This information is “straight from the horses mouth”…please read this chronic pain patients horrific experience (he wrote this after reading my last blog post in one of my support groups):
“Absolutely, I mean absolutely do not ever let anyone put you on Suboxone or buprenorphine – the primary component of Suboxone – when they try and shove you off of opiates because the stuff is absolute poison.
When my pain pump ran out of morphine sulfate after I lost my pain management doctor, thanks to the new CDC guidelines, I went into acute opiate withdrawal and ended up in the hospital. In the hospital they were supposed to detox me from opiates, they did not. Instead they pulled a really shitty bait and switch, and put me on Suboxone. Suboxone is extremely addictive and 10 times harder to get off of than conventional opiates, and much, much uglier.
I know this from personal experience. Getting off of Suboxone or buprenorphine – its active component – is an absolute nightmare.
For example: I can take 15 mg of hydrocodone – hydrocodone is the opiate in medications like Vicodin and Norco – per day for six months solid and I can just stop taking it, cold turkey, and I’ll feel kinda crappy for three or four days, I’m off of it, end of story.
After a single month of taking 16 mg of Suboxone per day, I have now been trying to wean myself off of it for nine weeks, every step of the way has been absolute hell, and it will take me at least another 2 to 3, possibly even four months to wean myself off of it. And then, I understand, I can expect to spend another couple of months feeling significant withdrawal symptoms even after I have stopped taking Suboxone/buprenorphine.
This has got to be one of the worst medical scams ever. I would compare using Suboxone to get people off of opiates to using whiskey to get people to stop drinking beer.
Suboxone is also hideously expensive $370, for a 30 day supply.
A 30 day supply of four Norco 10/325 per day is only $33.
If you get just straight buprenorphine – the active component of Suboxone – you can get it for about $90 for a 30 day supply.
The cost is actually the least of the worries where Suboxone/buprenorphine is concerned. If you are a longtime junkie who was been sticking a needle in your arm for years Suboxone may make it easier for you to get off the needle.
If you are a chronic pain patient who has been taking opiates for your chronic pain and they are going to cut you off of your opiates, you are far better off going cold turkey – hopefully your doctors will allow you to wean off of the opiates – and skipping the Suboxone/buprenorphine hoax because getting off of it is 10 times harder than getting off of conventional opiates, and the nightmare from hell every step of the way. It is hideously ugly.
I don’t know how to say it any plainer than this: Suboxone/buprenorphine is, in my estimation, absolute poison, and one of the worst travesties of medical mispractice ever perpetrated on the American public. it is a scam to make a pharmaceutical companies rich.
When it comes to Suboxone/buprenorphine: just say no.”
***Today I opened up Facebook to find this response regarding my article from July 31, 2018. That’s is where I discussed Suboxone, Bupenorphrine & Naloxone. Please refer to that article (July 31,2018) if you need to “fill in the blanks”, so to speak.
I thought I would add his comments here. To be fair to all of my readers, I will also post my responses. I want you to know my reactions and the words that I used to make sure that my original post is not “confusing” to anyone else.
Here are the words that he wrote underneath my article that was posted in my CRPS support group on Facebook; called “RASEforCRPS” (the letters represent the words: Reserach, Awareness, Support & Educate) (*it was also posted in other Various groups & pages) :
“I’ve been safely and effectively using plain Bupenorphrine, an opioid, in the form of Butrans patch for several years! I have also used the antidepressants and have been fine with both.
Each of my docs can order it without certification or special classes. It HAS been approved by the FDA for severe pain that needs round-the-clock management.
There is a lot of different info out there and there are other medications with Bupenorphrine in them. Here is some info! Here is a pharmacy times article about this:
“Belbuca Is the newest formulation of you been or for an available as a buckle films and indicated for the management of pain requiring around -the -clock, long-term opioid treatment not adequately controlled with alternatives. This reflects the new standard labeling required of all extended-release of yours indicated for Chronic Pain.”
