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pain meds making me so sleepy

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Old 10-04-2012, 11:47 PM   #1
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pain meds making me so sleepy

I really don't know what to do about my pain control. I feel lost. My Dx of Fibromyalgia was in 2003 after 3 yrs of wondering what was going on. I could no longer work anymore. Not just the pain, but my mental 'Fog' affected my ability to work well. Slowly over time pain increased though I was able to control it with 10 - 12 Tylenol 3s per day. Eventually my GP said that was bad for my liver and put me on another pain med whose name is similar to oxycontin. Pain has increased and worsens with stress which I have a lot of now looking after my husband. Now I am trying to find something that will help control my pain as it continues to worsen and not make me too sleepy to function during the day. My husband has worsening Parkinson's and I need to be there for him because I am still healthier than him, but it is getting very difficult. Because of the Fibro, I don't have a good memory.
My doctor (GP) is very good at Rx'ing me what I ask for and suggesting things, (but I don't know what to ask for).

The slow release doesn't seem to help me at all. My pain starts to climb after 5-6 hours. Right now I am taking Codeine Contin 100 mg ( 2 - 4 times a day) along with Oxycodone HCL 10 mg (2 - 4 times a day). It makes the pain manageable, but many days I can hardly keep my eyes open. I need to do the driving and on those sleepy days, I cannot safely drive.
Can someone advise me - do most people get sleepy and have trouble keeping their eyes open when taking pain meds? Back when the pain wasn't too b ad and I just took Tylenol Threes ( 2-3 every 4 - 5 hours) I was not sleepy at all.

I also have to be careful with costs as I am sure many of you do too.
I appreciate any help you can give me.


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Old 10-06-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Hi Granny, I think this is something we all have to make a decision about, I could certainly have more pain control but I m not willing to spend my day to groggy to drive and falling alseep. Honestly I f I saw my mom whos in her 70's nodding out all day I would say something about the meds she was on. Something isn't right If the meds themself are causing you to be homebound granny. Change meds or back off the dosage. Learn some techniques to deal with the pain and stress. I learned bio feedback, self hypnosis and guided imagry before the first pain med was ever presecribed to me. It's just a way of learning to calm yourself when your in pain or stressed. I understand your husbands condition is going to worsen, but you dont have to let it effect your condition or at least learn some way to deal with it that relieves the stress and helps the fibro.

You didnt mention an antidepressant either which would help with stress, the fibro and the pain. Cymbalta is the new one on the block but that may make you tired where some meds like Prozac can be more energizing and I think there is a generic version. That's what they used in the 90's for CP and fibro, just because they have new meds doesn't mean the old ones are totally ineffective now. good luck, dave

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Old 10-06-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Oxycodone doesn't make you sleepy. It's the codeine that makes you sleepy.
That's all you have ?----fibromyaliga? usually they don't prescribe narcotic for that.

It's probably the codeine making you tired all the time.
Where do you live?

Old 10-08-2012, 01:46 PM   #4
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Hi Shoreline and Nochange, thanks for your replies - much appreciated as I feel so alone with this.
I am on an anti depressant, have been for a few years. It has helped me feel happier, but does nothing for the pain. I have tried Cymbalta, as long as I was getting the free samples from my doctor, but it is too expensive. If I had noticed a big improvment, I would have found a way to pay for it, but I didn't. I will look into Prozac though. I have heard it mentioned a lot, but know nothing about it.

When I first started getting symptoms I asked to see a psychologist. I had been through a very stressful year and I thought I could have had a nervous collapse at one time and maybe that caused my symptoms, but the psychologist said I was not emotionally unstable and my illness, what ever it is, is real. I should check out biofeed back and other self-control tools. I feel overwhelmed so often, just getting by, day-to-day with basic life, that I wouldn't know where to start and, of course, there is the $$$ issue.

I live in British Columbia Canada, nochange. You said you "That's all you have ?----fibromyaliga? usually they don't prescribe narcotic for that". I wonder what you would suggest what to take for the kind of pain I suffer from? Do you know what Fibro pain can be like? Sometimes I am awoken at night with dreams of wild animals chewing on my legs and arms. I started out with small doses of Tylenol 3s and 1 or 2 would do very well for 6 or so hours. Now, 2 Tylenol 3s do nothing for me - don't feel like I took anything. I was also Dx'd with Chronic Fatigue syndrome. When I was given that Dx, I didn't have this kind of sleepiness - more like weakness in my limbs and hard to feel up to moving them quite often.
My fibro pain is a burning tingling pain just under the skin in my arms and legs that is very intense. It is in other parts at a lesser intensity. My joints are becoming more and more sore, everything from not being able to put pressure on my knees, so I can't kneel down, same with my elbows. my hand joints all ache, burn and feel like there are little volcanoes in them ready to errupts. It is also in my neck, shoulders, and bottoms of feet feel like that have been badly bruised so sore to stand......the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet hurt and with out the meds I take would be a 7 - 8 as I moan and groan (but not quite scream which would be a 9 - 10
Thanks for listening, it was good to get it off my chest.)

