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Pain Meds

davedave Posts: 860
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Chronic Pain
It seems to be a common thread on this site that some members seem to run out of their prescriptions before the next refill. I shake my head ruefully when I read these. There is no reason why anyone should ever run out of their drugs. Lets take a simple example:

Your Doctor prescribes you 120 Lortabs for the month. That means you can take a maximum of 4 pills a day. I know, some of you are going to chime in and tell me that my Doctor doesn't prescribe me enough for the entire month. The only thing I can say is, too bad! Your only options are to curb your activities to reduce your pain, suck it up, get your Doctor to prescribe more, or find some other method to reduce your discomfort. It is not up to you to change your dosage except when lowering it, and even then you should inform your Doctor. This is abuse and hurts all of us.

I've been taking my crap for well over 3 years. I know what its like to watch the clock for the next dose, I do it every day. I count my pills every week to make sure I don't screw up. In my 3 years, I've had my jacket stolen that had one dose and I've lost probably 3 pills down the drain. When this happens, I'm screwed. At some point in time I have to adjust my dose down to account for the loss. Note, I do the adjustment, not my Doctor. If you screw up, then you have to pay the price. My scripts are like gold to me and I treat and respect them like that.



  • Dave,

    Well said, well said! Couldn't agree more! So far in all these years (knocking on wood) I've yet to run out, nor have them stolen. I guess what frustrates me more than one 'running out' is inconsistent stories or excuses (not their bad - the doctors right?) to their being short on meds.

    I think of late, it is like a school teachers hears all the reasons why the homework wasn't done! Doctors get their own version of excuses, they get tired of it, and we are all looked at like "that or those" patients until *we* prove otherwise. Sigh... Lets see the excuses I've seen on here alone.

    1. The pharmacy shorted me.
    2. I hurt real bad a few times, so I took more.
    3. My family, my boyfriend, sister etc., took some.
    4. They were stolen from me during a party we held.
    5. It's my doctor's fault, he didn't give me enough.
    6. It's not my fault!
    7. The ER wouldn't help me.
    8. My PM dropped me!

    Etc. The list goes on and on - gets old. Thanks for the thread Dave.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Actually had the short one happen to me. A couple of months ago, my Baclofen, which I get through the mail, was missing an entire months worth. I thought I was going nuts and even had my wife watch me count. A quick call to the on-line pharmacy and the problem was rectified. I was always count my scripts when I get home.

  • I can't remember who posted it (like 6 months ago?) but they started counting their meds in the drive through at the pharmacy. It turned out in that members case, the pharmacist was taking like 3 or 4 pills from folks getting their pain meds! Yeah, that sucker got caught thankfully!

    I now get my meds via the mail, and like you, I check them before I accept them. :) I tend to under medicate, and at times, the hubby gets mad! (G) "You don't need to suck it up and hurt, take your damn medication woman!" (G) Love him! Our spouses are so good for many of us! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dave why are you posting this? i may be taking it wrong and the reason why i say this is because of my post and then you close it and ty for that i wanted it to be closed to and why is everyone here judgeing me? for no one should judge me like they are just because i ran out of my pain meds only 3 days short i don't know how many times i have to say i don't know why i ran out 3 days short and then i had to go to the er for a toothache and the doctor there gave me pain meds because he did not want me to suffer through the weekend should i had suffered through the weekend? and yes i know what you are saying with your post and i had a hard time finding a PM doctor before i found the one that droped me i went through 7 or 8 because they all treated me like a drug seeker when i am not one i suffer with chronic pain just like everyone here and they should not treat me like i am addiect when i am not one i know they have went through the same thing i have with trying to find a PM doctor that don't treat them like drug seeker just like all the doctors treated me to
  • and i am not trying to start anything just so you know dave i am just asking you something and by the way i did not come to this site to get judged by anyone because i get it enough from my husband family
  • Agreed, completely.

    I have a good pain management doctor, so if I had an increase in pain that warranted an increase in meds, they would fit me in. But at this point I've tried a few different meds and found that there are no magic bullets (dagnabbit), and these meds are hard on my body.

    So in general, it's a hot bath and the heating pad.

