How are you doing without Celebrex?

I was taking one 200 mg tablet morning and night until I went in for my pre-colonoscopy screening.

The nurse looked at the list of medications I brought along, and exclaimed incredulously,

“You’re still on Celebrex?!”

Considering the tone, she might as well have bellowed,

“Are you friggin’ nuts?!!!”

That was on May 10th. Up til then I was taking a 200mg tablet morning and night, but stopped that day and haven’t missed it much. I’ve since taken a couple of Tylenols on less than three occasions for arthritis pain, and am seriously asking myself why I bothered with Celebrex in the first place.

So, how about you? Are you coping well without it? I sincerely hope so.

(Oh. My colonoscopy was negative, happily enough.)

Well…since I quit travelling to the Pain Clinic in Anchorage my only pain relief had been a muscle relaxer and either Celebrex, Vioxx, or Bextra. When the first two were yanked, I voluntarily quit taking Bextra and switched to Aleve. Definitely not as effective. I have since switched to ibuprofin, 800 mgs at least three times a day, sometimes four. (Yes, the doc has told me I need to begin having my liver functions tested.) I am in miserable, constant pain in spite of the NSAID’s.

I am trying acetaminophen for a week as an experiment (I need to begin a thread on my reasoning behind this) and I am in even more miserable, constant pain.

I hate that, as a result of the DEA, I am required to fly 400 miles round trip, take numerous taxi’s, crawl in and out of my wheelchair umpteen times, simply to get a 30 day supply of an opioid. Which, incidentally, isn’t even that “simple” as I live on a freaking island in the Gulf of Alaska, and we are so often, and unpredictably, weathered in. It makes for keeping appointments spotty, I generally have to wait for another week or two for an appointment, at which point the weather may have us socked in again. In addition to running out of the medication and having to deal with withdrawal symptoms on a somewhat regular basis, which is beyond miserable.

I apologise for the rant, but guess what? I am grouchy, because I hurt right now! At least the Celebrex/Vioxx/Bextra helped enough to keep me from misery. sigh

kaiwik, I’m not sure why you need to be seen monthly for your opiates. While Schedule II narcotics need a new prescription every 34 days, there is no requirement for a doctor’s visit mandated by the Feds, or even any state law I’m aware of. Your doc could just mail it into the pharmacy. Or in most states even give you three prescriptions at one time, with the later ones clearly marked “to be filled on xx/xx/05, after the previous prescription has run out”.

With my patients who are on chronic opiates, I’ve well-documented the reason and rationale for them needing that particular narcotic treatment, instead of other approaches. Then if they’re stable, I see them every 3 months, to document that the situation hasn’t changed (or document any changes).

I’m well-acquainted with the policies of my state Medical Examining Board, and know that they endorse this sort of approach. And the prosecuting attorney for the Board has told me that the above approach is in compliance with federal regs.

Qadgop the Mercotan, the reason I have to travel every month is because we have a problem in the state with drug abuse, and the DEA has restricted the writing of scripts for opioids for chronic pain patients to a small handful of pain clinics located in a couple of “cities” in our state, Anchorage being the closest to me. This came on the heels of the oxycontin/oxycodone debacle four years ago, where we had several people (five I could name off the top of my head) on the island die from overdosing on their pain scripts, which had been combined with other sedating scripts, alcohol and cocaine. The state also has a problem with teens stealing from their parents (or whoever) and dealing/doing oxy’s. Their preferred method of taking the drug (along with quite a few adults with legitimate scripts) is to crush and snort the time released oxy, (stupid) frequently in combination to snorting cocaine, as it apparently extends the cocaine high. (even more stupid) I wound up purchasing a safe in which to store my pain meds, when I had them. So, everyone gets their hands slapped, and if one has a severe injury one is lucky to obtain a script for twelve 5 mg hydrocodone here. (I speak from experience.)

