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Hydrocodone & Soma

spinaltapsspinaltap Posts: 50
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Pain Medications
Hello all. I am a year into recovery from a car wreck. I had a burst fracture of L2 and some sort of injury to my SI joint. At my last DR visit, they told me that my options at this point are to have injections for the SI problems or just continue on pain meds for the rest of my life. I chose the meds because I no longer have insurance and can't afford the injections. So, now I'm living with the fact that I will do the pain meds long term. The problem is that after a period of time they stop working. What do you do then? I'm taking 10mg Hydrocodone 6 times a day, 350mg Soma 4 times a day and 200mg Neurontin 3 rimes a day. In the beginning, these meds seemed to be life savers, but after a year, they are wearing off. The effect is not as strong. Where does a person go from here? I have become an irritable, complaining, lazy woman because of the pain and becase I no longer get releif. Tell me what you guys do. I need advice on dealing with chronic pain. The system I have isn't working. In the beginning, I handled all the meds but due to the fact that I felt they were no longer working, I started "abusing" them by taking much more than I needed to try to get relief. After some pretty scary episodes of almost OD'ing (on more than one occasion, I took about 6 Somas and 6 Hydros....I would sleep for entire days and when I did wake up, I was so out of it....I know sometimes I took more than that....I'm lucky to be alive after that...God must have a plan...), I had to give the meds to a family member and now I'm only given 1 days worth of meds at a time. There are more embarressing and worse stories about the abuse, but it's hard to talk about Anyway, I'm sorry for the rambling. I'm just looking for someone that can relate. Thanks for reading......


  • There are things that you can do. Do you have a University Hospital that you can get a referral to? If you don't have insurance, and cant afford a Dr, they summertime's can help you. Maybe go there for another opinion and help with a pain Dr.
    If that isn't an option, then wherever you got your first script for meds can offer a slight increase or something different to work for pain. BUT, you need to follow the recommended dosages. If they find you have abused your meds, you probably wont get anymore scripts from them. In the future you need to contact the Dr who is helping you with your pain meds, and discuss the changes that are happening. There is usually something that can be done about it. But, having your relative handle your meds is a great idea, if you have problems with that. Take care, Robin
  • Thanks Robin......I do want to clarify that I haven't purposely set out to abuse my meds, but I guess no one really does. It makes me feel horrible to have it reffered to that way. I have discussed all of it with my Pain Mang. Dr and she has been wonderful about it. They are working with me on having my relative control the meds. This is so hard.....
  • What kind of pain are you having? There are other choices on meds out there than can help. Does your pain management doctor understand these meds are not helping you? Also you do need to make them aware the reason you aren't doing the injections is for financial reasons. If it is nerve pain you are having there is plenty of room on the nuerotin to move up on it. If I was you I would make a journal of the pain, something you and your doctor can go over on a regular basis and let them find some more appropriate meds for you to take. Also I would put your meds in one of those pill boxes so you know exactly where you are at on the meds at any given time of the day.
  • I agree with tamtam and also suggest a daily medication planning chart. There are many of them available on-line and they are designed to give you a visual reference of what you have taken and at what time. They also are designed so you can input your medication schedule into them. You place the chart in an area where you normally take your meds and check off each medication as you take it.

    Hydrocodone is an immediate release short term drug. Very easy for the body to get used to it and render it basically ineffective.

    Definitely would recommend getting your PM doc to review your meds and see if there's a different approach that can be taken.

  • (I'm not a MD..) but they really should take you off the soma and try something else (zanaflex/skelaxin/robaxin/baclofen.. any of em). Soma and hydrocodone is sort of the stereotypical mix of meds that gets a lot of people hooked or abusive with opiates. Of course vicodin/norco can be abused by itself but it's much worse when taken in excess with soma.

    Also, pain that occurs every day multiple times or continuously for 1 plus years is not acute but chronic, and deserves proper medication. Hydrocodone is almost exclusively used for acute/breakthrough pain, whereas you'd likely be better served by two low dose 12hr time release morphine tablets a day (15-30mg) or preferably something your doctor feels is appropriate =)

    As far as abuse potential goes, ditching the soma and hydrocodone plus switching to a time release med sort of forcibly eliminates the type of misuse you've been drawn to in an effort to eliminate your pain. The fact that you've been open with your doc is massively helpful however I'm severely concerned by your statement that you've explained all of the abuse to your doc, but no medication changes have been made. You didn't say so i'll ask, were you completely honest about it? Did you disclose everything? I know you don't like the 'abuse' or 'addiction' label but I was there and trust me, I didn't intend to either but it made me no less of an addict or abuser. Abuse makes your pain no less important than anyone else however, so don't feel bad, it's ok.

