If you are struggling with fibromyalgia pain, you may be interested in trying a variety of fibromyalgia medications in order to achieve pain relief. Many fibromyalgia sufferers ask their health care providers about trying an opioid for their fibromyalgia symptoms.
The use of opioids in treating chronic pain however, is a subject of great debate. Many physicians are reluctant to prescribe opioid pain relievers to fibromyalgia patients for fear of triggering tolerance or addictive behaviors.
As a result, those with fibromyalgia syndrome are sometimes left without appropriate pain relief. If you are interested in trying opioids for fibromyalgia relief, you will want to learn more about the controversy surrounding opioid use.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drug used to relieve symptoms of severe pain. More commonly known as narcotics, opioids are named after opium, a product found inside of the opium poppy plant. Natural opium has been used for hundreds of years to treat symptoms of severe pain and illness. Some opioids are made from this natural opium, while others are made synthetically from different chemicals.
Most of us associate opioids with the treatment of acute pain, like when you get your wisdom teeth pulled at your dentist’s office. However, opioids can also be used on a regular basis to treat chronic pain. Some types of opioids used to treat fibromyalgia include:
What is the Controversy?
There is much debate about both the usefulness and safety of opioids as a medication for fibromyalgia sufferers. Many health care professionals and researchers feel that there is little evidence that opioids actually provide significant pain relief for fibromyalgia patients.
Others are concerned about the potential for tolerance and addiction associated with long-term opioid use. Yet, many fibromyalgia patients find that opioids are highly-effective pain relievers, and work to relieve persistent symptoms of widespread pain and muscle stiffness.
Due to the controversy, many fibromyalgia sufferers find it difficult to get a prescription for opioid painkillers.
Do Opioids Help to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain?
The effectiveness of opioids in fibromyalgia pain relief is one of the key components to the controversy surrounding opioid use. Though patients claim that opioids provide them with significant symptom relief, some health care providers disagree.
However, research shows that opioids are indeed helpful for relieving fibromyalgia pain. A recent study performed on long-acting opioids, including oxycodone, showed that fibromyalgia sufferers gained great relief from long-term use of opioids including:
- fewer sleep disturbances
- less anxiety and depression
- increased mobility and enjoyment of life
Despite their effectiveness, many patients and health care providers are concerned about the possibilities that opioids may cause tolerance and addiction in patients.
Tolerance is actually a typical response to any type of medical intervention. After about two weeks on a medication your body becomes “used to it,” and side effects caused by the medication begin to disappear.
Opioid tolerance typically manifests as the disappearance of nausea and other side effects. However, some patients do notice that they begin to develop a tolerance to the pain relief provided by opioids.
This does not always indicate that your body is becoming addicted to the medication. Other factors, such as muscle injury and central nervous system activity must also be taken into consideration.
Also, tolerance is not the same thing as addiction – it simply means that you may require a slight increase in the dosage of the opioid you are taking in order to gain the maximum benefits.
Addiction is a more worrying side effect of opioid usage. Some people who take opioids will develop an unhealthy dependence on them, and begin taking them for non-therapeutic reasons.
This can result in a multitude of side effects, both physical and psychological. However, less than 0.5% of chronic pain patients develop a real opioid addiction. With careful management and support, your chances of becoming addicted to opioids is actually very slim.
Talking with Your Doctor
Talking with your doctor about an opioid prescription can be a nerve-wracking experience. This is because, in the past, health care providers were strongly advised to avoid prescribing opioids at all costs.
During the 1800s, opioid use was rampant, and many doctors were unable to recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction. After 1919, the Supreme Court ruled that prescriptions of opioids had to be more tightly controlled, and, as a result, there has been a practical moratorium on opioid prescriptions ever since.
Recently though, studies recording the benefits of the safe use of opioids have encouraged many patients to begin using opioids once again. Many health care providers still remain nervous to provide these prescriptions, though.
Despite the potential for addiction, there are still numerous occasions in which someone truly needs to take medication. Opiates can greatly assist with painful complications such as Fibromyalgia.
This is a serious complication, and opiates, when they are not abused, can make it much more bearable. Dealing with constant pain can be debilitating, and it is important to let your doctor know if you need any help.
It is important to provide your doctor with as much information as possible about your symptoms and their severity. Health care providers are not always aware of how much pain their patients really feel and are thus reluctant to prescribe narcotics.
If you are in a lot of pain, record your symptoms and rank their severity on a scale of one to ten. This will help your doctor to understand how much pain you are actually experiencing.
Also, explain to your health care provider how your symptoms are affecting your daily life. If your doctor can see how your symptoms are impacting upon your daily routine, she may be better able to provide you with the right type of prescription for your symptoms.