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Old 05-16-2008, 11:19 AM   #1
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Question Can pain meds weaken bones??

Hi All,

I was just curious if pain meds can actually weaken your bones. I'm 37 and I have severe osteopenia (bone loss) borderline osteoporosis. My research docs and kidney docs have all told me the bone loss is from my kidney disease (over 450 kidney stones, parathyroid disease, the removal of my left kidney, and finally the failing of my right kidney). The parathyroid glands (what's left...most of mine have been removed) control the calcium in your body. Mine were overactive and they caused my bones to "dump" out massive amounts of calcium out of my bones. My kidney disease started at age 9.

Anyway.....I fractured my ankle a couple of weeks ago. I'm still waiting to hear if I need orthopedic surgery. I hope not!! The only person to mention bone loss with continued pain meds was my mother-in-law. She despises ALL pain meds, except Tylenol. She's not a doc, but has worked in the med field for over 26 years.

My current meds are Methadone and Fentora. I've only been on the Methadone since late Jan. Methadone has saved my sanity!!!! This is by far the BEST pain med I've ever tried!!! It seems I do remember something about Methadone being deposited into the bones. I've been on every single LA and SA med that has been on the market. I've been in PM for over 7 yrs. So, the 21 yrs. before continous meds daily, I took every SA med available after each and every 70+ surgeries I've had.

Just curious if anyone else has heard this or has any info on the topic. Bye for now!!

 
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:20 PM   #2
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

friendly_one,

I do think there's a relationship between bone density loss and pain meds. Especially with methadone.

Isn't methadone wonderful? It's by far the very best pain med I've ever used. Unfortunately I had to switch to MS Contin, but I got outstanding relief with methadone.

Anyway, about bone loss. I had been experiencing a number of symptoms and eventually wanted to get tested to determine why. One of the symptoms was what seemed to be brittle bones. I broke one bone and injured another in situations that, to me, didn't seem all that traumatic to break something. Due to other symptoms, they tested me first for testosterone. What they found was that my T was at 66, and normal for a man is between 200-1,000. I clearly had a problem, and we all wanted to know why this had happened. Turns out, I have a tumor on my pituitary. And this has caused significant bone density loss, mostly in my arms. My hips and spine seem OK for now. It just so happens that low T can also be caused by chronic use of opioids, and methadone is particularly guilty in this regard. Women also have T, and they can also experience low T, with resulting porosity in the bones.

So, it's kinda round about, but yes, in my case opioids at least participated in my loss of bone density. The major culprit is the tumor, but the opioids didn't help things.

Hope this helps.

steve

 
Old 05-16-2008, 12:31 PM   #3
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Thanks Steve,

Wow...regarding your T level. I've never seen one that low. I used to work in a lab. Have they resected your tumor? Sorry, if that's too personal.

I'm sure my T and Estrogen levels are pretty much non-existent. I had a complete hysterectomy (ovaries included) at age 18...I'm now 37. I cannot take HRT because of my kidney function, or lack of. So, I've been post-menopausal for the last 18 years and the lack of bone mass from my kidney problems aren't helping the situation.

If ever they could pinpoint the problem on Methadone, that would be such a hard call. I don't think I could even attempt another pain med after seeing the effects of Methadone. I guess it really doesn't matter anyway. At the rate of my kidney dysfunction/failure, I won't be alive after another year, 2 years tops. I don't qualify for transplant and I will not "live" on dialysis.

Thanks again, Steve. Have a great weekend! Shay

Last edited by friendly_one; 05-16-2008 at 12:34 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 05-16-2008, 12:35 PM   #4
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Hi Friendly One.....Wow! 70+ surgeries! That is unreal. God bless you for what you have been through. Ever since I read a recent thread by IZZY's MOM, I've been doing some research about pain meds and how they deplete many of our naturally occuring vitamins and minerals. Magnesium seems to be a big one. And I've learned that Magnesium promotes calcium absorption. I know Izz is going to post what her naturopathic doc told her at her last appointment about this subject, when she gets a chance.

So, while I can't say your M-I-L is wrong about the depletion, I also think in your case your doctors are also correct. I know, for me, I certainly wouldn't stop taking my pain meds because of it. I just plan to supplement any loss through the use of vitamins and minerals and even changes to my diet. I'm sorry your M-I-L is so militant about narcotics. Unfortunately, we all seem to have friends and sadly, family members, who just don't want to understand.

Best of luck with your ankle. I hope you won't need another surgery too. I don't know if this helped at all, but I just thought I'd let you know about the little bit I've learned so far. Take care and let us know how your ankle is doing. CMP/MM

 
Old 05-16-2008, 12:50 PM   #5
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly_one View Post
Thanks Steve,

Wow...regarding your T level. I've never seen one that low. I used to work in a lab. Have they resected your tumor? Sorry, if that's too personal.
I don't think there's anything too personal here. Shoot, we cover everything. You name it, bowel habits, low T and all of its nasty effects, darn near everything's on the table.

