The Opioid Epidemic and Fibromyalgia Patients

Sunday, October 8, 2017, Arizona Republic

“FDA warns of drug shortages. Hurricane killed power to factories in Puerto Rico.”

“The Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned that U.S. drug shortages are possible because power outages in Puerto Rico have stopped or limited production at many medicine factories there.”

With all due respect to the people of Puerto Rico and the destruction of homes, economy and loss of life this bit of information on the possible reduction of drug production is a positive. The head of the FDA stated that there were 40 crucial medications that could face shortages without naming any of them. Do you really think that there is no storage of medications that drug companies have salted away for “emergencies” like this. After listening to the program “60 Minutes” that literally exposed how our government passed a law that restricts the DEA from keeping drug companies under control from indiscriminate distribution of millions of drugs including opioids. Congress in effect weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors. In one town in Virginia, population 400 the drug companies sent millions of opioids. You do the math as to how many pills that is for each resident in the town.

Am I upset?? Yes, a great deal because I have Fibromyalgia patients come into my clinic loaded down with medications. Many of which are opioids. Many of the prescribed drugs for these patients have nothing to do with there condition. It’s like doctors are just throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks without thinking of the consequences.

Here is an example of one of my patients, a young female diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009. Her prescriptions included 13 medications including Fentanyl, an opiod deadlier than heroin, Zofran for cancer patients that went through chemotherapy or radiation, this patient does not have cancer, Clonidine for hypertension, she does not have hypertension, Movantik for opioid induced constipation which was brought on by other opioids she was taking and Gabapentin for seizures which she does not have.

The opioids she is taking includes Fentanyl, Hydromorphone and Movantik. Three opioids out of 13 medications. I guess that’s not too bad except for the side effect from the drugs.

These drugs have side effects that mirror this patients symptoms. Would you like to see the side effects that mimic this patients symptoms?? Sure, why not. For those of you that are suffering with Fibromyalgia you can have heart with what this patient is going through.

My patients symptoms that are the same as the side effects of the drugs she’s taking are the following:

fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, apathy, impaired memory and concentration, anxiety, non-restorative sleep, generalized morning pain , stiffness in muscles and joints throughout the body, frequent urination, hives, bumps, blisters, brittle nails, super- sensitive to touch, heavy sweating, headaches dizziness dry eyes, blurred vision, nasal congestion, numbness and tingles hands, face feet, leg cramps, weight gain, greater susceptibility to infections.

These are not the only side effects from her medications that directly relate to her symptoms. The side effects of these medications are much more numerous.

There is no reason for taking drugs that are making your symptoms worse or adding new symptoms to your conditions. Over prescription of medications is not new. You as a recipient of these drugs must take it upon yourself to ask questions as to the drug side effects and how they relate to your existing symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor pointed questions. Remember, your doctor is not a god. He needs to know all the medications you are taking. some medications including Movantik can interact with certain medications that cause more side effects.

The OPIOID Epidemic starts with each of us. Asking questions and saying no is a start. Just look at the side effects mentioned above and you can surmise that all of those symptoms can have a severe negative reaction to our work, friendships and most of all family life. Think smart and act smart when it comes to anything you put into your body.