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Old 07-28-2009, 10:23 AM   #1
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Question Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

I've been taking hydrocodone to varying degrees since 2007. Now I'm only using it for breakthrough pain, along with Avinza as my long-acting medication.

The hydrocodone makes me itch and it always has. Not severely, not like I want to tear my skin off, but annoying nonetheless. It mainly affects my chest, neck, chin, lips, and nostrils/nose.

I see my PM doc again in September, and I'm still considering keeping quiet about this because the medication is helping very well despite the itching and I am afraid that he'll switch me to something that won't work as well.

I also don't want to be one of those patients that doctors roll their eyes at - "It's always SOMETHING with her..." especially since I also have to tell him that the Zanaflex he gave me made me feel horrible (mild hallucinations and feeling like I was confined, like in a coffin or something, very claustrophobic and I'm not normally that way).

Has anyone else had this problem and, if so, what did you do/what did your doctor do if you brought it up to them?

I know some of my questions and things I say might seem silly or the answers should be obvious, but I'm coming out of a bad doctor relationship, where she took my meds away for no reason - I did nothing wrong - so I'm remembering that horrible experience even though my current pain doctor is an angel.

Thanks for your help - you guys have always given great advice in the past, so I know I can trust you all.

I hope everyone is having a pain-free day (or as close as any of us can get to that).

 
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

The itching with the Hydrocodone is fairly common although it usually goes away after a while or is not as anoying after some time. You have been using it since 2007 so that is weird that you are still bothered by it.

You can take some Benadryl or another antimhistamine but the downside with that is they make you tired.

 
Old 07-28-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Codeine always make me itch and has ever since I first took it decades ago ...it causes itching in many people but there isn't much in the pain market that doesn't do something so I figure I can live with the itchiness of it all as long as it takes the pain away. However, if that itchiness progresses beyond to other complications like a more serious side effect like your throat feels like it is closing off then of course you would have to stop or in your case of the drug that made you claustrophobic then yes that is something to stop. So we all have to decide on that itching part of Codeine and for me it causes itching anytime I take it and that part never goes away...you can take Benadryl to help with the itchiness which is something to do at night time so you can sleep better. Good luck.

 
Old 07-28-2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Hi!

I can understand not wanting to go off of a medication that is WORKING. Benadryl is good for itching, but can make you pretty sleepy. Zyrtec is another anti-histimine that works well for itching and it generally won't make you sleepy. If you try it you might want to do so when you have some time where you don't have to drive, just in case. The other benefit of Zyrtec is that it lasts for 24 hours, it is over the counter now so you don't need a script.

Tigg.

 
Old 07-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Thanks guys! I think I'll check with my doctor and make sure it's ok to take an anti-histamine with it since the itching is mild, there are no other symptoms to suggest a more significant allergy (like sneezing, eye irritation, or swelling of the tongue or throat), and the medication is working well. The only other short-acting medication I've taken, and the one my doc would be most likely to use, is oxycodone, and if hydrocodone makes me itch, then oxy probably would, too (I'm thinking of the "codone" part here being the culprit causing the itching). It's been so long since I've taken oxy (for endometriosis pain and post-op orthopedic surgery bone pain), about 5 years, that I don't remember for sure if I itched with it or not, but I think I probably did, along the same severity as the itching with hydrocodone (mild and annoying, but not serious or dangerous).

Does Zyrtec make you feel loopy? I hate that loopy/sleepy feeling you get with Benadryl, so I'd like to avoid that if possible.

Also, I was off of the hydrocodone for about 6 months - it was just recently re-started for BT pain, so maybe the itching will get better since I did have a break from it for a little while.

A little itching is a small price to pay for really good pain relief, and every pain med has SOME kind of side-effect, so I can handle it as long as it's relieving my pain.

Thanks again!

 
Old 07-28-2009, 01:54 PM   #6
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

You could also ask your PM doc about cimetidine(like Tagament). It has antihistamine properties too without the sleepiness.

I hear you on the itchies!!!!

