Playing Keep Away with Medication

I’m so fed up.

An article found in the American Council of Society and Health gives “A Brief History Of The Opioid Epidemic” it list what has transpired since the mid-90’s that gets us to the point we are now. Number 6 is the most important “Deaths from prescription opioids alone are rare”. Yet this is what has been attacked. People are killing themselves now because they can’t get their medication to help relieve their pain. I do acknowledge that opioids were over prescribed for a while, the article explained some of that reason. I remember getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, being told to fill them if I needed them. Often I didn’t, but I can see where that could fall into the wrong hands, and that was the biggest problem, they often ended up in the wrong hands. However, this does not mean you should stop prescribing, or drastically reducing, medication to those who DO NEED IT. People are now killing themselves because they have no hope of pain relief. That is a travesty. We as a nation should not be letting this happen. We as human-beings should not be letting this happen.

image by pixabay.com

Caz wrote on Invisibly Me this week that she was not able to get her regular B-12 shot because they are cracking down on it due to
 the ‘craze’ of ‘fashionable B12 injections’ celebrities touting. Really? B-12?!? What does this say about us, we keep people who need a vitamin away from them because of a fad? Jump over to her blog and read her story, it is eye opening.

If it’s not the government it’s the doctors keeping us from our medication.

In my case it’s my migraine doctor (or insurance company, I’m not sure which yet). I had to find a new migraine specialist when I moved to Tucson. I made the appointment before we even moved. I’ve seen him 3 times so far, each time I’ve had issues with him.

During my initial visit he told me he didn’t believe I had every type of headache I have been diagnosed with, until I said, “I don’t know, that’s what they told me at Duke”, then he changed his tune (he also seemed to check over everything with Stuart, to make sure he agreed with that I said, like I would make this up?) My second visit was Botox, which I didn’t really want, but he wouldn’t prescribe the new headache prevention medications until I tried it, at that visit he boasted he could do the injections in less than 2 minutes (very professional there huh?). The third visit was a Botox follow-up, we were interrupted so they could ask if he would see someone who arrived late, he said he would, then when the nurse left he proceeded to tell us how he’s in such demand he shouldn’t put up with things like that. I had to reschedule my last Botox appointment because of the infection I was fighting. My next appointment is on the 24th, I’m refusing the Botox.

I don’t know what happened, but I just got my Maxalt refill and it is for FOUR pills for a MONTH! I have a headache all the time, every day. Because I’m only supposed to take medication for 10 days a month to prevent medication overuse headache I tend to wait until my headaches get to an 8 or 9 before taking a Maxalt, if I don’t then I will run out long before the end of the month. This often means that I will have a severe migraine for days, or weeks, because I’ve waited too long to treat it.

The prescription is normally for 9 – 12 tablets depending on the doctor (my last doctor wrote it for 18, but she was in a headache clinic where they only treat headaches and could get insurance to cover it.) Maxalt is to be taken at the start of a migraine, if you do not have relief in 20 – 30 minutes take a 2nd one, not to exceed 2 in day. So if you end up taking 2 for a headache and you get 9, you will find relief for only 4 headaches and pray the next headache only needs one. When you have chronic migraine like I do, that means you have a migraine at least 15 days a month, did I mention I have a headache every day? So, even if I get relief from one pill each time that still leaves me with …heck so many migraines without medication I can’t even think, that really sucks.

So FOUR are only going to treat 2 – 4 headaches, see the problem?

Right now I honestly can’t say if this is an error, or if the insurance company did something screwy, or what. If the insurance is the problem then that’s a whole other issue, which is also a thorn in the patient’s side.

We should never be made to feel that our medication is being held hostage.

No matter the reason, the 24th will be the the last time I see this doctor.

I am seeing a new specialist in March who is with the Center of Neuroscience. It took me over 3 months to get in, but I’m okay with that if she is as good at my headache specialist at Duke and Carolina’s Headache Center. I’m really hoping to try one of the new migraine prevention medications.

**Everyone should read Kara’s comment to this post it is excellent.

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13 thoughts on “Playing Keep Away with Medication

  1. I was just going over the CDC guidelines for a post about the “opioid Crisis! Doctors have been made to follow their suggestions but in no way is it mandatory, they have no control over medical doctors. So what is up with that? why is the CDC suddenly running our healthcare prescriptions? Drugs are not killing the chronic pain patient, suicide is! Once you start snorting and/or smoking opioids game over! Those are addicts or irresponsible people looking for a fun time getting high. I’m with you, Wen. I’m fed up too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pharmacies/pharmacists have dispensing limits for controlled substances to go along with the CDC guidelines (are triptans considered a controlled substance? I didn’t think so…beardo just seems like a misogynistic dick.) and I think the problem with the ‘guidelines’ is that all MDs’ prescribing habits are reported to the DEA if they flag a positive for risky prescribing, aka going outside of “current prescribing recommendations”, and when they keep dropping the morphine unit equivalency, that’s not hard to do. That can result in lengthy investigations at the expense of patient care and even revocation of medical licensure in severe cases. Or prison time, if they’re really running a pill mill. In which case, good riddance.

    I can see it from the other side, even being someone who used to toss back pain medication for severe pain on a daily basis. It doesn’t stop me from being pissed off that access is difficult and very few of these doctors explain WHY dosages are being reduced and fail to properly taper before referring to pain management, fail to refer at all or acknowledge that many pain management practices are shady at best. I mean, how would they know that? They’re generally healthy.

