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did pain meds damage my liver or something?

LattoLLatto Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Pain Medications
about a year or two? I forget I was in a train accident(don't ask) while backpacking and I broke my back (compound fractures all over my lower spine) and my muscle ripped the bone off the top of my humerus bone etc etc whole bunch of flesh wounds etc it was bad and I nearly got killed (I am incredibly lucky)

Pain meds & the problem:
Anyways after the accident I needed to be on painkillers and have been since that day (anything from oxycodone to vicodin to methadone) just alot of pain killers as I have pretty bad back pain everyday of my life. So I've been on the painkillers and some of them have ample amounts of acetaminophen in them and I've taken alot of acetaminophen from other over the counter drugs as well like excedrine (I mention this because acetaminophen is really bad for your liver and can cause damage at high amounts).
Now after 2 years I'm currently on oxycodone (percocet) and methadone and the oxycodone I really don't feel it anymore like I used to (I know of tolerance, and I'm sure that's a factor but keep reading) like it doesn't really work, and kinda same with the methadone - I will bring it up to my pain specialist later next month
but I've also taken other pain killers (that I'm not prescribed to but I've taken when my pain gets bad and my current stuff doesn't do the job) like I've taken vicodin a bit lately when I'm not prescribed to see if it would be more effective (as I have not taken vicodin in months so I think the tolerance would be gone now) and I took a bit of morphine to see if that helped.
but neither drug helped with the pain at all really and I couldn't feel them just like my oxycodone and methadone it was odd like I thought they would definitely work because I had been off vicodin for a while and I've never taken morphine before... so why couldn't I feel the effects?

now tonight I decided to drink a few beers (I have not drank in like 6-8 months or something) and I can't feel the effects of the alcohol at all really and I've had x3 8% beers, usually that would get me atleast tipsy if not drunk...

so now I'm thinking as I have been for the past few months that my body is just not breaking down the substances or whatever you want to call them at all like my liver is not processing it or something idk... is that possible? like could I have been on painkillers so long that my liver is like damaged or something?
I mean that must be some sort of sign when I finally decide to drink alcohol after so long and it doesn't effect me anymore so it's definitely not tolerance to it same with the vicodin and morphine...

I'm gonna test something in the next week to see if it does anything but I'm going to flat out stop taking pain killers for a week or two so I can 1. get all the poop out of my system lol cause anyone that deals with pain killers deals with constipation as well (I do poo still lol did last Friday or something >___> ) and 2. to clear my system of narcotics to like give it a clean sweep to start fresh maybe to see if that will help...
but this *test* is going to suck badly... I'm going to be in really shitty pain for the entire time and I can't do anything about it really except lay in my bed and mate with my heating pad...

So any help is appreciated sorry for such a ramble fest I tend to type far too much sometimes.


  • Methadone is a very strong pain killer believe it or not... that could be why the Vicodin and Morphine did not do anything for you... Vicodin is down there on the totem pole. You are just probably ( only a opinion) building up a tolerance. All narcotics have many of the same compounds in them. You go to the doctor they give you Vicodin... that stops working they move up to percs, those stop working they move up to morphine ect ect ... that is what I noticed..Acetaminophen is horrible for the liver... but I have Vicodin 10/325 and my doc said I could take 12 of them a day ... so the body can handle alot of it, if you are exceeding your doctors recommendations of medications you need to make your appointment sooner. also I would not try things that are not prescribed .. only because some medications mixed such as your normal ones along with a dif one will have very abnormal, contradicting effects , not to mention most pain meds decrease respiration causing slow breathing ... I know morphine is a very big respiratory depressant .. you have to be careful.. Plz make a appointment sooner with your pain management doctor that is what they are for.. you shouldn't have to do all the leg work and research and call your GP and ask for a liver function test simple blood work that will tell you how your liver is working most pain patients or anti depressant patients have the liver function blood work every 3-6 months anyway it is normal ... good luck and keep us posted ....
  • Your doctor should be checking our various blood tests at least yearly to check on your liver and other organs. My PM doesn't do it but my PCP does and she sends the results to the PM and my NS.

    You should ask your pcp or pm to do a blood test if you haven't had one.

    MODS- please edit my post if I am breaking any rules.

