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Cancer pain medications

123itwillnotbeatme
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2008

I'm just wondering about how my medications for pain compare to others and if there is a norm what that might be.
I am a 45 year old man with stage IV lung cancer. I had a left neck dissection in June of 2008 and experienced major nerve damage in that area. I am taking 160 mg of oxycotin twice daily but lately it isn't working as well as it was.
Is this a high dose?
What would be considered a high dose?
My GP takes care of my pain management. I am having a CT scan on Dec. 8th that will tell me if my cancer has spread to other organs, grown on my lung etc.
I am in discomfort but worry that the doctor will switch me if I tell him it's not working as well as it was. I have tried many different pain meds and this one has worked the best up until now and has allowed me to be fairly active in my life.
Any suggestions for me.
Is it normal to increase pain medication dosages over time and when does it become an issue with the doctor.
I was given six to twelve months to live 5 months ago. Although I feel I am deteriorating I am still fairly active. My worry today is about the meds.
I'm listening....

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I am truly sorry to hear of your diagnosis, but must say that I admire your stoicism and courage!

Re meds, here is what I know and what I think: pain management is CRITICAL to you. I am convinced beyond personal doubt that proper pain mgmt helps us to survive longer. The only times I have ever wanted to leave this world were when the pain seemed too great to bear.

You are at a point, frankly, where addiction should not even be considered a problem. In fact, most medical professionals would argue that addiction is the least of their worries when the prescribe pain medications. I will not get into the studies, but suffice it that people in need of pain reduction are NOT likely to become addicts. In your particular case, it should be even less an issue.

As for oxycontin, I went through a lot of pain meds while in the hospital in Feb of this year, following a lobectomy and then an acute staph infection. I discovered over time that oxy wasn't worth a dang for me. It may have been the dosage, as you suggest. I don't know.

I kept switching from drug to drug and never really was satisfied.

Still, I suggest you think about doing the same. Again, pain mgmt is critical. Your doctor, I am sure, will be happy to prescribe an alternative if oxy isn't working, or to increase the dosage (within limits that allow you to function, I would hope).

That last parenthetical is crucial too: you do not want to get so inundated with drugs that you are no longer able to enjoy life. This is your dilemma, this is your doc's dilemma: a drug, a dose, that alleviates the pain while not adversely affecting quality of life.

Best wishes.

Take care,

Joe

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

There are so many different pain meds out there that the average GP just isn't able to keep up with all of them. There are also some non-medical things that work for some people. I'm glad your GP at least recognizes that it is good to control pain and has given you something to help out, even if it isn't quite doing the job right now. There are such things as pain management specialists that know as much about pain management as your oncologist knows about cancer. You might talk to your GP about arranging a visit to one if there is a good one in your area. The hospital or the internet might give you some leads on where to find these specialists.

C. Abbott

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