from the hospital. Someone had to order the different meds, so it is in the chart notes. Take those charts notes to the doctors. Let them make the decisions with the facts in front of them.
  • I have never ever run out of my meds, other than immediately post op when only a few days worth of meds were prescribed. All that was required to get more was a call to the doctor's office and then my hubby picked up a script. For chronic pain meds, doctors typically prescribe enough for their patients to make it through to the next appointment. If one is running out, either the doc didn't do the math correctly or the patient isn't taking them as prescribed.

    Mouse, try researching morphine compared with Morphine ER. Straight morphine given in the hospital reacts completely different than the extended release version. I agree with tamtam that if you are wary of taking it, get your records from the previous reaction and discuss it with your doctor. I'm inclined to trust my doctor, and if he/she recommends that I try something, I am open to their suggestions.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Never have.

    Pain management is a combined effort between the patient and the doc. I am just as responsible for making certain I follow the doctors orders as the doc is responsible for treating me. When a prescription is written, it is a written order from the doc. No variation unless specifically ok'd by the doc and a new prescription order written.

    If I deviate from the written prescription then I am being irresponsible and in some regard negligent in my own care. If the current prescription is not enough to manage my pain levels, it is my responsibility to inform the doc and discuss the next step.

  • I have never run out of meds or taken more than I was prescribed. No matter how much pain I am in, if I need an "extra" dose, I call my doctor and ask him. If he says yes, I take it, if not, then I don't. I value the relationship that I have built with my PM too much to throw it away because I decided not to make a phone call. Most PM's will return a phone call from a patient in pain, regarding their meds if it is not an often occuring thing.
    I've been in pain management on and off for 12 years or more and have never found myself running out or needing early refills.
    It's a simple thing, if you are in that much pain, call your doctor. Ask him what to do....
    And those posters who said that the ER meds don't make you loopy are correct. They manage a baseline amount of pain. If you are in more than that, that's what breakthrough meds are for.
  • I will do some research on the morphine. I have done a little, but mostly reading blogs from others. A lot of them said the timed release stuff made them feel loopy or euphoric, neither of which I want to feel. I just want to feel like me, but with less pain. Lortab has never made me feel different, but way back when I started taking it, I stupidly had told a few people at work that my doc put me on it for pain. I was shocked that a few people at work actually asked me if i wanted to sell some. I really didn't know it gave people a buzz until I asked my doc about it, who was pretty annoyed and told me I should be turning those people in since I work for the gov. I didn't, but it was a wierd experience. I agree with what everyone is saying about being responsible with your medication. Sometimes however, the pain is just too big in between and I can't stand it. I have to tamper it down to coals or I'll go insane. Maybe it would be better to try the other and see if it works better. I used to be pretty busy, and even tho I cannot ride my boy anymore, I do have to care for him, and he lives like a king! He is always clean and his barn is clean so he can lay down comfortably every night and sleep. He is also getting arthritis from all the years we used to jump. Man, we had such fun! Me and Blitz were in perfect sinc and he loved it as much as i do. I never had to use the reins, or even cue him, he could just feel what I wanted and he'd take off and it was amazing! well, until that last jump when I landed wrong in the saddle. He knew that too and stopped immediately. I swear we have ESP. Years ago when he was only 3, my neighbor boys shot him (they are both in prison now - as they should be) but Blitz was sick for two years and had surgery after surgery. Normally if I was taking him up to the mountains, as soon as I hooked up the horse trailer, he'd be standing at the gate going nuts cuz he couldn't wait to get in and go. He also knew somehow when I was hooking up the trailer to take him to the vet for more tests, or whatever and he never ran, but wasn't nearly excited to go. I remember once when he was having abcesses surgically drained and the vet had numbed his chest up and he just tucked his head under my arm and stood there. My husband said, man that horse knows your trying to help him even tho it hurts.. Anyway, me and the old boy are pretty tight so it is very important that I always take great care with him. I could never sell him, it would kill me and besides he will always have on-going issues because of being shot. He can never be on a grassy pasture with his head down for any length of time or it will swell and he will suffocate. He has to be fed hay twice a day all year round and catered too. He is 17 now, last time I rode him about a year ago, he was still dancing and prancing and strutting like a peacock, I leaned forward like I do and he was off like a rocket. He is still so much fun to ride, I miss it so much!! Gosh, I guess I got a little off topic there - sorry.. I get pretty wound up talking about my old buddy!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    but at times its been close. And I am talking since 1978 (not all continuous years)

    I am luckier now that my pain management doctor and I have total control of my medications. She monitors all the refills and I monitor the daily intake.
    I have a spreadsheet that displays the date a refill was filled, how many pills, what strength, prescribed method of taking (PRN, 2x day, etc)

    I totally agree with David. Immediate release pain medications by themselves can not really address chronic pain. Generally a combination of Extended Release and Immediate Release medications are prescribed.