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Old 10-13-2012, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Hey, Granny I am so sorry to hear that you are suffering form Fibro. My brother's wife has fibromyalgia as well. She uses 25 mg of Elavil (amitriptyline) at bedtime which is a tricyclic antidepressant and is commenly used for various pain disorders, but can be sedating that's why it is used at bedtime. Also she takes Neurontin (Gabapentin) it is also helpful for some types of nerve pain, but it too can be a little sedating. These meds are both worth trying and remember that everybody reacts differently to meds. Now in the begining they will likely be a bit sedating but give them a chance before discontinuing them. You may find that by taking a small dose of Elavil (10 mg)at bedtime very effective and it is commenly used for Fibro pain. The Gabapentin that I mentioned is almost Identical to one of the only drugs approved for Fibromyalgia which is Lyrica (Pregabalin) and their is a generic for it here in Canada so it is much cheaper than it once was. I would have recommended the Lyica but it is very expensive and their isn't a generic yet.
You also mentioned that you were taking 10 to 12 tylenol 3's /day. Now their is 30 mg of Codeine per tablet plus the tylenol, so you were taking between 300 mg to 360 mg /day of codeine. The 100 mg of Codiene Contin (which is a slow release Codeine formulation available here in Canada, not in USA) you are taking 2 to 4/day which would be 200 mg to 400 mg of Codiene, so maybe you should just stick to 3 a day dosed every 8 hrs which is how it is commenly dosed. When you were taking the Tylenol 3's you said you were not tired and you were taking up to 360 mg of Codeine a day, so by sticking to taking only 3 a day of the Codeine Contin you will be getting only 300 mg of Codeine. Maybe it's only when you take that 4th Codeine Contin that you are more tired? putting you over the 360 mg of Codeine you were used to.

Another option is Wellbutrin (Buproprion) which my brothers wife also takes with the Elavil and Gabapentin and they are o.k to take together. It is an antidepressant different than all the others in a class of it's own. It is non drowsy and some people even find it stimulating.

Ultram (Tramadol) it is about equal to Codeine in strength and works with a dual mechanism of action: Through the Opioid system and also as an antidepressant.
These are all just options that may help you and that you may want to research and mention to your Doctor. I hope you find something that helps your pain without the sedation, see ya.

Last edited by ruko4; 10-13-2012 at 06:51 AM.

Old 10-14-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Hi there. Meds make me sleepy as well but it's only for a hour or so, a couple of hours after I take my 10mg percocet. I'm also on LA morphine 60mg, 2x daily. My husband also has Parkinson's. 3 years ago, he had deep brain stimulation and it was a miracle! You would never guess he has Parkinson's and he is off most of his meds. I think it did change his personality a little bit, just seems he doesn't have the energy or drive he had before but he's in a much, much better place now. Is DBS a option for your husband? I know this is off track from your question, I just wanted to let you know that surgery is a absolute miracle!
Good luck finding appropriate meds.

Old 10-15-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: pain meds making me so sleepy

Originally Posted by nochange View Post
Oxycodone doesn't make you sleepy. It's the codeine that makes you sleepy.
That's all you have ?----fibromyaliga? usually they don't prescribe narcotic for that.
Like agapegranny, I'm a little confused by your "that's all you have?" If you don't have Fibro then you don't have a clue the varying degrees of pain one can have. If you do have Fibro then you certainly have a mild form of it. I have severe Fibro and even with the massive amounts of pain medication I take my pain never usually goes below 7.5 on a pain scale. If I'm lucky, really lucky then maybe once a month I'll have a 5 day on the pain scale.

@agapegranny - My pain medication does not usually make me sleepy. Sometimes if I take the muscle relaxer with the pain meds then it may make me sleepy but for the most part it does not. I'm not certain how the medical profession works where you are but what I take for the pain was not given to me until all other avenues were ruled out. I've tried all the medications that are approved for Fibro, I've gone to PT for months and months several different ones over the years and started with Hydrocodone 10 mg 4 times per day and stayed on that for years. My doctor told me that I needed to be on stronger long acting medication and referred me to a Pain Management Specialist. It took a while for us to find a drug and dose that worked for me and in reality it does not take away the pain but more or less tells my brain to deal with it. I have NEVER felt drugged or buzzed on my pain meds which I've discussed in detail with my doctor. She confirms that some people don't ever get that feeling. There have been studies that explain why that is. I am grateful that I don't ever feel drugged.

If I did not have insurance then I would not be able to afford the medication I'm on. As it is I still have to pay several hundred dollars out of my pocket each month and the insurance picks up the rest. Without insurance those meds would cost me over $1300 per month.

I just wanted you to know I know your Fibro pain and would never ever say to someone "that's all you have." I hope you can find comfort. There is also a Fibromyalgia Discussion Thread where you can discuss your issues.

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