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Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?

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Old 08-20-2008, 01:29 AM   #1
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jjj2l HB User
Question Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?

I was on prescribed oxycodone and endone 5mg for breakthrough pain but my lung doctor and other health professionals have asked me to limit my use due to extreme breathing problems. I am in constant pain in my lungs but am looking for help to find a safe alternative of relieving my pain levels. PLEASE HELP!

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Old 08-20-2008, 05:51 AM   #2
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?

Unfortunately, almost all (if not all) opiates/opioids cause respiratory depression as a side effect. I have read that there are studies being done with some drugs to help lessen these effects. Where those studies stand, and exactly what they have discovered, I do not know.

Maybe you could speak with your local chemist/pharmacist? I would think that if anyone would know the latest news/studies, they would. I wish I could be of more help, but maybe some of the others here have more answers than I do.

Are your doctors telling you that they want you to completely stop taking the pain meds, or just reduce the doses? Have they given you any suggestions about what you could replace these opiate/opioid meds with?

I'm very sorry this has become an issue for you. I hope that there can be some alternative(s) that will give you the relief that you need. Take care and I wish you the very best of luck, CMP/MM

Old 08-20-2008, 08:07 AM   #3
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?


Morphine is sometimes used with breathing difficulties where pain is involved.

I don't recall which, but sometimes either hydromorphone or oxymorphone are also used to help with breathing difficulties.

As cmpgirl pointed out, all opioids cause respiratory depression to some degree, and with escalating doses the depression grows. But, apparently, some also work to assist with the breathing. I suppose it has to do with easing the pain so the patient can draw in a full breath.

Your pharmacist should be aware of this.


Old 08-20-2008, 08:18 AM   #4
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?


My husband is studying to be a respiratory therapist. Morphine is sometimes used in a nebulizer for lung pain, usually with cancer paitients. We discussed using it with the Dr. at hospice for his brother, but he passed away before they could get the nebulized morphine in for him to try. It's not used for that a lot, but he treated a paitient with it when he was doing his clinicals. It would be worth asking about, in particular if the pain is in the lungs. If you'd like more information post back and I'll ask my husband tonight, he knows a lot more about what's used for respiratory problems than I do.


Last edited by Mod08; 08-21-2008 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Please re-read the posting rules this board is for patient to patient support only.

Old 08-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #5
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?

What exactly is going on with your lungs causing you pain?
I ask because I, too have pain in my lungs and it hurts with every breath I take. But my doctors all say this is impossible and after five years I still have no definitive diagnosis. I woke up 5(and a half!) years ago with nasty atypical pneumonia way up in the top of my right lung. I was on 4 or 5 courses of antibiotics until it was knocked down to a dull roar. The docs say the pneumonia is gone but the pain is still here! Sorry to ramble on about myself but I'm always looking for someone who has a similar pain to mine to see what they have tried. No offense to you spineys!

What medications are you on/have you tried? Are you on high doses? Is that why they are worried about respiratory depression? Steve and Tigger know way more than I do about the subject.

Good luck and I hope you can find a medication that will help you. I know the fear of pain while's not like you can soak in the tub or put on an ice pack or get in a certain position...the only thing you can do is stop breathing! Unfortunately, I also have underlying pain so there is a constant pain aside from the pain when I breathe. Take care and keep posting...this is a great place for information and support.~Mush
undiagnosed lung and back pain after pneumonia in '03, tmj, migraines,(two failed surgeries for) Kienbock's disease

Last edited by trowftd3; 08-20-2008 at 09:54 AM.

Old 08-21-2008, 01:48 AM   #6
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?

Hi to all who have replied to my post and pain meds and repiratory problems. I have bronchiectasis, acute asthma, recurrent lung infections, arthritis, diabetes among other less worrisome illnesses and lung diseases. I am also allergic to any form of morphine except oxycontin and endone. Needles, either i.v. or intramuscular cause reactions and breathing difficulties. To the person who also suffers from lung pain i feel with you. Not being able to breathe is just the worst, especially with pain.

Old 08-21-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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Re: Are there any strong pain meds that don't affect breathing?


Please re-read the posting policies: this website is for patient to patient (not professional) support i.e. NOT respitory therapist to patient.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Mod 08

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