FDA Action on Vicodin May Mean More Pain, Not Less Addiction or Overdose

Stricter rules for prescribing opioids may not be the only answer to curbing addiction to painkillers

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Vicodin tablet

(UPDATED) Last week, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted to impose stricter controls on prescriptions for drugs like Vicodin, which contain the opioid pain reliever hydrocodone.  The new rules would ban prescribing of more than a month’s supply of hydrocodone-containing drugs and prevent refills without a new doctor visit. Prescriptions would not be allowed to be phoned, faxed or emailed and physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners wouldn’t be permitted to prescribe the medications in the states in which they have limited prescribing powers.

Citing growing concern about prescription drug misuse and the potential for addiction to painkillers — overdoses lead to 15,000 deaths annually — the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has long pushed for the stringent rules, which would reclassify opioid pain relievers as Schedule II drugs, the most restricted category short of being prohibited. The FDA is likely to accept the panel’s decision, changing the rules for some 47 million patients who receive prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products annually.

“I believe that this change will mark a turning point in the epidemic,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the founder of a group called Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), told NPR. “It will lead to less people becoming addicted, which is the most important thing that needs to happen to bring this crisis under control.”  PROP has petitioned the FDA to tighten the official labeling on opioids, which critics say would result in even more severe restrictions.  But Kolodny says that their intent has been “misinterpreted” and they do not want to see legitimate access reduced.*

However, according to numerous studies and government statistics the majority of those who become addicted to opioids don’t get hooked after receiving legitimate prescriptions from doctors for pain treatment. More than two-thirds of people who used opioids  recreationally in 2010-2011 obtained the medications from friends or relatives for free, mostly with their permission.  And, of people in treatment for chronic pain without a prior history of drug problems, a Cochrane review found that less than 1% became addicted to the medication, with 44% dropping out of treatment due to side effects from the drugs.

Similarly, most fatal overdoses do not seem to involve people taking their medications as prescribed for pain — one study in hard-hit West Virginia analyzed medical examiner records and drug treatment data and found that 95% of victims had signs of addiction, such as snorting or injecting drugs meant to be taken orally and combining these prescriptions with illegal drugs.  Only 44% had a prescription that was written for them.  Another study, in Utah, relied on family member reports and found that more than half of victims had misused the drugs.  Since most opioid overdose deaths actually involve mixtures of drugs— typically including alcohol, which patients are warned not to drink — misuse significantly increases the risk of dying from abusing the medications.

The new rules would likely make it harder for those who rely on opioids to treat chronic pain for conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, certain genetic disorders and some severe injuries (the kind of pain that often lasts decades) to get their prescriptions filled. Many doctors already decline to treat chronic pain with opioids, fearing prosecution if some of their patients turn out to be addicted to the painkillers and are faking pain, or end up overdosing.  Those who can get treatment are already subjected to random pill counts and urine tests to ensure they are taking their pills as directed and as needed.

Under the new rules, some patients may even lose access to treatment entirely because insurers may not cover the monthly doctor visits required for continued prescribing or because doctors may not want to deal with the added hassle. Many pharmacies also refuse to carry Schedule II drugs. Nursing homes already report problems with other opioid drugs in Schedule II, as patients are forced to wait for pain relief for an unavailable physician to update a prescription. And, with non-physicians in rural areas unable to prescribe, patients may be switched to weaker and less effective drugs in Schedule III.

But the restrictions likely won’t have a drastic change on the number of prescriptions for those with acute pain that ends shortly after procedures like routine surgeries and root canals. And some data suggests that these pills are a source of considerable misuse: because these conditions resolve quickly, many patients won’t finish an entire prescription but will keep the remaining pills “just in case,” making them potentially available to teens or others at risk for addiction.

MORE: Dentists, Too, Can Help Battle Painkiller Addiction

As part of the FDA’s two-day hearing on the reclassification, pain patients and their families submitted poignant testimony pleading with the agency to not construct more hurdles to receiving proper pain care.  One man wrote of his wife:

She is in excruciating pain every minute of every day of her life for the past twenty years. [The pain was caused] by a butcher of a doctor who drilled a pin through her radial nerve during a routine operation to fix a broken wrist. He left the pin in, despite her pleading of pain for six weeks. To take the pain pills away from her would lead to her death from suicide because the pain would be unbearable.

Another chronic pain patient wrote, “[W]ithout the medicine I am being prescribed, I would not be able to work and would end up on disability. A third pleaded simply, “Nonono. This does not help all of us who deal with chronic pain. I am sick and tied of addicts screwing up MY health care. Find another way!”

Finding another way, is, unfortunately, exactly what addicts tend to do when faced with these kinds of barriers, which may lead them to take more dangerous illegal substances. A recent letter in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when a substance was added to Oxycontin to deter abuse, only 13% of prescription drug abusers continued to rely on the drug as a primary high, down from 36%. Heroin use among them, however, doubled.

And some who opposed the changes noted in testimony to the FDA panel that Oxycontin, a stronger painkiller containing oxycodone, which is similar to morphine, has always been subject to the stricter Schedule II prescribing rules, yet it is widely abused and credited with launching the opioid prescription drug epidemic. While we don’t know what effect the new restrictions will have, we do know that the changes alone won’t address the reasons why some people seek opioids in the first place.  Chronic pain patients should not have to suffer to fight other people’s addictions.

MORE: Government Considers Overdose Antidote, Naloxone, to Fight Prescription Drug Misuse

*Updated to include quote from Kolodny on PROP’s intent.

99 comments
LaDonnaWaggerman
LaDonnaWaggerman

These changes will only make lagit pain management patients have to jump hurdles and suffer withnon effective treatment. Abusers will just head for herion or other street drugs. The fighters of herion will really b fighting a uphill battle and many more will die from thinking they can handle herion when they can no longer receive pain management drugs. Good move fda guess ur in on population reduction. Ur new laws will b very efficient for that.

illumineress
illumineress

FDA, DEA, Congress, Senate, Docs and ABCD..... want all the meds for themselves... next we'll hear about "the painkiller scandal". 

