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Friday, March 25, 2011 crish, Community Member, asks

Q: What is a good alternative to morphine sulfate? I take 30mg 3x day with hydrocodone for breakthrough pain & making me sick and morphine is not helping.Dr says just Methadone as alternative

I've been on Morphine for over 5yrs now and it does not help my pain anymore and I feel sick all the time. the Norco for breakthrough pain is making me very ill so I've cut down to 1 a day but am not getting any relief. When I ask my Dr for an alternative he says just methadone which I will never take again! But, my pain levels are out of control and I don't know what to do? I'm afraid if I push the issue my Dr might take me off my meds all together because there is such an abuse issue in my community and they are just cutting people off left and right. I'm unsure how to approach this issue
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Answers (3)
3/25/11 9:47pm

Some doctors are only comfortable prescribing certain medications depending on experience, training and local situation. I would recommend finding another doctor for a second opinion, maybe in a different town. Some may call this doctor shopping, but sometimes you do need to shop around to find a better solution.


Many alternatives are available, but it is not my place to state what is right for you. Only a treating physician who has examined and talked with you can do that.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

Hallie, Community Member
5/18/11 11:41pm

I think it is ridiculous a doctor would refuse to offer you alternatives.  I just saw a PA (under my doctor's supervision of course) at a pain clinic in Oregon 2 hours north of my home & they were telling me about treatment options I had never heard of.  Many of these new pain pills they mentioned are indeed new & not all doctors know about them, so be sure to consider the cost of a namebrand medication (assuming that is a fctor); plus it would be the merri-go-round of trying new medications that may or may not work.  But I would seriously encourage you to research other pain medication options for yourself & speak to your doctor about your concerns.  Additionally, I would encourage you to look up what the best pain clinics or neurologists are in your state and consider driving a distance that feels comfortable to to you or less painful, what have you, and see if a physician that is more experienced in working to find a solution rather than making accusations or assumptions. 


Good luck!

susan threlkeld, Community Member
11/ 3/11 8:57am

I have been on that very regiment a while back, and actually it worked pretty well for me, but I had to change clinics because my Dr. went out of my ins. network,had to change and now am on Lyrica, which does help, and only 4 hydrocodone, oh, and he did give me 1 Oxycondone, short acting, for emerg. but on really bad days that is not enough. He did say I could start the morphine when I decided to do that, but I know he will just give me 15 mg.s and then cut out my hydrocodone, and the hydro. works as somewhat of a stimulant for me as well as helps pain and I am afraid to change. Sometimes when you change you wind up with less because they have to start you out low. I was wondering if your morphine is time released or not. But, it is easy to get into trouble with taking those meds together because if you are not eating enough or you just take a little too much, it can get you to feeling pretty bad, with being sick, and sweats. The Lyrica does work pretty well, and it kind of has a calming effect. It is expensive, but with my insurance and discount card, it is only $25.00. Boy, this is a tough one, because if you go up much more you probably will be sick, but like the other person said I do think there are some new meds out there. I would be happy to get what you're on now, that worked pretty well for me because the time released was not affected by food. They use to give me Soma, but that is a nasty word with the pain clinics, giving it with hydrocodone, because of the abuse on the streets, but now that is what really helped my pain, in combination with the hydro.because I have muscle spasms in my pelvic area, but I dare not mention it because when I even told this new doctor I took it before and it helped, he really jumped me, said "Soma is the same as LSD" I don't know where he got that, I haven't taken LSD but Soma is not a hallucinogenic, not with me, anyway but if you take too much it can be dangerous. Good luck, I'm sure this was more than you needed, and I do hope you get some help.

susan threlkeld, Community Member
3/29/14 8:54am

I know this is an old post, but happened to notice it today and was wondering how you are doing, and if you got any resolution on your pain meds. I also wonder what your condition is and what causes your pain. I use to take timed released morphine and w/norco and it really did help, but I didn't want to go back on morphine, just the sound of it, and if I couldn't get to my doctor (2 hrs away)it couldn't be called in and just knowing if you didn't have it what a consequece it would be. The beauty of the timed release was that eating didn't reduce it's effective pain relief. Now I am just on the Norco 10/325 x4 and x2 Oxycondone 5mgs. the Oxy pretty much does nothing unless I take 4 of them. I have been in pain mgnt about 10 yrs now, and am lucky the Norco does anything for me, it does help, but by the middle of the month I am already having to cut back because of the bad days when I have to take more. It is so frustrating! My son just had to get off a short round of Methadone and from my research and his story on this, It is horrible getting off it!! Thank goodness he was not on it for very long, and he was on Suboxone before that (thought nothing could be worse than that to get off of, but....Methadone) The thing is getting off that is worse than the original narcotic. I had heard about the new long acting Norco, I think it is something like Zondry, or something like that. Does anyone know about this? Think it has just been in the processing phase. I have to admit after all the yrs of tetotal alcohol I am now having to substitute and self-medicate with alcohol, which I hate!! I use to get Soma a muscle relaxer, the only one that worked, but with all the new changes in this field, no Soma to be had. i so wish they could come up with something for pain that is not so gaurded and get the powers that be off our back. I just want a break from this pain, and it has spread all over my body like a disease.

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By crish, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/29/14, First Published: 03/25/11