• Since the crack down on opioids started last year is your doctor still prescribing pain medicine?

    Asked by CancerChicky on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    Since the crack down on opioids started last year is your doctor still prescribing pain medicine?

    I understand that there was way too much pain medicine getting prescribed, my own Father is a case study in over prescribing. But for people like us that have giant surgical scars and the pain related to radiation and chemo we actually do need it. I doubt there is any cancer patient that doesn't need pain medicine at some point. My doctor has cut way back on prescribing them and when I complain that the scars from the surgery and radiation are hurting he wants me to just "not think about it". It's hard to not think about it when it feels like a hot poker is being shoved through your body. Anyone else having these problems?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • Boogerman's Avatar

      Yes, I have seen a slow down in prescribing in my clinic. I even hear other patients complaining to the receptionist about it before they go back for treatments. I have a few leftover from surgery that I had a couple of years ago. I kept them for a just in case episode. It's a good thing because as it is I'm not sure I could get another prescription unless I was in much worse shape.

      4 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      My Mother-in-law was on a number of pain pills, way too many actually. She was in a rehab center for a few months and still getting them, but when she was discharged her attending doctor just all of a sudden said he wasn't prescribing pain meds at all anymore. It left her in a pickle. It is becoming a problem to get pain meds now. It's bad for those that actually do need them, but I also understand that there is a huge problem with doctors prescribing too much to those who don't need it but have gotten addicted.

      4 months ago
    • MerryMaid's Avatar

      This article happened to be in Cure Today Magazine.com

      Musing About the Opioid Crisis and Cancer Survivorship
      As patients with cancer are among those who are prescribed opioids for pain management, being mindful of news and of shifting policies during the opioid crisis goes along with survival.

      Felicia Mitchell is a poet and writer who makes her home in southwestern Virginia, where she teaches at Emory & Henry College. She was diagnosed with Stage 2b HER2-positive breast cancer in 2010. Website: www.feliciamitchell.net
      A recent "Washington Post" greeting me with this headline: "Flooded with Opioids, Appalachia is Trying to Recover." There we are again in the news, I thought. The opioid crisis is an ongoing concern in my community. Local newspapers as well as national newspapers address it. Too many people experience the crisis firsthand.

      Like it or not, although I have never been addicted to anything (except caffeine), I now see my prescription history represented in the demographics of the current opioid crisis in the Appalachian south. It is there because of my cancer history. While my contribution to the flood of opioid prescriptions is minimal, it does give me pause.

      According to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) reportshared in the news story, 26,764,810 prescription pain pills ("enough for 70 pills per person per year") found their way to my county between 2006 and 2012, largely through the doors of my neighborhood pharmacy. Of the pills represented, 10,550,900 were manufactured by one of the biggest players in the war on opioids for its role in the manufacturing of generic oxycodone.

      I wish I could add a footnote to the database to say that 40 of these pills manufactured by the big player were prescribed to me in 2010 for post-operative pain after a mastectomy, with instructions to take 1 to 2 tablets every four hours as needed. In the end I did not take all 40, discarding a dozen unused pills, so one might say that I was prescribed more than I needed. A week's worth of pain pills, however, is not too much for a doctor to prescribe after a complex surgery.

      At the same time, we all experience pain differently. Another person might have needed 70 pills after surgery. Cancer is so often synonymous with pain. In my case, the pain was self-limiting. Often, cancer pain does not go away. It can get worse over time, depending on circumstances. It can become unbearable. A few patients with cancer I have known have wished they were allowed better pain management. One joked that he thought his doctors were worried he would get hooked on pain meds while he waited to die.

      Since patients with cancer experience both acute and chronic pain, our situation was taken into account in guidelines introduced recently by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to address the opioid crisis. Patients with cancer are vulnerable to addiction along with the rest of the population. However, cancer professionals are trained to recognize the signs of substance abuse. It has to be an ongoing challenge to gauge pain and know what the best thing to do is.

      I mentioned earlier that I was once addicted to caffeine. That may sound flippant. I do realize that caffeine addiction is nothing compared to opioid addiction. When I switched to decaf, it took two weeks to navigate the transition, which was tolerable. At the time, I wondered what it would be like to withdraw from something life-altering like opioids. I plan never to have to find out.

      See the article on Curetoday here>> https://www.curetoday.com/community/felicia-mitchell/2019/08/musing-about-the-opioid-crisis-and-cancer-survivorship

      4 months ago
    • Sasukesuma's Avatar

      My oncologist will no longer prescribe any pain meds for me. My PCP told me however that the one oxycodone I was taking each week was not enough and has prescribed 32 a month. His instructions include not taking it two days in a row with a maximum of 8 per week. I still don’t take the max. You do get use to a certain amount of pain, but sometimes you just need a break. I tend to take them if I am expecting visitors, so I can be more pleasant and enjoy the visit. It’s nice to to be in pain once in a while. I have also discovered that for certain pain it does not help so there is no sense taking it for those.

      4 months ago
    • Sasukesuma's Avatar

      I’ meant that it’s nice not to be in pain once in awhile.

      4 months ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      I see a change in attitude. My last surgery, rather than just automatically prescribing 30 hydrocodone as in the past, my surgeon asked me if I thought I needed "a few" or if I had any left over from previous prescriptions. I did have a few left over and chose to refuse more . It is unfair and dangerous to just cut someone off cold turkey however.

      4 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      I had serious stomach surgery and the hoops I had to jump through to get pain pills were nuts. And they can't just send a prescription electronically any more. They had to write it out and then my family has to drive to go get the paper to take to the drugstore. I understand the problems that these drugs cause but sometimes, we just need them.

      4 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar

      My palliative care doctors are pretty careful about prescribing pain meds and spend an hour of face to face time with their patients every month in order to determine what level of pain meds they do or do not currently need to address their pain or other symptoms.
      The doctors try very hard to prescribe what they think is right but end up spending a lot of time arguing with pharmacy benefits managers, having to submit entirely new care plans if they adjust a single medication.

      It's great to be safe and I'm glad we are trying to get better prescription control, but my docs tell me that they spend a lot unnecessary time arguing to get meds for people who really should be getting them more easily for obvious, ongoing cancer pain.

      It feels like the govt has tried to fix the problem of opioids but a lot of patients have been broadly painted with the wrong brush in the cancer community. My own mom can't get any pain meds at all and she really needs them.

      I don't know what the best solution is, but there it's still a lot of work to be done making sure cancer patients have adequate palliative care, but also that abusers of pain meds don't get too many.

      4 months ago
    • HotRodTodd's Avatar

      I am still getting mine, but It's not a very large amount or dose and I never take all of them so I think they see that I'm not an addict from it.

      4 months ago

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