What works for treating the nausea caused by pain meds?

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Date Joined May 2012
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   Posted 5/3/2012 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, I'm a posting machine today!

But now that I'm here I might as well ask for help right?

I'm currently on percocet 10-325 and Fentanyl Patches (the 75 dosage)

no matter what pain medication I've been on I've ALWAYS had nausea and vomiting. But now that I require higher dosages and stronger meds, its worse.

I've got a script for promethazine (an antinausea) and I've tried others. But it only lessens the nausea, and a lot of the time, I still end up getting sick, without it I would get sick every day, but getting sick every other day is still not ideal, because usually its on-going and not just throw up once and I feel better.

Not taking the pain meds is not an option for me at this point because I've got so much pain from many sources.

I've developed acid reflux from getting sick so much, and I really want to get that under control, not to mention I HATE throwing up, it's awful in itself, and it makes eating ANYTHING miserable because you end up contemplating "do I want to eat this because I'll probably get sick"

Other than medications, have you guys found anything that helps?

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   Posted 5/3/2012 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lexi,

I have to use medications - but my nausea relates mostly to gastroparesis - delayed stomach emptying - rather than a direct effect of the opioids. I do try to limit use if I can - (cost if nothing else...works out at $8/wafer) but I use ondansetron when I really need, which in combo with lorazepam, apparently something they use in chemo patients, does help.

The reflux - I can well sympathise. I'm on pantoprazole, which reduces acid. I still 'reflux' but it doesn't burn like it used to.

Ginger can be good for helping nausea - ginger tea or dry ginger ale - you can also buy ginger capsules. I find that peppermint tea helps a little too - if I can keep it down. I actually have a tea blend here - I think it is peppermint, liquorice, and a few other herbs - called 'tummy tea' - that my Mum bought from a big tea shop for me.

I hope you find something. It's a horrid thing to deal with.

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   Posted 5/3/2012 6:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been on the ondansetron, but it caused muscle spasms/stiffness. And I'm trying to find relief from those things, so it wasn't worth it when there's promethazine that doesn't do that.

I'll have to try the ginger, and the tummy tea. Anything that helps even a little is a help. At this point I'm just trying not to be sick.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
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   Posted 5/3/2012 10:39 PM (GMT -6)   
You can try Zophran, or phenegran but phenegran will make you sleepy. I hope you feel better!

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   Posted 5/3/2012 10:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm on phenegran, except I'm on the generic form, promethazine. But by itself more often than not it doesn't do the job. Thanks for the suggestion!

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   Posted 5/4/2012 9:31 AM (GMT -6)   
I have a script for Zofran. Fortunately, I need it sparingly, but when I do take it, it helps and I experience no side effects.

It doesn't affect dizziness, or other related symptoms, but specifically nausea -- felling like you are going to vomit.
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, pectus excavatum, supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg & 2-3x 10mg Hydrocodone daily. Oxycodone 10mg for BT. .25-.5mg xanax as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).

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   Posted 5/4/2012 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
The ginger ale is a good suggestion, especially if you're dehydrated and having trouble eating from vomiting. I've used it for flu and stomach upsets as a kid myself and raising my kids. The only one that works (in my experience) though, is Vernor's regular, not diet! It's got real ginger.

I tried ginger capsules, but they didn't work and I didn't tolerate them. Some people do get relief from them.

For serious nausea I take Zofran, already also suggested. If you continue to have a vomiting problem I hope you will talk to the doctor who prescribed the medicine in the first place.

Veteran Member

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   Posted 5/4/2012 7:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Zofran gives me muscle spasms and stiffness...which is partially why I need the pain meds in the first place, so I don't think adding to the problem is a good idea.

My Dr. knows how bad my nausea is, but there's not much we can do as I need to be on the pain meds in order to move, dress, shower, etc. With the muscle imbalance in my back, and the spasms everywhere and my hips dislocating it's just ridiculously painful if I don't take anything.

Betsey Ross
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   Posted 5/4/2012 9:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Eat crackers before you take meds. Never take meds on an empty stomach. Gingerale always helped me with a few crackers.

Let us know how you are doing.

Age to a woman is like krypronite to Superman.

