I am 32 years old and have had neck and back pain for about 13 years. It began when I fell from a second story balcony and messed up my back. Since then I have had a couple car accidents and really screwed up my neck so about 9 months ago I had a 3 level cervical disc fusion and discectomy, on C3-C4, C4-C5 and C5-C6. 2 months later I was rear-ended and gradually the pain returned. I have been on 10/325 hydrocodone (norco) since the accident, and take 3-4pills usually 3 times a day (90-120mg daily). Is this alot? It doesn't seem to be controlling the pain anymore so my doctor recommended the Duragesic patch. I've never heard of this patch so I'm trying to research it but cant find out how it compares to the hydrocodone. I'm worried because it seems like the hydro is the onlything that works. I've tried Ultram, Oxycontin, endocet, neurotin, mophine and others but they dont work. Hydrocodone works the best but it doesnt completley take the pain away. I started with 1-2 pills 3times a day but now up to 3-4 pills 3times a day. Does this seem like alot to take? Has anyone gone from Hydrocodone to the Duragesic patch? Does it work better? I should get the patched tomorrow (my pharamacist delivers) but my doctor said she will start me off at the lowest dose. I just worry because whenever they take me off the hydrocodone to try another medication it doesn't end up working and I end up in pain until my next appointment. I am so tired of being in pain. Please help. Thank you!!
I'm so sorry about the pain you're experiencing. It does sound you are at the point where a Long-Acting medication would be most beneficial. It sounds likes your body is building a tolerance to the Hydrocodone and the pain relief isn't as effective as it once was. My PM Doctor has me on the Fentanyl Patch and I also take the Hydrocodone 10/325 as needed for breakthrough pain. I have found the patch to be very beneficial and has made a difference where my pain is concerned.
Prior to starting the patch in Aug/09, my pain was really having a huge impact on my ability to function and carry through my daily responsibilities and the Hydrocodone just wasn't cutting it. I would literally wake up in the morning exhausted because of the pain I would have through the night and getting up and moving in the morning was a major challenge, until I would take the Hydrocodone just moving was difficult. One of the biggest differences I have noticed with the patch is that it provides consistent pain relief in that I sleep a lot better and wake-up close to pain-free (no waiting for the Hydrocodone to take effect). I still am prescribed the Hydrocodone for breakthrough pain (but I am taking a lot less than before). So, I would definitely discuss with your Doctor the possibility of trying the patch and also being prescribed the Hydrocodone for breakthrough pain. If the patch works for you like it has for me, you should be able to take less Hydrocodone in a day - which will be a good thing in the long-run. I have loved the patch, because I basically put it on and then don't have to worry about it for 3 days until I change my patch, so it has been very effective for me and I love the idea of taking less pills.
I think a discussion with your Doctor is definitely worth while. Keep us posted on what you find out.
Thank you for your responses. oldbackbone - the doc did not adjust the dose, they just switched me back to the norco. During my last visit, I asked the doc to possibly switch me back to the oxycontin at a higher dose and take me off the norco but instead she put me on the fentanyl patch. I do know that the dose of oxycontin was the minumum. Fiona_Jo_324 - my story is very similar to yours in that I can not get going in the morning until I take the norco. It hurts just to lift my head off the pillow. I still have to hold the back of my neck before I can get up. Since my last post I have tried the patch (25mcg) but it is not relieving the pain. The first day I received some relief but most of the day yesterday and today I have little or no relief. The first day I had also taken the norco while I waited for the patches to arrive so I'm not sure if the relief I felt was from the patch or from the norco. I tried to call my doctor a few minutes ago but she told me to give it 2 weeks. I dont understand. Wouldn't I know if it's not helping with the pain by now or does it take 2 weeks for it to start working? I really like the idea of the patch vs. taking all those pills so I'm hoping they can either increase the dose or try something else...although I'm not sure what the options are.