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Old 04-26-2012, 03:22 PM   #1
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Hydrocodone Not working

i have been using norco for about 18 months only taking 12 mgs every 5 hours but its not working anymore.
Just curious if this is normal? And will adding milligrams make much of a difference. My PDoc told me that it could happen. Then you move on to something stronger.

Also curious if anyone has has the procedure on there back where they burn the nerves. Already did the steroid injections.

Last night I had pain worse than I can remember. Even after taking my dose or norco.

 
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:56 PM   #2
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Norco is one of the weakest narcotics out there, and your taking a very small dose of short acting medication. I don't know what type of pain you have or for how long you've had it, but your body does adjust to the meds and you build tolerance. You have to either take more mg's of short acting meds or move to a long acting med which gives more steady pain coverage for a long period of time, up to 12 hours.

Talk to your doc and see what he suggests since your obviously still doing other therapies such as injections.

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Old 04-26-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Wink Re: Hydrocodone Not working

I have L-4-5, S1 herniation. I have tried hard to be careful with my tolerance. Going on 5 years 24/7 pain. Only went for pain relief less than 2 years ago. Kept waiting for it to go away.
I am a lightweight with meds. So I will see what he says. It just seemed to be working at the dose I used for a long time then it didn't I guess I thought it would be a slower tolerance thing when it happened.

My insurance wont pay for oxycontin. No generic.

This whole thing scares me because I don't want to have the meds not work. Then where do I go. But it sounds like I am on a weak drug, so that is encouraging.

Last edited by Lynette57; 04-26-2012 at 09:43 PM.

 
Old 04-26-2012, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

If you've been on daily pain meds for 2 years and your only up to 12 mgs. of Norco roughly 4 times a day, your doing really well tolerance wise. Most people would be on a much higher dose than that for back pain. You mention Oxycontin. You do know that Oxy is not the only LA med don't you? There is Morphine, Oxymorphone, Hydromorphone, several things to try.

You say your waiting for the pain to stop, has your Dr. explained that a herniated disc usually heals on it's own in 1 - 6 months if it's going to. You've had this for 5 years...pretty good bet that yours isn't going to resolve itself. Has your doc suggested any other therapies or treatments?

kat

 
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #5
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

He wants me to have surgery, I believe it's called a laminectomy. He is letting me wait till my mother passes away. She had a stroke about a year ago. My father who is83 cares for her, but I go a few days a week to give him relief.

She has dementia. It is important to me and my father that I can be there. i dont have to do much there but I do have to drive about 45 minutes to get there then 45 minutes home.

I mentioned in the first post a procedure where they burn the nerve endings.
I will talk to him next week at my appt.

I appreciate your response.

 
Old 04-27-2012, 09:33 AM   #6
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Lynette- I am so sorry to hear about your mother- I'll be sending positive thoughts & prayers for strength & comfort during this time for you.

I'm also sorry to hear about your continued & elevating pain issues. As Katlin said, you are on one of the weakest, short acting meds available, and again, at a fairly low dose. Now, with taking 12 mgs, are you breaking one in half? I'm only aware that they come in 5, 7.5 & 10 mg doses.

Anyway- I can only tell you that some doctors like to try and increase the dosing of the meds you are already on, whereas some will want to try adding another medication such as Cymbalta, Prozac, or something else to work in conjunction with your current medication. My doctor added Prozac to my regimine & it worked wonders & has kept me from having to increase my dose now for a year. (He gave me the option of either increasing my dose, or seeing if adding the Prozac would help, so I chose the Prozac) This is a blessing for me since I'm young (ish), haha, and I prefer to hold off on the "big-guns" as long as I can. When the time comes for the big guns to come in to play, then so be it, but for now, the less I can take and still function at a somewhat normal level, the better for me.

As for long acting meds, Katlin is right. There's a variety of them out there, so don't fret, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In the mean time, do you have a TENS or an Alpha-Stim you can use until your doctor is able to make any needed adjustments to your dosing and/or meds? I used a TENS, then moved to an Alpha-Stim which has been a Godsend for me. It really helps when I'm having an elevation in my pain levels. It's also small & clips on to my belt, or wasteline of my jeans so I can actually wear it to the office.

Please do not be afraid to let your doctor know you aren't getting the pain coverage you were getting before. He did tell you this happens, so I'm sure he has something that can help.

Take care, and please keep us posted.

Last edited by ozzybug; 04-27-2012 at 09:37 AM.

