DEA vs Chronic Pain

At my last appointment with my pain management doctor to get my intrathecal pain pump refilled and get prescriptions for oral medications, I was given some bad news. Well, not really bad, maybe irritating is a better word.

Most of my pain is managed by the pump, but I have a prescription for morphine pills for “breakthrough pain”. I also have a prescription for Restoril for insomnia. Insomnia is often comorbid with Fibromyalgia.

So, the irritating news is that thanks to the DEA trying to clean up the opiate mess, there are stricter rules for doctors writing prescriptions for any opiates, benzodiazapines, muscle relaxers or sleeping medications. Basically, all the stuff that people abuse. Unfortunately, these are also all the medications that help people like me with chronic pain.

The DEA made a new rule that a pain management doctor cannot write a prescription for a sleeping medication or a muscle relaxer along with a prescription for an opiate without authorization from the patient’s primary care doctor. So I either need to get a note from my primary care doctor for my pain doctor or I need to have my primary care doctor write the prescription for my sleeping medication.

Here’s the problem… I don’t have a primary care doctorπŸ˜•. I see my pain doctor every four weeks to fill my pump, I rarely get sick and I just never thought about needing one. Now I need one.

I live in a mixed residential/small business area and there’s a doctor that practices out of a house about half a block away. I figured that close is always good so I called and made an appointment. The first available new patient appointment is a month away. That’s going to be cutting it close to when I’ll run out of sleeping medication.

I realize this isn’t a life threatening problem and it’s partially my fault for not having a primary care doctor but it’s still a pain in the butt. I have Medicare through my SSDI but it’s still probably going to cost me some out of pocket money. The appointment is in the afternoon so I’ll have to arrange with my daughters who will meet Ben’s bus. I’m sure I’ll have to fill out reams of paperwork then explain all my medical history and past surgeries to this new doctor. Sigh… I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

I understand the reasoning behind the new DEA rules but it’s people like me that pay the price. The opiate problem can be laid directly at the feet of Big Pharma. They lied to doctors and told them oxycontin wasn’t habit-forming and pushed for doctors to write prescriptions for even minor pain. All for profit. Oxycontin is extremely habit-forming (I know from experience) and a lot of people became dependant on it and then the cycle began. I HATE Big PharmaπŸ‘ΏπŸ˜€, but that’s a rant for another day.

I guess it’s actually a good thing that I’m getting set up (against my will😜) with a primary care doctor. I am fifty now and it’s probably way past time for a check-up…oil change, tire rotation…πŸ˜‚

8 thoughts on “DEA vs Chronic Pain

  1. Oh, I hope it’s all going to work out for you! I’m surprised that you weren’t “forced” to have a primary care doctor in the first place. Here in the UK, you have to be registered with a GP (General Practitioner, what I take to be the equivalent of your primary care doctor). You can’t access specialists directly, for everything you have to to to your GP first, and then they will refer you. Of course, if you then need a regular appointment with your specialist, you don’t have to go to your GP first every time, but to get access initially you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think a lot of insurance plans require a referral from a primary care doctor (it is the same as your GP) before you can start seeing a specialist. When I first started with my pain management doctor I was still in the middle of my work comp disability suit and was referred by my attorney. I didn’t have any form of insurance at the time except what the work comp carrier. It wasn’t a normal situation by any means.
      I haven’t tried to see any other specialist doctors since I got Medicare (federal, for retired & disabled). I know that Medicare does NOT cover vision or dental. I guess retired & disabled people don’t need to see or chew.
      The US medical insurance mess is yet another rant that I’ll save😱😠

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Uggghhh….I think I remember you having problems with Dr.’s in the past about your pain management meds and were so relieved to finally find this one and what a significant help he has been for you! I know it’s not the same, but my husband has ADD – and I am the one that picks up his meds from the pharmacy. And every time I go, I get “the look” from the tech that hands them over as if we are drug seeking or something instead of what is actually happening – he takes the pills, goes to work – is able to function – to support his family. I am hopeful this PCD is going to get on board and support the treatment plan that is currently working for you and not give you any hassle! (And I agree – I hate big Pharma too!)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The looks at the pharmacy…right?! More Judgey McJudgeypants!! I’ve been going to the same pharmacy for about 20 years so mostly I don’t get that. There have been a few mix ups that sent me to other pharmacies and I got the questions and the scrutiny and the looks.
      I hope this new doctor will be happy with just okaying my pain doctor’s long established plan. Especially since I’m not asking the new doc for anything on the “really fun” list of drugs.πŸ˜†πŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hahaha…Judgey McJudgeypants…Never gets old! Love it! πŸ™‚ Yeah, the pharmacy techs in ours keep changing so the looks keep coming (must be a cruddy place to work!)
        Fingers crossed and positive thinking going your way to keep your meds the same!!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Omg I feel you girl 😘😘. If only people knew just how underhanded the prescription drug industry is! Grrrr. And then the government tries to “solve” the problem by throwing out the baby with the bath water πŸ™„. Barking up the wrong tree, as usual. It’s true that a lot of today’s heroin addicts get started/hooked by a legal prescription for addictive opiates for pain, so they’re probably thinking that if they work upstream they won’t have as many downstream results to combat later, but it still sucks because people get caught in the crossfire. No viable alternative has been presented to you, you’ve only been told what you *can’t* have. Argh. I’m glad you’ll have a primary care provider, though, for those routine things πŸ‘πŸΌ. Just be sure they’re not the unnecessary “see this specialist for this, and we’ll put you on 3 new drugs for this other thing, and 2 more drugs for that other thing…” and so on 😘😘. My parents recently had an experience like that, where they were recommended statin drugs, steroids, unnecessary procedures and referrals to like 4-5 other specialists, all even before they had secured a proper diagnosis! It’s a jungle out there, and if I can help sniff out a GP you find, please let me know and I will πŸ˜πŸŒΈπŸŒΊβ£πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ’—πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ˜‰πŸ’ž


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