    I know a lot of docs and all of them would have taken you off of the soma immediately and switched to a less euphoric and tamper-resistant time released med at a low dose, with no breakthrough meds; I hope they choose a similar route for you so you can find pain relief and be happy! Good luck~

  • nevergiveupnnevergiveup Posts: 2
    edited 11/03/2015 - 9:58 PM
    OK, I may be 4 years too late, but maybe this will help others. I have suffered for 10 years from injury to L5-S1 and L3-L4. Everyone says don't do surgery, but I had immediate 100% relief from surgery on L5. A second injury to L5 resulted in permanent injury to the surrounding nerves has left me with constant, intense pain. Here is my current 'treatment':

    Morphine (extended relief) - I started on 15mg 2x a day, ended up increased to 30mg 3x a day, but. Am back down to 15mg 1 or 2x a day. I no longer suffer from the drowsy side effects that I experienced in the beginning.

    Gabapentin (neurontin) 3x a day. I am trying to cut back to 2x a day. I took Lyrica in the beginning and it helped. But I gaine 20 pounds. (I have lost hat wait since I stopped.)

    Wellbutrin-Like you, I became a miserable, sad, housebound woman. My once busy, full life of work, family, friends became a foggy memory. And even though the Meds I started taking helped, I stopped driving because I was afraid my reflexes had slowed. So this reinforced my loneliness. The Wellbutrin has helped with that....and maybe helped with the pain.

    I have Lortab that I can take for break-through pain. I could actually justify taking it every day, but force myself not to.

    I had a pain stimulator implant surgery and this has helped.

    And finally, I found a really good Pain Clinic and work with a great Nurse Practitioner that developed a game plan. I had many, many injections/blocks from previous doctors and none of them helped. This nurse suggested an Ablation procedure (and was horrified to hear no one else had ever mentioned it). The ablation isn't a permanent fix, but my last one lasted for about 14 months. This one procedure has helped me the most.

    Following my pain stimulator implant and ablation I have been able to start doing light exercises to strengthen my back and core.

    As for managing my medication-I have one of those huge 7 day pill holder with 4 slots for each day. I've also mistakenly double dosed, missed a dose, so this helps. When I take any other Meds (Lortab, ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc) I have to take the pills out of the bottle, write it down on a pad, and then take them. I was so bad that I'd get the bottle of pills, write it down, and then couldn't remember if I took them before I wrote it down! So now I have to do the same steps, same order each time.

    I get all my Meds from one doctor and I see her every month. I do this through my primary care dr because I take other Meds, she's been my dr for 15 years, and I know she has my best interest at heart. I make sure she gets copies of my pain clinic procedures and appointments.

    Everyone has to work there way through this process and find what works best for them. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband, a superb primary care doctor, and a knowledgable pain clinic. I still haven't really accepted the fact that my life has changed...even though it's been 10 years. I hope you have been able to find some relief and peace.

  • To 'nevergiveup': A lot of what you wrote sounds so familiar. I have had an L5-S1 discectomy, numerous injections, and recently a spinal cord stimulator implanted (and that's a very abbreviated story of 30 yrs!). I was hoping to rid myself from the Norco & Soma after I got the stimulator a yr ago but find that in conjunction w the stimulator, taking them renders me almost totally pain free. Additionally, I'm on neurontin & Prozac. My problem is my pain specialist is adverse to prescribing Soma. I have taken hydrocodone and soma together for 15 yrs and have not until recently needed any increase in dosage. He says Soma is highly addictive. I don't feel chemically or psyicologically dependent after 15 yrs on the meds but I am dependant on them for pain relief. I took 3/day of each for all those yrs & only recently I need 4/day to live a pain free life. The Norco does not work w/o the soma. I have heard the same from other chronic pain patients. What I don't understand is why doctors are reluctant to prescribe adequate doseage & type of meds. I live in a small community & we have only one pain specialist here. Any thoughts, suggestions, or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    54-y/o male & 30-yr chronic pain sufferer: back surgery, stimulator implant
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 11/13/2015 - 11:27 PM
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