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Can My Pcp Abruptly Stop My Pain Management Meds?

41 posts in this topic

Hi, I've not been on here in a long time, you guys helped me get my 100% rating 3 years ago, since then, I've also been awarded 100% SSD. But anyways, here's what happened. The VA said I violated my pain contract when I moved from one state to another and received pain meds from two separate facilities (which I did).

I have serious heart problems, CHF, ICD/Pacemaker, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, and a host of other medical conditions, all treated by VA doctors.

I've been reading that abruptly stopping narcotic pain meds can cause stroke, serious withdrawal symptoms, spikes in blood pressure, and basically 30-60 days of hellish torture to which my body simply cannot endure.

My current primary care doctor said he was going to discontinue my pain medication for violation of a pain contract I signed 7 years ago. Yep, the VA has had me on narcotic pain meds for over 7 years, now, just all of the sudden they want to abruptly STOP dispensing them. In my mind, any doctor in their right mind knows the affects of withdrawals and putting someone with a bad heart, high blood pressure, chronic pain, coupled with psychiatriac conditions (PTSD) is unequivocally and absolutely cruel and inhumane. My body simply can't take it, stopping my meds is not civilized after 7 years of being on them.

Can someone give me some advise please? I'm not saying I'm an addict (I took them as prescribed) but "on occassion" I did take 1 extra pill when I felt really super bad. Over the years my body has indeed became both physically and psychologically dependant upon this chemical in order to function. I told the VA (it's noted in my records from 2008) that I think I'm becoming dependant upon these pain meds and would like to stop. What does the VA do? Send me to a psych doctor who prescribed a powerful drug called xanax and UP my dose of pain meds! Now fast forward to 2011 - I moved to another state and received scripts from my prior state and the state I live in now. The old VA from my former state automatically sent the meds in the mail, I was surprised to get them in fact, they just arrive out of the blue one day, so I kept them. Now the NEW VA found out about this and wants to stop ALL PAIN MGT? I can't take it...I'll die. I have a heart of an 85 year old man and can hardly get around as-is, I can't imagine what's going to happen when my meds run out in 2 weeks.

Can someone please give me some advise. I have an appt with my PCP on Wednesday March 30th 2011 to "discuss" why I received meds from two different VA facilities.

Thanks - if you can call me on the phone and talk, I'd appreciate any advise, all I know is 7 years, 9 months of pain meds, my body IS in fact dependent upon these drugs and an abrupt halt will cause a stroke and I could very well die. The drugs are opiate-based, semi-powerful and do indeed relieve my pain and make me feel "normal".

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Did you inform the VA you were moving and was this an automatic renewal?

If you did inform them then it is their fault and not yours.

Write a letter to both Patient Advocates adn explain what happpened.

You are caught up in VA red tape. If you have medicare and parts B and D, I would send all VA medicine back to the VA and go outside the VA.

Just document everything that you do.

Dont take any crap off of the VA.


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John is right but if you can I would go and speak to the patient advocate first. Sometimes they can fix problems like this on the spot. If that does not work go to the Administrator.

I do not have a pain contract with VA but I have a prescription for hydrocodone 60 for 30 days and xanax 120 for 30 days and guess what meds by mail screws up on delivery.

Yes you are in a bad situation for an abrupt withdrawal.

I wish you the best. When this is over and fixed I hope you should consider a complaint to the VAOIG. You have been treated poorly by the VA

Anyone who takes their meds that are prescribed are not addicts. You are dependent and the VA should recognize this.

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I have a opiate contract with the VA going on 6 years. To discontinue your pain meds without a gradual withdrawl is really malpractice unless the VA can prove you are selling your meds or not taking them. What kinds of meds do you get? Because I live in Florida I use the VA due to many pain clinics that are not legitimate. I would use a private doctor in the future if I were you. The opiate contract you sign is like a bear trap. I think you can beat this by explaining this mistake the VA made. I understand why you want an extra supply of the meds you got since the VA could change your meds in the future.

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I have a opiate contract with the VA going on 6 years. To discontinue your pain meds without a gradual withdrawl is really malpractice unless the VA can prove you are selling your meds or not taking them. What kinds of meds do you get? Because I live in Florida I use the VA due to many pain clinics that are not legitimate. I would use a private doctor in the future if I were you. The opiate contract you sign is like a bear trap. I think you can beat this by explaining this mistake the VA made. I understand why you want an extra supply of the meds you got since the VA could change your meds in the future.

I receive hydrocodone 7.5/APAP 500, 150 per month (in my former state, I received hydrocodone 10/APAP 500), sometimes I do indeed take an extra one or break one in half and add it to my normal dose around lunchtime, so I'm glad to have some extra put away. But the fact is: My V.A. doctor specifically told me over the phone that I had violated my pain contract and possibly federal drug laws, and wants to see me next week, and quote "he doesn't want to continue pain management and will forward this recommendation to his director." I told "ok, see ya next week."