They think we have a "suicide epidemic"now!  Then families will begin suing them all for "wrongful death" because their loved one killed themselves. My guess is alcohol kills way more then Vicodin ever will. 

They do random drug tests to make sure no one is smoking pot AND taking pain meds "because they don't have enough proof that the two together will not kill people"..... is what I was told by my Dr.... which of course is BS... Cancer patients have been taking those $60 per marijuana capsule with pain meds and chemo for at least 20 yrs.  

TammyMonaghan
TammyMonaghan

This has to be the best written story I've read on the new laws of Vicodin! As a a patient with a very long history of medical issues ranging from OA, chronic, pain, probable MS, Achalashia, fybro,etc etc. I was in the ER this weekend for what would be my 52 YES I said 52nd Kidney stone. I currently take 1 Vicodin 10/325 every 6 hours without this I'm stuck in bed my mobility is very limited, (with this I do each day what I can & one of those things is I watch my 2 grandbaby's now it takes some major tricks to do so like my husband works nights and gets here in morning helps with breakfast, sets me up for the day in a room with everything I need. We don't leave that room etc until he gets back up or parents get here)

Anyway so I have a 6mm stone n in the past the have always gave me additional 5/mg tabs to add for my acute pain to stay comfortable well as I left ER the ER doc gave me script for that 24 pills to help until surgery but pharmacy says with new laws it can't be done. So at this moment I am taking extra of my months script but what the hell is going to happen at the end of this month! The peoe who made these laws don't get the people they r trying to hurt the ones that don't need their pills n sale them will still do that, the people who are trying to find a way to get high will still find a way to get high! It's the people that are trying to live as much as a normal life as possible that are going to be hurt here. Doctors everyone don't want the mess of prescribing this med even if it keeps me from being on 12 other meds, n that's what it does for me. Even my blood pressure was uncontrollable n it was because of pain so bp meds would actually make me really sick. Believe me I want off them with all this crap going on, I get treated like crap n prejudice everywhere if u tell anyone exspeacily a doctor that your on it so yes I want off them! U find a way for me to walk n move without pain or at least on a scale from 1-10 a 4-5 level like they do then I'm in!! I've jumped all the hoops n done everything every doctor has asked me to try & do from physical therapy to injections, tens unit, massage, acupuncture, meditation etc you name it we have done it. Pool therapy is where I do best but soon as I get out the pain is triple & if you can find a way to live in a swimming pool in Iowa in the fall-spring let me know because I'm looking for a way- well now that I'm going to be have stone surgery I won't beable to get in for weeks which is just going to put me backward!

ToddSmith1
ToddSmith1

Our FDA at work again!!  Don't solve the problem, just throw out the baby with the bath water!!  My wife has MS and is in pain EVERYDAY!!  Now, she will have to go to her doctors office (which she only does about every 5-6 months) every month to get the medication that makes her life bearable!  I have had multiple back surgeries and am totally disabled (as is my wife)...I had NO choice!!  I don't want to feel this way or have to live this way, but I have no choice!  My spine is so degraded that another surgery is not even an option!!  So it is pain (that would put most people in the hospital) every day!!!  My wife are not on welfare and actually are fortunate to be fairly well off, so we are fortunate in that respect, but my point is, we are not living off of the "system".  But this new law is just ridiculous!!  All it is doing is making like miserable for the honest people who are in constant pain!!  The addicts will find this drug (or another) by stealing it!!  Just hurts those that truly need it!!


Nice work FDA!!!  You dropped the ball AGAIN!!!!

drekpenspelltemple
drekpenspelltemple

I want to share my testimony to you all which i believe you can still try your best to give a testimony like me so i was married to james at first will both love each other but short time he started a new behavior which i cannot even explain to any one then i keep it to my self hoping one day he will change for good no way he did not change so i was in pain every day don’t no what to do on till one day when a friend of mine visited me in my office she met me crying then she was asking me what is going on i try to be cam but i could not then i open up to her telling me there is a way out which i will do before he left me with my kids i look up and not knowing what to do then i ask her to tell me. shortly she open up to me and say there is a man called Dr ekpenspelltemple he is a spirit man he can do it with in two days then i look an said okay i will try my best to contact him three days later, my husband did not come home i called his phone switch off then i try my possible best i did not hear from him so i began to look for one way for a help so i remember my friend told me about one man call Dr ekpenspelltemple i quickly run to my friend asking her if she still have Dr ekpenspelltemple contact then she gave it to me that was how i contacted this great man of spirit he did it for me so quick so now i can now control my husband in any thing even i can tell him that i don’t want him outside today he will not. Now i have a happy family so via email;dr ekpenspelltemple@gmail.

TomThompson
TomThompson

It is time for us to start charging for oxygen usage by these lawmakers. If they don't pay us for their oxygen, then they die. This is what will happen to us. There will be mass suicides by people like us who can't afford the extra financial burdon they are arbitrarily imposing on us. They are no better than a drug dealer in this sense. They have power over something required by us to enhance or give us some semblance of quality of life, then suddenly say " No, that's not right! We can't make collect any profits from the illegal drug market ( Cocaine, marihuana, etc) , so someone has to pay. Hey!! These guys need this stuff to survive! Let's persecute them! They either pay up or they go insane and kill themselves. Either way we win! We get paid or those on disability will kill themselves because they can't afford their required meds and that will be that many fewer drains on our disability coffers."

About 15 years ago, I was talking to an older veteran friend of mine and he said that his VA doctor told him straight-up that the government would rather they ( veterans ) would die than to have to continue providing services to them because of the cost to the government. And y'all thought the recent VA scandal was something new. They just quickly found a scapegoat and covered it up.

P. S. I am disabled and do also use hydrocodone and will be affected by this new law. We need to start designing wearable oxygen meters for these lawmakers and start collecting our dues.

