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Long-Term Evaluation of Opioid Treatment in Fibromyalgia.

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OBJECTIVES: In a 12-month observational study, we evaluated the effect of opioid use on outcomes in 1700 adult patients with fibromyalgia (FM).

METHODS: Data were evaluated using propensity-score-matching after patients were divided into cohorts based on their baseline medication use:(1) taking an opioid (concurrent use of tramadol was permitted); (2) taking tramadol (but no opioids); and (3) not taking opioids or tramadol. Changes in outcomes were assessed using the

  • Brief Pain Inventory for severity and pain-related interference (BPI-S, BPI-I),

  • Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ),

  • Patient Health Questionnaire for depression (PHQ-8),

  • Insomnia Severity Index (ISI),

  • Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS),

  • 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7)

  • and economic factors.

Time to opioid or tramadol discontinuation was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival analyses.


  • Compared with the opioid cohort, the non-opioid cohort demonstrated significantly greater reductions (P<0.05) in BPI-I, FIQ, PHQ-8, SDS and ISI;

  • the tramadol cohort compared with the opioid group showed greater reductions on FIQ and ISI.

  • Reductions in BPI-S and GAD-7 did not differ significantly among cohorts.

  • Compared with the opioid cohort, patients in the tramadol cohort had fewer outpatient visits to healthcare providers.

  • Few significant differences were found between the tramadol and non-opioid cohorts across outcomes.

DISCUSSION: While pain severity was reduced over time in all cohorts, opioid users showed less improvement in pain-related interference with daily living, functioning, depression, and insomnia. Overall, the findings show little support for the long-term use of opioid medications in patients with FM given the poorer outcomes across multiple assessment domains associated with this cohort.

Source: The Clinical Journal of Pain, January 28, 2014. By Peng, Xiaomei MD, PhD; Robinson, Rebecca L. MS; Mease, Philip MD; Kroenke, Kurt MD; Williams, David A. PhD; Chen, Yi MS; Faries, Douglas PhD; Wohlreich, Madelaine MD; McCarberg, Bill MD; Hann, Danette PhD.

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18 thoughts on “Long-Term Evaluation of Opioid Treatment in Fibromyalgia.”

  1. AprilDawn says:

    I have had Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme disease and many other medical issues for over 10 years now. Before I became disabed by illness I was a functioning, contributing member of society. I have a M.A. in Psychology, I was the cooridnator of a residential treatment facillity for people in a mental health crisis. I had a good life. Within a years time I was forced, due to severe chronic sickness, pain and a plethora of symptoms, to quit my job,and move in with a friend. I spent all of my saving on going to all different forms of doctors and specialists. I tried many medications (Lyrica,Cymbalta and on and on), supplements, herbs, homeopathics, and anything else I could find. The pain increased, not one doctor could help me. For the first time in my life I considered ending my life because of the unending (for over a year at the point)increasing chronic pain. I finally saw a specialist who prescribed narcotic pain medication. She saved my life. It was the only treatment that got the pain under control. Since that time I have been diagnosed with what I listed above and much more – and I am slowly trying to address them as naturally as possible – with a naturapath specialist. I have been on narcotic pain meds for several years now – this would be long-term – they still reduce the pain enough for me to be able to live and get out of bed in the morning. In a perfect world I would have the financial resources to pay to get regular massage, accupuncture, water-therapy, high quality bio-available supplements, organic anti-inflamnatory foods prepared for me, a team of specialists to help me figure out why my symptoms are so persistant and what to do about it. I don’t have that money – I am on disability – I do the best I can – but I wouldn’t be able to to any functioning without the pain medications I am on. Now it would be easy for anyone to be judgemental at this point and dismiss all of this as an addict talking. But that wouldn’t be the truth – not in my case and not in the case of many others. I have been on narcotic meds for many years and never abuse them, never had any problems with my doctor, she knows I am honest with her. I know many people who do need pain medications and to deny them can only be called cruelty. I would LOVE to be able to never take pain medications again – I know that they have negative effects on my body. But until I can find a livable alternative they are my only option – and this is true for many people with the severe pain symptoms. Studies like this one can be very dangerous and harmful to people like me. Studies are always used to support political agendas. Studies can be manipulated to say whatever you want them to say. Studies like this do not reflect my reality or the reality of a lot of other people – people who are severely chronically ill, do not have access to the holistic treatments that might – if applied consistenly and in the right manner – reduce pain significantly. Until the time when we know how to truly and effectively address pain issues in a humane manner, and the people that need it most (disabled and have little money) have access to this entire package of treatments required to address the pain, pain medications are essential for any quality of life. It is harmful beyond description to refuse to treat this degree of chronic pain, when all other treatments regularly AVAILABLE to the patient have been tried and fail to adequately control the pain. I would hope that the reality of unending pain with no hope of any relief will be taken into consideration by those who make the decisions about who does or doesn’t receive pain medications. I hope studies like this one don’t cause far more harm than good.

