You’ve got to read this if you’re on opioids for a chronic pain illness or illnesses! Also/or if you’ve been forcibly and/or quickly tapered or taken off cold turkey!!! via The Truth about Opioids Campaign is a Blatant Ignorant lie.
I wanted to write to you today to share with you something that I know many of us are dealing with these days. It’s about what happened at my pain management Dr. appointment on 11-8-18. First of all, every 30 days, I have to go and endure this treatment and I live with PTSD. It always rears its ugly head the day prior to my appointment with this Dr. or any new Dr. appointments. I’ll just refer you to my other article “Down the Rabbit Hole” if you need a reminder as to what has occurred up until now.
I arrived at the appointment which was in the late morning this time. I usually go in the afternoon because mornings are difficult for me, with my pain issues. But the past 6 months or so, I’ve had horrible anxiety when I know this appointment is drawing nearer. The closer it gets, the worse I start to feel psychologically and physically with the above symptoms on top of the pain. I decided to make this appointment in the morning because I thought it would not ruin our day so much. Just “get it over with” and be done; get on with our day. But it once again, did ruin my/our day.
I’ve had this pain management Dr. since July 2015, after my other Dr. of 15 years left suddenly. At that time I had been on the fentanyl patch and the lollipops for 10 years. This Dr. told me he would only accept me if I took myself off of the lollipops and I did it. I had to suffer through physical dependence withdrawals. I did it at home with my soulmate, my husband.
I’ve never rescheduled an appointment with him, nor have I ever been late. I’ve never run out of meds or asked for them early. He knows of every medication that I take or have taken and honestly, I don’t feel like its up to me to have to “remind” him that I sometimes take Fiorcet for Chiari Migraines. He and I had a mutual respect sort of Dr./patient relationship up until April of this year 2018. But that day everything changed and it turned out to be nothing that I did wrong. He had forgotten that I take Fiorcet and it doesn’t always show up on MAPS (Michigan Automated Prescription Service – *explanation found here*: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-72600_72603_55478—,00.html) because its such a low risk medication and not a high class either. But whether it shows up on the MAPS is not up to me. Nor is it my fault in any way if it shows up or not, as long as he’s known from the beginning that I’ve been on it for more than 7 years. This one particular day in April, he started being rude to me for no reason whatsoever. I went to my appointments in May, June and July. But I was horribly anxious and very “ill” prior to each appointment, due to anxiety and PTSD symptoms.
This last visit was another horrible appointment and was the final one for me. I am done being treated like a criminal or an addict! I’m tired of feeling “put down”! I’ve never smoked or drank; nor have I ever taken any drugs. I received one more short acting script and now I will be tapering myself slowly off of the short acting medication as well. It will be horrible because it’s already horrible. It will be difficult and it’s already difficult. He lied to me in July, telling me that “in Michigan, Fentanyl patch is illegal for him to prescribe (he is a pain management Dr. and Anesthesiologist MD), unless someone has malignant cancer”. I know this is not true and he told me that “I am smart and should be able to verify this online”. I checked Michigan law and the fentanyl patch warning on the box. It says only that it is “for chronic long term moderate to severe pain that will not be going away.” If anyone has any idea where I can find this in writing; I welcome that information.
I got a letter from my GI Dr. (*see letter below) because he felt it was dangerous to take me off of the Fentanyl patch. With Gastroparesis, SIBO and Chronic Erosive Gastritis; along with EDS type 4/vascular and more, I am not able to metabolize the long acting oral meds. Believe, me, I’ve tried many things and either was allergic, got very ill, it did not help at all or it had large valleys and spikes. The patch just worked for my pain and it was the best match for me and my multiple co-morbidities.
Yesterday’s appointment he told me that “Chronic pain does not kill anyone”. I told him that I was in my recliner now 16+ hours per day due to the pain. He responded by telling me that my cardiologist should not have put me on Clonidine. I’ve been on it since 2015, but went off of it for awhile in between. He knew this also but apparently it slipped his mind because that must be what’s making me “tired.” But in reality, it’s the pain that’s keeping me down. Also, I only get about 4 hours of sleep on a good night.
