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has anyone noticed the withdrawal symptoms from the newer meds?

I find it very interesting that there seems to be a big push to get people off opiates and on to the newer drugs, which are very expensive, it seems most are antidepressants, and the withdrawal symptoms are something out of a horror movie!!!!!
I have had 27 surgeries in my lifetime, only the last 6 in the last 18 months on my back, thanks to MRSA. I am now in the process of weaning myself off narcotics, Fentanyl and Dulaudid. I also take Gabapentin and Soma. I had never been drug dependent until this time. So I have accidentally thrown myself into withdrawal a couple of times, and it was terrible. However, after reading the withdrawal symptoms of the newer drugs, like Lyrica and Cymbalta, I was aghast! Brain Zaps? Are you kidding me?
It angers me that people in real need are suffering because of the new laws that have been put into place in order to push this new generation of drugs. If they think there is a drug problem now, they have another think coming.
It's hard enough coming off narcotics, but with these newer drugs, it's going to be almost impossible! And where Fentanyl is not cheap, Dulaudid is. These newer drugs are crazy expensive. The drug companies have set up ways to help offset the cost for those of us who qualify, but still, drugs that are this addicting, and this difficult to get off of, should not be on the market.
I wish, for every addicting drug, the manufacturer would have to include an info sheet of how to safely wean off the drug in question. We have enough to worry about without adding drug dependency and addiction to the list.
Just be aware of what you are prescribed. Make sure to research both the side effects and withdrawl before taking it. You have to protect yourself.


  • This is a very good and important insight. There is increased influence of big pharma companies to sell their new products, especially in USA. This is also transferred to the EU where I live and know that there is a lot of pressure at the governments to make "deals" with the industry to make newer and expensive drugs more available, no matter how the side effects would be when seen in long terms.

    As to the addiction, unfortunately I did not see medication that could help me except narcotics. So I had to choose; either to suffer extreme pain or either to get addicted. And I chose the latter, although when I do not take narcotics I do not feel withdrawal symptoms, the pain just gets back and that's the only feeling I have and cannot focus on anything else.
    Scoliosis vertebrae THL
    Sy CC et CB
    Sy THS
    Sy LS chr
  • You can't group all those medicines together like that they have different purposes and different limits to what they can do.

    For example Lyrica acts on serotonin and there is evidence that it helps people with nerve pain but that only goes so far. The debate on the scientific side is still inconclusive, because the effect that you're getting might be from the antidepressant side of things. Lyrica does not act on the pain center in your brain.

    Tramadol is a truly synthetic medicine that attempts to mimic an opiate or opioid. It does act on the pain center of the brain but not as well as a true opiate and it has greater side effects at higher dosages. It is being prescribed because they're trying to prevent recreational use of the opiates. But it too can only go so far. People that are in higher levels of pain must switch over to an opiate or opioid.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    you can not group all these drugs into a 'new' drug category. Many have been around for a while now and each has a unique

    Narcotics are used to help reduce the overall pain levels. But it does not address Nerve related pain.

    For that you need the specific nerve medications such as Lyrica and Neurontin.
    Then you have the muscle relaxers. They have been around for 20+ years, some new ones are introduced once in a while.

    There are medications that have specific purposes. For all of them, there are many pros, but as with almost anything there are some cons. You always have to weigh everything out. That is something that should always be discussed with your doctor and/or pharmacist.

    I know that my pharmacy provides detailed printouts for each new medication that I take. I have all the information I need regarding a specific drug.

    I still think the overall tone of this thread is to tell people to research the medication that you are taking or about to take.
    That is so very important
    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
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    Opiates can help with nerve pain.

    But the overall primary medications for nerve pain is the Lyrica and Neurontin family types. Those deal with the nerve, stinging, stabbing pains often associate with people with diabetes or shingles. They primary deal with Neuropathic pain.

    Since all of that is pain, yes opiates can help reduce that pain.

    I am not sure what kind of fine line there is between the two. I will have to ask my doctor at my next visit.
    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
  • Right now I am trying to control my pain with Neurontin (nerve pain) and a muscle relaxer. I also added an antidepressant since I knew that going off narcotics after 7 years would be trying (boy is THAT an understatement.) Along with lidocaine patches and over the counter aspirin, etc, I have survived for 2 months, lol. Point is that most good pain management docs are willing to change your drug mix to find a combination that works for you. I actually took my insurance company's list of "approved" meds to my doc in an effort to find the drugs I could afford that might work for me.

