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    Chronic Pain Sufferers Seek OxyContin

    By CHARLEY GILLESPIE
    .c The Associated Press


    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Sally Royster cried when her orthopedic surgeon said he would no longer prescribe OxyContin for the chronic back pain that leaves her unable to walk. She was told prescriptions for the drug were under too much scrutiny.

    Sheila Lambert sent the medical history of her degenerative spinal disease to 25 doctors and phoned 100 others but all said they weren't taking new patients or didn't take pain patients.

    ``If they hear you have been on OxyContin they treat you like an addict,'' said Lambert of Jonesville, Va.

    Across the country, chronic pain sufferers like Royster, 50, and Lambert, 41, are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the powerful prescription painkiller, dubbed ``Hillbilly Heroin'' because of its burgeoning abuse as a narcotic in Appalachia.

    They say that abuse - and the response to it by law makers and law enforcers - has made doctors increasingly unwilling to provide the drug, even to the cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers who need it.

    Royster searched seven months before she found a specialist in late September near her Cincinnati-area home that would prescribe OxyContin. Until then, her primary care physician agreed to prescribe the drug, but only on an interim basis, she said.

    While most strong pain medicines last only about four hours, OxyContin gives a steady 12-hour release and has fewer side effects. But to addicts who chew the pill or crush it and snort or inject the powder, OxyContin produces a quick, heroin-like high that can kill.

    Since 1998, OxyContin and oxycodone, the narcotic's active ingredient, have been linked to more than 100 deaths nationwide.

    The drug's maker, Purdue Pharma, pulled its strongest dosage off the market in May and issued tamperproof prescription pads. But pharmacies are still being robbed for OxyContin and the drug is still being abused. One pharmacy in St. Albans, Vt., stopped stocking the painkiller after thieves broke in four times this summer looking for OxyContin.

    ``The problem is not with the drug ... it is with our society,'' said Dr. Gladstone McDowell, director of the Grant Pain Management Center in Columbus.

    He agrees that there are people who try to con OxyContin, but he said doctors who properly document their work shouldn't have to worry. Still, he sees fewer doctors willing to write OxyContin prescriptions and says those who do often have waiting lists.

    Several states have tightened control over OxyContin. At least nine have limited Medicaid patients' access to the drug.

    ``I have seen abuse reach epidemic proportions in other states and I don't want that to happen in Vermont,'' said Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a physician.

    Dean suggested that doctors find substitutes for OxyContin and that pharmacies remove it from their shelves. He said his state won't pay for the drug unless patients have terminal cancer or sickle cell anemia.

    South Carolina has the same restrictions, but it will pay for the drug for AIDS patients. Alabama, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and West Virginia all restrict the amount of OxyContin a patient on Medicaid can receive in a month without approval.

    Louisiana and Virginia adopted resolutions to study the use and abuse of OxyContin, and Massachusetts and Kentucky have legislation pending that would restrict distribution of the drug, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Police and prosecutors across the country have also been cracking down on OxyContin abuse: A Virginia man was convicted of murder last month for selling OxyContin to a friend who later died; a Florida doctor was charged in July with murder and drug trafficking after four of his patients died from overdoses.

    In Virginia, police have provided fingerprint kits to pharmacies for customers wanting OxyContin.

    ``They're treating everyone who is sick enough to be prescribed OxyContin as if they were a criminal suspect,'' said Kent Willis, a spokesman for the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Purdue Pharma spokesman James Heins said the states' restrictions on OxyContin and their targeting of Medicaid recipients are unfair. The company is working on a new version of OxyContin that would be harder to abuse but it will take time to produce.

    ``Anything that restricts a patient's access to what their physician feels is the appropriate amount or level of treatment has the potential to interfere with medical care,'' Heins said.

    But in areas where abuse is prevalent, some doctors say they worry that even patients who need the drug might be selling the pills for money.

    ``We had a 92-year-old lady that legitimately needed these drugs but there was none in her system because she was selling them,'' said Dr. Fred Evans, of Lawrenceville, N.J., a founding board member of the American Pain Society.

    That concern can be frustrating for patients like Bob Goodburn, of Columbus, who need the medication to fight pain.

    Goodburn, 44, said he changed pharmacies after being reprimanded by a pharmacist for using OxyContin to treat pain caused by a spinal disease.

    ``The pharmacist who doesn't know anything about me told me he, too, has back pain and that I should learn to live with it,'' Goodburn said. ``If a doctor who knows your medical history is prescribing you the medicine ... you don't need the pharmacist putting in his two cents.''

    On the Net:

    http://www.OxyContin.com

    http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/oxycontin

    AP-NY-10-01-01 0244EDT

    #2
    Oxy.

