vitamin D and pain medications...

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getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
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   Posted 4/1/2009 8:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey guys,
I thought that you would find this interesting...

When your pain is from head to toe, as it is with fibromyalgia (FM), it can be difficult for you and your doctor to know if some other hidden process is slowly making your pain worse. In recent years, the high incidence of vitamin deficiency in chronic pain patients has been documented in several studies. When vitamin D is deficient, intestinal absorption of dietary calcium is inadequate, and there is not enough of this mineral to form strong bones. This leads to a diffuse-type of pain in the bones and surrounding muscles ... a pain that responds poorly to treatment with anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen or Aleve) or opioids.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, looked at 267 chronic pain patients who participated in a three-week comprehensive pain management class to compare their opioid use with their vitamin D levels.* First, the participants were grouped into inadequate and adequate vitamin D levels. Second, they were further divided into opioid users and non-opioid users. For the 52 percent prescribed an opioid, their dose and duration of opioid consumption was recorded.

The chronic pain patients (many of them diagnosed with fibromyalgia and low back pain) who were deficient in vitamin D were also found to be taking twice the opioid dose than those without vitamin D deficiency. In addition, they tended to be on this class of pain relievers for a much longer period of time. And despite their higher dose of opioids, their scores on physical functioning and health perception were lower than for those patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels. The findings imply that the opioids are not working as effectively as they could because this higher-dosed group still exhibited more symptoms.

If you have been on a stable dose of opioid for a while, but lately you have noticed the need to increase your dose, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D levels (best measured as 25-hydroxy-vitamin D). If you are running low, your doctor will initially prescribe high-dose vitamin D until your blood levels return to normal. Then you should continue supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 international units (I.U.) per day. Hopefully it will ease your pain and prevent you from needing a higher and higher opioid dose.

This study showed that vitamin D deficiency represented an under-recognized source of pain-related signals entering the central nervous system. In these circumstances, it makes more sense to supplement with vitamin D than to continually increase opioid dose, particularly since these medications are usually ineffective for treating diffuse bone pain

  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 386
   Posted 4/1/2009 9:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I have to agree with this. I didn't notice right away when I took the high dosage of vit D prescribed by my doc after my blood test, but now that I have been taking (2 months) the extra vit D to keep the levels up and I have rarely needed to use my pain meds.

I still feel like crap, but I guess thats all part of the disease. My r. hip that has given me such grief has subsided tremendously, not positive what thats all about, but maybe its part due to the vit D.

Nice info, thanx. :-)
Dx Fibro 1/2008, gastritis
600mg Gabapentin, 50mg Pristiq, Ultracet and/or Fentanyl patch as needed, Vitamin D3, Menopausal Support Multi-vitamin

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Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 4/1/2009 9:30 AM (GMT -7)   
It is interesting that you posted that Karen cause I was going to post about vit D today too.
I think it was last week that Sherrine started a thread about vit D and it reminded me that I had not found out my results of the test I had done due to having to cancel app with rheumy so I called and found out my vit D was 12, suppose to be 30-80. So I started taking vit D, I am up to 1600 UI a day. I don't want to go any higher til I see rheumy on the 20th cause it said it should be balanced with calcium and magnesium. Well much to my surprise my energy level has already increased (not going full speed all day or anything like that) but I didn't think there was anything that would give ME more energy since it has been my biggest complaint for so long. I also feel more motivated than I was. I can't say it is doing anything for the pain but than I'm doing more, even been up and down on stool this week cleaning out cabinets, so it makes sense that I may have more pain for awhile.
The thing is I would have never asked a doc to check my D if it wasn't for this forum. I also had B12 checked and it was okay and I think I had magnesium checked but I will wait til I go for app to find that out.
I'm sure my doc will up it more when I go in. I have had a little nausea when taking the D.
So thank you Sherrine for bringing this to my attention again and thanks Karen for sharing that with us.
luv and hugs
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
Fibro,Sjogrens, Anxiety, Gastroparesis, IBS, Gastritis, Allergies, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Sodium and Osteoarthritis
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Co Q 10, Super B Complex, Extra B12, Multi vitamin

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41844
   Posted 4/1/2009 10:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I also notice a general feeling of well being when I take vit D. I really think that it helps me a lot. Along with the malic/mag combo.

Best wishes to all and Marlee I am glad that you are feeling better with the vit D.

Have a great day,

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17501
   Posted 4/1/2009 11:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Marlee, I'm glad you have a little more energy now.  I know I do.  I'm taking 3,500 IU a day and I might take a little more.  I'm still under 30 in the vitamin D testing.  I haven't been getting sleepy in the afternoon like I used to either!  The magnesium should help with the pain and with sleep.  Let us know what you find out.
Thanks, Karen, for this article.  I know many on this forum take the high powered stuff and vitamin D just might help keep them at lower levels.  We keep learning things every day!
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41844
   Posted 4/2/2009 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sherrine,

I am glad that you are taking vitamin D too. It has really helped me. I am bumping this up so others can see it. It got knocked to the second page. Busy forum...

Hugs to all, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

MT Lady
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 969
   Posted 4/2/2009 7:23 AM (GMT -7)   
My endocrinologist first tested by Vit D, she was the one that told me about how so many are deficient in it, even those without FM. My level was 12...she freaked! That was almost two years ago. She's been slowly upping it and I still can't get the level over 20. I take 150,000 units a week! I take the Rx, 50,000, 3 pills, on Sunday. I've asked her whether it would be better to stretch it out over the week, but she said it makes no difference. I am, however, going to be tested for malabsorption issues, because she thinks I may have a problem, since my level of D is still so low. So, I am going in for colonoscopy with endoscopy, with biopsies. From what she has said and what I've read, D is absorbed in the upper intestine. Gues we shall see. I have also read that it is very common in people with FM to have low vit D levels. Honestly, I have not noticed a change in my pain levels or fatigue with these high doses of D but then again, I may not be absorbing it properly.

Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, back problems, hypothyroidism.

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Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1014
   Posted 4/2/2009 7:40 AM (GMT -7)   

WOW, this is really fascinating!!  I'm copying & taking it to the doc.  I was planning on getting my Vit D checked out @ my next appt. anyway.  But since my doc. does acccupunture he might find it helpful when it comes to his other patients with chronic pain.

Good reminder!!! 

Ya know, you mods are really FANTASTIC!!!  I love the fact that you come up with these articles and have alternatives for us.  I think one of the reasons we get so many new members that come here and stay & love this forum is information  just like this.  I love ALL of you.  You've given me and the rest of the members reason for hope with this debilitating syndrome.  Thanks so much for ALL that you do!!!  Big HUGS to all of you!!

Thanks again!!!
Fibormyalgia, 4x Lyme Disease Survivor, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Dyslexia, 2 Lumbar Disk Herniations, Allergies, Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel, Psoriasis. 
Meds = Elavil, Tramadol, Xanax, Lipitor
"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - author unknown

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