    It’s no wonder heroin overdoses have gone up and they’re just now beginning to see a possible correlation. A spokeswoman for the CDC said she was “sad to hear about the suicides of pain patients who had lost access to life saving pain medication” but went on to say that they have no way of properly tracking these suicides and that many of them appear to be unreported (likely because of the stigma/shame that the family feels when a family member dies that way). The person may OD and have opioids in their system but it’s only reported as an overdose suicide, without proper context. With the addendum “severe intractable chronic pain, denied access to pain medication for x#/yrs”, they’d have a new category to get the full picture. It’s a work in progress. It’s unfortunate that people have to suffer to the point of offing themselves in the process.

    All of this hand holding pisses me off. If an addict, or anyone else wants help, they can seek it out. If they don’t, no amount of force is going to help them. It only makes them more resistant. The government shouldn’t treat grown-ups like a bunch of children, even if.. nevermind. 😏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I get it Wen! I just saw my pain docs yesterday and we were talking about chronic migraines. I’ve been through the gamut of SSRIs, botox injections, gabapentin, sent off to a shrink, until I feel like I’m (almost) finally being treated correctly, but I still have a lot of hoops to jump through.
    Anyway, my point is my pain doc yesterday told he to look up a new monthly injectable for migraine prevention. I dunno what it is yet, but it sounds like something that might be good for your situation. maybe your new doc might have better ideas?
    gentle hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry you have migraines on top of everything.
      What he’s talking about is Amovig.. it was the first of the group of CGRPR antagonists to be approved in 2018 There is another too, but not sure it’s covered by insurance yet.
      Yep, that’s what I want, but that dick wouldn’t prescribe it until I tried Botox..AGAIN. it takes 3-4 rounds to know if it works, that 9 months to a year.
      No thank you. This new doctor is supposed to be very good and compassionate. I’m looking forward to meeting her.
      I’ve been through it all too
      I look forward to firing this guy and telling him now he has one slot open for his very busy practice.
      jerk

      Like

  4. I so hope the new specialist is able to and will help you. We should not have to hope or wish for the right things to be done to help those who need it. None of us hoped or wished for chronic illnesses and disabilities and everything that goes with it. It is not a choice. The mentality needs to be changed.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Basically, a cold that we keep giving to each other, lots of sleeping (bonus), up and down weather pressure and warm and cold weather affecting ears (it is -31 windchill right now), in house repairs bothering allergies and ears, etc., etc, etc. 🤧😴😷😴

        In other words, we are having a grand time right now and it is only January.

        I do have some stuff saved for when I can think properly for a while and type something coherent. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My goodness, you guys sure have been hit!
          Take care of you and each other.
          You’ll get there, it will wait. I was yanking your chain.
          When you feel up to is, give me a shout, we’ll commiserate each other.
          xoxo love to you and G

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It is the same each year. The cold virus is usually strongest around and after the Christmas season. And then people either cough without covering their mouths or use their hands and touch EVERYTHING. Same stuff I complain about each year. And I threw out my chain to be yanked. 😁 But soon, posts will post.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I know, “every year” is exactly what I thought when I read it.
              You need to wear a mask, disposable gloves you change often, and Lysol everything!!
              Actually, I worked at this one place and we kept passing colds around so we started having lysol near all the doors, phones, bathroom, microwave…anything you touched that others did and we sprayed the items before touching. It was hillarious. Smelled like a hospital. But soon, no more colds, I wonder if it just ran its course. 😀
              It was a bit extreme.
              Can’t do that out in public though. And where you live would be hard to do much.
              Just a funny story. 😄
              Hope to chat soon. xo

              Like

  5. You have nailed this on the head, Wendy. Sorry I’m only just catching up a bit on the blogging front now (migraines two days in a row, that used up nearly all my ‘quota’ for the month!) It drives me insane reading story after story about the ‘opioid epidemic’ knowing full well there are many who needs the medications and are struggling to get it as a result. As I read your post I couldn’t help but think about the ‘obesity epidemic’ and how in the UK they’re doing things like a sugar tax and cutting the size of chocolate bars and all this, while apparently ignoring the thousands with eating disorders and anorexia. Not the same, but a similar pathway where there’s a panic built up about something and all the focus is skewed in that direction, with the result being action taken at the expense of others. And of course the B12 thing is another example (thank you for sharing my article on that).

    I’m so sorry about your migraine medication. Similarly, my sumatriptan for migraine has been limited so I can only have a couple a month, when I get several migraines a week more often than not. We’re both then expected to put up with migraines because they simply won’t allow us to have what’s actually needed. Who makes these ridiculous decisions. Obviously not someone who has these illnesses (or someone who can’t afford private treatment and medications elsewhere). I really do hope your prescription was an error, but if not… Well, the whole thing is absolutely unacceptable.

    I hope more people can shout about all of these things because it’s ridiculous and dangerous the way governments and budget cuts and media everything else are having such an infuriatingly awful effect on those who NEED these medications. Thank you for writing this and helping to raise awareness about it, it’s just heartbreaking that so many people will nod along to this post and have experienced the same problems.

    Caz xxxx

    Like

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