“Buprenex IV or IM is approved for the relief of moderate to severe pain. This formulation is also used off-label for the treatment of opioid withdrawal in heroin-dependent hospitalized patients.”……..(you can read this article in its entirety here: Pharmacy Times article * that patient also gave this article for reference: Second article given to me by that patient
*******Here was my response to her post underneath my article:
“The writers of your one article make the medications you are being prescribed. The information I have is from several trusted news organizations, and our government has been saying for years how big Pharma has downplayed the negative affects of their products. Lastly, I’ve known people who say that it’s much worse to stop taking (Bupenorphrine/Suboxone) than others that are not agonist-antagonist opioids. All I’m saying is that if you want to take that medication, even though it’s not approved by the FDA; you should have the choice to do so! But if the other kind of long extended release Patch has worked for other people, including myself for over a decade, then I/they should be able to keep the medication that has worked and hasn’t caused any problems for me whatsoever! I also have at least six or seven different articles where I found my information on the Internet.
There’s also this information below, which says the medication can be used for pain/refractory depression for “off label use” (then why can we not use the fentanyl patch for off-label use?)… there’s also contradictory information and most state that it’s ” only a low analgesic at best”!
In this article here Bupenorphrine- Naloxone Therapy in Pain Management , it states that these medications In the past few years, they have been increasingly prescribed off-label for chronic pain management. The current data suggest that Bupenorphrine /Naloxone may provide pain relief in patients with chronic pain who also have opiate dependence or addiction. However, the pharmacological profile of this medication states that it is a weak analgesic that is unlikely to provide adequate pain relief for patients without opioid dependence or addiction.
Therefore, just as I stated in my original article, these medications are probably OK for people who are struggling with addiction to opioids. But if you do not have an Opioid addiction or an opioid use disorder and you’ve been using the same opioids for Chronic Pain for many years, and they still help to give you a semblance of life & relieve your pain, then you are not an addict. So the Bupenorphrine /Naloxone may work for low analgesic pain relief in addicted person but not in chronic pain patients. That’s what I tried to state in my original article as well. I also said that the company (*Reckitt Benckiser) that is responsible for making the medication Suboxone/Bupenorphrine started this whole fake opioid crisis so that they could have a monopoly on this medication and get rid of all opioids. Therefore it was a “get rich scheme” for them.
Lastly, I’ve copied and pasted for you, only one of the warnings for the buccal Butrans patch:
•The risk for serious, life-threatening or fatal respiratory depression. Physicians should monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of the treatment or after a dose increase, the company said. “Misuse or abuse of Belbuca by chewing, swallowing, snorting, or injecting buprenorphine extracted from the buccal film will result in uncontrolled delivery of buprenorphine and pose a significant risk of overdose or death,” the statement adds.
• The risk for accidental exposure. “Accidental exposure to even one dose of Belbuca, especially by children, can result in a fatal overdose of buprenorphine.”
• The risk for neonatal opioid withdrawal. “Prolonged use of Belbuca during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts,” the statement said. If prolonged treatment is required in a pregnant woman, “advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.”
After reading the warnings on these medications I don’t see why they are any better than regular opioids or the fentanyl patch? All medications, including heart medications, Coumadin & chemotherapy, come with warnings! But sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.
This is the “Roy Green” syndicated radio show that is heard in Canada & the USA each week. I was contacted by Roy a few days ago and asked to come on the air and speak with him regarding the dire situation that chronic pain patients are living and dealing with these days. I also spoke of how I was informed that I’m losing my own ER/LA pain meds in 2 weeks. The starting point of my segment Is at 39:12 through 54:15. Please feel free to share this with our pain community. Thank you!
Read this article and then read my comments here afterwards- please. This is outrageous!
When will they get an unbiased person to take over this “so-called” crisis? An adult, teen or child who willingly takes cocaine or heroin, laced with the bad cara-fentanyl or any fentanyl is wrong for making the choice to do so! This is 100% totally separate from a chronic intractable pain patient getting a prescription from a legitimate pain physician. It’s different because it’s not just a choice, it’s necessary & something many chronic pain patients need to even have some semblance of a life!
