I, like many others take medication for my medical condition. Over the years as my condition has worsened and become more painful obviously the medication has changed both in quantity and in potency.
I have gone from the over-the-counter medicines to prescription only medicines and for the past year or more I have been on Tramadol as my pain relief. Six months ago my GP advised me to start taking Tramadol every four hours, previous to this I had only taken two at night to help me to sleep as long as possible through the night.
On her advice I have been taking tramadol every four hours during the day this means that I am actually taking eight Tramadol each day.
Like most people I assume I always carefully read the leaflets that comes with any medication, I also quite often will go online to check out side effects et cetera, I was therefore aware that Tramadol could become addictive.
I don't know why but I hadn't actually followed that through to what might happen if I were to stop taking the Tramadol.
. Last night that question was answered.
Sometime ago my mum took over getting my prescriptions changed up for me because I would often run out of the thyroid medication I was on as my attitude to getting the prescriptions changed was a bit slapdash.
I had noticed since mum and dad had moved that the prescription changing had become a little erratic. Two months ago I nearly ran out, last month they were early with the prescriptions so when it got to the last tablets this month I was sure that when I picked mum up for the town yesterday she would have the medication that I needed, but although she had put the prescription in on Saturday they hadn't yet gone and picked them up for me.
Anyway due to a misunderstanding my prescription didn't get to the chemist or picked up yesterday, this meant that I last took my tramadol at 10 o'clock Monday night before going to bed, and I had now gone all day Tuesday without them and would have to go all last night before I could get my medication this morning.
Still I wasn't concerned, I expected the pain to increase and give me a rough night but I got far more than I expected.
In the afternoon I started to feel quite rough, felt as if I had a cold coming on, blocked nose, sneezing etc. By early evening those symptoms had been joined by shivering, my head felt heavy and I felt as if I was breathing through a fog.
I took myself off to bed, maybe a sleep would help.
I couldn't settle, I have had restless legs before but this extended to my whole body, by now I was feeling very sorry for myself and was in tears, what was happening to me?
Next came the stomach pains followed closely by the inevitable sickness etc....
And that is when it hit me...
I was having withdrawal from the Tramadol, these symptoms were all explained by my body craving for and not getting the drug it had become dependent on.
I expect by now some of you are shaking your heads and wondering how I could be so stupid, in all honesty I hadn't given it a thought, I assumed I could stop and start, miss a few with no real effect except the return of the chronic pain.
I really can not explain what I thought addictive meant, or did I just assume it couldn't happen to me? I honestly don't know.
I looked up Tramadol withdrawal on the Internet and wasn't surprised to find I had ALL the listed symptoms, every single one of them.
It's a balancing act isn't it? I have a progressive medical condition that means I need strong medication on a regular basis, I need to keep my pain down to a manageable level but the thought of being completely reliant on these highly addictive drugs and the knowledge I now have of what happens if I miss/stop them frightens me more than I care to acknowledge.
My GP told me I needed them, told me when to increase the dosage, not once was I warned about this side of the drugs I was being prescribed, would it have made a difference? I doubt it as my need for pain relief out weighs my reluctance to take such a drug but I do believe people should be told just how severe the withdrawal can be if like me your dosage is high and you have become dependent.
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