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Old 07-30-2012, 12:50 AM   #1
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pain medication and itching

Although I have been a member of Healthboards for a while, I mostly read and 'lurk'. I have been trying to find the correct pain medication. My doctor is cooperative but we have trouble finding something that doesn't cause side effects.
My Dx is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue (what ever those are). My pain and other symptoms have grown over the last 11 years since Dx. Pain is Neurological, mostly in my hands/arms, feet/legs. It is a burning feeling and intensifies in my joints, especially knuckles and wrists.
I won't get into my other symptoms except to talk about what happens when I take pain meds.

Over the last 11 years I have tried many things, starting with Tylenol 3 and Emtec and as pain worsened I am now taking Tylenol 3 as needed throughout the day, Codiene contin 100 mgs 2 twice a day, Oxycodone Hydrochloride 1 or 2 every 6 hours and Emtec at night instead of the Tylenol 3s.

My doc wants me to get rid of the Tyl 3 and cut back on the Oxy Hydr and up the Codeine Contin to 3 twice a day.
-First I have to say I am sleepy way too often during the day and also very itchy.

The first time I took 3 Codeine Contin I was asleep most of the day, except when I woke up to scratch or wipe off the sweat. I went back to the 2 twice a day.
I thought I would try taking the 3 at night only and see how itchy and sweaty I am.

I would appreciate input - advice - thoughts.

Thankyou,
Agapegranny

 
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:14 AM   #2
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Re: pain medication and itching

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapegranny View Post
Although I have been a member of Healthboards for a while, I mostly read and 'lurk'. I have been trying to find the correct pain medication. My doctor is cooperative but we have trouble finding something that doesn't cause side effects.
My Dx is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue (what ever those are). My pain and other symptoms have grown over the last 11 years since Dx. Pain is Neurological, mostly in my hands/arms, feet/legs. It is a burning feeling and intensifies in my joints, especially knuckles and wrists.
I won't get into my other symptoms except to talk about what happens when I take pain meds.

Over the last 11 years I have tried many things, starting with Tylenol 3 and Emtec and as pain worsened I am now taking Tylenol 3 as needed throughout the day, Codiene contin 100 mgs 2 twice a day, Oxycodone Hydrochloride 1 or 2 every 6 hours and Emtec at night instead of the Tylenol 3s.

My doc wants me to get rid of the Tyl 3 and cut back on the Oxy Hydr and up the Codeine Contin to 3 twice a day.
-First I have to say I am sleepy way too often during the day and also very itchy.

The first time I took 3 Codeine Contin I was asleep most of the day, except when I woke up to scratch or wipe off the sweat. I went back to the 2 twice a day.
I thought I would try taking the 3 at night only and see how itchy and sweaty I am.

I would appreciate input - advice - thoughts.

Thankyou,
Agapegranny
Hello First I want to say that I am sorry that you have to go through this puzzle to get a some relief. Let me start by saying that the itchiness is a side effect to a lot of the pain meds. How long have you been itching like this? Was it immediately after he change your meds? I know when I first started using percocet (5 years ago) Theat was my only issue. The itching. But after being on it and my body getting use to it, it went away. It didn't last too long though. If it's been longer than 3 months or even 2 then maybe you do need to switch some meds around. Is the medicine helping with the pain. Sometimes you have a catch-22 situation where to take care of one problem you create another. If it helps your pain I guess I would ask the doctor if you can get some kind of benedryl for the itching. If it's not helping, tell him to change you to something else. The drowsiness is another major side effect in a lot of pain meds. Like number 1. But the way you are describing the meds are putting you in a coma for days. Now that is not good. You want it to help so you can be active not to sleep the pain away. But I really hope you talk to your doctor and see what he can do. Unfortunately every pain med no, every med PERIOD has some negative effects. They all have a down side. You just have to figure out what you can deal with. I know this isn't much help but I just wanted to let you know that I have dealt with the itching and sometimes that do go away on it's on. Talk with the doc....keep me posted. Got my fingers crossed. Muah!
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Last edited by luvinmusiq; 07-30-2012 at 03:17 AM.

