Friday, July 9, 2010

And Now, a Message from Purdue Laboratories...

For the past week, I've been avoiding writing this blog. Let me explain. Due to a new pain patch that I'm wearing, I'm in a kind of fibro-limbo. Not in pain but not cured either and unsure just where I stand in the fibro dance.

My doctor prescribed a new pain patch called 'BuTrans' to manage my fibro pain. She brought up the subject a few months ago and I was quite hesitant about the whole idea. I didn't think that I needed a 24/7 pain control. My pain was tolerable and to my reasoning, it was like killing an ant hill with a machine gun. I could get along with my Trammies quite nicely, thank you.

After a few weeks of unrelenting IBS nerve pain, I started to reconsider. I rationalized that I wouldn't take it for fibro pain - only for the searing bowel pain. So, off I went to the doctor with the intent to question her regarding using BuTrans for my IBS, exclusively.

I showed her the log of my Tramacet usage for the past month, as suggested by her. After scanning it, she pointed out that my pain was not being effectively controlled. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I'm serious. Obviously, I knew that I was in pain but I harboured the erroneous idea that there was nothing else to be done. Living with fibro meant living with pain on a daily basis. I had trouble accepting just how wrong I was.

For two years, my habit had been to wait for the pain, take a pill, wait for it to kick in and gratefully accept a few hours of welcome relief, only to repeat the cycle again the next day. I never imagined this scenario any other way.

My doctor suggested that I give the pain patch a trial run for one month. She explained that it would keep a steady level of analgesic in my system, bypassing the onset of pain. It would negate the pain and wait game. The fact that I was in the throes of the worst flare-up I had ever experienced in 3 years might have factored into my change of mind. When my husband informed me that he had recently started prescribing BuTrans to his chronic pain patients, I knew I was in.

I was told not to expect immediate pain relief. However, after 12 hours I noticed something very strange and very startling: Sweet Jesus, the pain was gone! It was as if I had been in a war zone and suddenly the shelling had stopped. Actually, it was a bit eerie in that I kept expecting the pain to come flooding back, laugh in my face and call me a SUCKER. But, it stayed at bay. During the eight days I have been wearing the patch, I have had very little breakthrough pain and now, even that is disappearing.

BuTrans is a skin patch that slowly, continuously releases 'buprenorphine', an opioid analgesic, over seven days to help control moderate persistent pain around-the-clock. After one week, a new patch is applied to the skin.

As with any medication, there can be contraindications and side effects. You should not use this medication if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have severe asthma, liver or pancreatic disease along with a host of other cautions. You may not consume alcohol while using BuTrans. I know that's a bummer for some people. Fortunately for me, it's a non-issue. Over the course of a year, I don't consume enough booze to get a mouse soused.

As for side effects, I experienced minor nausea for a few hours and that was that. Piece of cake. One major drawback for me (and don't laugh) is that I can't use my hot tub while wearing the patch. I know - boo hoo hoo, right? The patch should not be exposed to heat sources such as saunas, hot tubs, heating pads, etc. while being worn. I've still yet to figure a way around this bugaboo, but for now the weather is scorching and the last place I want to be is sitting in a hot tub.

Within one week's usage, it has been a Godsend. It has made a dramatic difference in my pain and energy levels. One has gone down while the other has gone up. Less pain equals more energy - in theory, anyway. BuTrans isn't for everybody. Check with your doctor to see if you're a candidate.

I'll keep you posted in the coming days how I am faring. Suddenly, I am a fibromite with no pain and believe it or not, that has opened up identity issues for me. That's fodder for a new blog to be announced soon.


  1. Glad your pain is so well controlled now. Interesting - I had a 93 year old tolerate the patch with no side effects but a 48 year old guy had his pain controlled but is having sedation problems. At present the 5 mcg patch is the lowest dose. I wish there was a 2.5 mcg patch for the younger guy. Most people seem to be tolerating the patch well. It really seems to be a breakthrough for moderate chronic pain sufferers. Not as potent as the Fentanyl = Duragesic patch but usually that is used for cancer pain sufferers. People need to watch for oversedation initially. Often side effects will settle over the first few days. It shouldn't be ued for minor short term pain. In the past narcotics were not strongly recommended for Fibromyalgia sufferers due to a tendancy for narcotic pain relievers to become less effective with time. Remains to see how Bu-Trans works over the longer term but I am hopeful.


  2. Thanks for your important comments, Dr. Hubby Anon. I should mention that I experienced no sedation at any point. I did not feel 'high' or groggy or drugged, in the least. But, that's just me.