STRANGE CHOICES

My doctor put me on a medication that has done wonders to relieve the pain from spinal arthritis and bursitis. It’s almost a miracle. It has nearly eliminated the bursitis in my hips. I can stand up and walk around without little screeches of pain. Unfortunately, the side effect is that it makes me feel sick. In theory I shouldn’t be taking this medication at all. It’s a NSAID, the only kind of pill that’s almost guaranteed to produce ulcers — again.

The pain relief is wonderful. The stomach? Not so wonderful. I’m worried because of all the medications I was warned to never take, this is the latest greatest version. On the other hand, this medication was designed to deal with exactly the problems I have: spinal arthritis and bursitis — and it works.

It’s known to produce ulcers, but that is true of all NSAIDs. I lost a stomach to ulcers and I don’t think they can fix me again. I get to choose whether to be in pain and eat OR be in much less pain, but feel sick. That’s not a fair choice and no one should have to make it.

I took Vioxx until they pulled it off the market. It was causing heart problems and occasionally killing people. Then I took Celebrex — until they took it off the market too. It wasn’t killing people (mostly) but was creating ulcers — like the ones I had. I think that’s a double oops.

Here we are again, back at the next version of NSAID. It’s far more effective than the two I took before. From a pain perspective, this is the best I’ve felt in years — except for feeling sick.

Nonetheless, medical trooper that I am, I’m doing my best to find a way to work with it. I’m going to try cutting the pills in half and seeing if lowering the dosage will work. If I take three half-doses, it might not kill my stomach. That was the recommendation from my doctor and Medline: try to find the lowest effective dosage, then see how that goes.

For obvious reasons, I’m reluctant to give up on it. For equally obvious reasons, I’m afraid to keep taking it.

What fun! Choices!



Categories: Anecdote, Arthritis, Health, Medical humor, medication

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

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  2. Difficult decision!

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  3. HI Marilyn, you shouldn’t have to live in pain. My father is taking blood thinners because he had a pulmonary embolism last year. He has to take it for life. The blood thinners cause bleeding ulcers and the gave him Losec as a preventative. This is the link to the package leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.1374.pdf

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    • I’m already taking an even more powerful version of that medication and have been for years since I’ve already had nearly fatal ulcers. I’m also taking LOT of them — and I think I’m already at maximum dose. I think modifying my diet may be what is still possible. So far taking half doses more frequently seems to be working better — so far, but it’s not yet even a whole day. I’ll know more tomorrow. I don’t really have a stomach. The last round of ulcers was so bad, they removed it. That’s why this is so worrying.

      I’m lucky I don’t have to take blood thinners, but it was to avoid blood thinners that when i had two heart valves replaced, I didn’t get the mechanical valves and used animal (pig, usually) valves which don’t require my taking blood thinners. It was just a problem I hoped to avoid and I’m glad I did. Having the replaced valves (and a pacemaker and a bypass) is bad enough without adding one more issue.

      Having one medical problem is difficult, but when you have a bunch of them, treatments for one often make treating the other a problem. And then add in getting old and the whole medical experience gets really REALLY complicated.

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      • My grandmother also had a large part of her stomach removed due to ulcers. She also had so many problems all her life. It is a real cross to bear, but I think you actually handle it all well and still find joy in life. I read your update post about this a little earlier and am really hoping this works for you. Keep us updated.

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  4. Why can’t they give it as a shot?

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