Anyway, no surgery yet. The tumor is still relatively small, but the pituitary is small as well. So it doesn't take much of a growth to have a significant impact on the functions this gland performs. The weird part is that the results aren't restricted to just lowered numbers. It can also cause higher numbers, since the tumor itself can actually produce the chemicals/ hormones supposed to be provided by the pituitary. SO it can go either way. For now we're are in a watch mode, getting MRIs yearly. That seems awfully long to me, but others say it's normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly_one View Post
...If ever they could pinpoint the problem on Methadone, that would be such a hard call. I don't think I could even attempt another pain med after seeing the effects of Methadone...
It was very hard for me. I suffered heart failure last year and they switched me from methadone to MS Contin because of a fear that the methadone was causing the problem. Methadone is blamed for causing some heart repated problems, but nothing close to what I suffered. My cardiologist was so surprised to learn that they forced this switch on me because he said there was no relationship between the methadone and the heart issues I actually had. Oh well, nothing much one can do when the doc calls you and says come by and pick up a script for a new pain med because we're stopping the other one. Luckily for me, the PM doc calculated an excellent transition between the two meds and I experienced no withdrawals whatsoever. I was amazed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by friendly_one View Post
I guess it really doesn't matter anyway... ...I won't be alive after another year, 2 years tops. I don't qualify for transplant and I will not "live" on dialysis.

Thanks again, Steve. Have a great weekend! Shay
Shay - I had no idea. I don't know what to say. I am so sorry Shay. How are you handling this? Please disregard if my question feels nosy. I'm just very, very sorry. Please keep posting and having a presence here on the board, OK? We need you and, hopefully, you need us.

steve

 
Old 05-16-2008, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Shay....I also had to say I am sorry, I had not realized the extent of your renal condition. I just want you to know that we are here if you need to vent, and I know your years of dealing with chronic illness can add so much wisdom to our little family. You sound like an amazing woman. I spent a great deal of time with my sister-in-law, who had end stage liver cancer and I was amazed every day by her strength and spirit.

I wish you comfort and peace, CMP/MM

 
Old 05-16-2008, 03:20 PM   #7
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Wow and now my troubles seem very small. I am sorry and pray that you are not suffering to much. We are here for you!!

 
Old 05-17-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Thanks, guys!! I need all the suppport, love, and prayer you all can generate!!! Yes, Steve, I do indeed need all of you. There are times when only other cp patients can understand the day you are having, even with the best support you could ever ask for in a spouse, parents, friends, etc.

How am I handling all of this? Well, I guess like anybody else that deals with cp and the stressors that come with it, I just go day to day, sometimes minute by minute, ya know?? In a way, I do feel somewhat fortunate that this life of pain is all I've ever known. Since this all started at age 9 (now 37) and my first major surgery (14 inch incision) was at age 10, I don't really feel like I'm missing a "normal" life. I don't know what "normal" feels like. This is my norm. So, I really have nothing to compare to. I definitely think that would be much harder to deal with.

I know there is a purpose why my life is the way it is.....I just haven't found it yet. My family, particulary my mother and husband, really want me to write a book on my experiences. I've thought about it, but most of the time, I don't want to rehash over everything in the past....eventhough the past is my present and my future...make sense?? Geez, I could write several books if I broke things down into groups...chronic pain, kidney stones, primary hyperparathyroidism, the surgical arena, depression/anxiety, kidney dysfunction/failure, being the "rare case", the misconceptions of pain patients, doctors (the good, bad, and the ugly) etc...

Barring some major freak accident, at least I know how I will die (kidney failure) and an approximate time table, although only God knows my time I have left. In a strange way, I look forward to that day. The day where my body is no longer my prison. A little selfish??? Maybe. I know it will be hard on my family (particularly my Mother...she's been through every 70+ surgeries I've ever had done), but I know she doesn't want to see me suffer, either. She always says "Shay, you don't understand. You don't have a child. You don't bare the guilt of bringing an innocent soul down to the hell you live in. It's my fault". Of course, it is NOT my mother's fault. It's nobody's fault. I guess that's the big life lesson I've learned through all of this. There is a reason for everything.

Ok....enough rambling for now!! Talk to ya later! Shay

Last edited by friendly_one; 05-17-2008 at 10:07 AM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 05-17-2008, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Shay,

When one suffers like you are, you can be sure the Lord has plans for your life to have major impact on others. And it may take the form of a book or books. I know how hard it is to re-hash the whole story, but you could always use voice recording and have it transcribed. That's done all the time.