    Still, if you think or see yourself running low, because of your pain level, you need to contact your doctor, explain your situation and see what the recommended action plan is.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • No, I never ran out of my meds either and I can't afford to do that because I'd be in a world of hurt. Once you start taking an ER medication and get used to it, you shouldn't feel any side effects. You should feel the same way as you do when taking Lortab, but this time the ER medication will stay at a consistent level in your body throughout the day so that you get better pain relief.

    Since I've been on ER meds, I never felt out of it, loopy, or euphoric. I feel comfortable and safe to get behind the wheel, but I also exercise extra caution. I'm also allowed 6 Oxycodone's a day for breakthrough pain and it really helps me to manage my pain. Just talk to your doctor and let her know what your needs are so you don't find yourself stressing over running low or out of your meds.

    I really think that the combo of an ER and IR medication is the best way to go. The morphine injections you received at the hospital is a very low dose (5-10mg) compared to what you would be prescribed in pill form, and it also lasts 30 minutes to an hour. I used to take 180mg of MS Contin a day and 60mg daily of MS IR for BT pain. As you can see, it's totally different dosing and it stays in your system much more longer.

    If morphine doesn't work for you, there are other ER meds your doctor can try such as Oxycontin, Fentanyl, Kadian, Avinza, Opana, etc.
  • I have never run out of meds. I take the LA meds exactly as prescribed, which is every 8 hours/3 a day. My BT meds, I can take up to 2 a day, but usually take none, maybe 2 a week. So I have quite a stock pile of those.

    I have been drug tested 3 times in the last year and never know when I will be again. I will NOT put myself at risk of getting "fired".

    I really encourage you to get on a LA med - you will be very surprised at how well your pain is controlled and on more "watching the clock" because the pain control runs out.
  • Joining the chorus of "never"..

    My relationship with my doctor is based on trust and that trust includes taking my medications exactly as prescribed. Taking fewer pills one day doesn't entitle me to take extra on a another, so the only variation I'll ever have is extra medication.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    as you can see, as a whole, those that know what chronic pain is all about NEVER run out of medications
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi! I'm going to break up the monotony and let you all know that I frequently have issues with my ER and IR pain meds; sorry to break the rhythm team! Here's the deal: My PM writes me two months at a time, with each script written for 28-29 days after the last one. Technically, I should have at least one to three days left at each refill, and over time, a week or two+ of surplus. I love my PM.

    The problems? Huge recent incremental increases in pain, coupled with a good, but frustrating mix of meds, and some self discipline issues.

    I've re-injured/worsened my condition about once every month or so for the last 6 months, trampling my previous pain levels, and making me re-evaluate my "1-10 pain scale". I'm clumsy at times and keep doing things I shouldn't, having blowouts if you will.

    I take methadone as my 'er' med, 4 times daily. This is a perfect dosing schedule to keep my med levels very even. However, when you are taking methadone, it's akin to 'building a dam' against taking any other opiates. When BT pain hits, I take 1-2 pills and sigh in disappointment when it doesn't do the job. I'm allowed 2 at a time, 4 a day(120/month), but frequently hit 10 a day which obviously dwindles my supplies to nothing quite rapidly. I attribute this to the 'dam' effect previously noted, as it takes a few of them to break through, and once that occurs, pain reduction sets in. Taking 1-2 is a waste, as even after 2-3 hours my pain levels do not change. I only mention the self discipline issue, as I view my choice to take more than I am allowed or have agreed to as a sort of lie to myself, and frown, well, upon me =P

    This has not always been the case. When my Methadone dosage was about 1/2 of what it is now, my BT meds worked great, but with ER increases came decreased BT med effectiveness. So now I get about 15 days of pain relief after a refill, and then the other half of the month I limp along (literally) and look forward to refills. Sometimes, I take an extra ER pill as a sort of BT substitute, which works, but wrecks my daily dosages. Yes, I know, not good.

    The point to my sharing? Just to break the ice a little and keep it clear that some of us DO have problems with our meds and self control, despite our best intentions. Well, a desire for pain relief is actually a pretty strong one..