My cardiologist told me to take 1/2 of only 1mg at night. He prescribed it for me and said it would help with the physical pain & dependence withdrawals. Thank goodness someone cared enough to help me a bit!
I tried to explain that I had resigned from many activities that I was able to do with the medications. He told me that none of this has to do with the medication for pain being taken away after 14 years. He went on to say that “Susan (you’d think after 3.5 years he’d get that my name is “SUZANNE” not “Susan), you and other chronic pain patients are hostages to the pain medications”. These are the same medications that he was fine with for the 3.5 years I’ve been going to him! He also knew that my history was even longer. I’ve been taking opioids since 2005, in order to have some semblance of a life. But just for the record, I’ll let you know that I tried everything else possible fir 3 years, before resorting to the opioids.
This pain management Dr. has told me all along that he cannot make my pain go away. But he can help lessen the pain by prescribing opioids. When he made the “hostage” comment, I responded with; well “instead , now I’m a hostage to the pain”. Yesterday he told us (my husband & me), that all of his patients still tell him they have pain “with or without the pain meds”. I responded by telling him “Yes, that is true, but I had a life with the meds and I have no quality of life now. The pain medication dulled the pain without ever giving me any kind of “high”. Now the pain is much more sharp, pronounced and at the front of my thoughts. I’m not able to concentrate much or put the pain in another place at the back of my brain.”
I started to explain to him that I have several “Physicians, pain physicians and nurses that are my friends online”. I added that this past week I was diagnosed after an echocardiogram, with “left atrium enlargement”. I’ve had a heart attack, a CVA and a TIA twice. I have Atrial fibrillation, Sick Sinus Syndrome and a pacemaker since 2003. I’ve never had CHF but that’s what this means. I told him that “chronic pain can kill and under treated chronic pain can make blood sugar and blood pressure rise”, which has been happening to me. He became very upset with me and started to pontificate about how “each symptom needs to be treated by a Dr. who takes care of that problem. If my blood sugar is high, I need to go to a diabetes Dr. and if my blood pressure is too high, then I need that addressed by a physician who takes care of that issue. He went on to say that “chronic long term pain does not and cannot kill you. Only acute pain can possibly make BP and HR etc. rise.” But from Dr. Tennant’s own account in his article (Practical Pain Mgmt. By Dr Forrest Tennant MD , from another article, by Pharmacist Steve Ariens, ( Harmful Effects of Untreated Pain ) and this article that I had written last year (that was also published in Ntl. Pain Report), “Chronic pain can kill” (Untreated Chronic Pain Can Lead to Sudden Cardiac Death ), he is the one who is lying.
There are several people and organizations making Documentaries about pain patients getting “left behind” in all of the opioid hysteria right now. A few that I’ve personally taken an interest in, are awesome. I feel that some Organizations, are trying to sway the chronic pain community into thinking that the physicians who are afraid to treat them now with any opioid therapy are correct in doing so. There are those who promote techniques such as “grounding”, massage therapy, acupuncture and mindfulness as relief for life long chronic & painful illnesses. There is a place for some of those things. If it is the patients choice, they could be added to other type of medicinal therapies, such as CBD oil, Medical cannabis, Kratom and/or Opioids. But alone, these “alternative pain control therapies ” don’t help to control chronic &/or intractable pain permanently. They also won’t help much when someone is living with high amounts of chronic pain from several illnesses on a daily basis. In my opinion, they won’t help someone who had been doing well on other medication therapies for many years and who suddenly got force tapered or stopped from something that gave them some semblance of a life, for over a decade in many cases.