 
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Lynette, very sorry to hear about your situation, that's not an easy thing if your in the best of health.

I've found some information on the procedure you mentioned and thought I'd post it to you, as you have your hands full.

Radiofrequency Lesioning is a procedure that sends radio waves through a needle targeting certain nerves causing interruption of the pain signals. This is done with exact precision. The procedure is considered quite effective. Some people have reported pain relief for up to 2 years. Nerve endings do tend to grow back though, but the procedure can be repeated as needed.

Hope this helps, if there's anything I can do for ya, just give a yell...I don't mind looking up or researching stuff...I'm kind of a geek that way.

Keeping you and your family in my prayers,

Kat

 
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:44 PM   #8
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Thanks for the replies. I do take paxil to help with the pain. I believe it has helped my tolerance. I took a quarter of a flexeril last night and another quarter this am since the pain meds or neurontin wouldn't touch this pain past few days. Pain vanished. My GP doc had given it to me before the MRI. My pain doc mentioned he didn't like that drug. When I see him next week I will mention that it stopped the acute pain. I had worked in the yard(not heavy)last Friday and Saturday. First time this season. I didn't think of it my hubby did. I am thinking muscle spasms could inflame the are where the herniation is.

I really do want the pain meds to work as long as I need them so I do try to use whatever else I can if my regular pain dose doesn't work. I have never doubled my dose for acute pain. And alot of times advil or neurotin will pick up the slack. Or even Xanax.

I cut up my pills so as to only increase the dose in the smallest increments possible.

I will look online for a tens machine. I have used them at the chiropractor when I used to go. That would be helpful to have around for just the thing that occured the last 48 hours. This is the first episode of acute pain I have had since the MRI that would not respond to opiates and neurontin. So I am thinking I need to add a muscle relaxer to my choices. And as time goes by hopefully I can identify the type of pain and what will work.

Thanks for the kind thoughts about my mother. It is hard to watch someone you love fade away inside there mind. I am honored and privledged to have the chance to help her and my father, as they have done so much for me in my life.

 
Old 04-28-2012, 10:03 PM   #9
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Your pain doctor doesn't like the Flexeril? Wow. Muscle relaxers are typically a widely used treatment and most doctors would much prefer you be on them than narcotics. They aren't as bad of a risk for psychological dependence. I haven't found I have a physical dependence either. If it helps, it helps. I hope you can find a doctor willing to see that. Hope you also find a doctor willing to use a higher dose of pain meds if that is the best option for you. Hydrocodone isn't a good choice med if you need to be on it all the time...typically a long + short acting med combo is more suited for long term constant chronic pain that doesn't respond to other treatments. Best wishes.

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

He is a good doctor. I will ask him about a muscle relaxer. I think I tolerate more pain than I probably need to. So it's my bad. We have discussed LA narcotics. He had thought it was time for that. Was going to write for OXYcontin. My insurance won't pay for it, not generic. Only 2 LA meds that are covered are Fentnyl patch and Morphine salts. Looks like no generic on the OXY till next year.

He really wants me to try the surgery after my mom passes away and my dad doesn't need my help. I would like to have the surgery also. So it's been more me trying to not take any more narcotics than I can get by with.

He said I am not an addict type and will do what we need to take care of my pain. I also have C5,6,7, that are in bad shape and inoperable. My neck is in worse shape than my back but doesn't bother me all the time.

I won't leave my appt this week without a muscle relaxer for those times like last week. Last night it was my left leg burning all night. And the neurontin took an IBUprophen 800 last night to help the inflammation.

It is so nice to be able to come here and get information from other pain sufferers. Cause our families grow weary of what it does to us.

 
Old 04-29-2012, 02:49 PM   #11
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Hopefully when you tell him how much the muscle relaxers help he will be willing. Also tell him your insurance won't cover Oxycontin, and what they would cover. More doctors are moving away from Oxycontin actually. There was a lot of news about how much was on the black market and they changed the formulation to prevent abuse and now a lot of patients report it not working as well or lasting as long. Morphine is probably a good option for a first long acting med (not so much on the Fentanyl). Your insurance likely also covers Methadone as a long acting med, but doctor opinions on that are mixed. They seem to either love it or hate it.

