For years I had been on 300 mg of for sleep and 50 mg of Tramadol plus two extra strength Tylenol three times a day. I got along just fine on that. I was sleeping seven to eight hours a night and my pain level was, for the most part, at a level two or three. I can manage these levels quite well; it’s like having a minor irritation all day long. I was on these medications for over fourteen years without having any problems.
We moved to Florida in 2009 and things started to change. The stress of the move, change in climate, looking for work and just life made my pain worse. I found work and with that insurance so I could get treatment for my increased pain. This doctor added Savella to the list of ‘stuff’ I was taking. OK, I admit it’s worked – for the most part. Still had a pain level of a two or three most days but had made up my mind that it was just something I had to deal with.
Savella is the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia in adults. It works by allowing neurotransmitters to flow better between neurons in the brain. This better/increased flow could help deal with the pain and tiredness that fibromyalgia patients have. In this case the question, “Is changing fibromyalgia medications a good thing?”, is answered with an emphatic YES! It really has helped being on this medication; at least it did for the first year. Then, like many other medications, my body got used to it and it’s not as effective any more.
Because of the increased pain again I decided to switch to a Rheumatologist instead of using my family doctor. This doctor left me on the medications I had been taking for a while until he got to know me. Now he’s been messing around with them.
What he has done is take me off the Trazadone and Tramadol. He put me on a muscle relaxer, Tizanadine (generic for Zanaflex). This relaxant is often used in the treatment of the muscle spasms that go with MS. He also put my on Hydrocodone for pain. I take this combination only at night to help me sleep. Well, it knocks me out but I don’t stay asleep. I wake up about every two hours and often can’t go back to sleep after the first wake up call. As a result I only get two to three hours of sleep some nights. The pain is gone but something keeps me awake once I wake up during the night. He also put me on 800 mg of Ibuprofen for pain during the day. The Ibuprofen is working to take care of the day time pain just fine. Guess what, trouble sleeping is one of the side effects of Hydrocodone – I guess I’ll be calling my doctor next week. Trouble sleeping isn’t connected with the Tizanadine but increased muscle spasms is and I’ve been having more leg cramps since being on it and that doesn’t help the sleep situation either. Now I know I’ll be calling my doctor next week. In this case the question, “Is changing fibromyalgia medications a good thing?”, is answered with a maybe. I’m thinking that maybe I just traded one set of problems for another. I’ll see what he says before I get stubborn about wanting to go back on my old combination.
I don’t really know why he wanted me off the Trazadone but he said the Tramadol could increase my chances of seizures. Or was it the combination of the two that could cause this. I honestly don’t remember but I went along with it to be on the safe side.
The good thing about working WITH a doctor is that he or she will take the time to get the best fit as far as medications go. You might need to fight for what you feel is the right mixture because doctors can tend to change what doesn’t need to be changed. Just keep the communication lines open and when you ask yourself, “Is changing medication for fibromyalgia a good thing?”, you will have all of the information to agree that it is or to go back to your doctor and say that it just isn’t working and you did better on what you used to be on.