I have red hair and just found out that redheads require, on average, 20% more anesthesia than other hair colors (I read it could even be much higher %). There are also certain types of pain medications that work better on people with red hair color. I was pretty shocked to read that since my doctors have never mentioned anything to me about it.
For me I've noticed that medications wear off much earlier too. If something says take every 6 hours, it wears off in 4 hours for me and I'm stuck without pain relief till my next dose.
Any other redheads out there? How do you cope? Does your doctor take into account your hair color when prescrbing medications?
According to what I've read, the gene that causes red hair (MC1R), belongs to a group of receptors that include pain receptors in the brain. Redheads have a mutation in the gene melanocortin-1 receptor - that's what causes the red hair but also affects the pain receptors.
It also says that redheads are more prone to thermal pain (caused by heat or cold). Without a doubt, I experience MUCH more pain on cold days. My PM doc told me I should move to a warm climate (not happening, I have children in school).
I found it very interesting that there is a genetic cause for anthesia thresholds.
I'm not sure about pain medications but I process anesthetics much faster than the average person.
2 epidurals in childbirth & I was walking around. The dentist always has to double my dose.
My pain tolerance OTOH is high and I don't need a lot of pain medication after surgery (I've had 4 open abdominal surgeries) but I skip the epidural for pain control- it doesn't work
It's funny that you said that about the dentist having to double your dose, that was mentioned in a couple of studies too. I always just sucked it up and thought you were supposed to have pain at the dentist.
When I get epidural steroid injections, the doctor gives me a "numbing" injection before the ESI. It has never once numbed me in the slightest.
Then what, again, I have brown hair and I need 4mg Clonazepam to start with in order to sleep at night(cause of pain). There are other reasons why one has high tolerance to narcotic pain meds. and yes, when the weather is warm I am better. So where should we all move to?
There is something called metabolism, I guess that is my problem. Skinny here. I sometimes wonder if I put on weight then I will metabolise narcotics and benzo's better(only taking Clonazepam).
It also says that women (not men) with red hair respond to certain types of medications better than other hair colored women. Kappa Opioid receptor medications work better on red heads.
Here is one study they did but there were a few others too. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1692342/
I'd love to, but I think I'd feel a bit uneasy about talking to my PM doc about these studies. I think it could hurt his ego if he wasn't aware of it - and that wouldn't be good.
As far as metabolism goes, I do believe that has an effect on your processing medications. I also feel for myself, but have never seen anything to confirm this, that my overactive bladder flushes medications out of me faster. It's just a guess but it seems logical to me.
I'm a redhead and yes theres some truth to this. It seems to me that I hear
a lot more about this than I used to. I always need more numbing than normal
when I go to the dentist, so does my daughter (also a redhead). I wake up
from anesthesia faster than most people. Pain is harder to get controlled. I
haven't read up on it recently but it does have to do with the recessive gene
that makes us redheads to begin with. I have a sister in the nursing home
with MS and some of the nursing staff is beginning to become familiar with it.
I guess maybe the medical staff just hasn't been informed. I do think the info
is becoming more common though.