Afraid of meds

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 1/18/2011 7:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I took Darvocet before the recall. The medicine really worked for my multiple of injuries. The doctor switched to Vicodin 5/500. I took two and felt horrible, but that was right after Darvoset switch. Now, I am so afraid of feeling bad and of becoming addicted that I am only taking a half of a pill twic a day. Even that scares me and I often just stay in pain.
Is it possible to stay at a small dose without having to increase it. I would rather suffer then become addicted? My injuries are pernmanent.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 1/18/2011 8:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Do you have a history of addiction? As for staying at that low of a dose forever, I don't know about that as most people do develop a tolerance over time.

I feel bad that you are so scared of addiction. If you don't have a history of it, do you have a family history?

That really is a low dose. I wouldn't be worried, but I don't know your history.

I'm sure that others will be around to give you support. Thank you for posting!



Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 1/18/2011 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
No history of addiction except for daughter who doesn't live here. None for me at all. I am afraid because of long term injury. I think it is more because of stores of people addicted.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 1/18/2011 10:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Contrary to what you see on TV, both in entertainment and in the news, few people who truly need pain medications become addicted to them. The ones that do often already suffer from an addiction of some sort and end up subbing addiction to pain meds for their original one.

Now a person who uses pain medication properly may, over time, develop a tolerance to that medication at what ever dose they are taking. Tolerance is strictly a physical response.

If the vicodin is too strong for you then talk to your doctor about it. S/he may be fine with you taking 1/2 of a pill at a time or may switch you to another type of pain meds. There are many different medications available to help with pain. The real trick is finding the one that works best for you.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

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Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 1/18/2011 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   

I sympathize with your issues. I've been using opioids for about 6 years to deal with hip injuries from a car accident and scoliosis in my upper back.

I was very reluctant to use any opioids, even with the severe pain following the accident. I finally gave in about 4 months after the accident as I was basically stuck in bed. I started with darvocet, willing only to take the weakest opioid, but it didn't help. The doctor then moved me to tramadol, which did. I have since been on Ultram ER (tramadol ER) and use hydrocodone or oxycodone for break through pain.

When I first started hydrocodone -- about 5 years ago, I was prescribed 7.5mg pills and typically took 1 1/2. So that's 11.25mg. My PM now gives me 10mg pills and I take either 1 or 1 1/2 depending upon how much pain that I'm in. So, the effective dose for me has not changed much in this time. I would say that 11.25mg then has the same effect as 15mg now. So in 5 years, that an increase of 33%.

Tolerance is inevitable and I think I'm seeing it in particular with my daily ultram dose. I don't think it is nearly as effective. But breakthrough meds, the change is less drastic.

In terms of "addiction", I don't want to be dependent on any meds. However, without them, I'm in too much pain to work. As I see it, if you limit your use to when that use will productively improve your quality of life (i.e. allow you to work more, concentrate better, be there for your family, etc.), the reliance on the meds is better than losing out on life.

Like many others here, I am dependent upon pain meds to function well. But I don't look for the "high" for its own sake... even after 5 years. When the weather is good and I don't over do it, take breaks and lie down, etc., I can go a week or so without taking a breakthrough med. But when it is cold and damp, when I have to be at my desk for hours, etc., 10-15mg of hydrocodone will allow me to continue working through the day; and/or 5-7.5mg of oxycodone will allow me to make it through dinner and spend time with my wife, rather than having to leave mid-meal and lie down.

If you need to take opioids and are concerned about the pathologies of addiction, I recommend you keep meticulous track of how many you take per day/per week/per month. And, whenever you are considering taking one, ask yourself whether your pain level warrants it or if you could just take a hot shower or lie down for a spell, or something else that might help instead of the dose.

Overall, if you think you'll need meds permanently, then work out the balance between your immediate pain issues and your goal of slowing tolerance as much as possible.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs)
RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .5mg ativan as needed for sleep.

Post Edited (cogito) : 1/18/2011 1:03:16 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 1/18/2011 2:00 PM (GMT -6)   

I understand your concern over addiction, but as the others have said, few people who take pain medication because they need it really become addicted. There is a stigma out there that taking narcotics will make you addicted to them. That simply is not the case. It is even harder when some doctors don't truly know about long term pain med usage.

People who truly need the medication, as I do, and us on this site, it makes our lives manageable, and bearable. Taking the prescribed dosage at the prescribed times will not make you addicted to the medication. You will over time build up a tolerance, possibly, as the longer you take a pain med, your body builds up a tolerance to it and then needs more of the same med to ease the pain. This is not, however, an indication you are becoming addicted. Some doctors I have run in to at ER's or have heard about, who are uneducated on pain medication, seem to think that tolerance is the same as addiction, but that is not at all the case.

If you do not have a history of addiction and you take it as prescribed you should have no problem.

I understand how you feel though, it's scary being prescribed all these medications. I am currently taking 7 different medications, for pain, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure (a result of the depression med), and every time I am given a new one I do research online and from my pharmacist to check out any and all side affects and concerns.

It is good to be pro-active about what you put into your body, I commend you for that. You can also talk to your pharmacist about your concerns as well.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 1/19/2011 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I haven't posted on the site in a long time. To ease or answer your concern about addiction I had the same concern. If you do a search for "addiction definition" in Google you will find the difference between addicts and us, pain sufferers, is an addict has "cravings" for the substance. They are looking for a high, not pain relief. I know this is scary, as I am currently scared regarding my tollerance and stength I am now taking. I will post my own thread. Go easy with the narcotics, only using as needed for pain and as prescribed. Hope all goes well with you. Look for my post as you will learn more about my concerns. I hope there are some answers to them.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/19/2011 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
if taken as prescribe the medicines should help, talk this concerns over with your
doctor, as he/she should know, how you feel. let your doctor know of any concerns you
keep us posted as to how your doing..
healing hugz
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 1/20/2011 1:37 AM (GMT -6)   
I've taken the same small dose for 7 years & haven't become tolerant. I'm assuming you mean tolerant rather than addicted. Addicted means you will lie, cheat or steal to get meds. Dependent means you will feel like you have the flu for a week after you quit the meds & then you'll be fine. Tolerant means that the drugs work less & less for you over time so you need to increase the dosing to get the same benefits. People who develop a tolerance will still be honest with their doctor. If they can't get an increase they will either live in pain or get a second opinion from another doctor.

Some people become tolerant & others don't. I've found drug holidays help with tolerance, but no everyone can live with pain for a week out of the year. It's up to you, but the short answer to your question is "yes" you can be on a low dose & stay on a low dose for many years -- assuming you don't get any more injuries.
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