    By the way... the reason they'd fit me in is because I've never lost my script, my dog has never eaten it, I don't accidentally flush them down the toilet, and I never run out early.
  • I always double check the count of my meds when I get them from the pharmacy. They are human and do occasionally make mistakes. I also occasionally stretch my meds, mainly because I live alone and don't like how I feel when I am on the meds on a continuous cycle. My doc knows that and he knows that I also use alternative therapies to cope with the pain. I think it's important to have an open communication with my doctor about what I am doing to control my pain.
  • I hate to bring up that other post, as it was closed, but Chronic, you originally said you were 5 days short and didn't know why, and now it's down to 3 days. You have had so many inconsistencies with your story, that is why people are doubting you. Also, you went through 7 or 8 PM doctors? You're telling us that now 8 or 9 doctors are in the wrong? My advice to you is to just drop the subject, as you just keep digging yourself into a deeper hole.

    Dave, I think it is important to bring this subject up every once in a while, as a gentle reminder. I, too, count mine at least a couple of times a month, I hide them when people are over or if I go to someone else's house, and if my pain level is tolerable, I don't take one, in case it is higher than I can handle another day. As it stands now, I have a little extra of my ER and IR meds, that have accumulated over months. The main thing is, we all have to follow our prescriptions, and if they're not working at the max dose, then talk to your doctor, there may be a different med that might help better with managing pain levels than the one that isn't helping.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • i am getting ready to leave this site i have about had it with everyone else judgeing me and you all know who you are to have i judged any of your posts no i have not so no one should judge me no matter what happen
  • no i am not saying all the PM doctors was wrong and yes i will drop the subject i just want everyone here to stop judgeing me thats all i am saying about it and i did also count my pills to make sure i was not taking to many i may have counted them wrong and throught i had more then i had i am sorry i brought the other post up to but i feel like you all are judgeing me am i wrong on that if i am wrong on that i am sorry for saying it can we all just forget about what happen and i want to ask you all if you will forgive me for what happen please i am so sorry i just wanted to say that
  • Chronic Suffer - ENOUGH already! On sites such as these, WE ARE all judged based on what we post, period. Your postings since you got here have been inconstant and and riddled with excuses, and blame outward. A lot of really good members with lots of experience tried to help you, but only got more stories. We ALL are accepted into this sort of community via "integrity, credibility and consistency." Now you have hijacked Dave's thread!

    If you want to 're-word' and re-plead your situation, please start YOUR OWN thread. So enough already! Sorry mods...

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • ok then i am sorry about that it wont happen again
  • I think in the long run the safety 'rules' are put in there to protect more than punish us. Like you, I've been real good with my medications, and if something new came up (like when I reherniated), I called my surgeon, and he gave me stronger medication for 8 days - it worked like a charm. He has never seen me ask for an early refill, so so far, no tinkle tests have been demanded.

    I use the same pharmacy as well, as the one and only time I used the hospital pharmacy, they didn't know about my other medications, and yep you got it, I had a very bad drug interaction. No more - just my one pharmacy. It is a national chain too, so now if I vacation near when I am due for a refill, it isn't a problem. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I'm with Brenda on this. Brenda is one of the sweetest, kindest members on this site. (and awfully funny at times!)

    Chronic, YOUR POST was CLOSED due to all the mess it caused and yes the mess was caused by you and your inconsistencies. And sparked a lot of debate, and yes people judged you, we post and we expect to be judged, helped, guided and connect with one another, through clear truthful communication.

    I tried to sympathize with you, but you didn't make it easy, by not being truthful. Period. I got lost trying to understand you.

    The Mods closed your thread, you should NOT have chimed in on this one and in essence take it over again. You need to let this go.

    I don't believe anyone thinks you are a bad person Chronic, (I DO believe you have placed yourself in a bad position). You are a married woman with family, who love you, TALK TO THEM.. You DO NEED HELP and this site offers a lot. You should look through some of the links and faq's, maybe you will be enlightened or inspired. Are you religious, maybe church can help with your non med issues. I said it before, I wish all the best for you.

    I believe Dave was doing damage control here, not only for you but for all of us. A gentle reminder for all of us who UNFORTUNATELY live our lives dose by dose. THANK YOU DAVE!

