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The correct way to take pain meds??

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

My dad was diagnosed in November'09 w/stage IV nsclc. He has been doing chemo every three weeks w/blood work in the off weeks. He gets carboplatin & alimta. He is doing fairly well after 2 rounds. He has just had a little queasiness three days after each trtmt. He is always in pain. The doctor said it is referred pain & perhaps the tumor in his left lung is pressing on some nerves. The largest tumor is 2cm in this lung. The doctor gave him Oxycontin & Oxycodone. My understanding is that the Oxycontin, is extended release(?) and should be taken on a regular basis whereas the oxycodone is to be taken in between the doses of the oxycontin, "to take the edge off". I believe that he is supposed to try to keep the pain at a 5 out of 10 & he shouldn't wait until he reaches 8-10 on the pain scale before taking the meds.. I'm sure he is not taking the meds correctly, as he seems to be always in pain on the left side of his chest. Any suggestions about these meds should be taken??????

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

I recieve 200mg of Morphine for extend release and 100mg liquid for immediate release. they want me to keep it where I am most comfortable 4-5 is fine(doable) so I take one long lasting morphine 200mg three time a day and try to keep my use of the immediate down to no more than 4 times a day usuall about the mid point between extend doses. But they said they may have to move on to something stronger if I use the immediate 5 times a day or more for any point of time. Since the cancer has spread to my bones and brain, they say as it progresses the meds will be less effective. I am on Hospice so the risk of me becoming addicted is not even a factor. What they also worry about is the bodys ability to become so tolerant of the drug that it will become useless as a pain reliefer.
Waiting for the Pain to increase is not the proper way to take drugs, but it sometimes is the only way to make sure we dont over medicate. Waiting to long defeats the purpose of taking it, what they want us to do or at least me, they want me to take the immediate release at the first signs of a pain increase, therefore it is more effective. I have concerns if becoming over medicated and not being able to function well, thus not enjoying life to the fullest. They assure me that if taken correctly I will need less and be able to function more normally. As I have explained to them when I was young I wanted to be wasted, but now I want the pain reduced and still be able to enjoy the day, and not feel I cant think straigth.
Controlling Pain is very much attainable most of the time if we simple follow what is being explain to us. We have a habit of worrying that we will become addicted or impaired so we try and let it go til it is harder for the medication to do its job.
Ask your dad if he is worried about impairment or addiction, and have his Doctor or nurse explain what pain control is about and the effects of waiting to take it till it is nearly unbearable. There are lots of Pain Controll sites that can explain what the benefits are if we follow a certain course of treatment and what happens when we dont.
He may, as I, never be able to completely control the pain, but to simple keep it at a tolerable level. I have also started suffering from nueropathy in both feet and legs, they are trying to control the pain with a nerve drug Neruonin. But as it progresses the pain is very hard to control, because it effects the nerves directly. The pain he feel maybe nerve pain as you said, I understand first hand and know to that it is very hard to control that type of pain.
But you first have to establish what they are trying to do (reduce , or get rid of all together the pain) and how they are going to do it (meds and how they are to be taken). Then follow through with the treatment if that is what he feels is the best course, but he needs to follow through as they have laid it out, otherwise he may never acheive what he is after, pain reduction.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to Your Dad, You,Your Family and Everyone..,
Dan ( cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

always ask why and ask of alternative medication that might work if this one dosent....

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

legendsdaughter, I don't think most of us are prepared to make a definitive judgment about dosages, as incorrect info could have some pretty dire consequences for your dad :) I think you should speak to his doctor, or a pharmacist, probably any pharmacist could give you an answer more reliably than we (at least, I) can. I hope you are able to find out and help your dad - pain is a terribly insidious part of this disease.

Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

My mum's story is almost the same. She is now on 40mg twice a day of oxycontin, and has oxycodone 5mg for as-required relief as well as liquid morphine if necessary. There are quite a lot of drugs specific for nerve pain that they can try - my mother had nerve pain in her side chest too. Ask your doc for a referral to a pain specialist if he/she can't help with the nerve pain. He definitely shouldn't have pain "most" of the time. Mum was quite sore all the time and couldn't lay on her one side, but now she's MUCH MUCH better and no pain most of the time.

Do ask if regular Tylenol is suggested too - it helps the stronger drugs work better, although it sounds crazy to take tylenol for cancer pain.

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