Is your doctor refusing to prescribe you pain medication? Keep reading to find out what you can do if your doctor is refusing to prescribe you pain medications and how the Coleman Institute can help you on the road to recovery.

Doctors Prescribing Pain Medications

Although pain medication is still appropriately prescribed for post-surgical procedures, prescribing habits have changed dramatically. Doctors and other providers have realized, too little too late in many cases, that people do not need to be on extended narcotic pain medication for months after surgery.

More like this: Avoiding Dependency and Addiction if Opiate Painkillers are Prescribed

Ester’s Story

Esther is a mother of 3 children who has mostly been homeschooling since Covid roared into the scene. At first, homeschooling was reactionary and battle-driven. Now she and her children have settled into a quiet—at least as quiet as homeschooling children ages 3, 6, and 12 can be—schedule.

Over the years, Esther suffered from a multitude of gastro-intestinal and gynecologic issues. As a result, she had multiple surgeries to fix things and correct the original surgeries that didn’t quite work.

Unfortunately, Esther was a victim of being over-prescribed pain medication and came to the point where she didn’t know where the pain stopped, and the physical dependence began. She knew that she got sick when she didn’t have 30mg oxycodone, 3-4 at a time, at least three times a day.

More like this: Relapse After Surgery: When It Collides w/ Substance Use Disorder

Ester Was Prescribed Roxicodone

At first, Esther was prescribed her 30mg Roxicodone, 90 pills a month, by her primary care provider. She never abused her medication or took it incorrectly. Her urine never showed illegal substances, and even when cannabis use was becoming much more accepted and commonplace, she never touched it.

She and her husband were raising three children; drugs like cocaine or other party drugs were just not a part of their lifestyle.

Esther said sometimes she thought it was odd that her provider didn’t bring up the subject of weaning her down off her medication; it was a conversation she dreaded but also figured at some point would have to be addressed. But instead, what happened turned out to be a nightmare that Esther never saw coming.

More like this: Help Me, Please! My Doctor Won’t Stop Prescribing Pain Medication

Ester’s Doctor Stopped Practicing

About two weeks before her next refill was due, Esther got a recorded call from her doctor’s office stating he was no longer practicing, and “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. The receptionist will mail a list of providers in the area to you.”

Only once before had Esther experienced being without her pain medication in the six years she’d been taking it. The family had booked a beach house on the Jersey shore. Three hours into their trip, about an hour past the time Esther would typically take her 2nd dose of the day, she realized she’d left it behind. When they turned around and got back home to retrieve it, she was having stomach cramps, sweats, and body aches. She was astonished at the ferocity of her body’s response to having no medication and vowed never to let it happen again.

More like this: I’m Addicted But I’m Not An Addict

Searching for a Doctor for Pain Medication

Frantically, Esther drove to her doctor’s office. She could get one more month’s worth of medication prescribed, and she immediately began to search for another provider.

She had no idea how difficult it would be to find someone willing to prescribe her pain medication.

The first physician that she went to immediately cut her down to a level that kept Esther constantly in a state of withdrawal.

She found a pain management doctor, but the doctor’s license was revoked for mismanagement before she had the first appointment.

In what seemed to be a miracle at the time, Esther’s husband knew a co-worker in his HVAC company who said he could help them out; he told his wife was prescribed medication she didn’t need anymore. He knew so many people struggling to find a medical practitioner like Esther was, and he was happy to help.


UNDERSTANDING ACCELERATED OPIOID DETOX


Her Pain Medication Became Too Expensive

Both Esther and her husband Tom knew this wasn’t right. But her fear of withdrawal and frustration with the medical system that was failing to help her gave them all the justification they needed. Of course, their insurance was not covering the pills, so the arrangement became quite expensive.

Ester Wanted to Stop Taking Oxycodone

Esther desperately wanted to stop taking the oxycodone. She had researched methods to stop and had tried herbs from a vape store that promised to help with her withdrawal. Instead, Ester bought Suboxone® from another source and put herself into precipitated withdrawal. She tried to get admitted through the ER but was told that because of Covid, the hospital could no longer treat patients in person. So instead, the ER wrote her a prescription for clonidine and some medication for nausea.

More like this: The Truth About Suboxone®

Ester Finding the Coleman Institute

During her research, Esther found the Coleman Institute. It honestly sounded too good to be accurate, but it sounded exactly like what she was looking for. But could those testimonials be genuine?

It checked off everything on her wishlist:

  • Outpatient detox
  • Cheaper and safer than a hospital stay
  • Immediate availability
  • Her husband could be with her the whole time
  • Able to spend nights at home with her family
  • She was guaranteed not to be put on another drug which caused physical dependence when she was finished
  • She would miraculously be done with her detox in less than a week
  • She would receive case management and medication for a full six months
  • Her insurance might even cover the cost

More like this: Accelerated Opiate Detox (AOD) FAQs

Accelerated Opioid Detox

Esther completed an Accelerated Opioid Detox with us several months ago and did incredibly well. However, she was shocked to learn that the pills she was purchasing had not one bit of oxycodone but pure fentanyl.

Esther looked serene as she came in for her third naltrexone implant. When I asked her what was the best part of life now, she smiled and said, “making breakfast for my kids—taking a shower. Knowing I don’t have to do something illegal every day not to get sick. Knowing I can focus on my family. it’s just all the small things.”

More like this: Taking the First Step in Your Recovery Journey

At the Coleman Institute our focus is bridging the gap between getting people off substances that cause physical dependence such as oxycodone, Oxycontin®, hydrocodone, Vicodin®, Roxicodone®, Dilaudid®, tramadol, methadone, Suboxone®, heroin, fentanyl, kratom, and other medications in this category, and then getting them on long-acting naltrexone.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is a medication that rests on the opioid receptors, creating a blockage to prevent any other opioid from taking up residence. Because the opioid receptors are covered with naltrexone, our patients will not experience physical cravings.

There is no withdrawal when the naltrexone wears off in about eight weeks. Our program provides three naltrexone implants, which means about six months of opioid blockage. Many of our patients opt to continue taking naltrexone for even longer.

More like this: 3 Important Differences Between Suboxone and Naltrexone Therapy for People Addicted to Opioids

Conclusion

Esther’s story is not uncommon. Many of our patients have found themselves in a position they never thought they would be in in a million years: buying pain medication from someone rather than their local pharmacy and medical provider. And, like Esther, most of our patients who can finally stop taking their (opioid) pain medication find they do not experience the pain they initially were being treated for.

This is likely due to Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH), the paradoxically increased sensitivity to pain from prolonged use of opiates to treat pain. The original injury has healed, but the opioids are masking that reality. It isn’t true for everyone, but we see it in many patients.

It is a confounding and frightening situation to find oneself in. Unfortunately, far too often, people are put on buprenorphine products like Suboxone® to address this problem quickly. While this can be an utterly appropriate option, many people don’t get the full story that it is equally difficult to stop taking this category of medication. I had met so many patients over the years that really would not choose to be on any medication that would cause sickness when they stopped taking it!

If you have researched the three types of Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and still have questions, please give us a call. It is a lot to digest, and our staff can help you understand the pros and cons of the different treatments.

In the meantime, stay safe and take care.

Joan Shepherd, FNP



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