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My brother had a tumor removed from his kidney on September 25th. While he was in the hospital they gave him percocet and morphine for his pain. To date he is still taking PERCOCET because he complains of acute pain. We fear he has become addicted to the pain meds and his pain is now stemming from the drug. His doctors have told him to get off the meds but yet they keep prescribing them to him. What can we do? Has anyone had similar experience with Percocet and dependency? My brother needs help, he is in so much pain and he looks horrible.
It's been about what, almost 4 weeks since his surgery? It can depend on what they had to do in surgery. Kidney pain is bad and if they really had to go through all the muscle and some nerves, he could still be in pain. Is he taking more than prescribed? Does he run out early and then go through withdrawls? Is he preoccupied with meds. What is he doing to get better, what is his physical prognosis. With a little more info maybe we could make a better determination whether he is becoming addicted or still in legit pain from surgery. It can take 4-6 weeks to heal and maybe that is why the docs are still prescribing the meds.
Answer to your last question: YES! Many of are here on this forum because of dependency or addictions to opiate drugs. I was taking Percocets for 5-1/2 months before I finally got off of them.

I'm siding with Boxerlover on this one. 4 week is not much time after major surgery, but he should start thinking about tapering down to get off of it in the next few weeks. Most people don't start getting the false pain from taking opiates after 4 weeks. It usually takes much longer.

What dose is he taking? If he is taking more than the prescribed amount, maybe you should talk to him about sticking to the prescribed dose. Depending on the amount he is taking, he will have to taper down instead of just stopping. After 4 weeks he's just getting into that gray area where a person [I]can[/I] become dependent on it, but usually it is a longer period of time of taking opiates. Although, some people can become addicted in as little as 2 weeks.

If he is in legitimate pain, then he should take something to reduce it. Not everyone handles pain the same way. The doctor should be asking why he's still having pain and should be looking for reasons why he is still in pain.

Thank you for responding. NO, he is not taking more than prescribed. When he was in the hospital he was on 8 a day (not sure of the dose), now they have him on three a day. The surgeon said he had to get off the Percocet or he risked losing his kidney and liver damage. He said it was a MYSTERY as to why my brother had this amount of pain almost 1 month after surgery. This is all new to me and from i read online about PERCOCET it is highly addictive. We tried giving my brother 2 pills instead of 3 and he couldnt stand the pain, got sweaty, clamy, shaky, cramps in his stomach and unbearable pain. That is why i think he may be addicted but i don't know. Kaiser is not providing us any assistance so tomorrow i am taking him to a well recommended surgeon for a 2nd opinion and maybe he can shed some light to what went wrong with this surgery.

Thanks for your response. I am not sure of the dose but i know it's 3 pills a day. This has tapered down from 8 pills a day he was on in the hospital in addition to the morphine. By the way he is still on morphine. The doctor told us last saturday that this is a MYSTERY and told him to taper off the drug but did not provide any outlet or how to do it. We tried reducing to 2 but he had a horrible night, sweats, clamy, cramping, and itching all over. Something is just not right. Doctors had said after 4 days in hospital his recovery would be fast and we're almost at 1 month after surgery and he is worse than when he entered the hospital. This can't be right. We just got the medical records today after waiting more than 1 week and will be obtaining 2nd opinion tomorrow.

Hi there.:wave:

First of all I want to say how lucky your brother is to have such a concerned and supportive sister. That is perhaps the best medicine.

I do caution however putting perhaps a bit too much stress on your brother about this issue. I want to make clear that I am NOT saying you are intentionally stressing him out as I know you want is BEST for him and are genuinely concerned about WHY he is in pain and IF he is becoming an addict.

If it were my family member I would be absolutely concerned about his current pain level in how it relates to his recent surgery. I think that you all are correct in seeking out a 2nd opinion esp. if the first surgeon is saying that ALL pain should be gone by now.

I have quite a few health conditions and have been through TWO brain surgeries and TWO surgeries on my kidneys and adrenals. I have extremely weak and low functioning kidneys yet my SPECIALISTS (NEPHROLOGIST which is a KIDNEY doctor, my Rheumitologist who handles my Lupus, and my two Neurologists who handle my MS and history of aneurysms) all agreed that I should be on MORPHINE. I am NOT to take meds with tylenol in them such as PERCOCET since they can be hard on my kidneys but morphine is okay in MY case anyways.

I can also tell you that my recovery from each surgery took 6-9 weeks but keep in mind that with my co-morbid conditions I may heal slower than others.