P. P. S. I see something coincidental with this new marijuana-legalization trend and this law. Just a thought.

OmarOrtiz
OmarOrtiz

i started my treatment for ptsd & seizures back,In 2001 i would take 2dilantin at night now my seizures have gone down i took therapy for ptsd.I take 5 diferent meds morning noon &night if my blood level is low on a med the d.r gets mad.

LauraMundell-Jenkins
LauraMundell-Jenkins

My neighbor committed suicide last month because of severe chronic pain caused by surgery. ...he was a police officer and got shot in the line of duty...when the bullet was removed in surgery there was severe nerve damage that would never heal.. His pain medication was severely cut back even though he was literally in agony and could not function without it. He couldn't bear the non stop agony and with no end in sight- and no hope of relief- he killed himself. He was a good man.

Limiting pain medications to those in need is inhumane. To withhold relief when it is available is unconscionable.

teecuzbruh
teecuzbruh

hang on let me get my list of diagnoses


Cervical spine instability

Spondylosis lumbar

Degeneration cervical

Herniated nucleus pulposus, cervical (x 3)

Myofasciitis


Fortunately I've known for quite some time that the illegal beaurocracy known as the fda/dea never have their own citizen's interest at heart, it is all about control of the population at whatever cost the the people's ability to comply.

Junior'sGhost
Junior'sGhost

It doesn't surprise me when I hear people are fleeing the U.S. because of medical issues. This for-profit, free-market health care system is destroying the lives of millions of Americans. Medical emigration from this country is becoming a more popular option by the day. It's sickening both literally and figuratively. It's corporatist greed, plain and simple. And because it's corporatist it can also literally be called fascism. Welcome to Fascist America. Now go on and suffer like a good little patriot.

NicoleM
NicoleM

Hi! If you haven't already signed, I encourage everyone of you suffering due to the under treatment of your pain to sign the petition to congress. The link: http://www.petition2congress.com/5202/first-do-no-harm-dea-targets-physicians-who-treat-their-patients/         or you can Google: petition2congress First Do No Harm      Whether you are suffering or love someone who is, this really needs not be a silent battle anymore. We are good hard working people who just want to work and not collect a disability check. Thank you

djsthrift
djsthrift

Well they did it. Now what am I supposed to do? I am uninsured, have been with my doctor for SIX years with legitimate pain issues. WHO is going to pay for these increased doctor visits? Who is going to pay for my new doctor because my neurologist can only write schedule 3's? Who is going to pay my cash costs for the increased urine drug tests? WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE ME???

jnb19832002
jnb19832002

ok guys, so what legal recourse is there for us with chronic legitimate pain? lets start that conversation. Please. We need to come together and protest the right way, but not until we fully understand all the legal angles of this problem. I am currently seeking this info, however, it is not easy to do. Most lawyers, doctors, etc. dont want us to know this. Anybody have any comments on this?? please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to share some much needed information on this. UNITED WE STAND>>>jnb19832002@yahoo.com or 415-756-0955. Im not worried about being too busy to see this through to the end. thanks

bodyguyliny
bodyguyliny

I dont know what's going on now with all the pain management DRs cutting their patients scripts but from what I understand, the DEA and the government is now putting pressure on all pain management DRs to cut every patient's scripts. ANYONE who is on opiod pain killers, cancer patients, cronic pain, nerve damage, herniated discs, ANYTHING you have, it doesn't matter. Your scripts will be cut. Terminal cancer patients who are on their death beds and screaming in pain are being cut. THIS IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT has come up with to combat the illegal use of prescription pain killers. 

I have a rare spinal condition called Arachnoiditis. My nerves in my lower back are stuck together and twisted inside of my spinal canal. On top of this non-treatable, non-curable dreaded problem I also have 3 degenerated discs and I had a failed lower back surgery which resulted in a spinal fluid leak and the shifting of my hardware (screws & plates). I had seizures 3 days after surgery and was screaming in pain so loud that I lost the hearing in my right ear for 2 days. That happened back in 2005 and ever since, I have been in chronic severe pain. My P/M DR put me on OxyContin which helped me maintain a somewhat normal life considering I could barely move. The problem with this spinal condition is that it isn't studied by any large R&D companies or Universities because it's rare. There is no known treatments or cures and what little information there is out there on it is basically all short and to the point. No cure, no treatment, very painful, gets worse with time, only known treatment is pain medication to control the level of pain so as not to go insane. 

EVEN WITH THIS DREADED SPINAL CONDITION, MY MEDS HAVE BEEN CUT. So far I have been cut twice, removing my mid-day dose all together. I now only have a morning dose and an evening dose, both which are smaller than they were for all the years I have been on meds. My pain level has risen to the point that I now cry myself to sleep 3 or 4 nights a week, and can not sleep more than an hour or 2 a night because laying in one position for too long aggravates the problem. The government has my DR so shook up and scared that he may lose his practice that he has flat out told me he no longer wants me as his patient...and this is after i have been seeing him for 11 years. He said he knows how much pain I'm in, he understands my situation and basically, he can't do anything about it any more. When I became aggravated at this new attitude, he quickly told me that if I talked to him with hostility he would drop me immediately. 

This is how the medical world is treating people now. I basically got a BIG, SOLID, F*** U. right in the face. I'm sorry you're in pain but there is nothing I can do to help you anymore, Deal with the pain. This is how the government is dealing with the street drug problems...cut the people who need the meds, so there are less meds on the street. That makes about as much sense as going sky diving without a parachute. As if that will work too. The government has yet to learn from it's mistakes. 15 years ago there was a huge thing about over-the-counter ephedrine products. All over-the-counter ephedrine products were taken off the shelves because they were the basic ingredient in making crystal meth. AND WHAT WAS THE END RESULT? The Meth problem in this country EXPLODED. Now the Meth problem is coast to coast and 100 times bigger than it was...WHY?? because the government still hasn't learned that there WILL ALWAYS BE BAD PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO DO BAD THINGS TO MAKE FAST MONEY. As soon as the government took ephedrine off the market, the cartels switched from coke to meth and flooded the country. SOUND FAMILIAR? PROHIBITION...100 years ago, same thing. Take booze off the shelves, create Organized Crime and Bootleggers. Our government has only succeeded in making the illegal drug problems in this country WORSE. Now that they have done this to pain killers what do they expect people in pain to do? 


