Losing Insurance...scared to be off medication/withdrawl

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 10/1/2011 5:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been on pain medication for several years.... Fentaynyl Patches for 4 years and Opana now for almost a year (ny****a for BT pain) My husband lost his job/insurance and cobra won't kick in right away. I'm due for a doctor appointment and medication on Thursday and won't be able to see doctor or pay for medication OPANA. I know I'm going to go through withdrawl and I'm worried and scared and don't know what else to do. does anyone have any advice?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 10/1/2011 6:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Really sorry about your situation. Insurance crap is starting to annoy me in general; I'm sick of hearing of all these people having to struggle because they fall through the cracks for some reason.

I know it may not be helpful, but maybe it would be worth checking out the patient assistance program on the Opana website? You could also check out if you qualify for something through your state government. I think you might qualify since your husband lost his job, but it varies by states. (If you live in the US.)

Do you have an estimation of how long you will have to wait before getting some form of insurance or aid from the unemployment? Also, if you were able to see your doctor you could maybe explain your situation and work something out if you are expecting coverage again soon. (Or just the ability to pay.) Some places have sliding fees, allowances, or some wiggle room if you stress it enough. In this case--the fact that you'll go into withdrawl and that you need it for everyday life, I would think you could get some help in that department.

You could also maybe call the pharmacy and explain the situation and ask if they know of any discount programs for the OPANA. Sometimes the companies have weird things available if you actually prod. There's also things like prescription discounts, but if you have very little income that may still not be an option for you since you'd still have some type of fee.

But yeah, I'd check with the OPANA manufacturers and check out any assistance programs they have. If you're still having issues and you're a resident of a US state, then you should probably contact the local County Assistance Office, or check out the services online. There are various levels and types of state programs offered throughout the country, and you don't always have to be destitute or disabled to make use of them. The only problem with this avenue is that it typically takes time for your process to go through.

Hope you get your medication and find an answer!
--Patrick, aka Misterkatamari

I'm active on several boards. Main issues are: Chronic Pain due to Scoliosis & 2 Herniated Discs, possible DDD and/or arthritic facet joints. Also active in the Depression/Anxiety boards. Meds include: Prozac 40mg, Xanax .5 mg, Tramadol 50mg

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” - Joseph Campbell

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2861
   Posted 10/1/2011 6:44 PM (GMT -6)   
its not the same but oxycodone is very cheap...do not go thru that withdrawal, i almost died

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 10/1/2011 7:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry about your husband's job loss and you certainly do not need the added stress of worrying about going through withdrawals...and PAIN.  Patrick/ Misterkatamari had some good advice for you.  I would check into those things he mentioned.  If you aren't successful in getting your Opana, Duragesic etc, I think I would definitely call your Dr. and let him know what's going on.  Explain about your husband losing his job and no insurance.  I really think your dr. can (or should) help you out here.  If you can't afford your appointment, call and ask for the dr. to call you back personally.  He/she might can rx you a much cheaper opiate medication that is available in generic.  There are quite a few...oxycodone, like Bayoub2 suggested...even methadone, hydrocodone etc.  I know they are quite different, but at least they would keep you from going through withdrawals. 
Good luck to you and please let us know how you are doing.
DDD, 3 bulging lumbar discs, bone spurs, facet joint arthrosis/sclerosis, osteoarthritis, possible fibromyalgia (my dr's are telling me that I "most likely" have fibro but won't actually diagnose it...)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 663
   Posted 10/1/2011 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Hopeless Girl...so sorry to hear that you are losing your insurance. My sister went through the same thing not too long ago. You have been given some great advise above.

I wish I had more answers for you but I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and I sure hope something works out soon for you. At the very least a switch to a cheaper medication. Keep us posted. Take care.
Gentle Hugs,

Fibromyalgia, Chronic daily headaches, Migraines, Undetermined Auto-Immune Dysfunction (probable MCTD, sero-negative RA and ?), Trigger finger, Carpal Tunnel, Cubital Tunnel, GERD, High blood pressure, Depression and Anxiety

Oxycontin, Percocet, Lopressor, Lexapro, Celebrex, Omeprazole, Promethazine as needed for nausea, Ventolin inhaler and Vitamin D3

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 10/1/2011 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Most of the time Your insurance will continue for 30 more days or so since you pay for it at the start of coverage not the end. See if the dr can script you for more than 30 days (I got them to script for 90 days even though its not really allowed for my pain meds) or offer you samples to get buy for a short time. I talked to my docs (I have 5) and they will do what They can on the phone, allow a low-ish cash fee, or accept what was the regular copay for the whole fee for the 50 days that we will be without insurance.
My husband is transitioning to a new job, new although we will "beat" the 90 day wait for the new plan, it still leaves me without for 50 days.
I went to every dr and told the facts and asleep what can we do to bridge this time.
You can get an emergency appt with state insurance if you tell them, and maybe get seen that way. Many times they will backpay if needed.
Another option is to get a copy of your medical records to prove your dr approved use, then approach the hospital as a charity pt to avoid withdraw until you can find a way to cover being seen again.
I would try the 1st response's ideas before showing up as a nonpayment pt, but when facing certain withdrawal symptoms, I would choose to plead my case at the hospital.
"Life seems a little easier when you remember to breathe"

Dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis 2008
Bipolar 2 2006 (symptoms since 1993)
Fibromialgia 2010
Gluten senitivity 2010
Sleep apneia 2007

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1230
   Posted 10/2/2011 3:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Call your doctors' office and ask them what you can do to avoid withdrawal. They can either talk to the doctor and he may decide to have you just pick up prescriptions for this month only, or he can prescribe other medications that don't cost as much- generic versions of another medication . He also can call in something to help with the withdrawal if worse comes to worse. If you will be covered under COBRA, then he may opt to just have you pick up new prescriptions or change you over to another combination of medication that doesn't cost so much.
Call them now, don't wait until the last minute. Give them some time to figure out how to make this work , for all of you.
Motorcycle accident 1992, Back problems from 92 to 2005. August 2005- early 2006- Chiropractor care
March 2006- consult with surgeon -PLIF/TLIF L4-5, spondylolysthesis, canal and foraminal stenosis, multiple herniations
Post Op Cauda Equina Syndrome
Revision August 2007- salvage op
March 2011- 2nd onset of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Needs surgery to prevent paralysis

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 10/2/2011 4:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much for everyone's replies!

Heather Lynn
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 10/3/2011 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   
COBRA usually covers you right from when your last coverage stopped, but you don't get the paperwork right away, so your coverage usually goes inactive and then is retroactively reinstated. I would look into if this is the case for you. If it is, you may be able to fill your medications at your own cost (when this happened to me, I used a credit card) and then be reimbursed once you make the COBRA payment and your insurance is active again.

I'm sorry you are going through this, insurance issues are awful.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 10/3/2011 11:54 AM (GMT -6)   
If you know you cannot get Opana anymore... go to your Dr. and ask for Suboxone... so you don't have to go through withdrawl.... it's a bit of jumping through hoops... you get the script and have to go back to the Dr's office and he watches you take it....

It made me vomit... but, withdrawl symptoms with the Suboxone were not bad at all....

I was taken off Opana during my 4 day hospital stay after cervical spine surgery.... I just needed to come off Oxycodone..

In the mean time.... cut down on the Opana... take it every day or ask your Dr now for a lower dose... I went from 30mg to 20....

Good luck and so sorry about your husband losing his job along with insurance... our country has it's priorities all wrong... :(
C3 through C7 right open door laminoplasty, C2 through C10 hemilaminectomies, C2 through C7 right forminotomy, and left C5 through C7 foraminotomies, C3-C5 structural rib allograft and local vertebral autograft & C7 with the same allograft & local verterbral autograft & Vertex instrumentation C3-C5

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 10/3/2011 12:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I agree with whoever said dont go thru withdrawal, its so intense and your pain will be even worse, one solution is methadone, methadone is inexpensive and works very well.  I mean the pill form of methadone.  I was on methadone for many years and could have paid out of pocket for it.  A 30 day 10mg say 3x day would be maybe 50 dollars.
I know 50 dollars is not cheap, but when you compare it with what you are taking (the expense is what I am talking about) it might be helpful.
Methadone is also strong enough to take care of most your pain.
Good luck to you and hope you feel better soon.
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 10/3/2011 6:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Also, at one time I was on the fentanyl patches and I was caught without insurance for once month, CVS pharmacy ran some sort of a discount card through their system and it ended up being half of the cost if would have been without it. They can probably do this for other medications also.

Hope this helps!
DX pyoderma gangrenosum, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Bone Marrow Transplant, Chronic Pain syndrome, Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 3, Major Depressive Disorder, Radiculopathy, Bilateral Hip Pain, Insomnia,Left Groin Hernia, Bulging Disk in Lumbar Spine, Tear in Lumbar Spine, Tendonitis and Bursitis in both hips, hypoxia due to sleep apnea and new problems with my lungs. Have had 2 abnormal CT scans.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 10/5/2011 12:19 PM (GMT -6)   
CVS has been pretty good with helping me out for times when my insurance wasn't working due to a paper work mix up. I'd try to call you're doctor and work something out, withdraw from that amount of medication is going to be very very painful. At least try to get on something cheaper that will help(even if it isn't as strong) Tramado(instant release)l and Vicodin are both pretty cheap, they might be helpful to slow down withdraws.

Best of luck!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 10/6/2011 2:26 PM (GMT -6)   
HI,seems like you have alot of advice to help you through this ! I too am having problems with payment for meds ,alittle different then your case !I think its horrible sick in pain people have to fight to get meds they need ,seems to happen to almost everyone!I wish someone could fix this problem ,like an emergency help center? one thing you could try is asking the pharmacy if you can just pay for afew pills till the funding come thur ! Takecare

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 147
   Posted 10/6/2011 7:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Oxy/Hydrocodone is dirt cheap without insurance if generic. Literally its like cents per pill if not even less. I think I paid like $6.99 or something for 30/month at my pharmacy about 2 days ago since I just officially started narcotics...I'd imagine you could work out a temporary shift to some dirt cheap MS Contin w/ Oxycodone for breakthrough pain. No clue on what dosage your on but 30-60mg of MS Contin twice daily with 10-15mg of oxycodone immediate release would probably be a dirty cheap alternative...I have no clue what type of pain your going through but I can say Oxycodone killed pain for me like a champ and Morphine did an excellent job but I could never take it long term since this constipation from it is so bad not to mention its too sedating.
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