But there is a new documentary coming out soon and it appears to be one of the best that I’ve seen. It looks very professional and it is in no way a “home video” or a “YouTube” video. It appears to be very well done and I really thought the message was and is clear. Get the government out of the Doctor and patient exam rooms and relationships. Give the physicians back the power to decide along WITH their patients, what method is best suited for the control of their pain. Keep Hollywood, Andrew Kolodny and Dr. Phil out of our personal medical histories and give the chronic pain community back their lives. We are not expendable just because many are unable to work. Most of us worked for many years and paid into the Social Security program and had to have enough “points” from working, in order to receive the SSDI. So we are not “leaches” nor are we taking from our Government. Most have been very dedicated to helping in society and being a part of every day life. Many chronic pain patients are former chefs, Interpreters, Secretaries and even teachers. Give us the benefit of the doubt and stop treating us like we are unworthy or expendable.
This documentary “Untreated: The Healthcare Crisis” is directed and produced by Time Thread Studios & their production crew, alongside Lauren DeLuca and Jayne Flanders. Lauren & Jayne are the original founders of CIAAG or “Chronic Illness Advocacy and Awareness Group”. They have a support group online and run a Nonprofit for chronically ill and disabled persons living with pain. I have donated a small amount of $25.00 to this documentary because I believe in it. If you can contribute in any way, even $5.00 would help. If many people could donate even that amount, it would really help in getting this documentary out to the public. What is stated in this documentary is true; “What we have is an epidemic of ignorance and fear and its ruining healthcare “. The epidemic is not an “Opioid Epidemic” but one of instilling fear and panic to the non-pain community so they won’t truly understand. Not until they or someone that they love is living with daily chronic pain and suffering due to the under treatment of pain today in the USA and Canada.
You’ll see in the movie’s trailer, that even the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, Rakesh Kapoor has stated that “every major deal we’ve done actually, has created good value for share holders”. They are the makers of Suboxone, Bupenorphrine etc. If you read a couple of my other articles (About Suboxone, Bupenorphrine & Naloxone and another Regarding Bupenorphrine- Suboxone and also Pain, Politics, Suboxone & Bupenorphrine ) regarding these drugs made for addiction, not pain; I believe that you will see a trail of money leading directly from them to this fake and manufactured Opioid “crisis”. “The goal is profits”, it says in the documentary’s trailer. It is without regard to the millions of chronic pain patients. This movie will show how the Government is trying to control this “crisis” by limiting the supply of opioids for the pain community. It is stated that 319 medications have “no competition”. The question arises “Is the FDA dragging their feet?” Also you will see that physicians are afraid to prescribe pain medications and we all know that is true. Then there is this statement, that “the intentional removal of effective pain medications”…. from people who live with daily chronic and high pain illnesses, “that is the definition of torture”.
The link to “Kickstarter.com” and the movie trailer is listed below. You’ll notice on the Kickstarter website that they have goals and various gifts for supporting this film.
Please check out this documentary and lets truly try to get this movie out to the public via Netflix and other venues. This documentary has our hearts and our souls in it. It is, in my opinion, a really effective trailer and the documentary, I believe, will even exceed our expectations. “The pendulum has swung much too far in the wrong direction”, is another quote from “Untreated: The Pain Crisis” movie trailer. Please help by any donation that you can spare and/or by sharing the link below and/or this article to people in your own pain communities.
Click below, to see the trailer:
I want to inform the pain community about my situation because this is happening to many chronic pain patients. I’ve been a voice in the pain community and now I too, am going “down the rabbit hole”! Before I become possibly incapacitated; I want you to know what is happening. For those like Kolodny, who believe that we should “get beyond the pill bottle”; I say, unless or until you are in my shoes and live with my experiences, stop preaching silly things like “pain acceptance”, will help. It cannot help all of my pain conditions combined. Stop acting like you are better, mightier or stronger because you might feel better from “grounding” (which is in essence, touching the earth with your feet, being “one with the ground/nature”, to make your pain lessen or disappear). The bottom of my feet are covered with open sores due to the stage of CRPS that I live with. This has become insane, while there are individual cases in where opioids are the preferred treatment and they do continue to reduce our pain.
