my mother is addicted what can we do

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sad In1997 my mother had a hip replacement, she was prescribed dihydrocodeine,twelve years later she is still on it .The doctor prescribes her 12 per day on a fortnightly script that is 168 tablets ,after one week she has taken the lot so the next week she spends in bed in withdrawal till the next prescription is ready.My mum is 72 and she takes her daily dose of tablets in one go ,first thing in a morning, she wont admit that she has a problem.As a family we wrote to her Doctor but to no avail, just recently things have got much worse ,in less than 5 weeks she has got through over 550 tablets.Has anyone else got a problem like this?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, I'm really amazed a woman of 72 can consume so many Dihydrocodeine in so short a time,wow, it boggles the mind. I'm quite familiar with high doses of medication for severe pain controlled by a physician but the age group is much much less.

    She truly needs expert treatment forthwith.

    Take care.

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  • Posted

    Unfortunately this does seem to be a very high dose and I imagine it could be dangerous. I don't understand why she takes all her tablets in one week and leaves herself without knowing she will suffer withdrawal. I sometimes feel tempted to take more but am so scared of running out I count them carefully and make them last to my next script. I am surprised that her doctor prescribes her so many because I know that mine wouldn't. I hope she manages to get this under control and can just take enough to control her pain. I too have a replacement hip and sciatic nerve damage and know the pain can make life miserable. Not all hip replacements are the success that people think they are. I wish you luck.
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  • Posted

    Hi Tadpole, What tab's do you take apart from Dihydrocodeine, if any, and how may Dihyd. do you take daily. Would like to know as our conditions are similar.

    Take care. Stobban.

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  • Posted

    Hi mate. As per my own experience re. DHC posted above, I came to take it medically for severe back pain, but in the aftermath of a long, long addiction to heroin/methadone and every opiod type drug I could get my hand on. 20 plus years. The first thing I wanted to say is that if your Mum has been taking DHC for so long. then there is NO danger to her health whatsoever in the short term. She will have built up a staggering tolerance to the drug, and DHC, like most of the opiods (methadone being the exception...can affect liver function esp. in an already damaged liver) is essentially a benign drug that does no physical damage. I would imagine chronic constipation is probably the worst physical side effect she is having to deal with. She certainly could cut down on the drug...it is well achievable. However you WILL need some specialist help to achieve this. Withdrawal from DHC at a normal therapeutic dosage is quite mild compared to the other, stronger opiates, but unfortunately your Mum is taking way above a standardised therapeutic dosage. Her withdrawals will be severe as I'm sure you have experienced. If it was me, then I'd likely as not just try and tough it out. But I'm 42 and with your Mum's advanced years, the withdrawals could hurt her. Such a shock to the system should be avoided. So, how to proceed. I would, and I know you won't like this, but I think it's your best option, go to a Drug Dependency Clinic and ask for some advice. Ask to speak to a keyworker, and then ask them if you could arrange an appointment with a doctor. You need to speak to a doctor with a lot of experience who will have undoubtedly treated people for physical dependence to various medicines via legitimate prescribing. I would talk to my GP first, but my GP ia a veritable saint, whereas your Mum's just sounds like an ass. The most likely suggestion will be a methadone course, quite short, to bring your Mum down without too much discomfort and off the DHC. Methadone can be a wonderful tool for detoxing patients pretty painlessly and quickly. It's just dodgy for long term maintenance regimes. I know you (and almost certainly your Mum) will not take kindly to the stigma that you will perceive from attending the DDU, but you will get the best advice there. You will also need to discus your Mum's ongoing need for pain management if any and what options are there. Another opiate may be an option, but the likelihood is that she will just be replacing one poison with another and go onto abuse that. However, methadone can be used very effectively as a pain medication, and it has practically none of the mood altering effects of DHC and the other opiods. However, if your Mum does decide on a methadone pain script, you will have to figure on a lifelong regime as methadone really is a bitch to stop once it has become physically entrenched. Ok, sorry this has been so long, but hopefully it will give you a few ideas and open a few doors. I assure you you MUM will be able to deal with this if she wants to...but in the end that is the KEY. She will have to want to stop this cycle she's riding, but going into withdrawal with the regularity that she is, well...I would want an end to that for sure. Good luck to you and her and best wishes,

    NigelC.

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  • Posted

    Hi Stobban, I take 5 x 30mg DHC per day and 100mg Diclofenac. I have a degenerative back condition caused by a knock on effect of my not so successful hip replacement many years ago. My doctor is strict and limits my prescription so I take the odd couple of Paramol too. I manage and some days are worse than others but fortunately most are ok. You?
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  • Posted

    8 dhc per day is the max my doctor will allow i made a post earlier about my experiences of 2 dhc with 1 tramadol and vice versa and when combined then pain relief is so much better i just wish my doctor hadn't said i couldn't have both after 2 months of saying it was ok
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  • Posted

    My doctor would not increase my daily dose above 5 x30mg DHC even though I told him that an extra one or two sometimes would help me. I get 100 tabs every 20 days but I get them a bit earlier if it works out that I would run out at a weekend. I must admit I get fed up of having to make sure that I order my scripts in time so I'm never without them.
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  • Posted

    Hi Tadpole, Thanks for your reply. Yes I have spinal pain very bad due to osteoarthritis and curvature of the spine which the pain, as you well know, can be debilitating to say the least. You and I differ with the amount of tabs: prescribed; I am prescirbed 8x Tramadol daily, 8x co-codamol (30/500) daily and Dihydrocodeine during night, but mind you I need that amount to quell the pain. I don't abuse the pills and have taken that dosage for four years or more.

    I have no problem getting them but then again I have known the doctor for 22 years and he knows how bad I suffer as I now tell him in so many words exactly how I'm feeling. Years ago I was'nt to good at relaying the pain I was in to him, but after years of getting fobbed off 'I opened up' one day and he 'listened' eversince no bother with tabs. I understand I'm addicted to them but so what I aint going to get better any how.

    But as I've said Tadpole I seem to get along fine with this doctor and I talk on other matters in general, that maybe makes a closer liason....

    All the best....Ron.

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  • Posted

    i dont know what to say im so upset for you, my dad takes 30 dhc a day and also runs out, i think one day he will do himself in because of the withdrawel effects.

    good luck, it would be good to know what help you get

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  • Posted

    Hi. I can't understand why her GP is prescribing so many. My GP will only allow me 6 per day and basically said if I run out till my next script due it's tough. However I usually only manage to last a week with mine and spend the following week begging or buying them off people. It's a horrible way to live, addiction is awful. I can't understand why her GP hasn't questioned the amount she is having though.
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