Tale of Two Suicides; Lessons for Opioid Public Policy


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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.

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Medical Researchers Analyze Social Media to Understand Side Effects of Pain Meds


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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.

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Opioids Saved My Life


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Opioids Saved My Life

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.

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Is Krill Oil 48 Times Better Than Fish Oil?


Is Krill Oil 48 Times Better Than Fish Oil?

Krill oil is made from krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that inhabits the cold ocean areas of the world. Despite their small size, krill make up the largest animal biomass on the planet. There are approximately 500 million tons of krill roaming around in northern seas.
Krill oil, like fish oil, contains omega-3 fats such as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). However, in fish oil, these omega-3 fats are found in the triglyceride form. In krill oil, they are found in a double-chain phospholipid structure. The fats in human cell walls are in the phospholipid form.
The phospholipid structure of the EPA and DHA in krill oil makes them much more absorbable. Krill oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, and canthaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant.
The antioxidant potency of krill oil is, in terms of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorptance Capacity) values, 48 times more potent than fish oil.

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Good Early Monday Morning from Dr. Patty!


Good Early Monday Morning from Dr. Patty! I just wanted to wish you all a low to no pain Monday and hope you come over to our (outside of Facebook) Website. I know you would love it because it was everything you all asked for!

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