*A bit of history if you want it: I won’t start at the very beginning because that would be much too long. I will tell you that I’ve been on SSDI since 1999 and initially for PTSD (*they said that I was the “worst case of childhood trauma/abuse they’d seen in 36 years) and kidney failure. Then I was hit by a car that ran through a red light. One minute my husband & I were sipping lemonade at an art fair. The next minute, (as we travelled through a green light to have dinner afterwards) he was really bruised & shaken and I was unconscious & strapped to a back board, on route to the hospital. That experience is a story for another day. The entire auto insurance bullying and fear mongering was another traumatic debacle. These experiences have continued, one after another; which brings me to today and this article.
After our accident in 2002 and upon being discharged from the hospital; I was sent to doctor after doctor. I was also sent to TBI rehabilitation, PT/OT and also to Tri-County pain clinic in MI. I was totally new at all of this & it was my first experience with this type of physical pain. Although, I have had 2 C-sections and I’ve lived through childhood, ex-spousal & other abuse throughout my entire life. At the pain clinic, I received various epidural nerve blocks, trigger point, cortisone and other injections. I also saw a Pain Psychologist, did Biofeedback and did many other types of therapies. The Pain Psychologist wrote in his report, by the way, that I “do not fit the profile for an addictive personality.” He attached me to an EMG type of machine where he can “see” your pain spiking via a red line going upward. Mine went off the charts. This was prior to my diagnosis’ of: systemic CRPS, EDS-4/vascular (aka Polyneuropathy in Collagen Vascular Disease), R.A., Dysatuonomia/POTs, Gastroparesis, S.I.B.O., Chiari and more. At that time though, I was diagnosed after the auto accident with: many physical injuries and a TBI. I went through 8 surgeries, 2 screws in my left shoulder, metal in my jaw, 2 AFO’s, prisms in my glasses, 2 hearing aids, a dual chamber pacemaker and a hospital bed in my home. I have a walker, loft-strand crutches, wheelchair, motorized scooter, leg braces and also knee, neck, hand and shoulder type of braces.
After going through all of the “hoops” at the pain clinic, I was found not to be a candidate for an SCS (spinal cord stimulator) nor a pain pump (intrathecal). I was diagnosed with CVID or “Combined Immune Deficiency” disease. They informed me that I would be sent back to my primary dr. because they could not give me the medication that I needed. In 2005, they were already saying that they could not prescribe pain medications (which they felt I needed) because they had to “stay under the radar of the DEA”. I went back to my PCP and for the next 10 years he prescribed pain medications. Until one day in December of 2014, I arrived at my PCP’s office and was told that it was his last day working there. I received no other information and I was terrified because I did not know where to go or what to do. Dr. Bullach MD; promised me that he would personally make a call to my former pain clinic and Dr. Dobritt, my former pain physician. He also promised me that my treatment would remain the same under his partner. I returned the next month to see his partner and was condescended to, teased, put down, and told that “all of the other dr’s patients were “drug addicts”, “drug seekers” and unworthy people seeking pain medications. He promised to see me for a couple of months because he had known me “to be a good person” since my children were small. But over the next 6 months I had to put up with derogatory remarks.
Dr Bullach never did call Dr Dobritt, nor did he send any of my updated records. I found that out when I went to see him myself again. I had been a model patient; and the way I was treated when I went back to see him was horrible. He would not take me back as his patient! He told me that’ “he couldn’t see me because I was part of “Dr Bullach’s mess”! I had no idea what he was talking about!
I sought out a pain physician and found one near my home. He told me that if I could take myself off of the medication that had been prescribed to me since 2005, that he would “accept me as his patient”. I was very ill for about 11 days and for up to 6 months, I was not feeling well aside from the pain issues. But I got through it and would not ever want my worst enemy to go through that experience. I did it with my loving husband by my side because I was not addicted to it. My mind did not care at all, but my body was dependent. When that ordeal was over, I saw my current pain dr; the one I still see today. Things had been going well and I have had some semblance of a life. He had told me that I was a “complicated patient” and that I did not have to worry about my medication being stopped.