  2. sweetiesmom says:

    I agree with everything the first person who posted a comment said. I have been on disability and narcotic pain medication for more than a decade because of fibromyalgia. My doctor has had me try numerous other therapies and medications which I will not take the time to list here. The point I’d like to make is this: these scientists can do a hundred studies. It doesn’t change the fact that for many of us – very many of us — narcotic medications are the only medications that have been able to address the pain sufficiently to enable us to function in any capacity. That’s reality. Please respect it and don’t start making “protocols” and policy for treating fibro based on your studies.

  3. bfmanning says:

    I do not know where they came up with this study about narcotic pain medications not being helpful for people with Fibromyalgia, but I totally disagree with their findings. I have Fibromyalgia and I work regularly with clients that have it as well.

    Without hydrocodone, I would not be able to lead a functional life on the planet. For the majority of my clients, (but not all,) this is exactly the case.

    I suspect, just as April Dawn indicated here, that political agendas often get into the mix of these studies.

    I agree that there are many problems with the misuse of narcotic medications, but this is not an all or nothing/black and white issue.

    There is an appropriate, positive and reasonable use of narcotic pain medications in the treatment of Fibromyalgia–and all chronic pain afflictions. Until better medications and treatments can be developed, nothing I have tried, and I’ve tried most everything developed for the treatment of Fibromyalgia, helps enough, (and without unacceptable side effects.)

    Sadly and Gratefully, the use of narcotic pain medication is the only thing that has consistently and mercifully helped me.

    To not allow this is cruelty beyond measure or reasonableness.

  4. ldylarke says:

    I have been on the same medication since late 2011. Nucynta (like Tramadol but stronger with no side effect), has been the ONLY medication that has worked for me. I have had no long or short term side effects aside from a severe increase in pain when I can’t afford the pain medication during that month.

    I think these kinds of studies are meant to support doctors who want to lean away from providing deserved pain relief from their patients. To NEGLECT those patients who deserve pain relief.

    It’s incredibly difficult to even find pain relief when you have Fibromyalgia. It’s far, far worse when it’s nearly impossible to find a doctor who actually has experience with chronic pain, let alone want to treat you for it.

    It’s about damn time doctors stand up for their chronic pain patients and help find medication that really, truly works. Instead of try to cow us with studies meant to support doctors so they don’t have to bear the burden of providing pain medication to patients who truly deserve it.

    By the way, I do NOT abuse my medication. I have used it for over 3 years now. I’m not addicted. Nucynta does not cause withdrawal symptoms. Ask your *pharmacist* about Nucynta and then approach your doctor about it forearmed with the facts about this opioid that does not cause constipation, the zombie-like feeling nor even make you feel “high”. It simply relieves your pain, much like Tramadol, but stronger.


  5. Kricket9 says:

    You said it best. So well, in fact, I won’t put in my story…just that without oxycodone, I would be living in assisted living, but I have a fairly full life on 8 oxy’s per day. It just doesn’t replace the energy I’d like to have! My fibro is complicated by RA, OA and a completely worn out spine, so maybe I am out of line here, but all of these studies about narcotics and the fact that they do not work are, I believe, conducted in a manner (or skewed) so that results are negative. Doctors government issue stats to patients about older people who misuse their meds accidentally. This has caused an enormous rise in slowing narcotics prescribed in the US. I believe it is one of several “excuses” the docs use. They are also afraid (and rightly so) of getting written up by government and losing their privileges to prescribe such meds. I feel very bad for those patients who don’t have docs astute enough to handle this situation properly from the beginning so that they can take proper care of their patients. I believe many docs DO realize what we go through and that narcotics do help us, but they are unwilling, afraid or cannot prescribe them. Huge battle.