What are our options? People who live in chronic pain are now in a position that has no logical outcome. Our choices are; 1- get meds illegally (creating a bigger street drug problem...sound familiar??) 2- become chemists and figure out how to manufacture the stuff..( i guess the super smart ones might have a chance at this) 3- Suicide. NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE IN PAIN. No one CAN live in severe pain. I ask you all what is worse; becoming addicted to pain killers or living in crippling pain 24/7? Diabetics are chemically addicted to insulin. Take away their insulin and they die. High blood pressure....take away the meds and the heart works itself to explosion. PAIN - it is a documented FACT that severe pain causes high blood pressure, heart attacks, suicidal tendencies, shortens the life span, physically alters a person's appearance due to the large amounts of the wrong hormones and chemicals the body produces while under the stress of pain, STRESS-which we all know causes heart disease and in my case, the more pain I'm in, the more I smoke. I was a non-smoker before this happened to me. Then I became a 1 pack a day smoker. As the pain got worse I went to 2 packs a day. Now that my meds have been reduced so much I am at 3 packs a day. Well I guess the government's brilliant plan will work after all. It's only a short while now until I have a massive heart attack from smoking and drop dead.


WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY? As a kid I always thought that as soon as my generation grew up and became the people in charge, the world would get better. We grew up with rock & roll, pot, acid, woodstock, parties, and more parties. Now I see that it was ok for us as teenagers to go wild & crazy but now that we are adults, we think like our parents did. WAKE UP. The ONLY WAY to combat illegal drugs is to LEGALIZE ALL OF THEM. YES LEGAL. If you want to remove all the harmful things that are killing our children, then we'll have to go much further than drugs. Cars kill more kids than drugs. Cigarettes, booze, violent video games, all major things that kill. The only way to fix the problem is to legalize all drugs, collect taxes on them and make them like booze. Over 21, for recreational use, and let it run it's course. What will this solve? WELL IF YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. TEACH YOUR KIDS. EDUCATE THEM ON HOW ADDICTIVE DRUGS ARE AND HOW THEY CAN RUIN A YOUNG PERSON'S LIFE.  Most teens will do anything they are told not to do. Being ILLEGAL is a major reason they try drugs in the first place. AND MOSTLY...LEGAL OR ILLEGAL..IF THEY WANT TO DO DRUGS, YOU WILL NEVER STOP IT. THEY WILL JUST DO IT LIKE THEY DO NOW. So why not legalize everything and monitor it? Legal drugs means NO MORE STREET GANGS, which means less murders, less guns in the streets, no more kids sneaking behind their parents backs to get drugs and get high. Legal means less street crime, less people in prison, LESS OF A DESIRE TO TO THAT BAD THING KIDS DO TO BE MISCHIEVIOUS. 

Pain Killers are a necessary medication for those of us who are in chronic pain every day every day every day. Don't take them away from us, the people who NEED them. Doing so just creates a whole new set of problems


AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain
AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain

This is awful and flawed in so  many ways.  I will explain why without ambiguity or ignorance and if anybody disagrees with me, you are very very dumb.  First my theory on the reason why in the first place---this new pain med prescription policy is not backed by doctors or the patients that need them ( the only people that are affected by this) ---it is being pushed by the insurance comps and politicians, i.e. lawyers, ex wall street guys, etc. that alone should give you pause right off the bat.  Also, you must look at the timing---obama care is in effect---so lets try to pin point the correlation----money, yes...but how?  Well, now that the tax payers are paying a heavy load for others and without looking at data I figure at least half of all doctor visits are reasons simply to find and eliminate a pain, that's a lot of appts---now that creates income for the hospitals, a lot of income.  And of course the DEA- who I do understand  have a tough job, but man o' man, lets focus on meth, coke u know drugs that will destroy you very quickly and drugs that fund militias in major cities and bordered countries and have no medical purpose what so ever--------- The DEA like all government agencies expand over the long term and income rises so they need this so- called pain med problem to give purpose and effectively lots of funding .  

When I heard that obama care was approved i was happy because I thought the opposite, I thought "great!, since social health care tends to cause over crowding, maybe now, they will treat adults like adults and have US treat our own pain by actually allowing codeine, hydrocodone, etc, over the counter" because It is TOTAL  BS that when I semi tore my rotator cuff  I have to pay a doctor 200 hundred dollars so I can get a 20 dollar pain medicine prescription so I can work---and this happens all the time to people----One may hurt his/her back, which is very common, usually surgery is never needed, and the ONLy treatment is opiate pain meds along with anti inflammitory----so GOD FORBID that we treat our OWN BODY with a remedy that any med layman understands.  As adults it is borderline criminal that we cannot treat our own pain without having to pay a months rent to see a doctor that is going to tell you what you already know---same goes with antibiotics------pathetic system. 


Now those who disagree with this opinion i will say the following-=-----of course there will be abuse of prescrption opiates, but before anybody spouts off that simple talk--i would like you to provide statistics that show percentage of populations which will abuse (BTW there does exist countries that which you can purchase hyrdrocodone and the likes over the counter, hint:  they are the same countries that produce cocaine which is illegal just as the USA laws, and much much cheaper to purchase and  there is far less abuse of THAT drug too in those countries--I am not going to explain the significance of that point but if you cant figure why, it provides very valid arguments that abuse of a drug does not correlate only to the abundance and or legal status)


And some of you will equate opiate pain meds to meth coke pcp --- and try to build an argument with the intention that causes one to trap themselves with contradictions, common way to debate when you have no substance or just very lazy---- For one, opiate pain meds are NOT heroin, there exists many types, ex.  codeine has a 200 mg ceiling limit and is weaker than,say morphine---point being do not lump all opiate pain meds as one---- also, vicodin, codeine, and the few other opiate based pain meds exist on the weaker side of the long spectrum of pain meds (opiate).  Please rethink your opinion if it is based on this silly argument.  