For several days prior to these appointments, I became very apprehensive, nervous and had many of the PTSD symptoms recurring monthly. Then his attitude towards me changed from a mutual respect to him being the “Wizard with a magic wand” and Me being a peasant “needing his magic”. Thats the only metaphor I can come up with. It was bazaar. I had a routine urine drug screen test in April 2018 and he knew before I left his office that something was not “right” with it, but he failed to inform me prior to leaving. At my next appointment he informed me that I had had a positive urine test and so he sent it into a lab for more testing. It came back as a “false positive” because of the migraine medication that HE KNEW WAS PRESCRIBED to me for many years. I take very little, but he knew it was in my records; he knows that I take it. In the end, we got stuck with a $265.00 bill for testing that I did not agree to pay for. We got stuck with this large bill for something that I did not do and would never have done. It was his mistake, not mine that he forgot the medications that I am taking and that it can show up as something else, as he explained later.
He has had an “edge” to his treatment of me since that date. I am literally ill prior to each monthly appointment. Nothing changes in 30 days anyways? Why in the world do we need to go so often? This is ridiculous. Just as a person with diplopia or myopia needs glasses; just as a diabetic needs insulin and a depressed person needs anti-depressants; I am a chronic intractable pain patient and I need pain medications. I’ve never done anything wrong as far as I always pick up my meds on time, I’m never late for my appointments and I’ve never been a “no-show”. But I showed up on July 9th, 2018; and was suddenly without explanation, cut down to 75% of my LA/ER pain medication. He was going to stop it abruptly that day, but I did not get hysterical. I reasoned with him, adult to adult. I reminded him of my prior heart attack, the CVA (stroke) and my complicated medical history with multiple co-morbidities. He agreed reluctantly to taper me a bit. He informed me that he was doing this to get me “psychologically ready” and that next month I would get zero. I’m not “Psychologically addicted” so that made no sense at all, but I went with it for my own comfort and safety. He went on to tell me that suddenly the patch is now “only for cancer patients”, which he does not treat. He also told me that I was “not heavy enough” for the patch and “I was probably only really getting 30% of the medication”. I did not say a word as I was prescribed down from 100 mcg per hour, every 48 hours (due to hyper metabolizing), to 75 mcg every 72 hours. So not only 25% less medication, but now being stretched out a full 24 hours longer each patch. The first few days were difficult as I had a few withdrawal symptoms. But the rest of the month, I’ve had increased pain, exacerbation of my CRPS, and fatigue. Also, every 3rd day I was in bed, very ill. We all know that for especially those of us who hyper-metabolize (due to the types of pain illnesses that we have), the patch never works on the 3rd day!
I have a loving, supportive husband and my support “team” online which consists of a few people who have been there for me throughout this ordeal. I had websites, stories and ideas sent, all in an effort to help me reason with my pain dr. On 8-10-18, I showed up well prepared. I had with me, the 2013 FDA’s response to Andrew Kolodny, when he wanted Fentanyl labelling changed for non-cancer pain. They told him this, in their 2013 letter (Docket No. FDA-2012-P-0818): “It is FDA’s view that a patient without cancer, like a patient with cancer, may suffer from chronic pain, and PROP has not provided scientific support for why labeling should recommend different treatment for such patients. In addition, FDA knows of no physiological or pharmacological basis upon which to differentiate the treatment of chronic pain in a cancer setting or patient from the treatment of chronic pain in the absence of cancer, and comments to the Petition docket reflect similar concerns. FDA therefore declines to make a distinction between cancer and non-cancer chronic pain in opioid labeling”. My dr responded that “this was not about Fentanyl” and that I am educated and should be able to find out about this?
