I have been sick for so long now. I am diagnosed as uncontrolled fibromyalgia and autonomic nervous system disorder. I've been dealing with pain for 3 years and counting. I've also been taking Norco for even longer. I was previously misdiagnosed. I also am am emt. Before I refused to take my pain pills while at work because I can lose my job/license. But lately I've been experiencing withdrawals on my work days (24 hour shifts) so now I chance it and take one or 2 throught the day. I'm so worried Im addicted now. I don't exceed 6 pills per day. Sadly a bad day I can take 8. I just don't know what to do. I hate taking pills and I hate being sick. I just don't know if i should go without n deal with it or stay on it and become addicted. I've talked to my Dr and he refused to change my meds or go to a different Meds. Then he told me I can't go to anyone else because they won't help me with pain meds. And well he was right. My pcp told me to stop the norco and take tylenol. I guess my question is can a person safely take pain pills and not become addicted or will the addiction just take place? I'm so tired of pills but not taking them is bad too. Any advice would he greatly appreciated.
17 Aug 2011
Laurie Shay, as usual said it all very well. There is a huge difference between dependence and addiction. Dependence occurs in all people who take opioid meds for a length of time. After taking them a while the body becomes dependent and will go into withdrawals without them. Withdrawals are uncomfortable but not life threatening in most cases. Addiction is a behavior disorder which is characterized by loss of control over the meds, taking more than you should, escalating the dose and taking in spite of harm and a host of other behaviors. Many times, even Drs dont understand the differences between addiction and dependence. They think since you are dependent, you are addicted and it is NOT true! The others have mentioned really good options. Another thing you might try is Tramadol. In most states tramadol is not a controlled drug so you would not be violating any policies for taking controlled substances on the job. Tramadol CAN be addictive for some though.
It is considered "opioid like" but not technically an opioid. It does act on opioid receptors so it can cause withdrawals and become addictive to some so you still have to be careful. You might ask your Dr about this one because it is not a controlled substance so he might be willing to prescribe it and for many, it works as well as hydrocodone or Tylenol #3. You might also look into a pain management physician. Sometimes they might be able to do some trigger point injections or nerve blocks or even ablations to help control pain. Trigger points work very well in some people with fibromyalgia. Another option is to work with a Naturopathic Dr. Sometimes they can tweak you diet and give you supplements. I have seen Naturopaths work wonders with people who have fibromyalgia. The main problem with Naturopaths is that it is usually cash only. Most insurances will not pay for naturopathic care and it can be pricey but sometimes is well worth it. There are options for you, you may just need to search a bit! Good Luck to you!
16 Aug 2011
As someone whom has lived with chrontic pain for over 40 years, I just had to answer your question. There are 2 kinds of people. One have addictive personalities , & the other doesn't. What you are describing is sounds more like a tolerance to the dose of the med you are taking rather than addiction. What happens when you have to take pain meds over an extended period of time is that your body builds a tolerance for the dose, & you need more to help with the pain. Now I would say with your job you need to be very sharp to make the correct decisions. This is going to be a hard choice for you. Their are other treatments for fibromyalgia than pain pills. Many have had success with the meds Cymbalta, Lyrica, & gabepentin. The last 2 are seizure meds that they found out also seem to work for pain problems, The other is an antidepressant. It could be any one of these could help your pain problem.
You will experince withdrawals from not taking you regular meds even if you are not addicted. Can make you nauseated, diarrhea, etc... This is normal , & does not mean it is an addiction. I have had these problems when having to stop all meds for 3 days for certain tests. You might ask your doctor about these other meds as many people have had luck with them controlling their pain. I personally used Lyrica, & it helped the fibro pain great, but my insurance decided one day to quit paying for it even tho it has been approved by the FDA for Fibomyalgia, & I had been taking it for 2 or 3 years. ??? I don't really understand why.Other than it's very expensive. I certainly hope I have helped answer a few of your questions for you, & good luck...
16 Aug 2011
I am on chronic pain medicine & I hate it, the doctor and I had a long talk on my last visit I had neuromuscular problems related to Polio, I was born with an immune problem that but me in a position to be at risk I was a child. But I agree totally with Mary, it's one thing to take those pills because I really need them and it's another altogether to become tolerant and need a dose increase to keep your pain under control, I know the work you do is so important and it's important for you to be able to make decisions quickly and as Mary said there are alternative medicines to pain medications for fibromyalgia, my mom is 93 she has problems with her knees and has a hard time with pain, she is as sharp as a tack (I am so blessed) she takes tylenol ES once or twice a day Tylenol #3 if things are really rough but I am aware by her actions that she does not get the relief from it, she takes the shots in her knees about every 6 months to a year, she says the less the better, You have to make the decision, I wish (only wish) I could give you better advice, my Dad passed quite a while back and I moved back with Mom, at the time I volunterred at the local hospital but I did not take pain medications while at the hospital. I know there is a big difference in the kind of work I did and what you do but I left because I felt the need to be closer to home, I also wanted to be able to return the thing of it is pain is something that affects many aspects of your life, sleeping, eating, anxiety levels and a number of other things. I just want you to know I wish you the very best and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
16 Aug 2011
You have become dependent on the pain pills which simply means that when you don't take them you go into withdrawals. I refrain from using the word addicted because it suggests abuse which you are not doing. None the less, long term use of Norco or anyother opiate will cause dependence and withdrawal when stopped. I don't know the laws governing your job, but if you are jeparodizing your employment I would consider tapering off the Norco and trying one of the other medicines that Mary mentioned. There are numerous meds for fibromyalgia that are non narcotic and non addictive such as Lyrica, Cymbalta and one other called Savella. I would definitely talk to the doctor about these asap, before you run into any trouble on the job because of the opiates. If you need help tapering off the Norco, it can be done so you have little if any withdrawal, I would be happy to help.
- Norco Information for Consumers
- Norco Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Norco (detailed)
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