I have more to say,but chew on this for a while 

dthammer1990@gmail.com
dthammer1990@gmail.com

when you are diagnosed with adult scoliosis and your husband is on ssdi and insurance co is telling me i cant have my meds to function............who  will pay for my ssdi? 

katkalkofen
katkalkofen

One quick side note addressing the paragraph that states insurance may not cover monthly visits - I don't know for a fact, but what insurance would do this? I've never had an issue with that and have been on MANY different plans over the years. If the follow-up is required for your condition, they pay for it. Perhaps the article was referring to the "junk" plans some people had, and I would think that this type of behavior from insurance isn't even legal anymore. If your company is doing this, go on the exchange and buy yourself some decent insurance. For those of is with chronic issues - insurance is a MUST and the premium is well worth it in the long run.

I don't live in a small town, but have never come across a pharmacy that doesn't cover schedule II drugs. If you have a Walmart, Walgreens, or Safeway then that's a start right there. I simply cannot imaging a scenario where all Opioids are class II and pharmacies could even afford to keep doors open if they refused carrying Vicodin. How would docs write Rx's after simple surgery? Pharmacies who won't carry things like OxyContin (usually due to theft fear) would be forced to change those policies. I feel that writing that in this article is pushing fear on people un-necessarily. Nobody's going to stop carrying Vicodin...that's silly. :-)

katkalkofen
katkalkofen

(3)

It saddens me to hear that there is discussions of limiting these medications to only those with Cancer. I hope that's not true and trust that those in the pain treatment community (like my doc who is very vocal politically etc.) will fight for our rights as pain patients to be treated. So many other conditions cause excruciating pain and these medications allow people to have somewhat normal lives!

I just hope we can somehow all work together to stand up for the rights of the chronic pain patient, all while trying to come up with constructive solutions to our nations opiate addiction problem. As I said, I feel that monthly visits, pill counts, and urine tests protect us, as patients, and keep us safe. And if they also help prevent abuse by those that are abusing the system (which I believe they do), them I am willing to do them for that cause as well. Deciding which condition can and should be treated with which drug is my doctors job, not the FDA's.

That's my 2 cents. I hope everyone has a blessed, pain-free (or pain controlled) day!

Love and Light to you all. :)

katkalkofen
katkalkofen

As far as monthly appointments are concerned, that in my opinion is being responsible. Your doctor SHOULD be checking in with you. I've worked for docs before and some people would just call and call and call for Vicodin refills - without being seen. I feel that refilling those Rx's is irresponsible on the physicians part. I know it's costly to be seen on a monthly basis, but see it as part of the "gig". Hopefully the ACA will help now with those that were cash-pay before.

Pill counts and urine tests - again...as a former patient on opiods, I feel that this is a good thing for both you and the doctor. When those things start to be "off"...your doctor should immediately address it. And by that I don't mean "fire" you, but figure out what's going on and address it. Sometimes uncontrolled pain (incorrect doses) itself can lead to addictive behaviors. (Taking more then needed...then running out...withdrawals...taking meds a different route then you should so they "work" faster) This ties back to staying current with monthly check-ins and communication with your doctor.

Cont...

katkalkofen
katkalkofen

To those of you who are suffering from pain (or know someone who is), I highly suggest finding a Pain Specialist in your area who is also educated in addiction medicine. Most general doctors are more then happy to wash their hands and refer you. The reason I think that a pain doc that specializes in addiction is important is because these drugs can be dangerous and have the potential for addiction! Even if you have a legitimate condition, you never know what you may go through in life and it's very easy to slip into taking them for the wrong reasons - even when you never ever had that intent! I have sat in support groups with professional people in recovery and every single one of them started their addiction due to an injury or chronic pain. It CAN happen and does. An addiction specialist is able to spot those things early, and is trained in treating pain - even for those of is who have made mistakes.

I'm honestly conflicted about these laws. I've lived through the hell of withdrawal and addiction, and also lived with pain on a daily basis. What makes me sad about this is that being able to pick up a phones in script means ONE trip to the pharmacy, not two. Or..not having to sit in a waiting room in pain for God knows how long. That being said, many pain patients are already used to paper scripts, as the meds they are on have required that for ages.

cont..

tushy7070
tushy7070

This is completely wrong for the FDA to do this for patients that really need it. So now we have to stop a drug that we have taken for years for pain and stop cold turkey. YOU are not to stop and medication without speaking with a doctor and then the doctor should write a script for Methadone which is used for heroin addicts so you don't go through withdraw. But that is the only way our body is going to handle this huge change. When and if your doctor writes this RX for you have him or her write on the script that it is for pain control so that way when you go to the pharmacy you won't be embarrassed and your not a heroin addict... Good luck to everyone.

pacogilsner
pacogilsner

I've uses vicodin for 34 years.to the day...I fell into a grain auger..i run out of medicine weekly..do not know what to do...my doctor tells me we need to cut it down,,but yet he does not approve my specialists surgery proposed.. cannot walk with out the darn medicine...what is a person to do..you have to walk in order to work...the doctor wants you off them..yet he wont approve surgery for me to improve my current condition..what do I have left...suicide..i don't know...

SerenaVandever
SerenaVandever

just to clarify, we were told by more than one doctor that soon, only people with cancer will have access to pain medicines!!!!!