Next, I brought to his attention, a letter that I received a copy of, from a good friend of mine on LinkedIn. He had written to the CDC and asked about the horrific state of affairs within the chronic pain community. We covered his name and I showed this to my dr as well. This letter, which is directly from the CDC and dated 4-8-18, states these things:
- chronic pain patients deserve safe and effective pain management
- physicians should continue to use their clinical judgment and base their treatment on what they know about their patients. That includes the use of opioids if they are determined to be the best course of treatment. The Guideline does not support involuntary tapering.
- Obtaining patient buy-in before tapering is critical to successful dose reduction.
- The Guideline is not a rule, regulation , or law.
- The Guideline is not intended to deny access to opioid pain medication as an option for. pain management.
- The Guideline is a set of voluntary recommendations intended to guide primary care providers as they work in consultation with their patients to address chronic pain.
- The Guidelines are not intended to take away physician discretion and decision-making.
- Specifically, the Guideline includes a recommendation to taper or reduce dosage only when patient harm outweighs patient benefit of opioid therapy.
In the end, none of the information that I presented, made any difference to my pain dr.. He just kept repeating “the guidelines, the guidelines, the guidelines”. He told me that in all reality, I was not worth saving, because if I look at his waiting room, he has all of those other people to serve, who also live with pain. If he helps me, he risks losing his practice and then he would not be able to help all of them. He informed me that “everyone is looking at him the same way” and they are also “pleading with him” for their medications. I told him that he’s told me that I am “different” and that I am a “very complicated case with multiple co-morbidities”. I told him that I researched Michigan Law and that there are no changes in the care or plans for chronic pain, only acute pain. None of this mattered because he just looked at me, after I showed him the letter from my G.I. dr.. A letter written by him on my behalf, states that “Suzanne has been stable while she received the fentanyl patch”. It goes on to say that I have “RSD and severe Gastroparesis and this could “exacerbate the illness of a patient who was difficult to stabilize” due to Q-T prolongation, her allergies and intolerance for oral medications”. He said that “he strongly recommends that my pain management not be altered unless there is a strong medical reason.”
My pain dr looked at me and said “This is bullshit! His license is not any better than mine! If he wants you to have the fentanyl patch then let him prescribe it for you. You’re also welcome to find another dr and get a 2nd opinion. I won’t be upset if you do that, although Im not kicking you out or anything.” He repeated that “the CDC guidelines are specific for fentanyl” and there was no way in hell I was ever getting that from him ever again, an neither is anyone else; no matter what! He pretty much told me if there was an exception, I would be it, but there are no exceptions. He repeated to me that I am educated, and have access to the internet. If I do my research, I will know that what he’s saying is true. I have done a ton of research and I know that what he’s saying is not true. He is violating his Hippocratic oath “to do no harm”. Many other physicians are also doing this instead of defending the fragile people who need them during this opioid hysteria
Below I’ve copied the letter that I wrote to the leaders of the state of Oregon, regarding their new proposal for forced taper off of all opioids in their state:
To Leaders of the state of Oregon,
I am writing to you with a plea for all of your constituents, as well the entire chronic pain population in the USA. What you are proposing to do, by eliminating opioids, is considered torture by the World Health Organization. You are also setting a precedent for other states, if this action against all opioids goes through!
When I’m proposing a big change, even just in my own household; I try to put myself in the place of other family members that my change will affect. Please put yourself in the “shoes (so to speak)”, of the thousands & later on, millions of chronic pain patients that you’ll be affecting and in reality, torturing. If you remove all opioids from your state, the suicide rate will increase dramatically and many intractable pain patients and their families will suffer.
Please think about what you are doing to trauma victims, burn victims and people with horrible chronic pain illnesses and cancer. Would you want to suffer with daily horrible pain, or would you want to take something that has been working for possibly even a decade (or more); to give you some semblance of a life with your children, grandchildren and/or your family.
Please reconsider this act of cruelty and torture on those living with chronic pain in your state (& then future areas as well).