    NOW, ON DAVE'S TOPIC, I keep a daily pill diary, (my med bible) as like many members I take several different types of meds per day. I need to keep track of what I took and when. This also helps me keep track of exactly how many of each rx I have at any time, without pouring 100 pills on my kitchen counter & start counting (some pills are so smal like oxy - can easily fall on carpet - don't want my doggie finding one of those puppies!, or fall down drain...etc.). Just sharing what works for me.

    Ps, I never thought to count the new bottle... I hate math!

    Sweet dreams to all, I way too tired to be posting!
  • Thanks very much Virginia! *HUG* Like you all, I too gave support, but then... Well back on thread. (G)

    Never thought of keeping a log, but I have 3 meds each day, 2 are twice a day, and the other "as needed" for pain - my Darvocet. Normally if I am hurting bad enough to have a "Darvocet day", that means I am going to take it and hit the pillows! Good idea woman!! :) As my hubby says, I tend to "under-medicate" and yep, I hurt and sniffle. (G) I do skip about 2 doses of Lyrica every 3 weeks or so (NS knows) to see if anything changed. Since most of my pain is directly to nerves, Lyrica takes care of business for me! Before Lyrica, function, what's that? 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Our State is one of the Worst in the nation for prescription drug abuse, so it hits me hard, I need my PM to operate in a safe manner for my sake and so many others!

    I take 6 different meds a day, so the log is essential for me!
    Gonna try & sleep, two doc appointments in the am!

    Night night time
  • Chronic, I closed your thread because it was not serving any purpose. Had it gone on much longer,the thread would have gone completely to the dogs. That subject is over, let it die. There were several posts within that thread that sparked the idea of starting this thread.

    Virginia, I used to keep a little hand notebook and record when ever I took my main drugs. I take my meds like clockwork now, and am pretty accurate at what time of day it is. Needless to say I stopped journaling about 2 months ago. It's a great idea if you fluctuate on your intake cause then you can relate how your pain has been better to you Doctor.

  • Just a suggestion - I used my PDA - Palm to time my meds. I just put in the times and listed what was needed. That was years ago.

    Today - I keep recurring appts in my Blackberry. I list the meds and then, at the time, make a decision as to what is needed. I had an awful time, forgetting to take my afternoon dose or ER meds, and then wondering why I felt like do-do, after supper.

    There are times - that the pain is distracted and we forget to get our doses correctly.

    I don't watch the clock, because I am use to the bell on the BB and go from there.

  • A few weeks ago I broke down and bought the "old lady pill box". I found that I couldn't remember when or if I took a med. So now I can lay out a weeks worth of meds - day by day. I don't take alot so one box per day is fine. If it's 5 and I see two of the neurontin I know I forgot to take the mid day dose. They also make bigger boxes that have several spots for each day.

    The $5 I spent was well worth it. It also means that I can leave the bottles out of sight. And if I go away or will be away all day I can put the whole thing in my purse.
  • First, Chronic Pain, you're situation has been dealt with and is no longer an issue. If there was judgement in your other thread, it is done now. This is Dave's thread and he has started this with thanks to your thread as a reminder to all of us to take care of our meds and ourselves with our meds. Don't take this personally and just learn from this thread regarding what people do and don't do with regards to their medications so you don't get yourself in trouble again in the future. Again, your situation is now moot.

    As for pain meds, I only take two (well, three, I guess): Norco, valium and flexeril. I am allowed 6 Norcos a day, but have weaned down to 3-4 with the blessing of my surgeon (he still handles all my meds). However, I have days where I feel good and do too much, or the weather is yucky, or the moon phase is just right, and I take more than my minimum, but not more than 6 a day. But I definitely have days where I take my full dose of 6. You can be pretty sure that on a day when I play 9 holes of golf and/or the day after, I'll be on my max dose.

    My surgeon prefers that I take flexeril for spasms and I do, but am allowed to have valium for those bad spasm days. With my latest MRI and CT scan showing the problems above my cervical fusion, my surgeon understands the increasing pain in my cervical area, thus understanding the need for these medications. I also still have some serious pain in my lumbar region that I believe is hardware-related, but whatever the case, my meds help with that as well. Like today, lumbar is hurting due to grocery shopping yesterday and carrying in the groceries. Standing too long is also a problem.