White Beard
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   Posted 5/6/2012 12:09 AM (GMT -6)   
LexiRae I do hope you have been working with your Doctor on this problem, vomiting allot is not good for your throat or any of the tissues that connect the mouth with the stomach, and it can cause some severe problems. There are allot of new drugs on the market that they use on Chemo patients that help with nausea and vomiting, cancer patient have really bad problems with it because, most of them are on some pretty strong pain meds, and then add to it the chemo therapy! Anyway this has been along time ago, but  I know for some of the really difficult  cases, where nothing seemed to work to stop the nausea and vomiting, allot of the Onco Doctors would prescribe Dronabinol, and it had a pretty good success rate. It is by prescription only but you might want to look it up and then talk to your doctor about it.
Some people just have a difficult time with taking pain meds, my daughter is one of them,  but allot of the times it is just dose related and you need to be started off on a very low dose and then gradually increase the amount till you get to the effective dose. It doesn't sound like that would work your case but if they haven't tried it yet, it might be worth doing it. Just a thought???
I do hope you can get this resolved soon, keep on your Doctors to find a solution, as it is not just important to your physical health, but it must also be very difficult to cope with!
Good luck to  you!
White Beard 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
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   Posted 5/6/2012 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Lexi...I was on Percocet for many years and started having a lot of nausea....both my Dr. and I decided to try and move me to OxyIR which is just Oxycodone without the acetaminophen (Tylenol)....

It turned out within a week I was feeling immensely better...and within a month I had NO MORE nausea!!!!

Now...this may not be your issue...but my Dr. said it's not uncommon for people to just become less tolerant to acetaminophen..And I was escstatic to have such an easy solution with taking away a medicine instead of adding one for nausea!

So now...if I ever have a cold/fever or light muscle aches from something different than my spine pain. I can add a Tylenol or Advil.

I really like having the choice and to be without the daily nausea was incredible:)

So...just something to discuss with your Dr.

As well as I agree with others that the 75mch Fentanyl could also be too much medication for you. Did you move up slowly on this starting with the 12mcg, to 25, 50, then to 75?

You may just fair better with another long acting medication like Oxycontin, MSContin, Nucynta, Opana, etc...

Again...just suggestions as we obviously aren't Drs.....I just wanted to come on and say that I had the same issues and was so happy with the easy fix.

A quick caution on using Ginger ale....you should mix it with water as sugar can make nausea even worse...So something like ginger tea with a dash of honey is even better...

I wish you luck!
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
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(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2012
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   Posted 5/6/2012 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I've already been on MS Contin, and every single pain medication I've EVER taken, no matter how low a dose or high a dose has made me feel nauseous.

So it's not that the Fentanyl is too high a dose...it's just that everything makes me feel sick. The purpose of the patch was to hopefully cause me LESS sickness and more pain relief, because it's not something I consumed that my body is trying to get rid of.

In terms of how I have been in the past, there is less vomiting (it used to be every day I was getting sick multiple times) now it's 3 or so times a week, BUT thats still not where I want to be.

So that's why I asked about alternative things for nausea other than meds, because the meds part I have covered with the promethazine (phenegren).

I cannot take the other antinausea meds used for cancer patients...either because they give me side effects such as muscle spasms (which is part of why I'm taking the pain meds) OR my insurance will not cover them and out of pocket I couldnt even afford a couple days worth, being on disability.

I've been experimenting with different pain meds to see what makes me less sick and I'll continue to do that but I'm just looking for some other possible helps.

Also, I'm on 10-325 when it comes to the percocet, so I'm on a low amount of the acetaminophen. But On my next visit I was planning on asking about being put on just straight oxycodone and see if that makes a difference.

Part of the problem is that I was born prematurely so I'm just sensitive to a lot of things.

spinal soldier
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Date Joined Dec 2009
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   Posted 5/7/2012 10:24 PM (GMT -6)   
sometimes this is a tough thind to control but don't worry you have a few great options left. Fentanyl is advertised to cause less of a histaminergic response hence less nausea. that does not mean it's true. oxycodone can be tough with nausea. first thing that i think would be almost 100% is transdermal scopolamine a anticholinergic , it come in a generic patch now i think. it is small, round, and goes on right behind the ear. the ginger is great as well as lavender tea. Whitebeard mentioned the most sophisticated thing; Dronabinol which is a cannabinod base med and a new one called Cesamet, which i think generic is nabilone, they help. your right about adding a benzo to the promethazine. an alternative to promethazine is hydroxyzine-brand: Vistaril and meclizine-Brand: Antivert. try to get the transdermal scopalamine. Supplements L-Theanine, Lemon Balm herb, ect. best of luck with that, it is a minor problem. P.S. do you take your phenergen with each pain pill?

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/16/2013 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Over the counter Dramamine (used for motion sickness) works well for me unless I have to take a stronger dose due to increased pain from being active. I have spinal Arachnoiditis and DDD in the lumbar and cervical spine and a few other things.
Hope this helps

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5012
   Posted 6/16/2013 2:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Tom. Welcome to the forum.

This thread is a really old one. We'd love to have you start your own, and you'll get more responses. Just click on the "post new topic" button.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
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   Posted 6/16/2013 11:26 PM (GMT -6)   
While I was in the hospital a couple years ago for an esophagus tear they stopped very quick onset nausea with one of the alcohol swabs under my nose. That worked for severe quick nausea, but I don't believe this is what you are having.

Take care,
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#3 on 8/24/11
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