As all who know me will know, I have been on a long, arduous thirteen month quest to find painkillers that give me enough relief to function as something somewhat resembling a human. I’ve been addicted to things that didn’t work, been given things that left me bed bound and I’ve only survived the last year thanks to a combination of painkillers in high doses that numbed my pain enough to stop me from screaming each day during this quest. Now, finally, I have something that relieves my pain enough to get a little bit of my life back, to sleep a bit more during the night and to give me some of the relief that I’ve been desperate for. This magical, wonder of a thing is my buprenorphine patch.
The patches contain a strong opioid which is released every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s amazing! Instead of having to remember to take another med every few hours of every day, I simply have to remember to change the patch once a week, at the same time as I changed the last one. I already take at least 3 meds every single hour I’m awake between 10am and 10pm, being able to let the buprenorphine patch just do its thing all week-long and getting opioid relief every hour of the day, even when I’m asleep, is a pretty fantastic thing for me! Thankfully, along with not having to remember to take anything each day, all I have to do is place the patch on my chest, upper arm, back or side of my chest and avoid putting a hot water bottle/heat pack on it, or soaking it in a very hot bath or shower, something I can’t do anyway. Simple.
I’ve been on 90mg of Nefopam 3 times a day, 60mg of Codeine Phosphate 4 times a day, 90mg of Duloxetine once a day and 5ml of Oramorph 4 times a day, which was increased to 10-15ml 4 times a day three weeks before beginning the buprenorphine patches. A week after beginning the patches, we reduced the Oramorph to 5ml 4 times a day and hopefully when I’m on a stronger patch, I’ll be able to reduce some of the other meds a bit. The GP started me on the 5mg/h patches with a plan to increase to the 10mg/h one if it gave me any relief and didn’t interact with any other meds or give me some of the crazy side effects I’ve experienced through other meds, 17 days on and apart from a slight reaction with my melatonin (not one that I can complain about though), I’m interaction and side effect free, yay. Fingers crossed this continues to be the case and that lovely buprenorphine continues to work for my chronic pain for many years to come!
Have you tried buprenorphine patches? How did they work out for you? Are there other meds that have worked for severe chronic pain, long-term? I’d love to hear.
Find me on Twitter @Amie_Addison and Instagram @amie_addison