If this is such a “personal” matter, then keep it that way! It’s “personal” and those affected by illegal drug use should get the help THEY need; without killing all of the chronic intractable pain patients in the meantime! If we don’t die or commit suicide from living an agonizing “1/2-life” of horrible daily pain, then we are just living a tortured existence of pain combined with fear. Innocent chronic pain patients are also being made to feel like criminals! This is insane!! Please, legislators and others in positions of power over the chronic pain population of this country, take the “personal business “ out of the workplace! Put yourself in the position of knowing that any day you could be hit by a guy who runs a red light, as in my situation! Any one of you or your loved ones could be living with unbearable pain from any number of accidents or illnesses that come up each day! If it was “personal” chronic intractable pain, I’ll bet we’d be getting a different story & a different swing on things!!!
You never think it will happen to you, until it does. I have been helping others and advocating for them for many years now. I have been writing for the National Pain Report and in my own blog (tearsoftruth.com) for several years as well. I try to give advice to others to help keep their hope alive. On my WEGO Health profile, my favorite words are posted. These are words that I try to live by and a phrase that originated with me, “Hope is a verb, You have to DO something in order to have it”. Now I have to practice what I have been preaching.
I think most of you know that in March 2018, I visited my pain Dr. And he did the usual random urine test. I was told in April that it showed a positive for PCP and something else, I cant even think of right now? Probably because I have no idea what these are and did not ever take them. It ended up being a “false positive” after we were charge $300.00, because HE forgot that I was taking a migraine medication that did not show up on the MAPS. He says it shows up sometimes, not others?
My PTSD symptoms have gotten worse prior to each upcoming pain Dr. visit. He has become less respectful towards me. I used to feel a mutual respect between us. I stopped taking some other cancer pain medication that was prescribed to me before I started seeing him in 2015. I felt that he respected me for being able to do that and go through the withdrawals process. My brain did not ever care about the medication, but my body got very sick when I stopped it.
The past few appointments I have not felt that respect that I had felt in the past. My Dr. was treating me differently. He got angry if I got weepy at all and he yelled at me for crying. Something changed in him and I could see it and feel it, but I was not sure what it was or why it was happening? This week I went to my appointment on Monday, 7-9-18. Things were pretty “normal” during the visit, but he was kind of “short” and “quick” with me, when he used to chit chat a bit and even smile when he told me about his children. At the end of the visit, he said this to me “so we are stopping your Fentanyl patch”. I was stunned because I’ve been on it for 15 yrs and taking less now than I was in 2015. I’ve had some semblance of a life with my husband, kids and grandchildren. I’ve been doing quite well and now he was taking away something that I’ve been doing very well with. Then came the “big lie”; (*which I know is untrue because I asked my Neurologist and Cardiologist and I was told it was not true whatsoever). He told me that I was “probably not getting more than 30% of the medication anyways because I’m not “fat” or “heavy enough”. That the fentanyl patch works better on “fat/heavy people” or “people with more body fat than I have”.” I questioned him, but I knew enough not to question him too much. I did not want to make the person that I depend on to have some kind of life at all, angry with me. My husband brought the empty bottle of my Migraine medicine to show him that I did have an 8 month old script and recently got a new refill. It was not showing up in the MAPS and my husband asked him if we should ask the pharmacy to make sure it is in that system? He told us that “they don’t like if you know too much, its best not to say anything”. What the heck is that all about? We are supposed to be lambs/sheep and follow orders and jump off the cliff if told to do so, without ever asking any questions? I’ve always found it better to be knowledgeable in my own treatment and healthcare. But this is not the case today, I guess?
Lastly, I put myself into old “abuse mode”. It was the same as the “old days” and I put myself in another place, disassociated until we could get the hell out of that room. All I wanted to do is cry and be hysterical for a few moments with the one person who loves me and who protects me to the best of his abilities and who is my soul-mate, my husband. I heard him tell me that he was taking away my patch and that I could take a different extended release medication “MS Contin”. But, I told him that I am unable to take that medication because I have Gastroparesis and even before I was diagnosed with GP, I could not take that medication because it made me sick, violently ill. That was the only choice I had and he gave me “one more month to be psychologically ready” but my dose was lowered and spread out for another full day. In one month I will be taken off of my patch after 15 years, with no tapering and nothing that matches the strength and pain lowering levels of what has worked for me for so long.
