View Full Version : Long term effects from pain meds?

01-17-2011, 02:13 PM
I am wondering if anyone else has noticed any after-affects from their inpatient pain meds, such as memory issues or other nerve-related problems.

I was on pain meds the entire time I was in the hospital, 3 weeks. So that's a lot of drugs! Also I was under anesthesia quite a while for my fusion (over 7 hours) and then due to another procedure (VATS) while in the hospital, I received more anesthesia. I have not been on any prescription pain meds for weeks. I've noticed that I have a hard time remembering things (names of movies, books, actors, etc.) or use the wrong word, name, etc. My daughter will look at me like I'm crazy and I'll laugh it off, blaming those darn drugs! I also drop things all the time, like I can't keep a grip. It is not fun stooping down to the ground to pick up car keys or whatever else I happened to drop.

This doesn't happen all the time, it's occasional. I'm hoping that this is not a permanent thing, and that it's because I'm still recuping from my surgery/meds.

I will see my surgeon in a few weeks and I plan on asking him if this is normal.

01-17-2011, 02:38 PM
Laurie I had similer problems due to the pain meds I forget peoples names

01-17-2011, 04:26 PM
haven't had surgery...yet...
but have been on pain meds for over 5 years...

i swear i would blame memory problems on age more than pain meds...
but that is just my own personal opinion....
and i know what memory problems are like...before i was treated for Lyme, i had major memory problems!


01-17-2011, 05:55 PM
I noticed a big difference in my memory and sharpness for at least a year after surgery, but I really think part of it -- besides the drugs -- was being home a lot and not working. I still have some memory lapses but yeah, I tend to blame it on being 55 at this point, haha.....!

01-17-2011, 06:00 PM
Not sure about the effects of opiates but when I was on the antidepressant Paxil, my memory was totally shot and I have a VERY good memory. I'd just point to things b/c I couldn't remember what it was called: lamp, teapot, car keys etc. and forget about names of people or places and I'd stutter too. The worst part of being on that drug was that I'd dream I'd made things like egg salad and it was in the fridge so the next morning I'd open the fridge to make an egg salad sandwich and there wasn't any. Awww, I was sure it was in there; very disappointing. Oh, and all those cakes I ate in my dreams, mmm. I think drugs mess us up in a lot of weird ways, heh.

01-17-2011, 09:25 PM
Sounds quite familiar! Both the memory problems and dropping stuff. My husband would have to go around the house picking up all the stuff I dropped if I didn't have my grabber. Your surgery was just in Oct. so I think you are pretty typical. Janet

01-18-2011, 12:50 AM
Me too. It's annoying and would be a little concerning, but I refuse to worry about anything since my surgery.

01-18-2011, 04:06 AM
i didn't feel i had this problem after scoli surgery, but i did almost 20 yrs ago when i was in the hospital for a week on IV morphine; couldn't concentrate to do the daily crossword puzzle for another week after getting home and off meds

you should bring it up with your surgeon as, while it could be still related to the drugs if you still take them, there is also the remote possibility that you suffered a "mini-stroke" during surgery or the long bedrest/immobility of convalescence

it does also happen with age though it's been my opinion that we exaggerate it; a lot of what my acquaintances call poor memory, i would attribute to the modern computer lifestyle we live which is much more detail intensive; in other words, maybe part of what we call poor memory is really just that we are trying to remember so much more stuff

01-18-2011, 08:24 AM
I dropped things like crazy for probably the first year post-op. I called myself butterfingers. I remember other people with the same complaint; I really don't understand why! That seems to be back to normal now.

01-18-2011, 05:12 PM
The problem with dropping things is that you can't bend over to pick them up. If I've dropped my "grabber" and then drop something else I need, I'm in trouble. I'm practicing lifting things up between my legs so I get it high enough to grab. I didn't realize the dropping things was a problem with other people as well. Hopefully, once we can bend over to pick things up maybe it won't be such a problem.

01-19-2011, 06:34 AM
That's why you need two grabbers -- to pick up the grabber you drop. :cool:

01-19-2011, 06:40 AM
my memory has deteriorated with age...no doubt in my mind whatsoever...

i take hydrocodone and oxy when needed, but have not had surgery...yet...

i know how i was when Lyme was in my brain...i could not read the Daily News in NYC, and i am an intelligent woman with 3 graduate degrees....
Lyme invades the brain if not caught fast, and mine went on for a year and a half without treatment, while brilliant doctors told me i wasn't sick. because they didnt do the right blood test!

compared to that, i have a good memory now...but i notice "senior moments"...as do most friends over age 50....
i am sure the pain meds don't help....
and i didn't have a computer for many many years...same memory problems evident without one!


01-19-2011, 06:53 AM
The problem with dropping things is that you can't bend over to pick them up.

That's what toes are for! My family has accused me of having monkey feet for years prior to surgery! :)

01-21-2011, 12:12 PM
It's nice to know that others have had these same problems post surgery. I've gotten very good at picking things up with my toes. Good thing I have a great sense of humor about all of this - especially after saying to my daughter and her friend yesterday morning, "Have a great girl, days!" Oh boy...

01-31-2011, 01:00 PM
I am 11 1/2 weeks post op and have reduced my pain meds to 1 or 2 percocet a day, although I would LIKE to take it more often for pain. I was taking 12 hour Oxycondone after the surgery for quite some time as well. I am having the same problems you are and it is very hard. I drop everything, and my memory is so bad now.My dexterity in my hands/ fingers is bad now as well and things are difficult.. Are you near sighted ? I am and I wear glasses that arent bi-focals. I'm wondering if this contributes alot to my dropping things as I cant see in front of my own feet because I cant bend and my neck is so stiff now for looking down.
Anyway it is very frustrating having these issues, I can relate and I sure hope it gets better. Best wishes. Please let me how youre doing as time goes on.