Monday, December 29, 2014

Pain control vs opiate management

I am a huge fan of opiates and other pain relief medications. I never used to be. I am also concerned about addiction issues. And if someone got hold of my personal (legal) stash, I would be seriously concerned. My pain meds include several with 'street value'. I would not want to be someone who unknowingly contributed to the local substance abuse problem.

There is a new invention out there for those of us with chronic pain. These are transdermal pain patches which contain varying doses of an opiate - Butrans patches. They have worked very well for me. I started a few years ago about when they first came out at 5mcg/hour and then eventually went up to 10 mcg/hour. You change the patch every seven days and in the meantime, lots of pain relief.

I know people who it has worked for, but also I know some who couldn't tolerate side effects. Like all medications, it is not for all. The best part for me is my feeble brain doesn't need to remember to take a pill to stay ahead of the majority of my pain.

But I digress. There is a real problem with opiate addiction in the US. As a result, the government has cracked down on their availability and has created databases to confirm patients aren't doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions. This is why I can only get a month's supply of patches with each prescription. Each monthly prescription costs $105. If I could get the 3 month supply, as in the past, the price would be $105 for three months, not one.

This is an example of the problem has been created by more restrictions to the accessibility of these drugs to prevent abuse by the few. Which creates hurdles for those in pain to get the relief they need.

I'll call this progress but the advocacy groups, the regulators, doctors, and the pharmaceutical manufacturers need to continue to work together to help curb the abusers while allowing those in need to get the treatment they require.

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