SerenaVandever
SerenaVandever

my father was a dea agent and i know without question that marijuana is a medicine, it no schedule one drug as they have it listed as if it has no medicinal value, we now know it can cure cancer not to mention help with many other ailments, so i dont think they are the authority on which drugs are harmful!!  now they want to take my mothers pain meds omg we have gone through so much and finally have her on a good medicine at the right dose and they want to take her quality of life away!!!! to say that people with cancer are the only ones who are in pain, there are many many other illnesses that cause pain besides cancer!!!!  i know, my father the dea agent died of bone cancer caused by agent orange and my mother has battled two different kinds of cancer so i know a little bit about it and a lot about chronic pain i am a type one diabetic with such severe neuropathy i have not been able to work since 2000 any way i know pain, cancer and the dea and they are wrong to think taking our pain meds away is going to help any one those who are addicts will get it any way and the people who really need it are left to live with no quality of life, as if being in pain everyday isnt bad enough, thanks for nothing,

bobmart
bobmart

the FDA and the DEA are govt agencies that waste the citizens tax dollars when it comes to MAJOR decision making about drugs intended for the people who have chronic acute pain and are unable to take nsaids due to asthma related issues. i am a 60 yr. old man with chronic joint pain and degenerative vertebra in my neck and back. i can't find a single physician who will prescribe hydrocodone for the pain anymore. this my message to the FDA and the DEA: Find and rid the country of the real problem drugs and the dealers who are getting our kids and adults alike hooked on them and leave the practice of medicine to the physicians who went through school to be able to practice it.

DeborahNesbit
DeborahNesbit

Having the day I just had with my mother who is over 60 with MS this is just not practical or reasonable. I wish whoever it is at the FDA would come live a day in our shoes. They would think twice about such an unfair recommendation.

If someone is in chronic pain, asking them to navigate the healthcare system as if they are perfectly healthy is unreasonable and cruel. I don't know what my mother would do if she did not have me to be an advocate for her. I fear for the people who don't have a bitchy daughter to do the dirty work for them. Just getting dressed, getting to the doctor, navigating the parking, getting into the office, getting a prescription to the pharmacy, getting it picked up again - this is an all day proposition or MORE! for someone who is disabled. The planning involved to carry all this out with a modicum of dignity only to be treated like a pain seeking criminal is an immense and humiliating ordeal, not to mention being "tracked" by everyone from the primary care physician, to the pain clinic, to the pharmacy and the eye in the sky, Big Brother Medicare and her other insurance agency.

Throw in an additional problem like her recent hearing loss and it becomes impossible. The people who institute these laws simply do not THINK. Not with their heads and certainly not with their hearts. The idea of making it harder than it already is for my mother and the many others to get medicine is unconscionable.

Not to mention that all of this is big give away to the medical industry in additional doctor's visits, payments from insurance companies and co-pays and the increased cost of having to buy medicine in smaller quantities more frequently versus being able to buy larger amounts for less.

If it doesn't make you angry it certainly makes me angry: the Republicans go on and on about not putting the government between the doctor and patient and their healthcare decisions, but this level of bureaucracy does exactly that.

44L4
44L4


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MarianBailey
MarianBailey

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Jcc343
Jcc343

I agree that Chronic pain patients should not have to pay for other peoples' misuse of these substances. This is also true among any of the Pharmaceutical drugs that produce a high, such as Amphetamines, Benzo's, etc. Unfortunately, those who abuse substances generally have some deep, subconscious void in their life that meds can sometimes help for the time being. I don't think anyone is an addict just for the sake of being unable to stop; every time you target addiction as its own medical prob;em, it rarely works. The  psychological need to abuse substances is still present, and needs to truly be evaluated and overcome in order to break their habit. Its sad, but I myself have had my fair share of "drug abuse" throughout the past couple years, but It mostly stemmed from feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and overall emptiness in my life. I think there needs to be a new system in place to allow both proper and "recreational" use of substances. I put recreational in quotations because I truly feel that substance dependency usually is more of a self-soothing process than a light-hearted attempt to have a good time here and there. But, as I said, I think most drugs should be available in a clinical setting, so that supervised, limited dosages can be administered professionally, and both group and single therapy sessions could be established with the intent of finding and managing the roots of the person's "addiction."

LylaCavanaugh
LylaCavanaugh

@TomThompson  Yeh. Rich corporations like Halliburton wanted this war but they refuse to pay for it or for the damages caused by their wrong headed policies.  I just wish young men would get hip and refuse to go to any wars.  They often think they have no other choice because they have no other way to make a living but they need to learn our government backed by multi nationals will never agree to pay them a decent wage. So why should they risk their lives?  Better to vote the crooks out. And vote decent wages in. We need to kick all these lawmakers out, every one of them who voted for NAFTA, TAFTA GATT and all the other secret,  ruinous trade treaties that benefit only the rich. As for the codeines, people will just switch over to the cheaper more convenient Mexican heroin, all except the law abiding seriously ill who will be forced to suffer.  That is the right wing control for you. Why can't they stay out or our bedrooms and stop trying to micromanage?  They outlawed the ingredient that makes methamphetamine which only caused production to switch to Guatamala and death squads.  Now thousands of children are heading to out borders! They cannot solve anything without causing a worse problem for us.  Maybe they should quit trying?  Like the war in Iraq made a much bigger mess than they can ever cure. We gotta get rid of these so called lawmakers! If we don't, we are done. Because they are not going to stop any time soon.  They must be stopped.

Junior'sGhost
Junior'sGhost

@NicoleM  Just signed the petition. Thank you very much. I have a condition where my Achilles tendons in both feet are calcifying at the heels. I work on my feet all day. The pain can no longer be controlled by OTC meds and nobody will prescribe me anything stronger than Relafen. The surgery would be covered by my workplace. But since AFLAC views this as a preexisting condition, surgery would mean four or six or even eight months of not paying the mortgage the car payments, food, and on and on and on.

I'm not an addict, I took Vicodin after neck fusion surgery in 2005 with no ill affects. I just want to be treated with dignity. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO SUFFER SEVERE PAIN NEEDLESSLY.