    Plus, a little lesson on Methadone..

    And lastly, yes, I know I need to talk to my PM. It's all honesty between us, and when I bring it up it will be addressed appropriately. Honesty has taken me a long way w/my doc.


  • I ran out early once, because of my own stupidity. Sometimes I would forget if I took a dose or not (I am absent minded and do most of my activities on instinct without realizing). Then, about a year later, I ran out due to appointment conflicts.

    So, in about 6 or 7 years, I've ran out twice. It was horrible. I never ever want to go through that again.

    And Mouse, Blitz looks like a Gem. I think horses are one of the most beautiful creatures. I love the relationship you two have. I think it's wonderful. So sorry you are no longer able to enjoy each other's company as much as you used to. But you do still have each other.

    So, yeah - like Ron said - the main thought pattern is to NOT run out. I just can't spend my days filling out spread sheets, or pain charts. I wouldn't have time to do anything else, and in MY OWN OPINION, for me - it would cause me to focus way too much on my pain. I refuse to give it that much thought. Also, if you do have that loopy sensation, it goes away once your body becomes acclimated. The medication only attacks the pain. And, as JWM mentioned, we are human and make mistakes. For me, I made one, my doc's office made one... That's enough for me.

    Good luck in your quest.
  • Think of it from the perspective of your physician. Your physician will probably be nice and polite, but really have no idea who the person that walked into their examining room is really like. They may ask you about your "social history", about your alcohol, tobacco, recreation drug use history, psychiatric history etc, but they really can't predict who will become addicted to opioid pain medicines.

    They carry a large burden in wanting to treat their patients' pain, but risk ruining people's lives with addiction.

    So what do they do? They usually verbally or in written form create some type of "opioid agreement" or "opioid contract". Usually they will have rules about not running out early or calling in with excuses of lost medication.

    If you say you ran out early (for whatever reason) even if it's 100% legitimate, they have no idea at all if you are becoming addicted or genuinely had some unique circumstance.

    They are strict, to PROTECT YOU!

    So, it's best to make their jobs easier which makes in turn makes your treatment better, by not running out early. Always consult with your physician BEFORE changing the agreed upon dosing schedule of your opioids or other meds like benzodiazepines.

    If you're confused about the "rules", because they are not in writing, have a candid discussion with your physician. I'm willing to bet that they will be pleased that you even asked!
  • Although it is rare for me to run our of ER meds (although I have once, which is posted on here) I run out of my IR pills early every time.

    My ER pain meds keep everything fairly under control most of the time, but every time the pain seems to be so bad that I need to take something for BT 1 or 2 5 mg norco is not nearly enough, and its consistant for 3-10 days at a time after it flares up so when i do actually use BT meds its around 10-15 a day till my pain calms down.

    My doctor knows this but since its not every day that it is this bad she is alright with me taking many one day and none the next, but i still only get 120.

    anyway, just thought i would throw it in
  • I think a big problem is that people don't read their prescription in its entirety. Suppose, for ease of math, your physician prescribes 1 pill every 6 hours, with a quantity of 90. That means you can have 4 pills in a 24 hour period, but doesn't mean you can have 4 pills in every 24-hour period. By writing the quantity of 90, the doctor is indicating that s/he expects you to control your usage and maintain at an average of 3 pills per day. That means, for each of the days you take 4 pills, you're going to have to find an equal number of days in the month when you only take 2 pills.

    If the prescription isn't adequate to control the pain, then it's time to discuss it with the doctor. If the doctor won't change it, you have 2 options - 1) find a new doctor whose philosophy more closely matches your treatment goals or 2) live with the under-treated pain.

    Taking more than the doctor prescribes and running out early is not a valid option and only serves to perpetuate the problems that leave so many people struggling to obtain any reasonable treatment.

    I used to believe that the drug abusers were the biggest reason so many of us struggle to get adequate treatment. Sadly, I think pain patients deserve a lot more credit for the problems than I had previously believed. :(
  • I am not saying that you are wrong but I think that a large problem with me not getting as many pills as I feel I need to control my pain is that I am only 20 years old.