    Liver Toxicity symptoms http://www.wellness.com/reference/conditions/liver-toxicity/symptoms-and-causes

    Jaundice is the yellowish staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) that is caused by high levels of the chemical bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance found in bile. It is produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. Bilirubin is removed from the body through the stool (feces) and gives stool its normal brown color. The color of the skin and sclerae vary depending on the level of bilirubin. Excessive hemolysis or breakdown of red blood cells causes the formation of higher than normal amounts of bilirubin. When bilirubin levels increase, the liver may not be able to process the excess amounts. Jaundice then occurs. When the bilirubin level is mildly elevated, they are yellowish. When the bilirubin level is high, they tend to be brown. Icterus is the term for yellowing of the sclerae.
    Other signs and symptoms of liver toxicity include: abdominal pain and swelling; chronic itchy skin; dark urine color; pale stool color; joint pain; bloody or tar-colored stool; chronic fatigue; nausea; and loss of appetite.
  • Latto,

    Everyone's body processes the drugs and its compounds differently. Even if you were to nearly OD everyday for the past 2 years, unless you already had an underlying condition, the likelihood that you have done liver damage already is slim.

    I completely agree with nurse L about seeking a liver function test sooner than later and eliminating the "self prescribed" medications or treatments you have tried.

    Some medications are also based on being in your system on a continuous basis, and missing a dose or "stacking" your days worth of pills to take them all at once can actually make them less effective than beneficial for you.
  • Taking more medications or those not prescribed to you is dumb,and dangerous, using alcohol on top of taking more medications or medications not prescribed to you is beyond stupid. You do realize that you could die from doing that?
    I'm pretty sure that you have been given many of the same warnings that just about all of us have regarding using alcohol with your medications or taking medications not prescribed to you can be dangerous and deadly, haven't you?
    "Experimenting" with any of your prescribed medication or not prescribed to you can and often does result in overdoses and death.
    I hope that you are pulling our legs here, and hope that you are not going to follow through with any more experiments.
    Methadone was first used as a pain medication- because of it's long half life, it was found to be one of the most effective pain medications. A side benefit that was found with methadone is that it also helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms in addiction. It became far more widely known for that reason than for it's pain management properties.
    After being on opiates for awhile, you notice what is called tolerance- your body adjusts to the "side effects" of medications and you no longer feel them. In medications like Methadone and other long acting opiates, you don't feel the way you may have when you first went on them because the premise behind them is to keep a constant level in your blood stream, rather than the spikes a person gets from short acting opiates. If you were to stop taking them, you would certainly notice an increase in pain levels, and of course experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping them.
    If you are going to stop taking all of the medications, it is strongly suggested that you do so under the doctors supervision. Stopping methadone needs to be done slowly and for a longer time period than with other opiates because of it's half life.
    If there needs to be adjustments with your current level of pain relief, then you need to talk to your doctors and stop the other stuff.
    I don't mean to be harsh, but you are doing all of the stuff that is going to get you dismissed from pain management- and that's the least that could happen, the worst is that one of your experimenting sessions can wind up with you in a casket.
  • You need to get a liver function test, esp if you have been taking these meds for a long time and have not received one.

    As far as not feeling the results of the beer you drank (which is a very big mistake), if anything I would say this is proof your liver is working. If your liver was compromised then it would not being able to process the alcohol and it would give you more of a buzz and it would take longer to get out of your system.

    Anyhow I would heed all the warnings given to you by sh members and stop using your medications in a way not prescribed and stop drinking on top of your meds. Best of luck and I hope you find something that will reduce your pain to the point where you can live a somewhat normal life.

    Take care,

  • okay first of all a few of you are jumping to conclusions for little to no reason at all, I said I basically never drink and haven't for nearly 10 months now. The night I decided to drink just a little bit (2 beers) I had made sure I did not consume any medications since the morning when I woke up. So I was not and have not been drinking on top of my pain medications, I am fully aware of the risk of doing so.
    Also, I'm not exactly "experimenting" with drugs I used the word in regards to the constipation and flushing the chemicals out of my body for a week or two...
    I have an appointment next week with my pain doctor so I'll be bringing it up with him and I'm going to get bloodwork done (I actually already have a prescription to get blood work done on my hormone levels I just hate needles >_< so I've avoided it)
    I am a little worried about my liver/body but I really doubt it will be too serious and I'm just overreacting but I'll keep this thread up to date.

    and with regards to me taking pain meds that I'm not prescribed... well I only did that on a few occasions maybe 5 times (so please stop making it sound like I'm some drug addict doing this frequently :[ ) and I'm going to not do it again. the only medicine I took that I didn't have prior experience with was morphine which made me feel cruddy from the get go so I only tried that once. (I got it when I was in incredible pain one day and I was in between being jerked around with my doctor not prescribing me pain meds because she didn't like to and wanted me to go to a pain management doctor so she referred me to him *my current one* but it was a ... 3 month wait to get my first appointment so I had no pain relief for a long time in between)

    but overall I want to thank everyone that has offered help in this thread :p thank you very much and I will take it all into consideration in the future. thank you everyone!
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