 
Old 07-30-2012, 03:38 AM   #3
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Re: pain medication and itching

Also, with your fibro has the doctor ever try lyrica...or any of those nerve meds. Most docotrs prescribe that for fibro instead of narcotics. Because alot of time regular pain meds don't have the effect for fibro patients. I don't know how many times I have heard that. But I also know some people with fibro and they are on narcotic pain meds. But when most doctors give out narcotics with the fibro pain they will also prescribe a fibro med...like lyrica. Cymbalta.etc. And with you already having chronic fatigue, the drowsiness from the pain meds are just making you sleep even more. But the meds that you are on now are like near the bottom of a strong narcotics latter. So I am sure that any meds that the doctor try at this point will be stronger then what you are taking and in that case you just might get worst. I am just guessing so please ask your doctor what he thinks at this point. I think if your doctor prescribed you a fibro med you may be able to go back to your old pain meds, before all the side effects. That isn't a guarantee though, just my opinion. It may be that you need a whole new regimen of things. Hope your not too sleepy to keep us updated (Just a joke to put a smile on your face). Take care....Muah!
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:57 PM   #4
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Re: pain medication and itching

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my desperate questions - much appreciated luvinmusiq.

I have tried Lyrica and stopped taking them because I didn't think they were doing much good and giving me headaches which I seldom get and they were very expensive. It was partially covered by our insurance, but not enough. I also tried Amitriptyline And then a few years later Gabapentin. With both of those I was hungry most of the time - even wake in the middle of the night and ate. I gained 20 lbs with Amytrip and 10 lbs with Gaba. I stopped the Gaba before I reached 20 lbs.

I was so excited when I started the Lyrica because I had seen the ads on TV and was sure they would help me. It was a big disappointment.
I think you are right about the itch being related to the pain meds. Because I have changed my pain meds fairly often, raising and lowering the dosage too, it is likely that that causes the itch. It does go away and then comes back when I do something different - I just hadn't thought of it that way before. It is a catch 22 situation, like you said.

BTW, in 2005 I was convinced by a Lyme disease specialist that I had Lyme disease. I tested (very low) positive with the Western Blot test, but that test was done after I had been on antibiotics for 3 years. The first year on ABX I was convinced I had Lyme disease and I am still not sure what the truth is, but after one year,the symptoms came back and proceeded to get worse.
One day there will be answers to all our questions, we will all be taken seriously and maybe have some kind of treatment, until then, I have to keep trying. I keep looking for help every where I can. I just started a regime of supplements after another doctor got results from blood tests. We will see.
Thanks again.

 
Old 08-01-2012, 12:54 AM   #5
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Re: pain medication and itching

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapegranny View Post
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my desperate questions - much appreciated luvinmusiq.

I have tried Lyrica and stopped taking them because I didn't think they were doing much good and giving me headaches which I seldom get and they were very expensive. It was partially covered by our insurance, but not enough. I also tried Amitriptyline And then a few years later Gabapentin. With both of those I was hungry most of the time - even wake in the middle of the night and ate. I gained 20 lbs with Amytrip and 10 lbs with Gaba. I stopped the Gaba before I reached 20 lbs.

I was so excited when I started the Lyrica because I had seen the ads on TV and was sure they would help me. It was a big disappointment.
I think you are right about the itch being related to the pain meds. Because I have changed my pain meds fairly often, raising and lowering the dosage too, it is likely that that causes the itch. It does go away and then comes back when I do something different - I just hadn't thought of it that way before. It is a catch 22 situation, like you said.

