... as before. I was sent to a pain management Dr. and he started me off on 50 mg Fentanly patch. about 3 months latter we went to 75 . 3 months latter 100 which I am currently on now. Well, my husband retired and of course i am dissable so we have no extra income comming in. I have reached the gap with my insurance so I have to pay the whole price for my patches. We just can't afford 300. a month for them. My Dr. says I have gotton immumed to these so he wants to take me off of them and try some pill. Which is fine as long as it works. I have experienced some of the withdrawal just by accident of missing a patch or running out of time before I change the old. I can go 2/12 days before changing them. I have read some of your remarks and I new it would be bad but I never dreamed that it was going to be so bad. Now I am really scared to deathto go through this. and he says no hospital. should I continue with the patches or go through hell to get rid of them. I really don't think ,no I now i am not addicted to them . I am still in pain every day. I don't know life without pain anymore. Have been o n the patches 7 years. Please help me make the right decision
First let me explain that if you have been on the patches for 7 years then you are what they call opoid tolerant and would be considered opiate dependent as in you would experience withdrawals if you just were to stop the fentanyl. If the doctor does the conversion correctly from the fentanyl to another medication though you should not experience withdrawals. What pill did the doctor want to put you on? If you can remember the name, I can look up the conversion for you. There are many opiates that have generics which would be cheaper for you while you are in the donut hole (gap) as far as insurance.
Please repost and I'll try to help further,
A lot of pain docs transfer you to another opiate medication after awhile, at a lower dose, to help you not become tolerant to your meds so quickly. I've heard this can work but have never experienced it. If you are at 100 mcgs of the fentanyl patch and still in a lot of pain really what do you have to lose? I was at 125 mcgs for a long time. That was the highest my doctor would prescribe, and I was in a lot of pain. I tried to get off the pain meds and steadily lowered the dose of the patch (with my doctor's permission and help) over 3 months. I was in withdrawal much of the time and the pain just kept getting worse and worse. Eventually I gave in and went on Methadone for the pain. Although I hate some of the side effects my pain levels are much, much lower. If I had stayed on the patch where would I be? Seems to me that you don't have much to lose by trying this new med.
Yes, you may go through some withdrawal and feeling bad, but you also may end up in a better situation. You know how you are now (on the patch) so which is the lesser evil? The one you know or the one you don't? I pray that you find better control over your pain. Do everything you can to use your mind to control your pain, because you will always have pain having needed such extensive surgery on your back. Try to learn biofeedback, yoga, relaxation exercises, guided imagery and practice, practice, practice. Your mind is much stronger than any pain med. Best wishes to you - ElizaJane.
Laurie is right. If your Dr does a proper conversion, you should go through very little, if any, withdrawals. When they convert meds they can do something called a "cross tolerance" reduction so if you DO experience any withdrawals please inform your Dr and they can make adjustments. Many people react very differently to different drugs so sometimes they may be a little more conservative especially when first starting the switch. If it were me, I would definitely be willing to try something that may work better and also be cheaper in the long run. You are lucky to be getting by at 300 dollars a month for 100mcg patches. When I was on them they cost 1500 dollars a month for me!!! Ouch! There are many very cheaper alternatives. Morphine, for example, is much cheaper, even in the long acting forms. Generic MSContin would be probably less than half the price than your Fentanyl.
My father has a "doughnut hole" gap and he had to switch from OxyContin to MSContin because he couldnt afford the Oxy's. He actually does much better on the morphine than he did the oxycodone so there is hope that a switch may do you better, especially if you are becoming tolerant to the meds you are on. It is not unusual for some pain docs to do a "rotation" of different meds to help prevent becoming so tolerant and to keep from having to continually escalate doses. Good Luck to you!! I hope it goes well!
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