    As far as my rage at docs and society at large to be so quick to judge prescribed, managed narcotic use, well I am famous for my vents on the subject. And yes, pharm companies LOVE any drug that is on patent. But on the other hand, those same companies are the same ones who are doing most of the research on find new ways to treat diseases, included pain management. With off label prescriptions so inexpensive, something has to support drug related research.

    Just one person's opinion. The free (somewhat) market system at work. lol.....kathy
  • I have taken so many medications of all types and some of the worst side effects and withdrawals were from
    the non narcotic medications. I guess this is not about that but about new medications so I am off track.
    It amazes me how many medications they will shove at you to avoid increasing your pain medications for
    fear of what the small risk of addiction. Too bad they don't have those numbers or information to show how
    much damage to organs like stomachs, livers, heart, kidneys etc. from non-narcotic medications.
    I know a lot of doctors are trying to find the right mix to help but I also know the other side the ease of doping up
    a person with many dangerous non-narcotic medications.
    If I don't make sense maybe it is due to the recent non-narcotic medications clouding my brain.
  • Kathy, you know above everyone how pain meds affect yo, ur life. and as you know, ive been in the ring fighting for some relief and always end up at the same place. having had a "problem" with opiates in the past, I can assure you the great r espect I have for them. now, having said this, I would eat a toaster if I thought it would ease my pain. pain is a great motivator. my surgery date is june 18th. I need 3 discs replaced and cadaver and screws to follow. Doc says, two to three weeks into my recovery, they will operate on my back. to say im scared would be such an understatement. he did (tho reluctantly) gave me a script for hydrocodone. I could dance if I could, that someone besides the mri agree I hav e some major pain iss ures. I need to be trusted and to trust. if there is anyway I can help anyone, I would gladly tell you my journey. thanks for all the support, kathy
  • DiLauro,

    I'm pretty sure opiates help nerve pain. It's just that they may be overkill for someone that cannot demonstrate an anatomical injury such as in the case of fibromyalgia. Narcotics are still the best that science had to offer in cases of impingement, herniation, a cut nerve, a burn, etc. I think it's numbness that they don't work on, can you check on that?

    Be Well,

  • WolfpackSVBWWolfpackSVB Posts: 216
    edited 05/17/2015 - 8:32 AM
    I have become a big advocate of opiates after the four year ordeal I went through. Prior to that I was as concerned of them as anyone for the long term treatment of pain

  • Well I can only speak for myself, but my experience with severe nerve root compression, multiple reherniations, surgeries and nerve damage has been that while opiates help with surgery-related pain, they did absolutely nothing for my nerve pain. They didn't even touch it. The only thing that has helped with nerve pain was Gabapentin (but only somewhat and at the highest dose) and Lyrica (which has its own issues, but has definitely helped with the pain).

    I haven't had any issues with withdrawal from opiates, but I didn't take them long-term as they didn't really do anything for me. I did wean off of Gabapentin slowly as I was on such a huge dose, but I was also slowly starting Lyrica at the same time, so I wouldn't have really noticed. I did cut my Lyrica dose in half and had no issues that I noticed.

    I've experienced with withdrawal symptoms like the "brain zaps" that someone mentioned when I was weaning off Paxil many years ago (due to panic attacks) and while it wasn't fun, it was doable with patience.
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • It is pretty rare when opiates don't relieve the pain while another medication does. What can happen however is that the dosage level required to remove the pain can become so much that it puts that person into an unpleasant state.

    When I was at my worst prior to surgery I had to take 30 or 40 mg of immediate release Hydrocodone to bring the pain down to a tolerable level. If I wanted to remove all pain I had to go to a whopping 60 mg in one shot. But I did not enjoy the narcotic effects at that level at all. Furthermore I was not cleared by my PM to use that much and would have been discharged had I continued. I had done it as an experiment to see what amount was required to completely remove the pain. This was on top of a long acting narcotic.

    There really is no comparison between opiates and the other medicines except in rare cases. The pharmacology behind opiates and opioids is completely different than the other medications. They act on the pain center itself located in the brain and does so irrespective of a person's condition or particular illness. Unfortunately that has a cost to it namely dizziness, euphoria, edgy temper, etc. The real point is who the heck wants to take a narcotic for a bee sting and potentially be dizzy for four hours when aspirin will do, and, who's going to reach for Naproxen when the pain is so bad that you want to chop off your arm or jump off a bridge.

    As with most things in life the ultimate answer is dependent on the particular person and his or her circumstances.
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