  6. a10342 says:

    After reading the article a few times, I was tempted to research the company who wrote this. Who are their connections? Politically funded? What brands of non-narcotic medications do they recommend, and if they have a vested interest in that company? But I realized that at this stage, it wasn’t worth the time spent researching this. Prior studies that I have read (repeating the same conclusion) essentially was researched with funding from the large pharmaceutical corporations, the AMA which leans heavily toward the Republican party and other businesses that manufactures “better” medications. Sadly not one was completely non-biased (no affiliations). I too have been dealing with fibromyalgia for six plus years now along with degenerative disc disease, cancer and other health issues. My doctor and I have tried the Cymbalta’s, Lyrica’s and more with results less than adequate. They made me anxious, emotional, yet nothing for the pain, absolutely nothing! I know of others with fibro that has had very good luck with these medications, and I am thrilled for them! We are all unique individuals therefore our pain is also unique. However, for me, and my pain, the only medications that truly allows me to live what life I have with reduced pain are the opiates. Because of my health issues, I can no longer work, it becomes a challenge to even go to the grocery store at times. For whatever reasons, there are many officals who are attempting to remove any or all opiate medications for fear of addiction. I am dependent upon my medications, but certainly not addicted to them as I need them for pain control, not for kicks! I feel that the powers that be have lost touch with their human side; sympathy, empathy, humanity are no longer in the equation. I feel that any research being done can be worded in such a way to accomplish what conclusions will serve the researchers better. I feel the best “research” would be to simply ask those who are inflicted with fibromyalgia or any other painful disease/syndromes. We are the ones experiencing the pain, the discomfort, and the side affects. We can tell those who want to know what it is like to live with such “hell on earth” on a daily basis. And now, because of such a small minority of fools abusing narcotics, all the rest of us must suffer; take away what seems to be the only true helpful medication. If it is to be of an opiate base, so be it. Until such time as a medication is found that happens to be non-narcotic yet relieves us of the horrific pain, leave those who need it alone. We have competent doctors who monitor us closely, keeping abreast of how we are doing, add, subtract certain medications, reduce or increase our dosages, whatever it takes to keep us comfortable. There are so many other comments above that certainly address this issue quite well. And it seems that we tend to agree that this study frankly is not right. If one wants to know something, go to an expert. If someone wants to know about pain, go to those who have chronic pain. We certainly will tell you in the most un-biased way that it hurts…alot!

    1. SemperFi says:

      One poster provided a link to an article which I partially quote, I suggest that you read it and at the same time do a good “between the lines” read. Its original publication date was January 1, 2010-

      “A little over a year ago there was another reason to do a longevity survey. At that time there was a vitriolic, anti-opioid propaganda campaign being waged. Some prominent academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, professional organizations, and journals, almost in UNISON…”(emphasis mine)

      I quote the article to point out that the apparent “unison” the author referred to was, in fact, the implementation of a well planned and a pre-planned attack that was designed to create a market for the product our military protects in Afghanistan. The CIA and the DEA have worked hand in hand behind the scenes to pummel state legislatures into enacting draconian anti-drug legislation with only one purpose in mind- selling heroin. Don’t believe me, look around.

      The deck is stacked. The decade of war to eradicate pain has morphed into the war against you and your doctor. Every time a new tougher law is enacted heroin availability skyrockets and a new wave of inmates crowd into the privatized prison system. Heads they win, tails we lose. The sickest most twisted part of it all, we pay them to do it to us. Your tax dollars at work.

    2. lorreann says:

      These studies are hurtful to those of us who do best on Opiate pain relievers. It will make it harder for doctors to justify prescribing pain medicine for us. I cannot take Tramadol (allergy and seizure risk) and I am functioning much better on Narcotic painkillers than the other options mentioned. Someone forgot to tell my body the results of this study!