Thank you for reading my letter and I truly hope that your conscience will help you make the right decision for people who live with pain 365/24/7. Also remember that it could be you or your child, wife or parent at any time. We never know from day to say, what might happen. One minute I was sipping lemonade at an art fair; the next moment, I was hit by a car when the driver ran through a red light. This started my life of pain and I never could have imagined what this new life would be like.
Peace & Hope,
**Below is a photo screenshot that I took Of the reply that I received back from them:
The current Opioid Hysteria was started several years ago with a rippling effect and has become worse over time. A company that has much to gain from this hysteria around opioids is called Reckitt Benckiser. According to this article in “The Daily Beast” from 10-05-16 : https://www.thedailybeast.com/suboxone-creators-shocking-scheme-to-profit-off-of-heroin-addicts , the company was about to lose their patent and came up with a “fake opioid hysteria”. According to this article, “Reckitt Benckiser sought to exploit the nationwide hysteria over the increasing use of opioids to line its own pockets by blocking competition….”.
The drug Suboxone has a Generic name of buprenorphine and naloxone (oral/sublingual). If you visit https://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html you will notice that Bupenorphine is also considered an “opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic”. Naloxone “blocks the effects of opioid medications”. Naloxone also blocks any pain relief or feelings of well-being, according to this article. The drug, “Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction”. Suboxone is not to be used for any kind of pain relief or as a pain relieving medication. What I don’t understand are the warnings on Suboxone and these medications associated with it in generic form. The same warning is used on the label as is used for many opioids. The warnings state that if you used Suboxone, Bupenorphrine and/or Naloxone it may be “habit-forming” and can cause addiction, overdose or even death. The company Reckitt Benckiser is trying to get rid of all other opioids so that they can profit off of having a monopoly on their own medications. They claim that all chronic pain patients are suffering from “opioid use disorder” or addiction, in other items that I have read. Other warnings on the labels of these 3 drugs, state that some other medications, if taken simultaneously with Suboxone, Bupenorphrine and/or Naloxone, can cause a serious medical crisis called “Serotonin syndrome”. They state that you should be warned and inform your Dr. If you take any herbal supplements, depression medications (*or if. You have any mental illness), Parkinson’s disease, migraines, serious infections or any medication that helps stop nausea/vomiting. The label states that these medications can cause “life threatening withdrawal symptoms”. Some of the side effects are: weak/shallow breathing, confusion, weakness, blurred vision, slurred speech, liver problems, low cortisol levels (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite etc). One of the most interesting side effects listed are “opioid withdrawal symptoms” (shivering, increased sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, muscle pain and diarrhea). Tell me again, why this medicine is “better” for chronic pain patients to take than long acting or really any opioids? How are these side effects and warnings any better? Also, as long as a chronic pain patient has been doing well on long term opioid therapy, why switch to something that could be potentially harmful or cause them death? Also, women or men who are still thinking about having or starting a family, do you know that Suboxone can cause infertility (*this article states that long term opioid use can also cause infertility?). Many other medications will affect Suboxone, such as Benzodiazephines, other narcotic medications & cough medicine. It states that Suboxone is used to treat drug/opioid addiction. It does not say that it is for chronic pain in any way, shape or form.
Don’t let anyone tell you that buprenorphine is “different from suboxone” because from my research it is just a generic form of that drug. It is an opioid but has not yet been approved for use with chronic pain. Dr’s are required to take an 8 hour class in order to prescribe these drugs to patients. They are supposed to be prescribed for addiction and/or substance use disorder. The latter is what our friend, Andrew Kolodny has labeled all chronic pain patients who use opioid therapy, as having. When I looked up the classes online, that physicians, nurse practitioners etc. are required to take in order to prescribe the drug “buprenorphine”; it states this is a medication for addiction and opioid use disorder. Physicians must apply for a waiver to prescribe bupreorpnine to their patients with opioid use disorders.