    Additionally, I have never lost a pill, had one stolen or dropped down the sink or on the floor. Many of my friends and family don't know I even have pain meds on my person, therefore don't know that there's something to steal (not that I think any of them would, but you never know). Yes, they all know I have pain, but probably believe I use advil or aleve. I've come close to running out before, but my surgeon stresses to order a week early so that it doesn't become an issue in case THEY drop the ball (which has happened0.

    So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-) We should all feel lucky that we're able to get the medications we need and find additional ways to control the pain with heat, stretches and/or ice. There are too many out there that have CP and can't find an understanding doctor because nothing shows on their imaging. We're really lucky to have our little pieces of gold so we're not stuck in bed or in the recliner daily. We can also count our blessings that our spouses support us and understand the need for these medications.

    Like most of you, my medications allow me to function. I'm rarely pain-free, but to be allowed to be able to take the edge off the pain that allows me to do the grocery shopping and laundry is a blessing we should all remember.

  • My thread sure was long enough...sorry...guess my fingers feel good this morning.
  • I have found that sometimes I can't remember what I have taken. This has been especially true since starting Lyrica; which I read can cause some short term memory issues.

    With that being said, and since I am now on several meds for pain, I have decided to buy one of those large med containers from Wally world. My dad has one, and at the end of each day, he supplies the container with the next days meds for the entire day.

    As an anesthesia provider, I was always concerned with safety of the distribution of drugs, and am going to be that way with my own personal meds.

    I am guilty of not always checking behind the pharmacist, but with narcotics, I think you must do it every single time.

    Good points here, Dave, Cath, HB and Virginia. I'm still in the learning phase, so I appreciate all the comments, and absolutely...SAFETY first!!!

    I'm only on day 2 of my ER meds. I know like HB said, there is no miracle drug....I sure am anticipating at least some improvements. Wish me Luck!!!

    Everyone have a great day!!

  • Indeed, we are all adults, and face only the person in the mirror when things go wrong with our meds. So it is up to us to make sure and figure out how to keep track of them!

    I haven't ever counted them before taking them. I haven't really needed to- I always end a month with extras. My PM doctors direct me to take as little as I can function on, and I take that seriously, so when my pain is lower I drop down.

    But I do have to watch that I don't go the other direction, also. If I don't take enough, I get sick. So it's a balance :)

    I'm very thankful to have a decent pain management plan in place now. When I arrived at Spine Health I did not and it was my main focus. Now, although it is not always working, at least there's a plan and I know it will be adjusted at the next visit to cover any gaps. So, I do not have to think about it very often, it's taken care of.

  • Hiya all >:D< >:D< Gentle Hugs for all Spiney"s. I have to have a system because i take so many meds i would get all confused and mixed up. I have a pill mate , which goes from monday until sunday, each one of the pill mates gives me my four doses a day. So it goes breakfast, lunch, dinner,supper. My pain management set me times of 8am, 12am, 4pm, 10pm. I see my doctor every four weeks for a review, and each week i do up my tablets in my pillmate for the week, so if i am lower than usual i know in enough time to contact my doctor.

    So i have to agree with brenda some kind of system is a good thing to have.