  7. Fabulous says:

    First, I agree with all the other posts… Its going on 10 yrs. since I was diagnosed with FM along with RA, OA (with osteoporosis pending), deg. disc disease,countless other back problems,TMJ and restless leg syndrome. If it was not for the fact that I am Roman Catholic, I would have committed suicide 9 years ago. Not kidding.
    No one knows the hell we go through except those of us who have it. FM SHOULD be called a disease because it destroys our lives and the quality of it. I am so tired of people saying that I look just fine! Even with gabapentin and plethora of other drugs, I still suffer from horrible peripheral neuropathy in my feet and legs. Like others, I can barely leave the house except for doctor appts. and now the dentist since my dry mouth (caused by RA and FM) has destroyed my once perfect teeth. This is my life.
    Unfortunately, I live in Florida, where all the “pill mill” activity has made national attention and in my opinion has caused the backlash of being able to get painkillers (for those of us who REALLY NEED THEM). When I go to get my methadone ‘script filled, I am looked at like I’m a drug addict. My driver’s license is looked at scrupulously by minimum-wage paid pharmacy technicians. Walgreen’s is the only place around that even sells methadone anymore and most of the time they are out of it. And the “funny” thing is-now heroin use is becoming rampant here since they close all the “pill mills”!
    Anyone who says that opiates are not helpful for FM are idiots. Plain and simple. Or like others have stated, they have another agenda, political or pharmaceutical… Maybe they don’t work for everyone, but life would be unbearable for me if I didn’t have mine. I have been taking the same (low) dosage since I originally began taking it over 9 years ago. Hydrocodone didn’t work for me because the pain was so intense by the time it would work, so my doctor put me on the longer-acting methadone which worked like a charm. Some days I don’t need any, other days I need my full dose. I don’t like taking something if I don’t feel if I need it. Unlike gabapentin, which I take on a regular basis.
    I am tired of other people (i.e. politicians) telling me what is best for me. I am tired of people treating me as if I’m a recovering heroin addict because I take methadone. I regret telling my family this because they look at me the same way. I AM NOT AN ADDICT-EXCEPT TO NICOTINE! But hey, that’s okay… cause alot of stockholders are making money! To me its the same as telling a terminally ill cancer patients that they don’t want to give them painkillers because they’re afraid that they’ll get addicted to narcotics!
    This study is “skewed” by someone with an “agenda”. I am fortunate enough to have been going to my doctor for 30 years-before and after developing all my illnesses. And although all he can do is prescribe pills, that is enough for me. Like others here, I can’t afford massages, acupuncture, hydro-therapy, etc., so this is as good as it gets. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor, who trusts me, even tho’ now I have to be drug-tested 3 times a year now because of our wonderful governor Rick Scott. And medical-marijuana is now on the referendum; which is the only other thing that helps my muscle-spasms relax.
    Final thoughts: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE FM OR CHRONIC FATIGUE, MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS. WE ARE NOT ADDICTS-WE ARE REAL PEOPLE IN REAL PAIN. And have some humanity, it just may be YOU tomorrow who joins us…..

  8. AprilDawn says:

    I just read every single entry – all of which said the same thing I did (except one possibly). And I know (through support groups etc.) that there are many many people with FMS who have exactly the same experience – they are (were before becoming severely ill) smart, motivated, generous, “leave the world better than you found it” kind of people. They tried everything – all modalities – like I did – and although some things do help some symptoms – NOTHING reduced the severe disabling pain enough to make life livable. So what’s with this study? I also KNOW what the political environment is right now – how flat out hostile and war-like it is about using narcotic pain medications – REGARDLESS of how well it works or what it does for a person’s quality of life. Power is being taken from the doctors to treat their patients, they are being threatened and harassed. I is unbelievable. Now I take a LOT of high quality bioavailable supplements, I am trying my best to do things like gentle exercise in warm water, massage, using herbals etc. I would LOVE to be able to replace narcotics with these things – but it just hasn’t happened yet. And those other medications that are supposed to be so wonderful – cymbalta, Lyrica – THEY DO HAVE HORRIBLE and scary “SIDE-EFFECTS” AND I went throug SEVERE with-drawal when I did titrate off of them – so as far as I am concerned the lies that are flying around about treatments for pain are many and supported by lots of money and powerful companies/agencies/politics. I would LOVE to see a study done (and funded by) a group that is totally devoted to the humane treatment of those people in severe/disabling chronic pain – the ones who lost their jobs and most everything that brings them any quality of life DUE TO PAIN. Maybe the study was done with just people with mild symptoms – I don’t know – all I know is it would really be great to see some TRUTH on this site – reality based.

    1. herenow23 says:

      Without having access to the full article it is difficult (if I have that correct?) to make a real in depth understanding here. However, I get the jist of the article.

      Likely everyone is different regarding the management of pain. I would love to be able to have effective treatment on the underlying cause of disease (18 years now) along with certain environmental and/or less economic stress as a result of decisions made when I fell ill. I certainly believe it is likely to slowly reduce the use of “painkillers” when other treatments are included with effective outcomes. This however is not a simple issue the way our society “works”, or maybe better said, doesn’t work.