We are now at the mercy of the government in our patient rooms. He says that the state and federal government are making him do this to me. But there is no “law” that I can find in Michigan yet, stating that all persons taking Fentanyl for chronic pain must be removed from taking it now. I’m sorry that I don’t believe that you must be “heavy person” in order for the Fentanyl to work, because I was pretty much anorexic when I started it and it’s always worked for my pain. I have never had a “high” or any feelings except some relief from the pain of the several high pain illnesses that I live with and have lived with for many years. He also told me that “only those who have cancer are allowed to have these fentanyl patches now”. There is no evidence to prove that cancer pain is any worse than the pain that many of the chronic pain patients have to endure. I know there is a NORD website quote or a quote from the AMA, regarding this but I’m too sick right now to try and find it for you, I apologize. It’s easy to give advice, hope and love to people going through this, but when it is YOU who is going through it, all the love, advice and hope won’t make it better.
The same day that this happened, I awoke at 4:00 am with a feeling like someone was pressing on my left eye. When I opened my eyes, I could not see out of my left eye at all. It was totally pitch black. After a few minutes of screaming hysterically and my husband rushing to my side, I started to see patches of light in a dark mass. Then patches of the living room came into focus. After about 5-10 minutes, I could see again but not as sharp as usual with my glasses on. I went to sleep and in the morning I had a dull ache in my left eye and went to the hospital’s eye clinic that day. The Dr. Said that I had a “mini stroke” or “TIA of the eye”. My blood pressure had been high at the pain Dr. Appointment and my heart rate was 100 bpm before he even came into the room to tell me the news. He told me it was probably from stress and nothing they could do for me after all of the special testing that they did, they sent me home. I visited my heart specialist the next day and filled him in. He concurred with the eye clinic and said it could even have been an Ocular Migraine, but either/or both are from stress and can be a dangerous precursor to a stroke. I had a CVA or stroke in 2006, so I’ve been there and done that already. Today, we are like lambs going off to slaughter and nobody cares if we live or die. As my kind-hearted specialist physician of 15 years told me yesterday, “unfortunately you and people like you are collateral damage to the hysteria taking place right now”. I guess now it is up to me to see if I am able to follow any of the advice that I’ve been giving to others in this same predicament? Will I have another heart attack or another stroke because the legislators don’t care about me as an individual? Will I live to see my granddaughters and new grandson’s lives evolve or will I be a statistic? I guess only time will tell and all I can do is try to “keep hope alive”.
By: Suzanne Stewart
(With excerpts from Tina Petrova)
Tina Petrova is a motivational speaker and an award winning filmmaker. She is also a person who lives with chronic pain and knows what it feels like. Along with many others, she agrees that pain is being under-treated in both America and in Canada.
She and film partner Eugene Weis are trying to bring awareness of the dramatic loss in pain-care through their new Documentary film “Pandemic of Denial. “ It is their hope that this film will help educate general society about what it is to live with a life long diagnoses of Chronic Pain.
Tina shared with me “there isn’t any real “guide book” to give direction as to “what to do next,”when living with daily chronic pain”. The film follows the lives of families torn apart by suicides due to chronic pain, those who contemplated it during filming and those left behind to grieve.
Her pain physician in Canada believes intractable pain has to do with pain being an “outward sign” of a damaged or traumatized “pain system”. He believes that humans have a “pain system” just like the other systems in the human body; for example: lymphatic, cardiovascular etc. In his views, the chronic pain patients struggle to makes sense of their lives after being productive and then suddenly not being able to do what they once could do.
Tina shared with me , that she felt if a patient cannot make sense of such a dramatic life altering event; then how are our loved ones and colleagues supposed to do this?
We all agree that chronic pain can end dreams and even lives; especially with medical complications and now today, with the rise in suicides due to under-treated and untreated chronic pain. This film tries to help us all make sense of what is happening to one in four North Americans who live with daily pain.