Blessings,
Michelle

 
Old 07-28-2009, 06:32 PM   #7
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

I would recommend Claritin versus Zyrtec because the Zyrtec can cause drowsiness/spaced out feeling. The Claritin is supposed to be 100% non-drowsy and the great thing is that this is OTC medication now as well. Most stores like Walmart even have their own generic of these medications so you can get them even cheaper.

brian
p.s. I would not take Benadryl unless you want to sleep

 
Old 07-28-2009, 07:56 PM   #8
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddyssey View Post
The only other short-acting medication I've taken, and the one my doc would be most likely to use, is oxycodone, and if hydrocodone makes me itch, then oxy probably would, too (I'm thinking of the "codone" part here being the culprit causing the itching).
As Leo said, itching is a very common side effect with this med. In fact, it's the most frequent side effect of all narcotics. Some people, however, don't experience this side effect, but many do. Usually, the stronger the med, the more likely (and more severe) the itching. Sometimes it subsides over time and sometimes it doesn't. I've been on pain meds for about 10 years now, and I still have some periods of itching. Annoying, but not intolerable.

Any OTC antihistimine should help. The only one that may make you drowsy would be Benadryl. Claritin is probably the most popular and would be a good one to try.


Quote:
Does Zyrtec make you feel loopy? I hate that loopy/sleepy feeling you get with Benadryl, so I'd like to avoid that if possible.
It really shouldn't. The thing to remember with antihistimines is that there is great variance person to person. The "histimine" release by our bodies is what creates the allergic reaction. Thus, one med may work for one person while it doesn't for another. There are many available OTC....I would just start with one of the more popular ones and keep trying to you find one that works. As I said previously, Claritin would be a good place to start. Some are available by Rx, but I'd be surprised if you have to go that route.


Quote:
A little itching is a small price to pay for really good pain relief, and every pain med has SOME kind of side-effect, so I can handle it as long as it's relieving my pain.
Yes, that is correct. Sometimes people forget that just about every med (even OTC) has some type of "side effect." The key is that as long as the positive(s) of taking a med clearly outweigh any negative (usually side effects), then therapy should continue. Conversely, when the side effects or any negatives outweigh the positive(s), then discontinuation should be discussed.

To me, the itching is more of an "annoying" thing....Certainly not a reason for discontinuation. Also, it's very important to remember that a side effect like itching doesn't mean one is allergic to the med and is certainly not in the same class of side effects like swelling of the throat, trouble breathing, and etc.

Best of luck to you.

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 07-28-2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Interesting thread because I also get mild itching, which can turn to picking for me. I don't take anything for it on a regular basis - I have taken Benedryl on a couple of occasions and it does make me sleepy. I may try one now in fact.

I wanted to add that I agree about the cost of generic/store brand Claritin - I've found it to be about 1/2 less expensive than name brand (I buy the store brand for my husband who suffers from food and hay fever allergies).

I also want to thank Ex for clarifying that itching does not necessarily mean "allergic" because I started to think my throat was closing once I read that - funny how the mind works.

Good luck. Interesting about Tagament as well as I think that may help with nausea (which I am currently experiencing - I'll have to check the box now).
Tara

Last edited by kim46; 07-28-2009 at 08:21 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 07-29-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

If you take Benadryl everyday there is a chance that the drowsiness will lessen after a week or two. It depends on the person. For me it takes two capsules to lessen the itching. In some cases, prescription medication can be less expensive than buying OTC if you have a low copay. You'd want to ask for hydroxyzine or Atarax for that.

 
Old 06-19-2010, 07:50 AM   #11
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Opiates release histimines. The same response you get from poison ivy. Your body releases histimines that cause itching. I had the same problem when I first started taking opiates for pain. Talk to your doctor, he may have you take an antihistimine with your meds or change meds.

 
Old 06-19-2010, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: Hydrocodone makes me itchy!

Try taking a zyrtec every day, the antihistamine effect should help. Check this is ok with your pharmacist first of course

 
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