      I have a lot more to say regarding the management of pain and disease. However, my ideas are not locked into the box we have been programmed to buy into. I may find a place, maybe even here in this forum in the future, whereby I share my personal experiences regarding — “out of the box”, entirely free, effective and natural treatments.

      Most humans have lost their connection with nature. This is a global discussion we need to have, however it appears to me our societies cannot see the truth inside each and everyone of us. “When things change, change everything.”


    2. says:

      This study is so detrimental to patients living with intolerable and unbearable pain. Seriously Pro health shame on you. Who funded this flawed study? I normally post high star ratings to your articles for awareness. This is bs! Pain relief provides a better quality of life PERIOD! It is so hard to get an empathetic doctor or pharmacist in So FL where the DEA has diminished supplies available to chronic pain barely functioning patients and you publish this….. Seriously Pro Health what are you trying to peddle that is better than oxycodone? Tramadol, cymbalta, Lyrica, My Dr refused to give me Lyrica due to the horrible side effects. I am grateful I got myself off cymbalta. Horrible withdrawals. Had to use lexapro for a short time to stop the electric brain zaps. Treat the pain, prevent suicides and go back to advocating for the suffering patient. Who funded this ridiculous study? Patients are already treated with prejudices. Our advocates don’t need to make treatment harder but more accessible. Please give full access to this study, not abstract. You can’t compare the relief from oxycodone in the same sentence with tramadol. Please think of consequences before you publish bû**sh** like this.

    3. Bobby2004 says:

      I have had fibro since my Junior year of High School. At first, I accepted what the doctors were trying on me and thought that they “knew best.” By the end of my Senior year of High School I was on disability because of the fibro and my bipolar disorder. I had finally found a doctor who was willing to prescribe narcotic pain medication the summer before I started undergrad. Thanks to these medications I was able to complete two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Biology with two minors in Chemistry and German. And this past year I realized my ultimate dream of becoming a Veterinarian. I am currently on a one year trial-period with disability, to see if I can re-enter the workforce. I don’t enjoy being disabled, I was SO EXCITED this past year when I graduated from veterinary school. I had always loved horses, dogs, and cats, so I was excited when I had found a job right out of vet school working at a nice mixed animal (small and large animal) clinic, for the first three months I had fit in great (all my clients and patients loved me) and thought that within a year that I would be off of disability and have the career that I had ALWAYS dreamed of! This was the case until some Ativan, Morphine, and Ketamine had went missing from the clinic. Everyone working at the clinic was drug tested (I am currently on Duragesic patches and Norco for breakthrough pain) and even though my urine was CLEAN for the drugs that were stolen and they had caught the culprit (a technician at the clinic,) because of the fact that my drug screen was positive for the fentanyl patches and hydrocodone that I had produced a prescription from my doctor for, my employer contacted the state board of veterinary medicine and my license was put on immediate and indefinite suspension. I was also interrogated by the DEA about EVERY prescription that I had written or authorized. The DEA further called my prescribing Excessive, even though I had only written 17 controlled substance prescriptions in the six short months that I had practiced veterinary medicine, with only two of those prescriptions being for pain medications. I have been fighting a legal battle to get my license back and have had to get a forbarence on the payments of my $200,000 in student loan debt! It is the DEA, who literally bully doctors into being scared to write controlled substance prescriptions, particularly for narcotics. In veterinary medicine we are supposed to perform painful surgeries on animals and just use NSAIDS. Physicians are bullied even WORSE by the DEA than veterinarians are. Bottom line is that this study and the results were probably skewed by data from the DEA. The DEA is literally ruining peoples’ lives! I may lose my career that I had worked SO HARD to earn, because I am a Fibromyalgia patient who takes narcotic pain medications. All of us who have chronic pain conditions are being portrayed as “junkies,” and it NEEDS to STOP! This portrayal is just so unfair, since most people with chronic pain conditions do not abuse their prescription pain medication. The statistics are skewed by the DEA including data on people who are not in pain or people who “doctor shop,” when if they were to take a look ONLY at pain patients, whom are TRUELY IN PAIN their statistics would be much different and a LOT more accurate and reliable!

    4. LouisVA says:

      It seems to me that according to this study, Tramadol is a magic bullet; so much so, that I believe the study was done by the manufacturer of Tramadol.

