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Old 09-10-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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digestive side effects of pain medication

Can you folks in pain management tell me what you use to keep your digestive system going? Since starting on the long-acting morphine, I am suffering terribly in this department. I tried dulcolax with no success. My doctor said I could take sennecot. I know some people think it is an embarrassing topic, but it seems to be a reality of pain management. I have read that you should not take laxatives on a regular basis. Does sennecot fall into this category? I am also taking the Activia challenge, but I'm not sure how well it is working.

Any good info or suggestions?

 
Old 09-10-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Toonces, considering how big a concern it is for us, I don't think anyone should be squeamish about discussing it. PM's are supposed to check to make sure we're getting the constipation handled. I think this is a good question to ask docs since I, too, have read that laxatives shouldn't be taken on a regular basis. I have been taking them regularly however since I would have some really serious prolems if I didn't. I was using Senna before - this wasn't quite doing the trick. I'm now using Ducosate sodium [which is A LOT cheaper if you buy it in a large bottle - I thin I got Goldline D.O.S. 100 gels 250 mg. for about 6 dollars. The pharmacist told me to take as many as I needed to make things move... So, if a couple days have gone by....It may be that you're not taking enough ducosate sodium. I actually wish that I hadn't relied on one pharmacist's word, and had done some more checking before becoming "dependent" on the ducosate - it used to just be for emergencies.

I believe that adding more fiber to your diet, and even taking fiber supplements, also helps. And, here's the broken record [for me anyway - acupuncture has actually gotten things moving along quite nicely - unless you can go frequently however, it's more of an adjunctive therapy . There isn't much I haven't recommended acupuncture for yet! ;-)

Here's the "embarassing" part. For unanticipated difficulties, there are latex gloves and lubricant in my bathroom.

Asking how people handle the constipation issue is a really good topic.

Last edited by Confused089; 09-10-2008 at 06:45 PM.

 
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Believe it or not...that new Activia yogurt actually has helped me be more regular. I've been taking it for a week and I've noticed a difference.

 
Old 09-10-2008, 09:50 PM   #4
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Just an FYI the docusate sodium is just a stool softener and not any type of laxative, so it really does not assist you in "going", it just makes the stool consistency a bit easier to pass. There also should not be any addictive qualities to this medication. One of the best things to use is Miralax, it used to be RX only, but now it is over the counter. It's powder and you just mix it with juice, water, tea whatever once a day and it works pretty good, no taste, no slimy consistency, etc.

 
Old 09-11-2008, 02:22 PM   #5
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

My PM doc recommended a stool softener and a non-stimulant laxative. This works well for me, and I had real troubles before starting it.

The stimulant laxatives use both natural and synthetic solutions to get your motility back. These are the ones to avoid on a regular basis if you can. It should say on the bottle whether it's a stimulant laxative or not. And I find a stool softener to be a must.

I take MS Contin now and only need the stool softener. When I was on methadone and before that, fentanyl, I needed the stool softener and the laxative. I found a natural solution by eating 6-12 prunes nightly. Works like a charm, and I actually got to like the little buggers.

steve

 
Old 09-11-2008, 03:28 PM   #6
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Ah the dreaded topic. How we hate to ask yet need too. Miralax works very well. Increase fiber in your diet (something I am so not good at). They have yogurts with it now too. Miralax takes a few hours to a few days I think. There is a liquid at the pharmacy that will work quickly if you are overly bloated and need to get relief the same day. I don't use it often but when I am miserable, I will buy it, chill it and drink about half of it. Viola, problem solved. It would be better to include something daily to prevent having to take meds. Many docs don't want you to take something like a stool softner daily mainly because as with any med, you build up a tolerance and it will take more and more over time. Good luck to you!

 
Old 09-12-2008, 03:30 PM   #7
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Hi all!

I read the label for MiraLax and I believe it listed propolene glycol (sorry about the spelling) for the active ingredient. I had heard that was the same ingredient in anti-freeze. Is that cause for concern or one of those urban myths? Thanks!
wren

 
Old 09-12-2008, 07:33 PM   #8
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

I would vote for the urban legend...miralax was prescribed for my son beginning when he was 12 after he came home from the hospital with Kidney disease...they may sound like the same ingredient...and they may very well be variations of the same ingredient but used in a different chemical compound, but I don't think that means that you could go out and get a bottle of antifreeze and compare the two side by side.

 
Old 09-12-2008, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Propylene glycol sometimes is used in anti-freeze, though ethylene glycol is more common. Propylene glycol is found in all kinds of cosmetics, and you'd be almost hard pressed to find a shampoo or conditioner that doesn't contain it. Some of the more "eco-friendly", less poisonous to dogs and cats anti-freezes are ethylene glycol-based.

 
Old 09-12-2008, 09:00 PM   #10
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

I've been on long term vicodin/norco and have had some of the same difficulties. I take daily fiber supplements, eat orowheat double fiber bread, and try to use things like activia when I notice that things are slowing down. I think my problem is 50% pain meds and 50% normal aging (though I'm only 42).
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:35 PM   #11
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think I am going to check out the Miralax next time I am at the pharmacy, which seems to be every day lately. I don't think the activia has made a noticeable difference yet, but I
m going to keep trying it for another week or so.

 
Old 09-13-2008, 06:15 PM   #12
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Well. . .I guess I may try the Miralax, too. Although, I am also giving the prunes another try. Propylene glycol can't be much worse than all those toxins that are being resorbed through being backed up. I have tried a lot of different fiber supplements and herbal and OTC laxative/stool softeners, but nothing has worked well yet.

TY for the tips.

wren

 
Old 09-16-2008, 04:05 AM   #13
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

Hi everyone. This is my first post here but I read daily.
I found that pears help this problem too. I buy canned pears and eat a couple halves daily if needed. I also eat a few prunes to change off.

 
Old 09-16-2008, 10:29 AM   #14
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Re: digestive side effects of pain medication

This one cracks me up tho I am laughing thru my pain . I have battled this for two years. I take stool softeners twice daily, eat fiber and yogurt,canned pears, fresh cherries(personal favorite) and prune juice. I drink tons of water. I walk two miles (min.) a day.
I have finally started sennacot at night to help get things "moving". I end up with hemaroids and bleeding if I wait too long. I also own latex gloves and a bottle of lubricant for desperate times. I know this will be my battle till I am off narcotics and Lyrica.
It just seems like one more humiliation to top off being narcotic dependent(back injury) and appearing like a "seeker" when I call to see if a script is ready to be picked up. I never pictured my life this way, but who does?
It is what it is. I can walk, drive, take care of my family, bathe and dress myself, work full time where I contribute back to the science of orthopedics-I am blessed!!
Constipated....but blessed
Momz

 
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