    Angie :D >:D<
  • I run out early occasionally, and I still stand by the claim that "my doctor does not give me enough to control my pain - period". Maybe if I didn't have to be to work for 10 hours a day and get her at 6:30 in the morning, it would be different. I know that weekends are definately better because then you can go lay down for an hour till your meds are due, or lay on a heating pad on the reclyiner, whatever. At work that is not an option. After sitting for the two hours after they wear off and when I can take my next dose - sometimes I say screw it and take one because I can't stand it and I need to be on my toes. Then I have the weekend before I see my PM on Monday that is pretty rough, but at least I managed to make it thru work without time off. Not every doctor is flexible and not every doctor really cares about your lifestyle or what you need to accomplish in a day. Set aside the fact that you get those things done, but have nothing left for fun or anything that excites you. It bites - period. I respectfully disagree with some of this. It has been a few years ago, but I did notice I was short month after month and finally DUH started counting my meds. I found the pharmacy was shorting me, everytime! One of the ladies that worked there was a friend of mine and she got fired over it and in a lot of trouble. I had switched pharmacies by then because I told my PM about it when I figured it out and I know she called the pharmacy. I don't believe the gal was taking them herself tho, I know she had a daughter that was in a lot of pain from a failed fusion and she could not find a doctor that would give her what she needed either. She had two small children to care for and I know it was rought. I am pretty sure my friend was stealing them for her daughter. So, bizarre stuff does happen sometimes too. AND, nobody is perfect :)
  • How many seem to feel pretty decent most of the time. I do know that some states are different, and I think mine is one of them. Only in the sense there are not a whole lot of PM doctors. In my area, there is one and that's it. I don't dislike her, but I don't feel that they always take into consideration that you want somewhat of a decent life either. I often wonder how the old timers did it, man those people had to have suffered horribly, can you imagine! Getting thrown from a horse with a broken back or hip, or bad teeth, arthritis, a vast number of issues. The must have been some tough people!!! UGH...
  • Nodding... I think it was your post (ref missing meds) that I was remembering! Whether it was yours or someone else's, for me, it got me in the habit of checking them before I leave the pharmacy if I pick them up, and too checking them when they are mailed to me. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Sad to say, but it seems whenever there is a margin for "error" or (stealing), some people jump on it. You would think they would know they are going to get caught, or at least have some compassion for the poor buggers their stealing from! Oh well, live and learn huh!! Hope your doing good Brenda! We are getting that white stuff here! Eeeegads, too early for that!!
  • No, Mouse, I don't feel decent most of the time. What I do feel is that this is where my pain management is, and so I deal with it.

    In fact, this last month I reduced my meds on purpose to facilitate a shift to a new med. It's been really hard. But, it was for a good reason, so I just coped as well as I could.

    The point isn't that we all feel OK most of the time. It's that we all cope with whatever comes along, no matter how we feel, because that's what we have to do.
  • Great thread idea Dave....

    What I do b/c somthing I'm on (I believe the topamax) gives me short term memory loss...sometimes I can't remember how many times per day I've taken my 'as needed' pain meds. [My ER med, oxycontin...I can keep track of that, no problem...taken one in the am and one in the pm and one in between if it's a bad day (Rx written for every 8 hours...but I occassionally get by on 2 for the day).]

    Then my breakthru med is written "take 1-2 tabs oxycodone every 6 hours for pain as needed". Dave, this is where what you said comes in to play. So, with the way it's written, I can actually take 8 tabs per day....however, since I only get a quantity of 120 per month, I only alot myself 4 per day. And no it's not the doctor's fault for writing my script that way. Some days I need more than 4 (the most Ive ever taken is 6 in one day...but then on other days when I'm having a 'good day', I will only take 1 or 2. So, I know thruout the month, I have to average about 4 per day. Now, this is where my memory comes in (or lack of)...b/c I sometimes can't keep track of how many I take, I hand this bottle over to hubby and he gets 4 out per day for me and lays it on top of our armoire in our room. Now, again, some days, I'll only take 2...and occasionally and usually with an increase in activity level, I may take 5-6 tabs, but he keeps track for me. Other than these, I manage all my other meds fine...even, like I said my oxcontin ER...I keep up with that one no problem.

    I have never run out of my meds early...but my doctor said if I ever did, not to worry about it and to call him. I don't think he is the norm as far as doctors go. I never have run out early though, so I think he trusts me alot.

    One time, a couple months ago, however, I did have a "dog ate my homework" excuse!! Well, it never got far though. We got my Rx home and it was for my breakthru pain meds...supposed to be 120 tabs. Well, I was missing 20 tabs!!! So, my hubby and I worried about it all night b/c the pharmacy we use is a small town Christian oriented pharmacy and we did not want to get anyone there in trouble. My hubby showed up the very next morning when they opened and explained it to the store owner. Well, all he did was go back and check their machine...and sure enough, they were OVER 20 tabs! So, it was an honest mistake and noone got in trouble...plus my doctor never knew about it as the pharmacy fixed it right away.

    I do believe that many do not take their meds the way they are prescribed and even though they get their meds for a legitament reason, they still have 'abuse' issues which leaves them short pain meds at the end of the month. The only thing I don't get is how do these people handle the withdrawls when they run out early, other than going to the ER or urgent care and hoping they get something to tide them over to their next Rx...but then that endangers your relationship and contract with the PM doc....so I just don't get it.

    Good post though Dave...good discussion.
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