      Granted, many people respond to different medications in different ways but this study sounds so one-sided that I can hardly believe what I am reading. I am almost 64 and have had fibro since childhood. I have tried every treatment known to medical science over the years and NOTHING has given me the relief I get from opioids. I am a poor metabolizer of opioids due to a genetic defect so I have been on an “ultra high-dose opioid treatment” for over 3 and a half years. My quality of life is better over the last 3 and a half years than it was when I was 20. “Prohealth” should be ashamed of putting this bogus study out. My experience seems similar to most of the other commenters. Tramadol works as well as a sugar pill as far as my pain goes. I might as well use homeopathy silliness as that works like Tramadol for me. Of course, the container for the diluted solution would have to be larger than our planet to hold the sugar pill. Opioids have been FAR, FAR superior than ANY other treatment!

    5. me/cfs says:

      I hope you don’t mind someone crossing over from the ME/CFS side to weigh in on this article.

      I was on hydrocodone for four years as a result of ME/CFS. Without it, I don’t think I would be here right now. It was the only thing that allowed me to cope with the pain. All of the other usual meds were tried, many with horrible side effects and some with no effect.

      When I see an article that downplays the effectiveness of medication that most patients find very effective, and that medication is not held under patent, then it seems rather obvious where the source of the information is coming from. Who else has anything to gain from funding such a study?

      Many people in the general public do not realize or stop to think that the job of drug companies or other large entities in the health care system is not to make them healthy. Their job is to make money and stay in business. Sometimes that will coincide with the public health, but often times it will be in direct conflict.

    6. LouisVA says:

      For anyone that is interested, compare this study with that of my own doctor, Dr. Forest Tennant who did a ten year study. See the article:

      Opioid Treatment 10-year Longevity Survey Final Report @

    7. mountainhigh says:

      I have had FM for about 15 years. I agree with all of the comments made above. I too have done lots of research and tried lots of drugs/supplements/treatments, etc. The thing that has worked best for me for the past 8 years has been a daily very low dose of methadone with tramadol for break-through. It is the only thing that has made it possible for me to lead a more normal life and luckily I have been able to convince my doctor of the necessity of my continued use of it. Methadone is tricky to use – you have to stick to a set amount each day and not take any more than that; hence the need for the tramadol. If someone doesn’t understand that you can’t just take more of it anytime you have more pain, they can end up dead. That’s why most doctors won’t even consider prescribing it. However, one of my previous doctors did and that’s what has worked best for me.

      One other note: the study says that participants on tramadol only had less outpatient doctor visits. Well, of course, they did. Most doctors don’t require you to see them as often for tramadol refills as they do for opiate refills. This study really was bogus!

  9. Minnie1217 says:

    Tramadol has SNRI activity. That means it is hundreds of times more difficult to withdraw from than any opioid pain reliever. It does have a stripped down codeine action as well, but that’s not as significant as the SNRI activity. Withdrawing from any serotonin releasing agent is brutal. I know that first-hand; trust me, people, you don’t want to go thru what I did. I’ve stopped my narcotic meds with little or no side effects, but the serotonin releasing agents? You could find yourself in the ER very quickly.

    Also in May of 2009, the DEA sent a warning letter to the manufacturer of this drug (Tramadol/Ultram) alleging that a promotional website commissioned by said manufacturer had overstated the efficacy and minimized the serious risks. The 2010 Physicians’ Desk Reference contains several warnings from the manufacturer which were not present in prior years. The warnings include stronger language regarding the habit-forming potential of tramadol, the possibility of difficulty breathing while on the medication, a new list of more serious side effects, and a notice that tramadol is not to be used in place of opiate medications for addicts. Tramadol is also not to be used in efforts to wean addict patients from opiate drugs, nor to be used to manage long-term opiate addiction. (Source Wikipedia)

    I’m in my mid-60s and have had fibro since I was a small child (although it didn’t have a name back then). I’ve been on opioids for the pain from the fibro and other existing conditions for almost 30 years. Do I tell anyone that I take these meds? Nope, absolutely not. People don’t understand. I’m thankful that I found a compassionate, understanding medical team that works with me. They actually had to convince me that I needed to take these meds, it took me quite a while to overcome the stigma attached to this type of medication.

    The dose I’m taking, while substantial, still barely touches my pain; but it at least allows me to be somewhat functional.

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