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Medication Reduction assistance

WileyWWiley Posts: 1
edited 01/03/2016 - 8:01 PM in Chronic Pain
Hello all, I am new here and hoping to get some advice. I have had chronic pain for about 6 yrs now. I am 32, was in a bad accident which resulted in 2 fractures in my pelvis, due to a really crappy dr(they are not gods and to any drs reading this keep that in mind) , who didn't belive me because of a poor xray, I healed for 2 months before they figured out the problem, which has caused more problems. On top of that I have degenerated discs, sacroilitis, piriformis syndrome, as well as a half dozen other diagnosis resulting from a lifetime of extreme sports, and playing football into college(started in 5th grade, which I feel is the basis for a lot of my issues). Constant low back pain, and "moving" pain in my hips, legs, sciatic, and very strange tightness in my leg muscles, anyone else seem to have migrating pain?
I am currently prescribed to 1-30mg
oxymorphone er every 8-12hrs(generic, works better then the plastic opana)
30mg oxycodone for breakthrough ever 4-6hrs
1200mg gabapentin a day

I have been back in college(had to change my life path after the accident) for a while and almost done with a biochemistry degree, with all the "fog" from the meds it's a miricle I have done as well as I have, but it's been really tough.

So here's the situation, since i have been feeling better I have been trying to take less meds.I am having a tough time, I don't know if its the habit of taking them all these years. my sense of time is all screwed up, I am on winter break and I am sure boredom is a factor with some of this. It seems more mental them physical. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do? From staying busy, nutrition, I am finding exercise isn't making my pain much worse so been exercising.
So I don't know, I feel this is mental and I guess I am just looking for some advice. Maybe calling my shrink and getting something would help, not trading one for the other, but to help the "itch" and let me lower without noticing as much. I am sorry this is vauge, but I am sure some of you have been in a relatable spot. Maybe it will be easier when i start school again. Sorry this was so long...much love in this new year, I hope everyone has a great new year. Peace and love to all.


  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
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  • edited 01/04/2016 - 12:55 PM
    I'm also coming off pain meds right now due to GI side effects. The mental part can be tough when it comes to pills your used to taking at certain times each day, I take up to a dozen pills a day - most all are non-narcotic due to multiple health problems - and I think I'd certainly feel mentally irked if I didn't take a few pills a day, it's just how our brain's work.

    When it comes to pain meds, luckily I'm on a patch so once I set a new dose I'm on it for 7 days, so I've never obsessed over my medicine, in fact, I often forget I'm on it. This could be something to look into, however, raising your body temp with exercise often could affect the patch dosing so it may not be a good idea for your case. One thing you can do is take tylenol in place of a pain med so you get the mental/oral fixation of taking a pill but can still lower the dose of your pain meds, I found this to help sometimes when decreasing my BT meds. Obviously don't take more than 3000-4000mg of tylenol in a day. A sugar or placebo pill could work the same but I like tylenol the best since mentally I know I'm taking something for pain.

    The best thing to do would be to talk to your Dr. about this. He can help create a plan for you and having an external party aware of the situation makes you accountable and less likely to give in to going off plan. Don't know what you'd want the 'shrink' to prescribe but adding another pill to the equation is likely to make things worse not better (unless you're trying to do a major drop and are expecting withdrawals). Also, if he were to prescribe an anxiety narcotic you could get into trouble with your pain Dr and/or pharmacy. If you are that busy and able to exercise without pain you could possibly come down on meds a lot. I was able to keep my lower back pain under control with exercise and completely came off meds before incurring another much more debilitating injury.

    Something to look into is psuedo-addiction and/or clock watching. This is where pain patients watch the clock, counting down the minutes until their next dose and could be what is going on with you - since you mentioned habit, 'the itch', boredom and time problems. Good luck!
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  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I've worked in Pharmacy and people assume that they feel better and can cut down or cut out their meds. Please be aware that these medications work by changing the neurotransmitter receptors in your brain. One of that most difficult drug to get off, for me, was gabapentin. I had NO idea why I had such a hard time but it was long before I started studying pharmacy. And cutting it too fast can lead to seizures like the opioids. And because it's not an opioid many people assume they can get off that one fastest!

    And I can attest to the fact that each person reacts differently to the increase and decrease of different meds. Your brain has created new receptors and those receptors are looking for the key that fits each receptor- the key that is in the drug.

    Talk to your doctor and pharmacist. PLEASE don't read those sites that will tell you "fast and easy way to cleanse yourself of all pharmaceuticals..."


    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • He or she should be the person guiding you in a tapering plan, and reducing your immediate release and extended release meds.
    I have done this several times over the years of dealing with chronic pain and my doctors have always been more than willing to work with me on a tapering plan .
    The mental part does play a role, and in many respects can be more challenging than the physical part, but if you keep the intent of reducing the amount of meds in mind, and develop some distraction things , it does help you work your way through it.

  • Unless someone has a pre-existing seizure condition.
    I made the mistake a long time ago of suddenly stopping gabapentin , 3600 mg per day, and suddenly stopped it and found out the hard way that that was not the way to reduce that particular med.
    A tapering plan, done properly and guided by your doctor is manageable, with little in the way of withdrawal symptoms, if any. Which is why you should talk to your doctor and let them guide you in reducing the meds. That is why they are there and it is the safest way to accomplish your goal with minimal issues.

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