Monday, February 24, 2020

Comments by BTaylor

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • I don’t think antidepressants are to blame for the suicides. There’s a common event that has taken place–the doctor has either reduced the patient’s pain medication or took them off of their medication completely. Then, the patient commits suicide, when they can no longer take the pain. You can’t blame the antidepressants, if the person was mentally stable, prior to the reduction or stopping their medications. A lot of patients are practically forced to go on antidepressants. Doctors tell patients that it will help their pain. (There is evidence cymbalta and tricyclic antidepressants do offer relief in some patients). If a patient does not at least try the medication, the doctor can dismiss them as a patient.

    The problem is recreational drug use and heroin. The problem is not with chronic pain patients. If a chronic pain patient was an addict, it would be discovered very quickly. With drug screens, pill counts, and the national drug database…along with the behavior an addict displays, it would be really hard for an addict to go unnoticed.

    Is there a problem with addiction? Yes. But it’s being handled wrong and innocent people are being punished.

    As is, there aren’t enough treatment centers. Addicts, who ask for help are put on a waiting list. When it’s extremely important to get an addict into treatment immediately. Treatment centers are underfunded. Centers don’t have medication for proper detox and management of withdrawal symptoms. This leads to patients leaving treatment. (Some go straight back to drugs because they’re so uncomfortable. Too many people have died because they’ve overestimated the dose they could use.)

    Then there are the treatment facilities that are $30,000 or more a month, that only the wealthy can afford.

    After treatment care is just as important and resources are lacking. How do we expect someone just out of treatment, to drive hours every day to a methadone clinic? Most don’t have access to a car, so they’re relying on public transportation. Getting their maintenance medication becomes a whole day event. How do we expect them to get jobs? It almost makes it easier to begin shooting up again or using their drug of choice.

    The focus needs to be on addiction and treatment. Allowing every addict access to the same treatment the wealthy get. Also, providing sober living facilities and treatment to get back to living a normal life–not a day spent on a bus getting their daily dose of methadone.

  • Thank you. 🙂

    I’m sorry that you’re living in pain too, Pam. People who don’t live with chronic pain and suggest alternative treatments, don’t realize that we’ve tried them ALL. I have Medicare, which covers 20%. Medicaid doesn’t kick in for me, until I spend half of what I get each month from SSD. I have so much medical debt, that I will never be able to pay.

    When there was an open commenting period for the public, regarding the CDC guidelines, CPP’s stated that there would be a rise in suicides, and patients would resort to illegal measures to obtain relief. And, it’s already happening. These are patients that followed their pain contracts, passed their drugs tests, and pill counts. But doctors are now afraid to prescribe medication, or an appropriate dosage to relieve a patient’s pain…for fear their license will be taken away. CPP’s have documentation (whether it’s imaging, blood work, etc..) to confirm their disease or condition. If a patient has a disease or condition known to be painful, and has documentation to prove it, I don’t understand how doctors and the government are going to allow people to suffer needlessly.

    Everyone deserves to live a meaningful, quality life, with as little pain as possible. CPP’s know that they’ll never be pain free, but we shouldn’t be denied medications that provide us a life worth living.

  • My old pain management doctor did more injections in one year, than I had over the previous 12 years combined. My pain contract stated that, “the patient must follow recommended advice and procedures….Otherwise, your physician has the right to discontinue treatment, including medications. At which time, the patient will be put on a rapid taper of their medications.”

    It’s essentially blackmail. “Do this procedure or injection or I won’t give you your medication.” I found out after he did radiofrequency ablation on me, that I wasn’t even a candidate. Most insurance companies require a 50% or more reduction in pain from 2 sets of facet joint injections. I said, “I don’t know. Maybe 10%, but I could be imagining that the injections helped a little bit”–those were my exact words. My PM doctor said, “That’s great. We’ll schedule you for RFA.” He never explained the procedure. I wasn’t even sedated. Because sedating a patient, would slow down his assembly line of patients getting injections and procedures done. I ended up being in more pain (which is normal) after having RFA, but the increased pain never went away. I also developed other issues immediately after. He should have never done the procedure on me…he just wanted the money. And, since Medicare doesn’t require a prior-auth, it makes it easy for them to get away with it.

    Who is telling the doctors that medications need to be decreased? No where in the CDC guidelines does it state to reduce a patient’s medication. I now have a new pain management doctor. Whenever I state that my medication isn’t working, he tells me that I’m on the “maximum” dose. I was a pharmacy tech, before having to go on SSD..I know I’m not on the maximum. No where near it. I don’t understand why when a patient is on a dose of medication that is working, why a doctor is reducing the dose. (Especially with tramadol?)