LylaCavanaugh
LylaCavanaugh

@djsthrift  You need to complain to your representatives often and loud until this insanity is reversed.

LyndaStiffler-Furgason
LyndaStiffler-Furgason

I have been and still studing on this issue. I see to many people suffering over the drug seekers. Example I moved back to Indiana. I have suffered with a disability of crippling anxiety. After being refused medication to maintain control of my health. I had to call 911 with BP 190/110. Its bad when u have to tell your family just how to place lawsuit on for my death Im ready to fight this matter to the end. So all I see is Dr ins cost going up. New specialist that most people cant AFFORD. And the CRIME RATE GOING UP. WE CAN SET UP IV DRUG USERS UP WITH A GO TO THE CORNER BUS.GET THE DRUGS AND CLEAN NEEDLESS. AND CRIME DROPPED. SMART MOVE YES. WHAT DO THEY EXPECT TO HAPPEN WITH THIS ISSUE. THE DIFFERECE IS DOCTORS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OTHERS ACTIONS. GIVE THE DRUG SEEKERS A BUS ON THE CORNER AND LEAVE THE TRUE PATIENTS OF NEED ALONE. WHY IS THERE NO COUNT OF OVERDOSES IN THE ALLEY. IS ALL ABOUT $$$ AND NOW THEY CAN WASH THERE HANDS OF SOMEONE ELSE'S ACTIONS.

downhearted
downhearted

@jnb19832002 I just found this page. I have been forced to a pain clinic, I have not gone yet.  I was wondering if you have found out anything we, the patients, can do?

backpain
backpain

@jnb19832002 my wife and i both have severe backpain we had surgeries they cant help us now i moved to indiana they passed tough law on painkillers its not fair to people like us to suffer

AnthonyMcAdams
AnthonyMcAdams

@AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain Fancy & twisted way to blame POTUS, again.  I can use those same arguments to justify removing at least 10-30% of the folks in jail, that were put there because of legit medical issues & their addressing their issues the only way they had available to them because the only things that seem to matter is the almighty dollar.  It's more important to play cop to the world [& feed the greed of the profiteers] rather than treat our own people.

shuckaluca5
shuckaluca5

@AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain addiction is addiction I was addicted to vicodin ,people have pain I get it. there are drugs that can kill pain just as well as narcotics. don't tell me narcotics is the only treatment. I will tell you I have chronic pain and then got addicted to narcotics now I have two problems. the addiction is under control finally. but an addiction is an addiction the only difference is the withdrwal affects are worse on some as versus others we as a nation country are destroying life with narcotics. we need more stronger laws on doctors handing out this damn poison like candy. to way out pain meds as an option due to lack of insurance. to fix the cause of pain because narcotics is a quick fix and cheaper is stupid. personally it cost 15000 dollars for drug rehab 30 days usally the addict needs the program two three times. the crimes commited to get drugs for the habbit cost tax payers. so please don't give me that boohoo story about insurance. people don't have insurance because they are uneducated losers. they expect society to pay do to there bad choices they made as kids. they don't go on to college and learn a career to become gainfull in society. why would I insure a employee and pay them more than minimum wage when they are only smart enough to barely count money, no medical insurance is lack of  education having something to offer a company. maybe I am sounding harsh. but nacotics is not the answer to pain or lack of insurance.and medical technology has drugs just as effective for pain without the narcotic getting people addicted. they like the high from the drug its that simple that's what people are looking for not pain relief.

djsthrift
djsthrift

@katkalkofen   Spoken like a person with health insurance. I pay out of pocket, I live in Alabama where they refused to expand the care for lower income residents. I sign on to the "Obamacare" site and don't even get to SEE these plans they offer because my income puts me in the bracket that SHOULD allow me care through the medicaid expansion, SIt there on your high horse and feel smug. Go on, My doctors visits at 4 a year plus the out of pocket costs for those urine tests PLUS the cost of the blood tests PLUS the cost of the meds makes it so I can barely afford food. Now I face this debilitating pain without meds.  Don't you dare complain when I jump off a bridge and YOUR tax dollars have to support my kids. Dear God do people not understand that some of us are in trouble with this new scheduling???

shuckaluca5
shuckaluca5

@katkalkofen that's how I got addicted no intent. but then instead of helping me when I told doctor. he could no longer see me.i was a liability so now you see this is why law is changing. blame the doctors. not just the addicts.as they say .  there always a rotten in every basket. its the bad doctors who wrecked it for all. now everydodies scared.

DougAllison
DougAllison

Serena Vandever posted that she was told by more than one doctor that only people with cancer will have access to pain medicine, well I am a stage 4 cancer patient with mantle cell lymphoma and my oncologist refuses to give me any sort of pain medication so cancer patients are being cut off of these medications along with everyone else. I thought the rule. was do no harm.

SerenaVandever
SerenaVandever

@bobmart exactly what ever happened to no one belongs between a patient and a doctor!  and why should they go to medical school at all if the DEA is going to practice medicine!