My family became concerned about meds as well so my primary doctor arranged a conference call between my parents, myself and my specialists to explain how my BODY is dependent on the pain meds but that I am NOT addicted to them. They very kindly and clearly mapped out the difference and since then my family is not stressed to the max over it which means MY stress levels are lower too. Which is good since stress makes (at least in ME and I can really only speak for MYSELF) my pain levels to flare up.

My POINT?:dizzy:

Well....a few points...

1) We ALL respond differently to surgeries and the healing process. Usually a doctor/surgeon will give a range of recovery time such as...."it is my experience as a surgeon that MOST patients recover w/in 4-6 weeks.."

2) We ALL respond differently to medications. What works for me may not work for you...that kinda thing..

3) I am not a doctor but it sounds like your brother is NOT an addict or on the fast track to addiction on his meds. He has already tapered down to 3 pills, does not take more than Rxed, and has no history of abuse or addiction to controlled substances (if I understood you correctly?).

4) SECOND OPINION: Is always a good idea and his absolute right as a patient. Esp. if he feels as if his pain is getting WORSE and NOT BETTER. If his surgeon is really saying that its a complete "MYSTERY" and that he should be 110% BETTER by now...then a second opinion in my opinion is the right path to go down.

:eek:I know that I am babbling but just one more tidbit...

I have found that when seeing a specialist or seeking a second opinion the following tips have helped me SO MUCH...

* Try not to lead the Doctor into an opinion. Make sure they have your brother's chart, tests, etc...and see what diagnosis or outlook they come up with on their own. This sounds silly but doctors are human and if we come in and jump right into "doc...i had this and this done and the other doc says this and I think this...etc...." it may skew things. I'm NOT saying don't express yourself but let the Doctor lead the questions and then give your and/or your brother's views, comments, concerns and questions.

and finally...

* AUDIOTAPE....bring a audiorecorder and ask if you may tape the visit. Always ASK first but this really does help. I did this despite having my Hubby and Mom (who is a nurse) with me at the visit. It was AMAZING how much we missed in the actual appointment. EACH time we listened to the tape we heard something new!!! So this really helped us out A LOT. Some docs will say sure no prob and some will not like it. I find if you ask the nurse and explain why...then let the nurse go ask the Doc so that the Doc doesn't feel forced to say yes..that they usually allow me to tape the visit.

OK...I will end now. I admire your concern and the support that you give your brother. I hope that he feels better very,very soon.

Peace & Health,

Most doctors don't have a clue on how to taper off of opiates. Dropping a whole pill all at once will almost guarantee withdrawals. You have to take it slow. 10-20% a week or every few days is sort of the rule of thumb. The closer you get to zero (cold turkey) the slower you have to go by increasing the days before the next drop.

I suffered unbelievable withdrawals because I didn't know better and didn't listen to the people on this forum and tried to drop faster. I was in withdrawals for 2 months before I went cold turkey. He will have to cut pills in pieces to estimate a 10% drop and some people here have been down to pieces and crumbles before they went cold turkey.

There are other treatments available which use suboxone, which nullifies the withdrawals and if taken properly and tapered off of (just like tapering off of the opiates) can make a smooth recovery.

Withdrawals are nasty and I never want to go through that process ever again. If done right, the withdrawals can be minimized. This is the right place to ask questions and get help.
I just read more of your posts. I believe you should consider getting a 2nd opinion. Something doesn't seem right. Yes, Percocets are addictive, but they are also necessary if people are in pain. You brother does not appear to be addicted to them. He's using them properly for pain. The sweaty, cramps, etc. are withdrawals (not addiction) and are normal if you decrease the Percocets too fast. Going from 3 pills to 2 pills will cause this. Take it slow, but only after you figure out what is causing the pain. Don't concern yourself with addiction when your brother is still in pain. Fix that first and then we can worry about resolving his dependency on the Percocets.
Thanks to everyone for the helpful responses. Each and every one of you had something helfpul. Yesterday i took my brother for 2nd opinion and was relieved to find out my brother was not addicted to the PERCOCET. Eventhough the new doctor took him off of it and gave him DILAUDID. I found out that the reason my brother is in so much pain is because of large hematoma in his body cavity. THe old doctors didnt explain that to us and said my brother should not be in pain but the new doctor says that a hemotama of that magnitude is extremely painful and will take at least another month or so to recuperate so a strong pain is very necessary to help my brother get through this. For now we're going with the new doctors plans.

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