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How do you know?
How do you know?
Hi. I have migraines pretty bad, runs in my family. I take immitrex and exedrin...and hyrdocodone and darvocet. I go through a bottle of 20 hydro's and a bottle of 20 darvo's every month. I'm scared that I'm dependent on them, but I need something to maintain quality of life...being headache free. My doc wants me to get on a preventative migraine med, but the side effects are WHACKED out....stuff like anorexia and nervousness and mental slowness.....I'm already 115 lbs and don't want to get skinnier.
Do I have a problem? This is coming out to be about 1 pill a day. I don't know if it's just on my brain because I'm scared to have a problem, or if I actually do have a problem. If your doctor is prescribing them and you have a legitimate problem....is it ok? How does anyone get their meds if your doc is not ok'ing them?
Thanks for any insight on my situation.....someone please tell me if this is just in my head....
Last edited by Migraine girl; 12-08-2007 at 11:32 PM.
You would know...
First off, I'm sorry to read about your migraines. I don't suffer from them myself but my woman does and they seem absolutely excrutiating
Secondly, I believe that anyone taking narcotic pain medication, for an extended amount of time, would know if they are indeed addicted or not. There is a grey area here because many doctors believe that individuals who take narcotic pain-killers for legitimate reasons do not have as strong of a chance of addiction as those who abuse the medications or take them simply for recreation. I personally do not believe this because I'm walking proof that this "theory" has very little truth behind it.
Here's a couple questions for you, created by myself only, that may help you interpret your level of addiction, if any:
1. Do you fear running low/out of your pain medication for any reason OTHER then the thought of suffering through a migraine without them?
2. Have you ever experienced any withdrawal symptoms (feeling flu-like) when left without your pain medication?
3. Do you feel that you wouldn't be able to proceed with normal daily activities if you didn't have your meds?
If you answered: "yes" to any or all the questions above, it's a pretty good bet that you are atleast mildly addicted. Addiction can occur from both the long-term administration of a narcotic pain medication or a continuous administration of large quantities of a narcotic pain medication. In your case, you are taking a total of 40 pills a month, 20 of which are hydrocodone. Though Darvocet CAN cause dependancy, it's a much weaker narcotic. I wouldn't be surprised if you could remove Darvocet from your regiment altogether considering it's weak, short-acting nature.
Are you seriously worried about the migraine medication's listed possible side-effects? Have you tried this medication and experienced adverse reactions or less then manageable side-effects? As you probably already know, everyone reacts differently to medication. For all you know (if not tried already), this migraine medication could be your saviour! If your doctor is recommending it, I would most certainly give it a shot. He knows your history and has weighed the side-effects over its' benefit to you and still recommended it. My advice to you is to try. Seriously, if you can ditch the narcotics altogether and heed relief from the migraine medication, you'd be better off in the long-run, especially considering the amount of Acetaminophen you are exposing to your poor liver!
I hope this was of some help. I apologize for the length - I probably began to ramble.
05.23.2007: L4/L5 Discectomy & Laminectomy
10.17.2007: Repeat discectomy & attempted removal of scar tissue from previous surgery
12.06.2007: Diagnosed with F.B.S.S. (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome) & placed on MSContin for pain management
There was a long discussion on here not too long ago about the differences between "addicted" and "dependent" and I think it boiled down to this: If you are taking the drugs as prescribed, and you have been taking them for a period of time longer than, say, a couple of months, it is very, very likely that you have (at least to some degree) become dependent on them. Narcotics, like many drugs, change your body chemistry. Your body actually becomes dependent on them to function normally. That's dependency.
Addiction begins when you want to stop, but can't. And you keep on using, despite negative consequences, be they physical, emotional or social.
It sounds to me like you are taking a relatively small amount of meds here, then again, I am the most gluttonous slob of a junkie you'll ever meet, so perhaps amounts are all relative.
Only YOU can declare yourself an addict.
The fact that you are here posting eludes that there very well maybe an addiction. Now..do you have an addcitive personality? do you smoke? ******************************? drink? Some people dont get addicted. But as stated above, you could very well be dependent. SOlone was here as she was on vacation, they lost her meds...she was in full blown wd, she was not addicted...she was dependent...but the wd's are the same non the less.
Do you take your meds dailey? if you go with out...do you get sick? you could and should have your dr. switch you to something non addictive...the receipe for disaster is here...i started my pills for legite pain...i continued to use because i liked them.. i am an addict. and i did get my pills from a dr...many of us do...we are resourceful in getting our meds...addicts are actually smart people...we could continue to get our drugs if we werent....
Only you know if your an addict...but you could very well be dependent....