GNC1960
GNC1960

@shuckaluca5 @AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain  OMG YOU ARE AN IDIOT WAS THAT YOUR MAJOR YOU MAKE NO SENSE THERE WILL ALWAYS BE DRUG ADDICTS NO MATTER WHAT, HAS BEEN FOR CENTURIES. STATISICALLY ONLY 1-10 % OF PATIENTS PRESCRIBED THESE MEDICATIONS WILL BECOME ADDICTED AND THAT IS ACCORDING TO FDA. I LOST MY INSURANCE YEARS AGO FOR A TIME I WAS PRESCRIBED  OPIATES WHICH I  COULD NOT AFFORD  SO HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO KEEP WORKING TWO JOBS WHILE ATTENDING COLLEGE AND RAISING THREE KIDS AS A SINGLE MOTHER I DID NOT  HAVE  ONE SINGLE SOLITARY WITHDRAWL SYMPTOM NONE. I GUESS YOU ARE ONE OF THE 1-10% WHO BECAME ADDICTED MAYBE YOUR PREDISPOSED TO ADDICTION YOU KNOW LIKE AN ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY, MAYBE YOU MISUSED YOUR MEDICATION, I CAN ONLY SPECULATE LIKE YOU ARE. I NOW HAVE BEEN DIAGNOISED WITH PROGRESSIVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, WHICH ACCORDING TO MY NEUROLOGISTS WHO OBVIOULY IS HIGHLY EDUCATED WHO MAY  VIEW  YOU AS UNDER  EDUCATED LIKE YOU DO EVERYONE ELSE. I HAVE HAD FOR SEVERAL  YEARS ACCORDING TO MRI AT LEAST (15)YRS AND BECAUSE OF  ALL THE BRAIN LESIONS I HAVE, WHICH NOW HAS EXASBERATED MY MULTI LEVEL SPONDYLOSIS AND EFFECTED MY SPINAL CORD TO A LEVEL YOU OBVIOUSLY DONT OR WONT UNDERSTAND. PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHRONIC PAIN AND I AM TALKING YEARS. DO NOT DESERVE TO BE TREATED WORSE THAN AN ANIMAL WE EUTHANIZE THEM SO THEY DONT SUFFER. MAYBE THE GOVERNMENT HOPES WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE THE EXCRUCIATING PAIN WHICH BRINGS ON SEVERE DEPRESSION AND END IT ALL. I DO NOT DO HOME INVASIONS OR ROB PHARMACIES OR ANY OTHER CRIME TO GET MEDICATIONS BUT THE ADDICTED DO. I ACTUALLY VIEW PEOPLE WHO BECOME ADDICTED AS WEAK MINDED BECAUSE ALOT OF ADDICTIONS ARE PSYCHOLOGIC NOT PHYSICAL. SO YOU SIT THERE AND KEEP SPEWING TO US WITH SEVERE CHRONIC PAIN HOW YOU WERE AN ADDICT AND YOU COULDNT CONTROL YOURSELF BUT YOU LACK OF SELF CONTROL ISNT MY PROBLEM YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE USING YOUR ADDICTION TO SAY THINGS YOU OBVIOUSLY ARENT EDUCATED ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND....

shuckaluca5
shuckaluca5

@djsthrift @katkalkofen perhaps you should further your education. to get a decent job where you could live like a human being. and would not be low income. I make 126000 a year and its a struggle but I want my kids to succeed. a lot insurance problem is due to lack of having skills to offer a employer.to make it worth them insuring you. an employer needs you to be able to do more than sweep a floor. you get what you put in life. what you can offer a employee. become a doctor,  lawyer, nurse and education that's the key. you can do it I mean apply yourself. I did and they said I was not college material. that pissed me off. so I worked even harder.now 126000 still aint a lot but I have benefits also that's what you need. you shouldn't need to be concerned about insurance with the right education.

LylaCavanaugh
LylaCavanaugh

@GNC1960 @shuckaluca5 @AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain Yes people with addictive personalities always try to put their crap on others and blame them!  They do not want to take responsibility.  They are out to "reform" everyone else to their taste when it is really none of their business what others choose to do. They are busybodies that just want to interfere.  They think everyone should be like them.  Screw that!

misskitty
misskitty

@GNC1960 @shuckaluca5 @AdultsShouldTreatOwnPain  Thank you for what you said to  this GNC1960 person. I too suffer w/MS and it freaking hurts!!!! It just hurts and there is no end to this pain  which either makes me scream or want to commit suicide and I'm terrified of dying! I always have been, but this pain is impossible to even try to function with or have a life except when I took either vicodin or percocet. When I was diagnosed with MS by my family doc, ( which, by the way, I could not afford a neurologist because I have no insurance and can't afford any while my very educated husband who went to 5 years in college made just a tad too much to qualify for medicaid but not enough to buy any insurance. Go figure. Anway, I strayed away from my point I was going to make. Thanks MS. When I diagnosed, my dr told me that I qualify for pain meds ( vicodin in particular) for the rest of my life because of this disease. He had already had me on them for 10 to 15 years and then just like that, he said we have an issue with the vicodin as he pushed this piece of paper that had dates when I bought these drugs at the drug store legally and he himself prescribed to me legally was talking to me like I was this criminal telling me that the DEA has been watching me. Well  yeah! I guess so because he legally wrote them out for me to fill. Funny how he didn't mention his part in it. So now what the hell am i and people like myself who suffer in such a barbaric way, supposed to do? You know if I didn't have the chronic pain I would not have to had asked him for refills which he always okayed, but the fact is I do have unbearable pain in my legs. The spasistity is horrible when the muscles cramp but won't release. If I could afford some of those expensive copaxacone and rebif drugs/injections then I would gladly try that, So now I'm being treated like the bad person even though I always followed his instructions to a T, and I'm broke and cannot do A THING to help myself here. It is beyond unfair to me and to others who legitecally  suffer very real pain on a daily basis. Either I can win the lotteraey or like the person mentioned above become one of those chemists who can make the drug, but I know that's never gonna happen. My only other option is possibly suicide but I would go as far as saying that if that indeed happened, then they have committed homicide by their actions.  I may not be making a lot of sense with my words here and people who suffer with MS can understand that is a symptom of this disease too. My question is why do the good guys have to suffer?

Jumpstart
Jumpstart

@shuckaluca5 @djsthrift @katkalkofen When a person over the age of 50 has sever legitimate pain you tell me how is one suppose to work.  These days no employer wants to hire anyone over the age of 50.  Look at Walmart their employees are on food stamps because they are forced to work part time. 

I have worked since I was 17 years old. At 48 started to have sever back pain which the condition I have I was born with,  So give me a break who can afford an education to become a Doctor who is in pain 24/7 and no one will loan you the money for an education.