The filmmakers have said that “this disease now affects more people than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined… It is no small disease, ”which is the reason for the title of their new film, “Pandemic of Denial”. There can be article after article to read about chronic pain and how it is affecting people even more so now with the “War on Drugs”. But when you turn the channel and a compelling film, with interesting footage, comes to life on your Television screen; you are more likely to become engaged with the story that is being told. We are drawn in by the images, voices, music and drama.
This film focuses on the main themes of “abandoned chronic pain patients, pediatric pain and the collateral damage of suicides due to under or untreated chronic pain.” The Filmmakers feel that while “addiction and overdose are important issues to tackle, Chronic pain is equally serious and important.”
This writer agrees that addiction is also important, but these are two very different illnesses being “lumped together” as one. While the addicts are being given clean needles at a free clinic set up in several cities; the chronic pain patients are being turned away by their Physicians, Pharmacists and lawmakers; to fend for themselves and live with horrendous daily pain.
Addiction is being talked about and it is a serious disease as well. But these abandoned chronic pain patients , the tortured existence of the lives they must now live, are not being discussed nearly enough. The film explores how these people could once work outside the home, even part time. They were raising a family and housekeeping. But now pain patients are left to be bed-ridden in torturous pain with no relief and no end in sight.
The film “Pandemic of Denial” also addresses the current hostile regulatory environment towards our medical professionals. It shows how the pendulum has swung much too far the one way; while marginalizing and making outcasts of one group of human beings. In this respect, they are talking about long term chronic pain patients and putting them in one small group, with a “one size fits all” mentality.
It also sheds light on physicians who have been also living with many losses; such as their practices, livelihoods and even their careers at times.
Some of them losing all of this and being “attacked” while still try to uphold their Hippocratic oath and continuing to treat those who live with the tortures of under and untreated daily chronic pain.
Without this kind of education, discussions and strategies on how to face this health crisis that we are already living in- we are going to be facing new hardships with a population that is ever growing and aging. Filmmakers like Tina and Eugene are trying to educate the public on this “Pandemic of Denial”.
NOTE: Tina and Eugene hope to have the film released widely in 2018. At this moment, they are “still seeking Pain organizations, Broadcasters and Distributors who would like to partner with them to reach the maximum audience for the biggest impact.” They are also compiling a list of interested persons who would like to co-host screenings in their local communities. For regular updates you can follow their official Facebook Film page, at: http://www.facebook.com/pandemicofdenialmovie. You may contact them at: email@example.com
Don’t let anyone tell you that one person cannot help to make changes within our society. When someone takes the necessary steps to help make changes happen, they are assured to be part of the outcome. Let me make this less obfuscatory and explain it in a more concise way. Back in the Summer of 2017, I had read an article from a Michigan newspaper, that explained how a husband had gone to the emergency room of a hospital, to find his wife (then girlfriend) on a gurney, writhing in pain, while a physician stood by watching monitors. The emergency room physicians had “marked her as a drug addict”, before knowing any of her history or taking the necessary steps to find out. The Dr. told her husband that his wife was “complaining” about pain. Then in his next sentence, the Dr. said that “addicts often come to the emergency room looking for opioids”. The husband was very upset by this because his wife was not normally a person who “complains” often. He knew she’s had a “nerve block” procedure that day and something must have gone wrong. She has had damaged nerves in her back since a skiing accident long ago. She had had tried over 40 medications and a number of procedures. The only thing that had helped this chronic pain patient who was lying there in horrific pain, was a “complicated treatment plan, which included opioids”. The emergency room physician finally relented and gave her just a fraction of her regular dosage, but this was at least enough to get her out of there and taken home.