    I run a chronic pain/pain advocacy support group on Facebook. I can’t tell you how many members have had their medications reduced or have been cut off of their medications completely. Chronic pain patients do need to get together and advocate. There are so many people in chronic pain in the US…and more of us need to stand up for our rights. This problem is only going to get worse.

  • I have been suffering from chronic pain for 13 years. As a chronic pain patient, I take my medications as prescribed. On my own, I sought out a psychiatrist, who specializes in treating patients with chronic pain. Chronic pain patients have been lumped together in to the same group as addicts. Research indicates a very low percentage of chronic pain patients become addicted. Yet, we’re forced to sign pain contracts, have urine drugs tests, pill counts, and our doctors monitor our prescriptions in the national drug database (which, I believe is 100% necessary). The drug database shows when a prescription is filled, at what pharmacy, and by what doctor. This prevents doctor shopping and patients filling multiple scripts from different doctors. With all these safeguards, in addition, to screening a patient’s behavior–it makes it very difficult for an addict to go unnoticed.

    Since the DEA crackdown and now the CDC guidelines, chronic pain patients are suffering more than ever. Most chronic pain patients were already under treated. Now, their medications are being reduced or they’re being completely cut off from all their medications. Research shows that persistent, uncontrolled pain can affect the body, causing harm to the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, neurologic , and musculo-skeletal systems . Not to mention the psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and depression, that accompanies living a life with chronic pain.

    Chronic pain patients are stigmatized. People don’t think we’ve tried conservative therapies. I have tried physical therapy, a TENS unit, too many injections to count over the past 13 years, braces, radiofrequency ablation, antidepressants, anticonvulsants (gabapentin, lyrica,topamax), steroids, NSAIDs (even though I’m not supposed to take them, due to my crohn’s disease, hiatal hernia, and history of ulcers), acetaminophen (which I took, until my liver enzymes were too high, and I had to stop), and surgeries. I’ve had a total of 22 surgeries. I’m 35 years old.

    I had to stop working at the age of 24. Years ago, my pain was managed better, so I could have some resemblance of a life. Now, my pain is under treated. My medication takes the edge off of my pain. I basically live a life on house arrest, but without doing a crime. I’m being punished for having chronic pain. I suffer from Hashimoto’s, crohn’s, ankylosing spondylitis ( I have severe stenosis at several levels of my spine, compressing nerves), herniated discs (one compressing my spinal cord), DDD, bone spurs, and arthritis throughout my spine and other joints. I have terrible migraines. Severe pitting edema, which doctors have yet to find the cause. I am swollen from my stomach to my feet–walking is extremely painful. My shower is on the second floor. There are days (sadly, more days than not, that I can’t even make it up the stairs to shower.) I was also diagnosed with a reproductive cancer. I had 2 fertility sparing surgeries. I now need a hysterectomy. My pain management doctor told me that I would not receive any extra pain medication, other than what I’m taking. Chronic pain patients need extra medications after a surgery or injury, but because of the guidelines, I will not receive any extra medication to control my pain after a major surgery. So, I’ve been putting off a life saving surgery because I know I cannot take the pain of a major surgery on top of the pain I deal with on a daily basis. I am not only dealing with chronic pain, I’m also sick–which is a double whammy.

    I don’t understand how people can judge chronic pain patients. Have these people never experienced pain? Or had a loved one with a disease or condition, which caused chronic pain? When you see someone in pain, how can people not empathize? Everyone has been in pain. Imagine having that pain every day of your life. Having major surgery and being sent home without pain medications–then having that pain for the rest of your life. That’s chronic pain. I would not wish my life or my pain on anyone.

    These CDC guidelines are not only targeting chronic pain patients…it’s every one. Hospitals are giving patients in pain NSAIDs to treat their pain, or nothing at all. Opiates are rarely being used. The guidelines suggest giving out a 3 day supply of pain medication after surgery. I’ve never had a surgery where 3 days of pain medication would have been sufficient. These guidelines are now not just voluntary..in some states, the guidelines are mandatory.

    It’s 2016, we have access to medications to control pain, and patients who are in legitimate pain are being denied these medications. These medications help people in pain live a better, quality life. Without these medications, chronic pain patients will become desperate and resort to buying drugs off the streets…..and suicide. It’s already happening. Why are chronic pain patients being forced to suffer, when we’re not the problem? We’re the LEAST likely group to become addicted, but we’re being punished? I can’t imagine living the rest of my life without medications. Chronic pain patients are screaming and advocating. Nobody’s listening. I don’t think anyone will listen until too many lives are lost. One life lost is one too many.