Discussions that mention vicodin

Pain Management board


I saw another thread about vicodin side effects. I have been on/off vicodin for 2 years. Just the past few months, I have been taking it regularly as my pain has been increasing.

There has been a discussion about the side effects of vicodin. Some say it causes them to be drowsy, and others say it keeps them up. Many people talk about a eurphoric feeling. Then I saw that someone said it gives them the extra "umph" to get them going for the day. I am confused about this last side effect.

For me, vicodin is the only med that I found to take my pain away to a point where I can function somewhat. I have also found that it does give me a little extra energy to get my housework completed and take care of the kids. But I am not sure if this is because I am no longer in pain and can actually function like a normal person. Is this the "umph" that someone else described it as? Or is the the euphoric effect of the drug? If it is the last, then because I feel this way, does it mean I will end up with a problem with the drug? That has always been my fear...addiction, as so many others fear. I don't crave that feeling, but I do get a little extra energy. Again, I always just assumed it was because I was no longer in pain and could actually function.

Any thoughts on this??

Thanks!
10sox,

It's really impossible to know whether your added energy is due to the unique side effect of Vicodin or the euphoria.

The important thing is what you do as a result of the added energy. If this "feeling" causes you to take more than prescribed, or to seek out more of it for this effect then you have a problem. If, however, it just happens to be a benefit of the med and your use continues to follow doctor's orders, then you are fine.

I don't get the sense that you are headed for a problem based on your post. If a med gives you more than what you expected, that's great. Enjoy the benefit of added energy - just watch yourself to ensure that use doesn't turn into abuse, that's all.

You can take a bit of a self inventory periodically. One important factor, probably the most important one, when considering risk, is your own background and your genetics. If you have ever abused drugs or alcohol then beware and watch closely. If there are family members with addiction then also beware. for instance, there is much alcoholism in my lineage, so I choose to avoid alcohol almost all of the time. Maybe once or twice a year I'll have a few sips of champagne say for New Year's, but that's it - because I know I may be at risk. Other tell-tale signs of problems are your use of the med. Let's say you're in a little pain, not enough to usually cause you to use a vicodin, but your energy is low and you need a pick-me-up. So you reach for the vicodin. Beware. Another example - let's say you're at the doc's for some complaint, and it isn't all that painful, but the doc offers vicodin. You know you really don't need it, but you are running low on your supply and you hate those times when you don't have any because they really help you get through the day. Beware, as these kind of incidences become turning points where use becomes abuse. And it can be so very subtle. But, so long as this isn't happening, then no worries.

Don't be too hard on yourself, especially if you are prone to excessive introspection. You will know if you are crossing any lines. And, if you begin to feel suspicious, you can always come here or the addiction board and get some advice. Pain should be treated, especially if it's chronic. There's abundant proof of how damaging CP can be on our bodies, and I believe these meds are the best line of defense if lesser medications have not worked.

Best of Luck.

steve
Steve,

Thank you so much for your response. You brought up some issues I am dealing with right now. My father was an alcoholic (passed away 7 years ago from Lung cancer) and that is always in the back of my mind. However, I have been on/off vicodin for over 2 years and have never developed any kind of problems. Actually, my husband thinks that because of my father, I have developed this fear of taking pain meds. I fight and fight them until I am in a lot of pain and cannot function and I know this is not how pain meds work. I need to be taking them before the pain gets too bad. I will do this for a couple weeks and then get scared of the physical dependence my body is developing and then stop taking them and be in pain all day.

I was going to wait until my apt with my pm doctor in a few weeks, but instesad, I am going to call his office tomorrow and see if they can give me a referral to a psycologist who deals with chronic pain people.

I guess the extra "umph" I get from the vicodin can be considered an extra bonus. I do not crave it. I never take it unless I am in pain. And as I stated above, I am not taking enough of it to control my pain for fear of becomning dependant. I had the talk with my PM dr. about this and he told me my body was going through more by being in pain and I need to be taking the meds more. See...this is why I need to go talk to a psycologist.

Thanks again! I really appreciate your words.
10Sox,

Steve gave you some excellent advice. I just wanted to chime in and let you know a little bit about my history with vicodin. It was the one med that I started out with 8 years ago. It was my doctor's "first line of defense", so to speak. I took the vicodin and Soma, which is a muscle relaxer, for the first 2 years that I was in PM. As time went by, because I began to have a worsening of my condition and was also building a tolerance to the vicodin (which is inevitable, even with consistant use of OTC meds, like Ibuprofen and Tylenol) my PM suggested a long acting med, such as Oxycontin, with the vicodin for breakthrough pain.

I resisted, for many of the same reasons that you and so many of us resist. I think we all have that inate fear of that "evil" word...... addiction. But my doc finally convinced me to give it a try, and here I am 6 years later and still on little more than the meds that I took then. Yes, I've had a couple of small increases over the years, but it is one of those inevitables, because of tolerance, etc. What I take each day might seem like a lot to some, but in reality, what I take is pretty minimal for someone with my pain levels and the number of years I have been in PM.

You sound like a very perceptive person. And you also have a very good sense of self-awareness. As Steve said, this is a good sign that it is highly likely that you don't have anything to worry about. And your PM is correct that the pain can take a much larger toll on your body than reasonable doses of meds can. I've also found that although an overall addictive personality can be something to be watchful of, in most cases, alcohol abuse in your family history does not automatically make you more susceptible to drug addiction. I, like Steve, have not really had any alcohol in almost the entire 8 years that I have been on meds. I just found that it tends to negate the positive effects of most narcotics and tends to diminish the relief that I get from the meds. So, it's a personal choice.

I really think you'll be just fine. Just continue to listen to your doc and follow his prescription(s) to the letter, and you will not have any problems. You may need the occasional increase over the years, but that is "the norm". I have also continued to use hydrocodone as my BT med, because it does give me the benefit of a little more alertness, especially because oxycodone tends to make me a bit more lethargic. So, for me, it's a perfect balance.

I hope this helps you to feel a little more comfortable about meds in general, but specifically about the vicodin. Take care, and if ther's anything more I can add, please just ask. God Bless, CMP/MM