I believe the Lord has special rewards waiting for those who suffer the most. Especially those who endure the suffering with the grace and perseverence you are showing. I also know He loves you very much. I believe He's more anxious for your departure date than you are, because He wants to take you in His arms and hold you while all the tears are collected. Just imagine how it will feel to have no pain and all of your capabilities returned and more.

Please keep posting and gracing us with your beautiful spirit.

Best Wishes, and thanks so much for sharing.

steve

Last edited by forginon; 05-17-2008 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Spellin'

 
Old 05-17-2008, 02:28 PM   #10
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Shay, I'm sorry if this post is a little off on the wording or the spelling or the grammar. I am trying to type as best as I can, through the tears. I am not weeping because I pity you....I lost a daughter a few years back and even though I have always known that she had a purpose and God had a plan, your words have given me a comfort that I haven't felt since. I know in my heart, if she had been here longer, she would have touched so many lives, and I just wanted to say that if you ever did write that book, it would give so many others, what you have just given me.

Thank you for being. Not just being here. But for being. The only thing more I can say right now is God Bless you, now and always. CMP/MM

 
Old 05-18-2008, 09:46 AM   #11
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Steve & CMP,

Thanks so much for your touching posts!! I don't get choked up very often.....

CMP.....I'm so very sorry for your loss. You know your daughter is around you every day. Looking after you, guiding you, and forever loving you. You feel her around you and I bet at times, you can even detect her around you...either by her scent or just the bond you two share. It's everlasting.

At times, I really don't like to "open up" about my medical, but I know that none of you judge me here. I hate being referred to as the "rare case" by some of my docs...absoultely hate it!!! I'm not a "case"! I'm a person...a human being with feelings, emotions, and senses. I'm not just a "case number" on volume after volume of medical records.

Anyway....I just wanted to say thank you to both of you for your very touching replies. I always knew there were great people on this board!! You both have really made me reconsider writing that book. Pay it forward!

Talk to ya later! Shay

Last edited by friendly_one; 05-18-2008 at 11:26 AM. Reason: spellling

 
Old 05-18-2008, 10:28 AM   #12
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

friendly_one,

I think you have so much to say, Shay.

Whatever you choose to do, I have this gut feel the impact will be huge. There's a lot more of us than is represented on this board. They need to know they are OK, and not a freak or a "rare case," as you have so often been wrongly referred to. The silent ones out there are suffering alone, afraid to come out and be blasted again. If they were to learn of resources like HealthBoards, and of how to go about getting relief what a difference it would make in their lives. And the more of us that are fighting for our rightful relief the more the medical community will pay attention.

I realize that I, or any of us could speak out too. And the burden shouldn't be just yours. So I am by no means trying to place this burden on you. I just think you have a wonderful story to tell, maybe more than one. I'm sure you get my drift. You could even create fictional usernames and take paraphrases from some of the plethora of helpful threads here to add flavor to your stories.

Anyway, I'm really pleased you are reconsidering the book, or biography, or paper, or manuscript, or whatever it could be called. You would have such a wonderful legacy - actually you already will, but just think what this would add.

Your public awaits!

steve

Last edited by forginon; 05-18-2008 at 10:28 AM.

 
Old 05-18-2008, 11:31 AM   #13
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Steve,

I just told my husband that I was reconsidering writing a book(s). Later today, I'm going to buy some journals to start jotting down things. Maybe, just maybe, this is my purpose in God's plan. I really feel this "story" needs to come out. If I could have a public voice on our horrible healthcare system, particularly PM, then I know what I need to do before it's too late.

Thank you again for the little nudge I needed! Shay

 
Old 05-18-2008, 12:33 PM   #14
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Shay,

Yes!

Please don't forget about voice recording. Use the web to investigate transcription services. You could record as much as you like, get it transcribed into an edit-able format, and then use your computer to massage the text as you wish. I find this can make getting started and those frequent brain-fades less intimidating.

I can't wait to read it. May I have an autographed copy? I'd also be happy to proofread if needed. Anything else you need just ask.

steve

 
Old 05-18-2008, 12:49 PM   #15
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Re: Can pain meds weaken bones??

Shay, I am so happy that you are considering this. You have so much to offer, not just to people with pain and who are facing the end of their lives, but for the families and the friends, who sometimes don't know what to think or what to do.

Just seeing your strength and your spirit, made my heart full and gave me a glimpse of who my daughter might have been, had she had the time to express her innermost thoughts.

I, like Steve, would love to read it. You have so much to offer to so many.

God Bless you and please keep us posted. Hugs, CMP/MM

 
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