I wish you well
The bottom line here is: improve the daily quality of your life while living with daily head pain. I've been living with the same for the past 30 years and know what I'm talking about. If you are not already on a prophylactic medication, you need to be. There are many, many options for you that do not have the side effect profile you are afraid of. Please make sure that you are seeing a neurologist with a specialty in migraine/headaches (a general neurologist or internist is useless). There are several major categories of preventive meds for you to try out:
1. Ergots/Ergonovine 2. Tricyclics (Nortriptiline) 3. Calcium Channel Blockers 4. Anti-Seizure Meds (Depakote, Neurontin, Topamax, Keppra, Zonegran) 5. Namenda 5. Diamox and its cousins 6. Magnesium and Riboflavin supplements plus feverfew and such.
All these act as preventives and are routinely used in conjunction with the painkillers you're using, so that hopefully you'd be able to dramatically reduce the frequency and intensity of your headaches, so you can take less pain medication. The problem with taking as much pain medication as you are is that you're running the risk of getting rebound headaches, which are often more viciously painful than the original headache you're trying to get relief from. Trust me--I've been there, too. Run this protocol of meds by your physician in order to corroborate and verify the accuracy of my information and I think you'll be on the right track.
I wish you luck--I know how hard of a struggle this is every single day, so please be sure to review the list of meds with a specialist.
I just want to say "thanks" to everyone that replyed to my post. I read everyone's advice at least 3 times and I'm really taking it all in. It's really great to be able to come here and get good and positive advice from you guys.... it means a lot, I really did appreciate every reply. By the way, I'm curious, what are the withdrawl symptoms? The flu-symptoms? Can anyone describe them a little more in depth to me? Thanks again.
HI...Sorry I'm just checking in now....My advice is that if the pain pills truly help with the pain then by all means continue. In the meantime, definitely explore alternatives and if you find one that works - stop taking the narcotics. You are not taking excessive amounts. Some people on this site report take 30 or more vicodin a day - to put it in perspective. Most of these people would probably tell you that they started taking them as prescribed, at some point the pills stopped working as well, and they continued upping the dosage until reaching those dangerous levels. It happens very gradually and your mind has a way of convincing you that you need the pills and that it's ok. Just try to stay aware of why you are taking the pills and when - if you start taking them so you can go to the grocery store or clean the house and not becuase you have a headache - it's time to reassess.
As for withdrawls...the first symptom I remember feeling was this creepy crawly feeling in my legs (this is where the term "kicking the habit" comes from - your legs can't stay still)...then my nose would start running...you start sweating and feeling very anxious....finally severe diarhea and muscle pain.
Hope this helps!
Daily Headache Girl -
I am so sorry to hear about your condition. Unfortunately, I have no advice regarding the daily drugs you are currently on but I can completely relate to your headache situation. I have been getting migraines since I was a child - I remember getting one at DisneyWorld on a family vacation. At my worst, I was, like you, getting daily headaches, and having severe, debilitating migraines at least 2 or 3 times a week.
The first true Migraine drug I was prescribed was Imitrex but I experienced some of the fun side effects on that drug along with most of the other "as needed" Migraine drugs.
Rather than continue to prescribe me "as needed" drugs that I was responding badly to, or start with the narcotics daily, my doctor prescribed daily drugs. I have taken calcium-channel blockers which did not work on me. I took beta-blockers for quite a while which worked well until Topamax (anti-seizure medication) came on the market for migraines. Topamax has been a true god-send. I have had a max -- 2 migraines a month, and these are much less severe than those I had before I started taking Topamax.
I still have an "as needed" drug - Midrin, but I have yet to need it.
As far as the side effects with the daily migraine drugs - I talked with my doctor about them (including Topamax and weight loss, although I did not experience that particular one thanks to my husbands cooking!) And the few side effects I did experience were much milder than those I experienced with the "as needed" migraine drugs and are well worth having hardly any headaches anymore! I'd never go back.
I hope this helps. And good luck with everything!!
hi. sorry about your migraines. i know how bad they are. i suffered for a long time. started with advil/excedrin/tylenol, moved to darvocet/hydrocodone, with the very occasional trip to the ER for my demoral! then i saw a neurologist who started me on topamax for prevention and relpax for when i feel them coming on. the relpax has been a god-send. the topamax has been great, too- but i want to wean off of it (side effects i'd rather live without- except for the weight loss LOL). ive gotten my mentrual migraines under control with lybrel (no periods- no menstrual migraines!!!!), now i'm seeing an accupuncturist who is helping me with TCM (traditional chinese medicine). have been migraine free for about two months now. still taking the topamax (25mg only a day), but have not had to take a relpax for months! so now my big plan is to get off the topamax. hopefully- i can be drug free. WOW! dont give up! my naturopathic doctor was very helpful in cutting down the severity of my migraines, but not eliminating them altogether... dont be afraid to try alternative medicines.
I have suffered from migraines in the past. Crippling condition. I won't bore you with my history. Look up my thread and replies for specifics.
Ok, I think that Morfiend had some very good points. If you have any question whether your addicted or not, stop taking the hydro and darvon for a week and your body will let you know. And if you cannot make it a weak you are definitely addicted. U r in my prayers. God Bless