    My doctor still perscribes it but he is becoming increasing skittish about it.

    The press could help by doing a positive story once in a while. However that does not sell as well as the bad news. I'm in an ongoing battle with local programmers [img]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Still it is society, can't change the truth. Hopefully a new delivery method is coming and addicts will not be able to abuse it.

    Anyone remember Rohrer 714 Qualudes in the 70s ?

    Thank you for your interesting post.

    Comment


      #3
      oxycontin

      hi all i am brandx i have been tating oxycontin for 5 years now bit it seems to be losing its potenty to the point where i really need to take more oxycontin i take 2 40 mill slow release tablets per day and they do not take the edge off the pain in my lower back like they use to i have spoken to my doctor about this problem and asked he if i can take three tablets per day but he will not let me do it can anyone give me any addvice as what to do about my problem because i have ran out of ideas i suffer chronic pain i have pain 24/7 and some days i can not even get out of bed because the pain is so bad living with chronic pain is horrible i dont get much sleep at night i can only walk for short lenth of time i can not do much around the house i just not know what to do to get releafe from my pain this is an s o s message to any body who has got any idears yours brand x

      Comment


        #4
        if oxycontin is taken as told by your doctor and you do not chew of cruch or smoke or inject oxycontin it will help with your daly pain very effetily i cant understand as to why the u. s. a goverment is so anti towards oxycontin because there are a lot of people in the u s a that oxycontin would give them a better quoity of life and they do not seem to trust they doctors to give oxycotin to they paients it is so sad

        Comment


          #5
          I have this problem all the time. I have been taking oxy for seven years and never seem to have a problem getting it from a SCI doctor.
          THe problem is when i go to my primary care doc for a refill.

          He seems to never want to listen to me and is very willing to give me vicodin which for me does nothing for pain management.

          I only need to take a pill about once every week or two. In fact the last 40 count refill i got lasted over a year. But telling my primary care doc this does not help. So, i end up waitng until i go down to the VA hospital SCI center for my annual check to get some.

          It really pisses me off that this happens. I want to thump the guy in the head. j/k

          I dont know what to do about it. I just suck it up and deal with the pain until i can get a refill every year.
          Paralyzed Veterans of America - Life member

          DSUSA - Volunteer / Participant

          Comment


            #6
            I see a pain management doctor. He reviews monthly, sees me quarterly and writes the script with no problem. The only folks who have ever given me grief have been family.
            Every day I wake up is a good one

            Comment


              #7
              I am a two time transplant patient with ddis's pertruding at several places. Spinal stenosis. Athritis in spine. I have had seven hernia reair's two strangulatled. and a stomach reconstuction. from 1992 till present. My Second liver is not doing well now. I am on Oxycontin 40 mg 3x @day Naurontin. I would like to know this one Dr. wants me to take Naurontin , onw Lycria. I am in a quandry which one to take that helps. Any suggestions ?

              Comment


                #8
                pain mgmt help.

                I am a two time transplant patient with ddis's pertruding at several places. Spinal stenosis. Athritis in spine. I have had seven hernia reair's two strangulatled. and a stomach reconstuction. from 1992 till present. My Second liver is not doing well now. I am on Oxycontin 40 mg 3x @day Naurontin. I would like to know this one Dr. wants me to take Naurontin , onw Lycria. I am in a quandry which one to

                Comment


                  #9
                  lyrica is the newer version of neurotin it is made by the same company, hard to dsay which on eis better on the pain though, i had good luck with neurotin a couple years back,
                  lyrica seems to be more subtle, so i am not sure if it is even working
                  cauda equina

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by cheesecake View Post
                    I see a pain management doctor. He reviews monthly, sees me quarterly and writes the script with no problem. The only folks who have ever given me grief have been family.
                    i live n va beach and have buldging discs i would love to know of a doctor who is not scared to prescribe pain meds

                    Comment


                      #11
                      My doc also said that if she prescribed it it was likely to be a hassle, both because not all pharms stock it these days thanks to all the hold-ups, and also that I would be looked at like an addict. She gave me morphine sulfate and oxycodone, neither of which I have ever had any problems getting.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I took it for two months and it worked just fine after a few days of getting use to it. I had to stop taking it because of the constipation. Good grief, I had to give myself an enema and had to do some serious digging and it caused my hemorrhoids to bleed so bad. Now no bleeding. I didn't know what else to do. Then I had loritabs for break through pain, know wonder.
                        Mary
                        I want to Rock you Gypsy soul and together we will flow into the Mystic.
                        Van Morrison

                        Comment

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