BTW, in 2005 I was convinced by a Lyme disease specialist that I had Lyme disease. I tested (very low) positive with the Western Blot test, but that test was done after I had been on antibiotics for 3 years. The first year on ABX I was convinced I had Lyme disease and I am still not sure what the truth is, but after one year,the symptoms came back and proceeded to get worse.
One day there will be answers to all our questions, we will all be taken seriously and maybe have some kind of treatment, until then, I have to keep trying. I keep looking for help every where I can. I just started a regime of supplements after another doctor got results from blood tests. We will see.
Thanks again.
Hello again, have you gotten any relief since the last post? I really hope so. So I just want to make sure I understand you, you were diagnosed by a lyme disease specialist. So did your primary physician refer you to see a lyme specialist? Do you know what tests the primary physician did on you at that time? The reason I am asking is because if they dx you with lyme and then a year or so later the same problems come back and even worst It is a chance that maybe they misdiagnosed you. I am not saying that they did but I do know that the test that they use to look for such diseases like lyme is the same blood test they use to look for other auto-immune diseases. It could be that you have something else similiar in the auto-immune disease family. I am not too familiar for what type of treatment you have when you are diagnosed with lyme but if you are have the same problems as before and it's getting worst, you should talk to your primary physician and see if they can retest you. Now that you are off the antibiotics. Then if the test come back abnormal then see if maybe the primary can refer you to a rheumy. Your determination is great. I really admire that you are listening to your body and you are not just going on opinion of one doctor. There are so many doctors who will misdiagnose or try to tell you that it's all in your head when they don't have the answers to our problems. I have come across a few of those types. When they don't know what's wrong they are quick to say that it's all in our heads or say that it's depression. when I first became sick years ago my pediatrician hospitalized me a did some testing. At first she diagnosed me with severe anemia. So of course she treated me for anemia. After a few days on that medicine she did some more blood work. Everything was coming back bad. Nothing had improved even with the meds. So she did some more test and those were coming out really wierd. She was getting frustrated and so was I. Not getting better and everything getting worst. Finally she came in to make her rounds at the hospital and she told my parents that she did NOT have a clue what was wrong. She said that she was going to transfer me to a specialty hospital that is out of town. When I got there it wasn't long before they diagnosed me with Lupus. I started getting the proper treatment and medications. Me and my family really appreciated my pediatrician at that time because she wasn't going to let her ego kill me. She had no problem saying she didn't know what was wrong and finding someone for help. Doing what's best for the patient. Putting the patient care first. A doctor who is doing the job because it is their passion and they really became a doctor to help people not harm them by not admitting that you are only human and you don't know everything. It takes a big person to ask for help. So many now a days are on ego and power trips. They refuse to listen to anything or anyone when they believe they are right and will not admit that they messed up. I'd rather go to the one who honestly admit when they don't know something. At least you know that their motives are sincere. Not saying this is the case with your doctor but if you don't feel that you are getting better and everything is getting worst, you just may need to get a second opinion on your diagnoses. Let me know what happens. Good luck Muah!
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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Re: pain medication and itching

I just read your post and the first thing I thought was, doesn't everyone itch on codeine? I know I sure do and I can literally scratch my skin off if I'm not careful. I've had the same problem with oxycodone but not as much (if memory serves?) on hydrocodone. BTW, have you ever been on MS-Contin (morphine)? My only concern with that is that initially many folks complain of tiredness. I know you don't need more of that! Also, when I read of your nerve issues my mind instantly went to the nerve drugs but it seems like you've already tried them. If I were you, I'd ask the doctor to switch my pain meds around until I found something, anything that works.

Good Luck going forward!

 
Old 08-11-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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Re: pain medication and itching

Thank you very much for answering my query about the itchy-ness and sleepy-ness!
The itching seems to have settled a bit, though I still want to sleep way too often. I will be re-evaluating my pain meds in 10 days with my doctor and hopefully he will have something new to suggest. Morphine is out for me because it causes nausea.
I am such a delicate little flower in the body of a senior.
Any other suggestions?

 
Old 08-11-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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Re: pain medication and itching

Have you tried Savella? That is another medication specifically for Fibromyalgia.

How about any musce relaxers? Like Flexeril, Robaxin, Skelaxin, Soma, or Baclofen.

Opiates are not the front line of treatment for Fibro or CFS. It's usually focusing on the nerve pain medications. And it sounds like you have tried a few. Did you stay on them longer than a few weeks? The weight gain is because it causes one's metabolism to slow down a bit as well as crave more simple carbs. So if this is recognized...then keeping away from simple carbs and only eat complex ones in moderation, as well as try to eliminate sugar from your diet, this can keep the weight down.

As well as with Fibro, a daily exercise plan is very important. The less you move, the more tired you will be and the more sore you get. So even if it's just walking slowly for 45 minutes to an hour each day, or aqua therapy, and light yoga/stretching is crucial.

One of the other options is finding things to help you sleep at night. By getting a good night's sleep and making sure that you are active during the day and don't take any naps, this helps promote better sleep. As well as many natural remedies including melatonin or sleepy time tea. To having a cooler bedroom, turning off ALL electronics an hour before sleep to where there isn't any light coming from them.

I have books downloaded on my phone (can be on the computer as well but only with timer to shut it off), so I turn off the tv/computer and all the lights and lay there listening to my book which helps me drift right off to sleep. I also have many pillows that help align my spine as in addition to Fibro, I have spine issues. I switch positions every hour through the night but fall back asleep.

So I am usually asleep by 10pm and up by 5am every morning without an alarm clock. It's very important to stick to a schedule 7 days a week with sleeping and waking.

And the other things for Fibro in addition to daily exercise and eating healthy is acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, TENS unit, etc.