At the same time, we have also had pain clinics closed for indiscriminate prescribing, unlawful prescribing, (a doctor I had been seeing in a pain clinic lost his license for trading scripts for sex, I kid you not) and I personally know at least three people who are currently eating their duragesic patches while also being active alcoholics. We have a flourishing black market in which pain medication is sold, or traded for cocaine. If only I didn’t have a conscience, and a healthy respect for the law. Ah, but I do, so I don’t go there.

It’s wrong, my quality of life is diminished, my family suffers, too bad for me is the response.

I am more than a little bitter about the entire situation. Do you, as a physician, have an opinion as to why the DEA would slam the door on all chronic pain patients in Alaska, when it seems that the other 49 states also share the abuse problems?

kaiwik, what you describe, while horrible, sounds like what’s going on in the other 49. Oxycontin is a problem everywhere, just as you describe. And I can list a dozen different ways that oxycontin, duragesic, MS contin, and methadone are getting abused that make snorting them or chewing patches sound pretty typical! (one guy tried to sustain his high by using an abscess cavity)

But are you sure the DEA has mandated all that? Certainly some states put extra restrictions on the Schedule II drugs, but I’ve not found anything on the net about the DEA doing so. Nor the Alaska medical board. Could it be that it’s just your pain clinic’s policy that you must be examined monthly?

I’ll understand if you don’t wish to elaborate further, as it’s not really any of my business. But if you desire, you could ask your doc point-blank just why you have to show up physically every month when in the rest of the nation, every 3 months suffices.

BTW, if they haven’t tried tricyclics or gabapentin for your pain, you might want to raise the issue. Those meds might not be appropriate at all for your case, but I’ve had good results with them for certain neuropathic chronic pain syndromes.

Best of luck.

When I have directly asked my doctors, I have been told that the DEA has forbidden the doctors, at least on the island, from prescribing for chronic pain patients. I have called the rest of the doctors in town, and been told the same thing, if the doctors write scripts for chronic pain patients, they will lose their license to practice medicine.

The pain clinics have a policy that each patient must be seen before a refill will be given. No reasons given, just “It’s the policy.”

I did very well on low doses of morphine, the pain doctor tended to give me more than I needed as my pain levels fluctuate.

I may be having a blank moment, but I am ignorant as to what you are referring to as tricyclics. All my brain is registering is birth control, and that is no longer an issue! As for gabapentin, I am unfamiliar with it, but I will do a bit of research, and ask my doctor if it looks like he might give me a script. If it is any kind of opioid, he won’t.

My health issues are an open book, I am such a complicated case that I try to glean as much information as I am able to. To quote a song, “I am much too young to feel this damn old”.

Thank you for your responses.

Oh! Gabapentin is Neurontin, d’oh! I had to quit taking Neurontin recently, as I am in dispute with SSI and simply cannot afford it. I have neuropathy from both my diabetes and ankylosing spondylitis, as well as a bad case of restless leg syndrome, and I sure do miss my Neurontin.

I personally wouldn’t take the advice of an overreacting nurse on what course of medication to take. Did you discuss your Celebrex use with your physician? (OP)

I am on 200mg Celebrex daily for post spinal fusion/stenosis pain. I have read the studies done on Cox2 inhibitors and asked a gathering of the hospital pharmacists I work with for advice as well as consulting my physician. Based on their advice and my own knowledge, I am continuing to use Celebrex as needed.

I personally do miss it when I’m off it. I haven’t found another drug that relieves pain as well for me and hopefully it will stay on the market for those of us that find it useful and are aware of the risks and choose to take it anyway.

E = mc² I apologise for hijacking your thread, and I am happy for you that all turned out well “in the end”. :smiley:

On a related note, I really miss Vioxx! Where Vioxx controlled my pain well for 24 hours and no stomach irritation, celebrex controlled it for 12 hours with some stomach irritation, and I can’t tolerate the other NSAIDS on a long-term basis, even with stomach protector medications on board. Fortunately, I can take enough of the edge off with tyl#3s that I can still work and function well enough. But I miss being pain-free with no side effects …