Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The lesser of two evils.

As many of us are figuring out many of us have to choose the lesser of two evils when deciding on treatment options for Psoriatic Arthritis.  It's been a battle of lesser evils for me for the last 10 years since I was finally diagnosed.  Even when it comes to long term use of NSAIDs.  Does taking ibuprofen for years and hoping doesn't eat our stomach or destroy are liver a lesser evil than having a moderate level of anti inflammatory pain relief?  I am currently in the battle yet again.  I am finally getting relief with Stelara which was it's own lesser evil battle because of all the unknowns, but now I'm switching from daily use of Lortab (narcotic pain med) to daily use of Zanaflex(muscle relaxer).  On Lortab I can function.  I've been on some form of Hydrocodone for most of the last 2 decades.  It doesn't make me loopy, tired, foggy, or high.  It takes the edge off a pain that makes it so I can't concentrate or function.  It is a functional medication for me that I use as prescribed.  With the new regulations regarding Hydrocodone and that Stelara has improved my inflammation levels that were fueling a majority of my pain the last 2 years my Rheumatologist and I decided that it was time to officially cut back on the narcotics.  Most of my pain now is due to classic Psoriatic muscle, tendon and ligament stiffness due to periods of inactivity such as when I am sleeping SO muscle relaxers it is.  Now I've been on 4 different muscle relaxers over the years and the only one which helped was Skelaxin.  The VA who does my care and prescriptions in their continual circus ways have decided that Skelaxin is not "cost efficient" so even though my Rheum prescribed it the pharmacy has decided I need to try yet another one and Zanaflex is it.  I've been on it 3 days and it does work on my muscle spasm and tension, but it also makes me want to sleep.  If I sit down without being actively occupied with something like writing in my favorite blog I'm out in less than 5 minutes.  SO which evil is worse? Pain and muscle tension or sleeping my life away?  I am hoping that in a week or so the effects will lesson because it is genuinely working on the problem.  I wake up in the morning and though I never feel rested at least I don't feel like those damn ballerina ninja elephants have been doing swan lake on my body all night.  Oh the fun lives we live.

Also I need to pass on some info which I was told today for those of you in the US.  There will be new regulations concerning all medications which contain Hydrocodone.  This is significant for any of you who use these medications as prescription writing and filling procedures will change.  You will need to discuss this with your prescribing physician to minimize problems and delays in getting your pain medications.  It will take about 6 weeks for this to be fully implemented, but it will undoubtedly start causing issues even before it is officially implemented with our favorite pill nazi pharmacies ( you know who I'm talking about).  Here's the link on the NEW FDA REGULATIONS.  I also posted a link to the FaceBook Sausage Toes and Scales page.  Please please please do not wait till the last minute to address your prescribing physician about this.  I've done withdrawals.  Trust me it's not fun and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  It can also be very dangerous for those of us that have extenuating health issues.

Peace and healing to all of you...

~Heather