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Old 03-30-2011, 10:59 AM   #1
FemmeVA FemmeVA is offline
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Question regarding changes in meds-Fentanyl, Dilaudid, Opana, Norco, etc.

I've been living with chronic pain since a car accident in 2004. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and due to the disease I'm not supposed to ever take and NSAIDS again. Prior to that, I was doing OK on Mobic and muscle relaxers. Since the UC diagnosis, narcotic pain relievers are one of my only options due to allergies and the no NSAIDS thing. It started with Vicodin and progressed on to stronger medications. I want to make it clear that I only use my medications as prescribed and my doctors all know everything I take, how much I drink (less than one drink per day), etc.
Recently, my UC has experienced a flare-up after 2 years in remission with Remicade. With the flare-up, my overall ability to deal with the pain has decreased and there is the pain with the bleeding ulcers as well.
So....after a very long background, I was wondering what I should expect. I saw my pain specialist today and we changed me from Norco (hydrocodone 10mg. Tylenol 325mg) 4x/day along with 75mcg/hr of Fentanyl to Dilaudid 2-4mg. 4x/day along with the same dose of Fentanyl. Previously, I was on Opana 10mg. 4x/day along with the Fentanyl but the Opana didn't seem to work well for me so I went back to the Hydrocodone. I am wondering what to expect with the Dilaudid. My only experience with it has been in a hospital via an IV and that was usually for post-procedural/surgical pain. The first time I had it in a hospital I knew I still had pain, I just didn't care about it or anything else.
Has anyone on here taken Dilaudid orally while on the Fentanyl patch? If so, please let me know your experiences. Also, please let me know how the Dilaudid orally compares to orally taking Opana, Norco, Oxycodone, etc. as I've taken all of those in the past.
Also, while I personally do not have any history of drug of alcohol abuse, it runs in my family - my Mom was a heroin addict in her late teens/early 20s as was her twin, another uncle was a cocaine addict. My doctors know of my family history, but Dilaudid is a medication I've heard compared to heroin and I want to know the risks of getting addicted to the medication. I know that by now, I have a physical dependence on narcotics as I haven't gone a day without them in a few years, but I've never experienced withdrawal symptoms if I've changed meds or run out of meds for a day or so - just a lot of pain as the narcotics weren't in my system to block my feeling the pain. So, what should I be looking for and what should I expect with these medications?
Thanks for your help!
FYI, I also take muscle relaxers (Flexeril and Baclofen) and use Lidoderm patches for my pain.