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Found my perfect med, finally, after 4 miserable years

After a lumbar fusion in 2012, all the modalities and meds tried before that, severe pain directly after and for the first year after surgery, and chronic pain since, with only minimal help from Butrans and Tramadol (voluntarily coming off narcotics), I finally got a breakthrough.

Last month, the pain in my lower back had gotten considerably worse. I had always suffered nerve pain and muscle pain in my legs and hips from the lumbar "assault", and recently developed pain in the thoracic area from the cascade up of the vertabra. I expected to have to eventually increase everything, and possibly go back on narcotics.

Well, the PA at my pain mgmt Dr. office, who , by the way, is awesome, was listening to me, and looked at what regimens I had been on throughout. She then asked if I had been on Neurontin (yes but zonked me out too much to work). I was curently on the Butrans patch 15 mcg, which has been a huge help but still left with me with a lot of pain: tolerable enough to work, but as soon as I got home, I headed straight for bed and slept 10-12 hours a day. Tramadol for breakthrough but I was up to 9 pills a day. She then asked if I had tried Topamax. Told her I never heard of it. She said why don't we try it. So picked up the prescription and started the next night.

She told me to take at night, because it could cause drowsiness. I wasn't happy about that since I am already sleeping so much but just wanted something to ease the pain some.

After a few days I increased from 25 mg 1x day to 2x a day. I noticed gradually that I was no longer falling asleep as soon as got home, and was staying awake a little longer, in fact, was having a bit of a hard time falling asleep. And, best of all, FORGOT TO TAKE MY TRAMADOL 2 DAYS! Just plain forgot!
I waited 11 days before I realized that it seemed to be consistently better, and wasn't one of those "flukes" where your body just feels ok for a day or two. I really was feeling pretty good! So I called the office and first, thanked her profusely for recommending it, and asked if we could gradually increase it and decrease the tramadol, and then eventually talk about decreasing the Butrans.

So not only is my pain virtually gone (and I have a very physical job, and I have tested it, trust me!), but I am more energetic than I have EVER been (actually, maybe too much- I haven't slept straight through, or for more than a few hours, per night, since I went up to 75 mg a day.

Imagine if my PCP had prescribed that drug BEFORE I had decided to have surgery......how different my life could have been.

The moral of the story is: if a medicine isn't working for you, TRY SOMETHiNG ELSE! There are a lot of meds out there, not necessarily narcotics, either, that could help you.
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1

Comments

  • Topamax? Do you take name brand or generic. I also hate gabapentin and would love to find a substitute.

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646
    edited 02/11/2016 - 8:23 PM
    I used to take that for migraines, but my Dr took me off for some reason, I'll have to ask her, especially since I spent the better part of the day today with a jackhammer migraine plus the bonus of vommiting. 

    Maybe the topamax will help with my back issues too. But after looking up the warnings on it, my Dr may have taken me off because of kidney stones, which I still pass, so I'm not sure if she'd prescribe again. Won't hurt to ask about it though.

    Nice to to hear you're doing better, keep us posted on how well you're doing with the different meds. I would be concerned on the not sleeping much, it seems like it would catch up with you soon.
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  • SooveritSooverit Finger Lakes region of NYPosts: 460
    I took topomax for migraines. Lost too much weight, felt hyper, and no short term memory. 

    It's amazing how much different meds affect us differently. 

    Glad it is working so great for you! Right on! Hope you have continued success with it :)
  • GilFranklinGGilFranklin San AntonioPosts: 1
    edited 04/18/2016 - 6:39 AM
    New at this, please let me now if my question is inappropriate.  My wife and I are both on pain medication [opioids], I am 76 and take three pills a day (back pain) and get enough relief to function without unbearable pain. But my wife [69], with two artificial knees and really bad back pain takes 4 pills a day and still has pain.  The other day I caught her taking four (4) ibuprofen [brand name withheld], and I told her not to do that.  She insists that she needs the additional medication, but  know it will eventually cause liver problems.  What should I do to prevent her from doing this.  Yes, I am bigger and stronger than her, but that doesn't mean [edit] or stopping someone from this behavior.  Shall I call her doctor?
  • urbaneveuurbaneve gulf coastPosts: 1
    i just started taking topomax for my migraines, maybe i will find that it will help with back hip and leg issues.  it would be nice.

    to the man that is having issues with his wife taking ibuprofen - you can show her this

    Hepatotoxicity



    Rates of serum aminotransferase elevations during low dose, chronic
    ibuprofen therapy are comparable to those that occur with placebo
    controls (0.4%).  However, higher rates of ALT elevations occur with
    high, full doses of 2,400 to 3,200 mg daily (up to 16%).  Generally, ALT
    elevations are mild and rarely above 100 U/L.  Ibuprofen overdose
    (>5-10 grams) is characterized by onset of agitation and stupor 3 to 6
    hours after ingestion, followed by coma, respiratory depression and
    lactic acidosis which can be fatal.  Most cases of ibuprofen overdose,
    however, have not been accompanied by prominent liver injury or
    jaundice.

    Maybe that will bring her awarness of what she is doing.  also if she is in that much pain, then she needs to be re-evaluated

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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello gilfranklin!
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Hello Gil.....
    Curious if you and your wife see any kind of pain management doctor for the pain?
    How long have you been on opioids for your spinal pain? Did you have surgery? Or not a candidate?

    Wondering  how long ago was your wife's surgery? Is she seeing pain management doctor for the opiod script?...
    for her knee replacements? And or her spinal pain?

    Pain management is  very good at follow up the appointments re checking the effectiveness of meds and or treatments... and follow up with lab tests for body using the meds.

    Since you both have health issues, do you go together to each other's doctor appointments?
    Sometimes I have brought a friend ..to help me understand it all and to help me remember things to tell the doctor.

    It  is good to hear that you know not to become physical with your wife even though you are bigger and stronger.
    Ultimately, your wife is an adult responsible for her own behavior....as you didn't mention she has issues that would impair her thought process.

    If I found myself taking more medication than doctor prescribed ....of the over the counter meds,...or any med...
    I would tell my PM doctor just how much pain I'm on and that the routine of meds he prescribed is not holding off the pain enough.
    Sometimes medications work for awhile and then wears off in its effectiveness.

    That way doctor could make suggestions to me for improving my care.....ex...What opiod  med is right for me.
    Doctor may have another suggestion instead of ibuprophen ....for pain breaking through the opioid medication.

    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello urbaneve!
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • kw1960kkw1960 Dallas TexasPosts: 1


    New at this, please let me now if my question is inappropriate.  My wife and I are both on pain medication [opioids], I am 76 and take three pills a day (back pain) and get enough relief to function without unbearable pain. But my wife [69], with two artificial knees and really bad back pain takes 4 pills a day and still has pain.  The other day I caught her taking four (4) ibuprofen [brand name withheld], and I told her not to do that.  She insists that she needs the additional medication, but  know it will eventually cause liver problems.  What should I do to prevent her from doing this.  Yes, I am bigger and stronger than her, but that doesn't mean s**t for stopping someone from this behavior.  Shall I call her doctor?

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello kw1960!
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Sue
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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