This story is not unlike many others that I’ve been hearing and reading about for the past couple of years now. Some of the stories ended much worse that this one. What if this woman had no one there to advocate for her? I was upset by this story and it stirred something inside of me. Not only does it tear me up inside to hear stories of others being treated badly, but also, I am a chronic pain patient. I had already written letters to the President of the United States, the head of Health and Human Services, to my two Senators, my Governor & Lieutenant Governor. I wrote about the under treatment and loss of treatment to the chronic pain community since the CDC guidelines were revealed and then used as if they were “law” of the land. I had found out about a new Michigan HB-4601 that was going to become a law in the Summer of 2018, if I did not try to do something to change it. I decided to write a “plea for the chronic pain community” a bit closer to home. I sent a letter to the representative for my district, in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead of the regular “form letter”, I actually received a note from him; asking me “if there was anything he could do”? He told me to contact him, “if I had any questions” and so I did. I asked if he would meet and speak with me for a few moments regarding HB-4601(*this was a House Bill that was to become law on July 1, 2018. Stated in that bill, was a 100MME ceiling limit for all chronic pain patients. Mixed into that bill, were new rules about acute pain. There was a 7 day prescription limit & persons had to physically go into the physicians office after the 7 days were up; and then go to the pharmacy to get the new script if needed. There was a bit more, but that was the gist of it).
I met with my House Representative because I just needed to do something to try and change this upcoming Bill so that it would take become the law. I don’t like to complain unless I know the I’ve done all that I could do to help others and myself, if needed in the future. If passed, this law would make a 100MME for everyone with the exceptions being: hospice care and cancer care. But the FDA already stated that “there was no scientific evidence that cancer pain was any different than other chronic pain conditions”. (*This information is found by googling: fda-2012-P-0818. Then by looking on page 9, paragraph 3 of this “e-copy” response to Dr. Andrew Kolodny, from the Department of Health & Human Services on September 10, 2013.)
I went to my meeting with confidence, kindness and some research that I had done. Human beings metabolize medications differently, as do various illnesses. I spoke to him about the HB-4601 and I told him my own story. He saw a person and could put a face to this issue afterwards. For the first time, he was introduced face to face, with chronic pain in a real person who was sitting across from him, talking and sharing.
At first, he was taken aback that someone could be on a normal dosage of Opioid pain medication and not be groggy or sleepy or “high”. He told me that he had not thought about the difference between dependency and addiction. We had a very nice conversation and then we went our separate ways.
Afterwards, I sent him Kate Nicholson’s “Ted Talk” and the information from George Knapp’s video about Opioids and the “The Other Side of Opioids” . Whenever something that might help the pleas of the chronic pain community became available; I would send it to him. My hard work finally seems to have helped. On December 28, 2017, Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder signed into Law, SB-027. That Senate Bill which passed, is now Public Act 251 of 17. In researching that law, I found that there is allowed a partial fill of a prescription for acute pain. It limits a first prescription to 7 days and then a physician can verbally call in to the pharmacy or fax a subsequent prescription for acute pain, if needed. This is good news for the chronic pain community of Michigan. That HB-4601 is now going dormant and nothing more will move on that, according to what I was told by the House Reps secretary. The entire Law or Public Act-251 of 17 can be found here: http://legislature.mi.gov/documents/2017-2018/publicact/pdf/2017-PA-0251.pdf
The board, unanimously passed a resolution finding that the original HB 4601 “infringes on a doctor’s ability to care for patients by substituting the Legislature’s opinion for the opinion of individual medical professionals.” The board further advocated a balanced approach “that specifically targets addiction and abuse while protecting the rights of patients for whom these prescriptions are medically necessary.”
Government can and must think about and help to resolve the opioid epidemic. Too many people are dying from the abuse of painkillers. But more and more they are realizing that the problem is not the prescription pain medications given to legitimate chronic pain patients; but they are seeing more and more Chinese Fentanyl sent through the U.S. mail service. We need to address this but at the same time we should not have to sacrifice chronic pain patients lives in order to save the drug addicted persons. We don’t have to hurt someone in order to help another. We can protect people and not swing to the extremes, one way or the other. We can be thoughtful and diligent in helping those that suffer the disease of addiction without being thoughtless to the chronic pain community; a group of people already suffering.
I accomplished most everything that I have done, from the comfort of my own home and even my recliner. The only time that I had to go out of the house for any of this, was when I met with the House Rep., in early September 2017. He met with me very close to my home because I’m unable to drive more than a couple of miles for “personal errands’. We met in a coffee shop and had a very real conversation. We must let our stories be told and our faces be seen. Our government leaders need to hear true stories and see that we are real people who are suffering and who can and will be affected by their choices. In the words of my personal hero, Helen Keller, I say this: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”