Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a progressively recognized chronic pain syndrome, which is characterized by it’s constellation of musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any body part can be implicated. Fibromyalgia patients confront an array of symptoms of varying intensities that are fluxional over time such as; morning stiffness, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, cognitive disorders such as concentration, memory problems, attention deficit disorder, and anxiety. It is estimated that approximately 3-6% of the U.S. population has FM. To read more please click this link: http://css.dewarlorx.com/
A key government panel that oversees pain research will file a formal objection to proposed opioid prescribing guidelines being drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those guidelines, which are set to be released next month, would discourage primary care physicians from prescribing opioid pain medications.
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44 people die as a result of opioid overdoses (16,000/yr) AND
112 people die as a result of suicide (41,000/yr) AND
1,205 people die (every day!) as a result of preventable hospital errors (440,000/yr)
There’s an epidemic of people dying while in the care of the medical profession.
Suicide Rates have been mostly climbing 1999-2013 and have increased by about a quarter in that time. The impact of denying patients their opioid pain medication has been greatest in the last couple of years, so we haven’t seen the effects, if any, of that yet.
THE FUTURE FIBROMYALGIA DRUGS? PHARMACEUTICAL SOURCE PREDICTS FOUR DRUG APPROVALS IN COMING YEARS
Both Sleep and Pain Improved “Our new analyses of the BESTFIT data show that those patients who reported the greatest improvement in sleep quality were the most likely to experience pain relief,” Seth Lederman, MD, Tonix CEO Tonix – the developer of the drug – is moving fast. They reported that their Phase II clinical trial for Tonmya was filled in June of this year and reported results on the trial last month.They’ve already begun final (Phase III) trials. A former study using EEG indicated the drug was increasing restorative sleep, which in turn was associated with reductions in pain, fatigue and depression. In a good sign for those in really severe pain, the most recent studies tied together pain levels and sleep quality; those FM patients in the most pain received the most improvements in sleep quality. Dr. Lederman, Tonix CEO, emphasized that the drug is not a sleeping pill; it doesn’t just knock you out – it improves sleep quality.
It’s not uncommon for colleagues in the medical profession to disagree. Egos and different medical backgrounds can sometimes lead to heated discussions about the best way to treat patients. But those arguments are usually kept private. That is why it is so unusual for a prominent pain physician to publicly call for another doctor to resign or be fired from her faculty position at a prestigious medical school. “I believe she should resign her academic post,” says Forest Tennant, MD, referring to Jane Ballantyne, MD, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who recently co-authored a controversial article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that said reducing pain intensity should not be the goal of doctors who treat chronic pain patients. The article also suggests that patients should learn to accept their pain and move on with their lives. “For somebody in her position as a professor at a university to call for physicians to quit treating pain – or pain intensity – whether acute, chronic, whether rich, poor, disabled or what have you, is totally inappropriate. And it’s an insult to the physicians of the world and an insult to patients. And frankly, she should not be a professor.” Tennant told Pain News Network. “To suggest that physicians should no longer treat pain intensity and let patients suffer goes beyond any sort of decency or concern for humanity.”
Tale of Two Suicides; Lessons for Opioid Public Policy
For one it was the best of times, for the other, the worst. At no time did the paths of their lives cross, but they shared the same fate, one most would consider a tragedy. Their legacies, for pain and public policy, could not have been more different… I knew one, only heard of the other; both dramatically affected my life.
Bob was a marine. He had valiantly served his country, and he was proud of it. His identity was so tied to his service that he could not handle the thought of being any less of a marine, a warrior… a man, whatever that means. His back injury robbed him of that identity, and he struggled in a futile attempt to regain that which he no longer was, or, at least thought he was. Perception is reality, and his perception was that he was no longer what he wanted to be, needed to be.
Surgeries and elixers, therapies traditional and non-traditional. All tried in a vain attempt to rid himself his pain. All failed. Some made his pain worse. He used pain meds to numb the pain, but they couldn’t restore his manhood. In desperation, he kept taking more and more. After a while, he gave up the hope for a cure. He was a broken man, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. The meds became a temporary reprieve from his painful reality. I was his doctor. I never really saw that brave marine. Rather, I saw a broken, staggering man, subservient to the world his pain had created for him. Our goal for any treatment is to improve one’s function. For many, opioids accomplish that. Not for Bob.
Medical Researchers Analyze Social Media to Understand Side Effects of Pain Meds
Harnessing the power of social media, medical researchers have sifted through more than two billion tweets and online posts to study the harmful side effects of narcotics medication taken for chronic pain. The research team, led by the Cedars-Sinai Center for Outcomes Research and Education, reviewed a vast collection of patient entries on Twitter and social media forums such as askapatient.com and patientslikeme.com. The unfiltered sentiments posted on these sites revealed details not often captured by physicians or traditional clinical research about the gastrointestinal side effects of narcotics medication. In online messages, for example, some patients described experiencing severe constipation that was even more debilitating than their underlying illnesses. The researchers believe the study is the first of its kind to analyze social media data related to gastrointestinal side effects from narcotics. “Social media can be used as a huge epidemiological database, a treasure-trove of insights from patients about their illness experiences, their treatments, and their attitudes and beliefs about health and disease,” said Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research and director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Education. The study appears online in the Journal of Opioid Management.
My new life of chronic pain started in May of 2005. After being diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, I was given a series of 3 epidural steroid injections with a corticosteroid made by Pfizer called Depo-Medrol. I had no relief from the first two injections, but my doctor insisted that I try a third one. He struggled to get the needle into the epidural space, probably because of scar tissue in my back caused by a prior back surgery, a laminectomy. After the 3rd steroid injection, I had a severe, instant headache, which was relieved somewhat when I laid down. The doctor had punctured my dura, the outer lining of the spinal cord, which caused a spinal leak. He was defensive when I told him about my headache pain, saying, “No way, there was no fluid in my syringe.” After an unsuccessful blood patch, I ended up in the ER a week later with the worst, throbbing headache I ever suffered. Every time I lifted my head I vomited violently. The doctor ordered numerous tests and he finally diagnosed me with too much STRESS! I knew something had gone wrong during the epidural steroid injection, yet my doctor blamed me for the harm he did to my spine. My pain worsened over time and it became so intense that I thought about suicide.