View Full Version : Narcotic pain meds question

01-04-2006, 06:47 PM
Howdy. I am now three weeks post-op. I have been taking Percoset 5/325 which is 5 mg oxycodone/325 mg Tylenol. I take 1 pill about every 5 hours during the day, and then two at night. I have started weaning to just Tylenol during the day, and also contingent on my activity level. (More activity = more pain.)

Anyway, I am out of percoset as of 1/2/06, and called to get a refill from my surgeon. His office is over an hor away from my home, and they can't call in the script to the pharmacy because of its narcotic classification. I have called them a few times to make arrangments for me to come get a prescription refill from the office, but have not gotten very far. (My surgeon and his nurses are great, learning that office administrative staff are not at all helpful.)

I am a little concerned about switching to Tylenol, as instead of taking one percoset (with 325 mg of Tylenol), I am taking to regular 500-650 mg of Tylenol at a time. And it doesn't do a lot to help compared to the percoset. n I just know that Tylenol is horrible for one's liver, so I fear taking too much Tylenol for an extended period of time (several weeks). It is just that I am more scared to be too reliant on the percoset, as I have heard so many horror stroies of people getting addicted to narcotic pain meds.

Which leads me to my question - how long are people "normally" on the narcotic pain meds post surgery. Is it too soon for me to start worrying about getting addicted, or too soon to start forcing myself to wean off? I just want to know how other people handled the pain med situation.

Thank you

01-04-2006, 06:50 PM
Sorry for all the typos. I meant to say that I am still working on arranging to pick up a prescription refill from the Dr. I feel like an addict calling them so often asking, "Is my script ready yet?!?"

01-04-2006, 07:17 PM
Meg, I wouldn't worry about getting addicted anytime soon. Your body's gone through a lot, and needs as much relief as it can get. I was taking pain meds on and off for about 2 months post surgery. Trust me, you'll be fine. If you're hurting, then take what you need to. You're only three weeks post op. At three weeks post op, I don't think I had even stopped taking 'em then... I too heard the horror stories, and I too worried about them, but you know what? It was fine.. I didn't get addicted, and I got better... I hope you feel better! :)


01-04-2006, 07:49 PM
Everyone is different, but my MD would not refill any narcotics 30 days post op. I made sure I had a full refill at 30 days just in case I needed one on occassion later, which I did take one at bedtime after I started PT. I started weaning myself off at 3 weeks, but I was taking Lortab 7.5 (don't know the generic) because they could be phoned in. I would take one in the morning to get the stiffness off, then took ibuprofen 800 mg in between and alternated ibuprofen one day, then generic Aleve the next. It helped, but everyone is different. I am 10 wks postop and don't take anything now but ultracet for stiff muscles from PT. Hang in there, it should get better soon! The weaning is the hardest part, but I have found I can tolerate a lot more now than I could before surgery :)

Be sure to ask your MD before you take any of these over the counter meds. They worked for me, but I don't take any other type of meds and you need to make sure they won't cause a reaction to something else you may be taking.

nicoles mom
01-04-2006, 08:03 PM
Ask Them To Mail It You Will Get It In A Day Or Two. Thats What Are Doctor Did For My Daughter. I Was Very Worried About Her Getting Addicted She Was Taking The Same Dose Your On. And Well Past Three Weeks. She Was Only 12 And 78 Pounds But The Doctor Said It Was Ok. She Needed It For The Pain. I Didn't Start To Wean Her Off Until She Was At Five Weeks. She Didn't Have A Problem With Addicted.
Feel Better

01-05-2006, 12:50 AM
I wouldnt worry about getting addicted to it at three weeks. I had revision surgery on 12-15 and am still taking the meds that I recieved then. I am taking Norco 10/325 which is hydrocodone 10 mg and acetaminophen 325 mg. I would maybe ask to talk to the surgeon and see if you can get a diff med that can be called in to save you the hour long trip to pick up a piece of paper, especially since you are trying now to start weaning. Be careful when taking acetaminophen since it is in the percocet because it can be hard on your liver. Also, after fusion it is not recommended to take any form of NSAID's because they dont allow for the fusion to take place. Remember that you want bone to heal so you need the inflammation (kinda to an extent, but couldnt find a better way to word that). I was having a hard time with pain control in the hospital and they almost gave me percocet, but gave me Norco instead, which was able to be phoned in. It is less than percocet but more than vicodin.
Hope you are able to get your meds refilled soon. Hope you continue to recover quickly.

Karen Ocker
01-05-2006, 09:25 AM
I strongly recommend a couple of visits to a pain specialist especially if the surgery is extensive in an adult. Many GPs are leery of giving out more than one script for opiods and they really are too busy and do not have the background to manage severe long term pain.
I am a nurse-anesthetist and refused to manage manipulating the narcotics. Tylenol can safely be taken up to 4 grams(1000mgms) a day. My pain doctor made sure he monitored that. Some pain formulas like percocet have Tylenol(acetomenophen) in them as well a darvocet. It is possible to overdose on tylenol if a person does not realize that and takes Tylenol AND percocet.
I went into withdrawal after 3 months on narcs-- I tapered too fast. The body gets used to having it occupy what are called "narcotic receptor sites".
It has nothing to do with mental addiction caused by treating the mind with habituating drugs. Withdrawal consisted of: depression/anxiety, diarrhea/abdominal cramps and hot/cold sweats. It's really terrible.
My pain doctor prescribed and monitored:Lidoderm skin patches, neurontin, anti-depressents-which helped withdrawal and have pain relieving properties of their own, Tylenol arthritis, TENS machine(when used properly is really great) and after my surgeon gave the OK.. NSAIDS(Aleve/ibuprofen).
He also recommended SAM-E to protect my liver. On my first visit my pain doctor said our goals were to keep pain levels at "5" on the scale of ten. I was able to e-mail him with questions.
With this management I was able to sleep well and walk a mile 6 weeks after surgery. I did not allow myself to drive in congested NJ until I was off narcs.

01-05-2006, 10:17 AM
I'm a little over 5 months post op and I'm still on the narcotic medication. However it's only when I over do it with my PT and also when the muscle spasms are out of control. I hope this helps you a little. I know how frustrating it can be as far as medication refills when your hospital is so far away. Luckily for me I can go right on base to the doctor here and they can talk with my surgeon whose clinic is located in NW Washington, DC. (give or take traffic, construction/detours, and the painful drive over potholes an hour if not further away) It will only get better as you heal. :)

01-05-2006, 05:20 PM
I was off presciption meds 3 weeks post op. The GP's wouldn't give me anymore because I had severe constipation and pain in my stomach that may not be related to constipation or the surgery. It was 2 days before Christmas so I didn't try to contact the surgeon for a refill, I just did without it. We do have 10mg codeine with acetominophen (panadol) sold OTC here, and I take a one or two of them a day if I need them. I probably can't do as much as I could do if I was still on the prescription drugs, but I manage.

01-05-2006, 05:46 PM
Thanks everyone, I feel better now knowing I am in still in the normal range of what others have been doing.

My husband drove today to pick up my refill and went to the pharmacy to have it filled. However, instead of giving me what i had before Percoset 5/325, with instructions to take 1-2 pills every 6 hours, my new prescription is for Percoset 10/325 and it says take one every four hours. So, they ctually gave me a higher dose of narcotic than I was on before!!!

I guess I'll just cut them in half? Then I could take 1/2 a percoset, and one regular strength Tylenol. Or something... I'll figure it out. At least I have the big guns now if I need it!