If I could go back in time 7 years, I never would've started on opiates for my pain management, they do indeed help ease the pain, but NOW my body is physically and psychologically dependant on hydrocodone, and with my bad heart, I'm afriad of death due to withdrawals (I've ran out before due to mail delays and have experienced withdrawals first hand for 1-3 days over the years) It IS NOT fun!

I'm considering going into a 30 day detox here in Florida which will monitor my heart 24/7 and rid my body of opiate dependency, it's very expensive, but I think in the long run, it will be well worth it to get this monkey off my back, it's my opinion that long-term opiate usage increases pain associated with injuries, makes one dependant upon the drug in order to function and re-wires the brain to not produce natural chemicals because they're being replaced with synthetic feelings and emotions. If anyone out there doesn't believe this, STOP taking your opiates for 5 days, starting right now. I bet you my next 10 checks that within 5 days, your body will feel like it's been ran over by a steam roller, your heart will pound, you'll sweat profusely, then get the chills, you'll get grumpy, anxious and eventually you'll find yourself bed-ridden, begging for a pill. I've watched my father go thru this (he died in 2002 btw), I've seen my mother go thru this, my sister and I've experienced it myself. Sudden opiate withdrawal can be fatal for the meek, weak or elderly.

When I get my white envelope with pills every month, there's 3 long pieces of paper inside the package, it specifically states "this drug can be habit forming" and "when used for extended periods of time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing" and "It is not recommended for use for long term periods or in high doses." Yeah right. Nobody deserves to be on opiates 7 years, the VA could've changed my meds to a more long-acting drug, tapered me off an put me on a non-opiate drug for pain (which I requested in 2008)yes, it's documented, gave me a tens unit, etc, none of this was ever discussed. Seven years of pills - that's their answer. In fact, pills is the VA's answer to everything. Got a headache, pills, feel depressed? Pills, back hurts, Pills, carpal tunnel? Pills, stub your toe, Pills, can't sleep? Pills, feeling a bit anxious are you? Here's a pill. How about getting to the ROOT of the problem? Instead of masking the symptoms with pills...IMO, VA doctors are legal drug dealers, they get people addicted, then don't want to deal with the addiction when someone "violates a pain contract."

I think my mind is already made up to pay the 3,500 and check myself in for the duration, at least I'll be monitored by people who actually care and tell the VA to take their "pills" and stuff them where the sun don't shine. The program is guaranteed to get you off opiates, and from what I've been reading and the Youtube vids I've watched - you actually FEEL BETTER being OFF opiates.

I got my 100% rating due to CHF and other cardiovascular problems, only 30% on my back, 50% PTSD, 10% hearing, 20% cervical injury. I would like to think any doctor worth his salt would not be so cruel as to totally take a veteran off his meds without appropriate taper and/or something to counteract withdrawals? I'm worried about our meeting next week for sure. 1. Will he accuse me of being an addict? 2. Will he try to press charges for prescription fraud? 3. Could he stop my meds immediately? 4. Could I face criminal charges? 5. Could he refuse any further treatment regarding my other ailments? At least if he does cancel my meds totally, I have enough to slowly taper off with and hopefully ease the symptoms associated with opiate withdrawals.

I do plan to take the pills to show the doctor that I've not abused them, but I did take a few extra ones here and there as needed when my body ached beyond my normal threshold. I'm too old and tired for all this BS from the VA, guys, it's got me worried sick.

What do you think my VA doctor's decision will be?

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I have withdrawn off of percoset before. You can do it yourself by reducing your dosage over a few weeks. The VA pain clinic doctors did tell me that I never should have been on opiates even though I have a SC DX of chronic pain disorder. How many hydrocodones do you take every day? I have a feeling you don't take that many. You are not a drug addict by any means. If you still have the drugs you got from the other VA give them to the doctor when you see him. Did you sign a certified mail receipt for both sets of drugs? The VA should probably have tried you on a long acting type of opiate. The trouble with many of those (morphine, methadone, fentanyl) is that you build tolerance to them as well. They have more side effects also including notorious constipation for morphine. I would tell the doctor that I was confused about where I would be getting my hydro and was afraid I would not get it on time so I took what was mailed to me. The VA gets their underware in a knot because they believe that most vets will sell their drugs for money if they get the chance. If you had taken a drink a day before your last urine screen you would be in trouble as well. I think I would just begin to taper off on my own and go see a regular doctor and explain your problem and see if you can get scripts from him for the vicodin. The VA will be watching you like a hawk in the future. The VA has screwed with me over opiates and getting them on time. It really bugs me as well. I tell them that I take the exact dose so that if it is two days late in getting to me it is a big deal. They sent my opiates to the wrong address one time and blamed me for it.

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