    Although I do have many diagnostic tests showing that I am probably in a lot of pain I really feel that older people (no offense!) are treated a bit differently as pain patients.
  • If that were the case, don't they write "as needed" on the meds that they expect you to not take steadily, on a daily basis? Mine does. I have meds now, and in the past, that I have to take every 8 hours, but I only get 60 or 90 with each refill. Then my bt pain med, which is every 4 hours, as needed, and I only get 20 - 30 of those. But I always make sure to get my prescription when the refills run out well ahead of time, so that I'm not stuck without any.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Hi Smiley, my Percocet script is written "take 1 tab every 4 hours for pain" and I get 180 pills a month. So I supposed to take 6 everyday and I need to because it lasts about 4 hours anyway. This means I have to be extra diligent with my meds so I don't take any extras by accident. I also take my ER med twice daily, 1 tab every 12 hours and this one you cannot run out of early of course.
  • Hi Meydey, I agree with you, my point was, if they don't want you to take it every day, then they would tell you that, regardless of the amount you get with a prescription. As long as you take the meds as prescribed, and don't abuse them, I'm not sure why there would be a problem. That is, if you're given 90, prescribed at 1 every 4 hours, then that should last at a minimum 15 days, if not longer, if you're not taking them every 4 hours at night because you're sleeping. If someone runs out before 15 days, yes there is a problem, as they're obviously doubling up and abusing it. But if it's after that timeframe, I'm not understanding why there would be a problem. If the doctor only wants you to take 3 a day, then wouldn't that be written in the prescription? My percocet is prescribed as I mentioned, 1 every 4 hrs as needed. I don't take them every day, as I work and have to drive, and I have to be in dire straits before I'll take them. So 20 usually lasts me about 3 - 4 weeks, sometimes 2, depending on my pain spikes. But when I'm down to a couple, I bring my bottle into the doc, and she gives me a new prescription no problem, as she knows I don't abuse it, and do only take them when I absolutely can't take the pain anymore, and I take them as prescribed.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • It would make life easier if scripts were written more clearly. For example "max of 6 daily" was on the label and I think it does away a lot of confusion.
  • There's been quite a bit of research showing that several subsets of the population are routinely under-treated for chronic pain. I won't argue that point one bit. However, I still maintain falling in one of those categories and/or living with under-treated pain doesn't change the instructions on the prescription.

  • My hydrocodone says max 6 daily i take it along with MS contin. The morphine makes me very tired but my Dr says all pain meds have side effects. I have taken a 20 mg oxycontin it it hepled great without the tiredness I get from morphine. How do i go abut asking my Pm to switch me without setting off a red flag?
  • I believe there's a difference between MS Contin and oxycontin, am I right? I think one is ER and the other is IR? If so, where did you get the oxycontin? Did the doc perscribe it for you? If not, be very careful with "borrowing" meds from other people. You should only take what your doc has perscribed, as some may counteract with the other meds you are on, or, can be deadly mixing meds.
    I hope that's not the case, that you are not taking meds, especially narcotics, that aren't perscribed to you. As for asking your doc, just tell him/her that your current meds aren't working for you, tell him the reasons why, and ask if he can change your perscription to something that might be better for you.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • MS contin is ER of morphine, oxycontin is Er of oxycodone
    I did get the oxycontin from my wifes friend with cancer before I started the MS contin. But i don't think I should tell my PM Dr this. At the time I was in severe pain and she gave it to me, it lasted most of the day.
  • Marion.....
    Last night I counted my pain pills and I am 30 SHORT!!!
    I am very carefull with my pain meds. I take one every 4 hours....6 in a 24 hour period. So what I do to make sure I make no mistakes is, I count out 6 pills every day and set them on my table in a seperate bottle. Then I write down the times I can take one and when i take one I cross the time off. If I should forget to cross the time off all I have to do is count the pills left in that seperate bottle. I have been doing my pain meds this same way for sometime. It's a habit, I do it without fail.
    Last night I counted the pills left in my bottle and I am 30 short!!!
    The drug store had to make a mistake this time but I did not count them when I got a refill and I am due for a refill the 10th. To late to do anything about it now. I have counted them in the past and the count has always been correct so I no longer do that. I get 150 a month...a 30 supply.
    Plus...this month I went 24 hours without any pain meds to get the swelling down in my legs. I put those 6 back into my main bottle so I was actually 36 short!!
    I could see me making a mistake and be 2 or 3 short but not this large amount!!
    I am really bummed out over this!! I will be without meds for 5 looooong days!!
    I can try and stretch out the 8 day supply I have and be in constant savage pain for the next 13 days or I can go ahead and take the 6 a day for the next 8 days and put up with the savage pain for 5 days!!
    I am gonna go for the 5 days. 13 days is just to long!!
    I bet I count every refill I get from now on!!
    Patsy W
Sign In or Register to comment.