I am on morphine sulfate for my spine issues and it is very different in pill form from what you get in the hospital after a surgery by IV. So any type of nausea goes away in a few weeks and I haven't had a single issue with that in years.

I would make sure that your Dr. is helping you form the best comprehensive plan to help with your Fibro/CFS including many other modalities besides an opiate. This usually yields the best result when using many things together.

Good luck.

 
Old 08-11-2012, 01:26 PM   #9
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Re: pain medication and itching

I find that some of my painkillers make me itchy too, therefore I try to massage the skin thoroughly before they wear off by rubbing the skin with baby oil. My skin isnt itchy because it is dry, I just find the massaging is much easier with the oil, and perhaps it helps the blood circulation. Im not sure. I really feel for you. Pain is the worst thing. I do hope you find a way to stop the itchyness, there are lots of people on here who will be able to help better than me. I just hope your better soon xxxxx

 
Old 08-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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Re: pain medication and itching

Thanks so much I love cute Dog, for the very informative message. I have written down your suggestions, and very interested in the Muscle Relaxers as I have never tried them before. Well, I have tried the Robaxin off and on over the years when my back is very bad, but never thought of it as something to help with FMS. Why does it help with nerve pain?
A friend with one of these diseases - maybe FMS has tried Flexeril and I never knew it was a muscle relaxer. I will have to ask her about that. Sounds worth a try.

You are right, taking opiates for nerve pain is masking the pain and making me dopey and slow and I don't like that feeling. I will keep looking and working with my doctor to find something better.
I have been looking into trying some mild water excerise. There are some good ones available at a center near us. It is difficult to make time as my husband has Parkinson's and can need a lot of care. Yes, you are right, I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of him. Definitely, I will get serious about the water exercise. Before I got sick I was addicted to exercise - mostly power walking up some switchbacks behind my house up to a look out. I loved it and would do it every morning before going to work.
Thanks again.
Jeannie

 
Old 08-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #11
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Re: pain medication and itching

Thanks for the advice about Baby Oil Cocoa 76. Using an oil to massage to itchy skin, however, as strange as it sounds, I am sensitive to the fragrance in baby oil. I can't remember the massage oil I have had a massage therapist use on me, but I will check it out and buy some to use at home. It would really help. Good idea. Thanks

 
Old 08-19-2012, 09:08 PM   #12
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Re: pain medication and itching

I have Hydrocodone that was prescribed for an earache I had a while back. Currently I am dealing with an attack of occipital neuralgia and the Hydrocodone works well to relieve the pain but this time I have a terrible itching that is very disturbing. I was thinking about taking a children's Benydrl but I am concerned about mixing the two.

agapegranny,

As you mentioned I too am very sensitive to meds and I am also a senior. I also have peripheral neuropathy and have tried various meds like Gabapentin and most recently Amitriptyline. With the Amitriptyline I could not do anything but sleep and eat. I gained 10 pounds in three days. I stopped taking it. I also had a weight gain with Gabapentin and fear the same thing from Lyrica.

The only thing I found to help my peripheral neuropathy is walking. If I cannot walk my PN flares up. I still have pain when I walk but nothing like when I don't.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:26 AM   #13
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Re: pain medication and itching

I have severe lumbar pain and have been suffering for decades. To cut a very long story short I am now on 9 10mg tablets of methadone. I have 90% pain relief and I am not tired or high in any way.

Methadone suffers from a lot of bad publicity, but I have been on it for a couple of years now and have no bad side effects.

God bless.........

MikeH66

 
Old 10-20-2012, 02:37 PM   #14
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Re: pain medication and itching

Granny,

I just made some comments on this very issue under the thread - Dose Equivalence


Iso~

 
Old 10-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #15
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Re: pain medication and itching

Granny,

Ask your Doctor about Atarax (Hydroxyzine). It is an Anti-Histamine. Morphine is one of the worst offenders. The problem is using a weak pain med and dosing up beyond its optimal range. The better strategy is to use a powerful pain med and dose it at the low end of its spectrum. I've found that Oxymorphone meets every challenge I've thrown at it. Oxymorphone is potent, low euphoria, rapid onset, long acting, and no side effects at all that I can detect at my dose of 40mg/day. The only problem is cost. And don't even bother with Opana, it's just Oxymorphone with about an hour of added duration for an outrageously inflated cost. If you are insured it may not be as much of an issue - Regardless of price I still prefer the generic Oxymorphone anyday to Opana, I've taken them both.

Iso~

 
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