It is normal to build tolerance to pain meds. I think you are well within average tolerance to need an increase after 18 months. Its usually worse to delay any necessary increases as then you end up needing to make such a large increase at one time. If you are taking them for pain, I see no reason against taking what you need to take to keep the pain under control, such as 50%. Sometimes delaying taking the meds can make it worse as then the pain is harder to get under control, and you end up even needing more. You really get a lot of ups & downs with the level of medication in your system with a med like Hydrocodone, although I've heard some people do better splitting up their dose to take a little bit every two hours (instead of 4-6), but that takes a lot of effort.

If you have moderate to severe constant pain without better options, plus since your doctor recommended it, I would go to a long acting + a short acting med. Problems can occur when you are trying to chase away all the pain, but it doesn't sound like that to me. I still don't get how you are taking 12 mg. Do you have the 5mg pills and take 2.5 of them (12.5 mg)? Or, do you split them in something besides halves? Not a big deal but I'm curious. That or maybe you are on liquid? Your doctor should be able to write a prescription for a tens machine and then your insurance will cover all or part of it (look up your benefits for "durable medical equipment"). Good luck. Best wishes.

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:58 PM   #12
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

I have the 7.5's and cut halfs in half. I think maybe I might be doing myself an injustice trying to tough out some of the pain. Cause you are correct, I am finding it harder to get it back under control.

I will call my insurance company tomorrow about the tens machine.

I still find myself after 5 years trying to believe it will go away. But after this acute flare due to lifting my mom off the ground when she fell and then yard work, I can see I have permanent damage. It's hard to accept that you are broken.

Will talk to my doc about all of it this week.

Thanks again.

 
Old 04-29-2012, 04:50 PM   #13
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

L57,

I've played many games of pill splitting in an effort to keep my dose low and to trick myself into thinking that my many smaller doses would do the same work as fewer larger doses. I too was taking Norco (10/325) and I would split the pill into 4 or more pieces which I would dole out during the day -it was my effort at creating a Long acting experience from a Short Acting narcotic. Eventually I just couldn't get enough relief from 1 Norco a day no matter how I split it up. Actually, I still do the splitting even now with Oxymorphone, many little pieces distributed throughout the day. The downside is that one becomes hyper aware of those set dosing times during the day, like a rat that expects a reward when the bell rings. The upside is that my pain feels far more 'attended to' and steady due to the frequency of dosing and I feel more in control of my pain when I can dose more frequently. I always felt drop-out times when I was taking OxyContin and Opana on a b.i.d. schedule. Eventually I started to distrust the drug release schemes that they devised for them.

Last edited by Isotope; 04-29-2012 at 04:58 PM.

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #14
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Lynette,

A big problem with pill splitting is that you can't be sure of the exact dose your getting each time, and that will cause problems regulating your pain. I understand wanting to keep things kind of the same until the situation with your folks gets better, but if you don't keep your pain at a manageable level it can be hard to deal with the stress and emotional pain that your going through to take care of them.

This may be a stupid question but comments in 2 of your posts lead me to it. Do you realize that Flexeril is a muscle relaxer?

If your planning on having surgery in the next few months, then you do need to try and keep your meds to the least amount that will give you relief. When you've been on daily pain meds it can be difficult to control post-op pain, generally surgeons have you take a bit of a pain holiday and go down on all of your pain meds in the weeks before your surgery, so that you can get adequate pain control after the surgery. They don't want to have to give you such high amounts of pain med that it becomes dangerous for you. I.V. pain meds can depress the respiratory system. Just keep that in the back of your mind when talking with you doc about pain med changes at this time.

Kat

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:44 PM   #15
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Re: Hydrocodone Not working

Thank you for your input. If my mom lives one year or two or six months I will wait and my doc understands. I am thinking my biggest issue is that I don't have a schedule. I guess I figured I would know when it was time by how I felt. So I am seeing that is exactly the wrong way to take them I take an old blood pressure med and have to split my dose into 3 times a day and it isn't a prob for me. I knew flexeril was a muscle relaxer. My GP doc gave it to me before the MRI almost 2 years ago and before pain management. I am going to be sure not to leave the appt without a script for a muscle relaxer.

I do remember a conversation with him back in the fall about ups and downs and him saying that would make me crave it more. That isn't a problem for me just the pain and sweating. So he may have been talking about what you have mentioned.
This is part of me accepting that I am broken. And it's time to treat it as best I can.

I will discuss all these things with my pain doc this week. I always make a list so I never forget anything.

Thanks again for the knowledge and experience.

Last edited by Lynette57; 04-29-2012 at 08:49 PM.

 
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