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Medications & Prescription Treatment

New Government Restrictions on Pain Meds

  • By Lynar42

    From the Wall Street Journal Aug 22,2014:
    “The Obama administration moved Thursday to restrict prescriptions of the most commonly used narcotic painkillers in the U.S. in an attempt to curb widespread abuse.
    The DEA said it would reclassify hydrocodone combination drugs such as Vicodin and put them in the category reserved for medical substances with the highest potential for harm. The “rescheduling” means people will be able to receive the drugs for only up to 90 days without obtaining a new prescription.
    The new classification will take effect in 45 days, the DEA said.
    “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.
    The change means that, in most instances, patients will have to present to a pharmacy a prescription from a health-care provider and no longer can rely on a phoned or faxed-in one.
    The move had been resisted by drug makers, wholesalers, drugstores and patients with pain. They said there were other ways to reduce painkiller abuse and were concerned that people suffering acute pain could be harmed by barriers to treatment.”

    Has anyone else run into problems with their doctors with regard to rescue medication?

    I cannot use tripalines(sp?) as I has a stroke and my neurologist doesn’t want to risk it. So I use OTC meds if I can catch it before its a 4, if its a 4-7 I use Fiorcet. If that doesn’t stop it from building and the nausea starts my only options are nausea meds, narcotics (my rescue meds), or medical marijuana (which does help but I don’t like the amount I have to use to make the pain go away as I am out for awhile. In case anyone is wondering, I vape it.).

    As many of you can relate to, my tolerance for pain medication is very high and I need a higher dosage.

    I went to see my neurologist for an update on my meds and she was very evasive regarding renewing my narcotic rescue meds.

    I hope that this new restriction wont turn out badly for those of us who rely on these medicines to keep us out of the hospital ER.
    Blessings,
    Beth

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Beth,

    These new guidelines will impact many people with chronic pain, however, narcotics are not usually the best option when treating migraine. If we depend on these type of medications, and/or over-the-counter pain relievers more than two to three days a week we run the risk of getting into medication overuse headache or moh which was formerly called rebound. If we have moh we will be in a daily cycle of endless pain and our migraine attacks will be much more difficult to treat. Let me share information with you on moh; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/. This article also talks about opioids or narcotics and migraine;
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-medication-overuse-headache-versus-high-dose-opioids/

    Another thing to keep in mind is that anyone who gets three or more severe migraine attacks a month should discuss migraine prevention with their doctor. Prevention may mean making lifestyle changes in addition to daily medication. Take a look at this information; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/ and https://migraine.com/blog/new-migraine-prevention-recommendations-from-the-american-academy-of-neurology/.

    Nancy

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  • By nevada_knitwit

    Hi Beth,

    I appreciate your concern regarding the reclassification of hydrocodone based drugs. I take preventative drugs (presently Topamax and Verapamil), but my migraines are out of control (3-5/week). I also use OTC and narcotics to manage my migraines. My neurologist and I are in frequent (weekly) communication regarding the efficacy of my preventative drug treatment in an effort to get my migraines under control. Today, I had to get a new prescription for Norco. He was *extremely* hesitant to write it, but he understands that I need some relief until we get the preventative drugs dialed in.

    I agree that this reclassification may cause problems for those of us who use narcotics to treat migraines. I appreciate Nancy’s point that narcotics are not the best course of treatment. In my experience, however, narcotic pain relievers enable me to more effectively cope with my migraines.

    I look forward to the day that preventative medicine reduces my migraines to a more manageable level (3-5/month). Until that time, I will continue to incorporate narcotic pain relievers into my pain management system.

    Andrea

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