I noticed an article last week that was discussing suboxone, that it is only approved for addiction. The active ingredient in this drug is Called buprenorphine, which is known as an “opioid partial agonist”. This just means that it interacts with the same receptors in the brain, as heroin and oxycodone. The difference they explain, is that people don’t get a “high” or “cravings” for buprenorphine. But then why can’t chronic pain patients who have been doing well on opioid therapy for several or many years be left to the opioid medications that they may have been doing well on for many years? Patients who have been on a steady dose of opioids for possibly multiple chronic pain conditions, do not get cravings or high either? Why introduce these chronically ill people to something new, something else that will cause them new and or worse bad reactions/side effects? I found in this article (www.crchealth.com/addiction/heroin-addiction-treatment/heroin-detox/buprenorphine-suboxone-vs/) that suboxone contains buprenorphrine and naloxone. The naloxone keeps people from abusing the drug. It is an opiate antagonist. But why would anyone give these meds to chronic pain patients who do not use the opioids for any other reason than to have some semblance of a life with lesser pain levels? It states right in this last article above, that “If you take suboxone as directed…..the buprenorphrine will travel to the brain and you will feel relief from withdrawal symptoms. Chronic pain patients should not have to go through withdrawal symptoms. This is what I’m trying to get through to persons who are “pushing” these drugs on the chronic pain population now.
In this article called “The truth about suboxone” (www.thefix.com/content/stigma-maintenance-treatment9216), Maia Szalavitz discusses maintenance therapy for addiction with suboxone, Methadone or Naltrexone. She explains something that I’ve known to be true about opioids as well. If they are taken in irregular time and dosage then you will get a high. But if you take them in a regular reliable schedule and dosage, then “getting high is visually impossible”. Next, I read an article about different people who had been given the “bupenorphrine isn’t suboxone” speech. They were told that it would help them with withdrawals etc. But guess what? The person who told his story first, in this article, stated that withdrawals from the buprenorphrine were much worse than anything he had expected, encountered or had been told. I read his story here: (https://www.medhelp.org/posts/Addiction-Substance-Abuse/Suboxone-Good–Bad–and-Ugly-Truth—168-days-off-SUB/show/1502381) . I have been researching these drugs. In my humble opinion as a non-medical personnel, who has been through hell and back; trying different pain treatments and medications over the past 15 years; that I would not ever take suboxone, or buprenorphrine even if my life depended on it! I finally found something that worked to lessen the chronic pain due to several chronic pain illnesses; I agreed to take it after being pressured “to trust them”(doctors). But now only to have it taken away 15 years later because of some crazy opioid hysteria going on so that “he who shall not be named” can become more rich and have a monopoly on suboxone, bupenorphrine etc. by “getting rid of all opioids”.
We live in America and we should be free to have choices as to what medications we want to take, knowing the risks and benefits. Just as we have freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms and now even freedom to have gender neutral restrooms! We deserve the right to have freedom to choose with our own personal physicians who are trained in pain management etc; the right to take the best medications for our own personal situations. The government needs to step away and stop trying to politicize this opioid hysteria. Stop trying to demonize the organizations that support our freedoms of treatment options! This has turned into a deadly nightmare for many of us and now myself included.
I also want to inform you that each time I tried to look up or research “buprenorphrine” it came up as “suboxone”. Buprenorphrine is a generic form of suboxone. In addition, naloxone is the ingredient that immediately makes you go through withdrawals if you do take another opioid/narcotic while taking suboxone. Hmmm….suppose you were in a car accident, maybe like the one that started all of your chronic pain in the first place? Suppose the EMT’s or an ER Doctor gave you an opioid to help with burn trauma or gunshot trauma wounds or horrible car accident trauma? You would be really “in trouble” would you not? Anyways, just another informative message from me to you. I hope this helps someone. Sending Love and low pain your way.
This is where I got some of this information:
Articles that Explain The Bad effects of suboxone, bupenorphrine etc.
*****Several of the articles used in this blog post were provided to me by my colleague & friend, Jonelle Elgaway *** please visit her website at: CAW Nation