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Morphine resistance
SDaveO posted:
I had a quad CABG 2 years ago and was told I was morphine resistant. What I was told literally was I was trying to pull my ventilator tube out and they tried to put me out with morphine 'We gave you enough to put a horse down and it did nothing. This fits with my experience that most pain meds don't seem to work for me.

Last month I had a bi-lateral TKA. I discussed what I'd been told with my surgeon and hospital staff. There seemed to be no concept that morphine or its derivatives didn't work for me. One evening I was given two percocet, a muscle relaxant, a sleeping pill, a time release oxycontin (basically the kitchen sink) and watched TV for three hours while nurses came and went. While the nurses seemed quite surprised that I wasn't asleep and had little pain relieft no changes were made.

I usually have a pretty good tolerance for pain but this procedure exceeded anything I've ever experienced and the discomfort even with pain meds was extreme.

Now at five weeks post-op pain really isn't that big an issue. But my question is/are: Are there alternatives to morphine and morphine derivate pain meds that are effective for 'morphine resistant' patients. Is there a good source of information on this condition and what I might discuss with my doctors in the event I need pain control in future?

Your attention is appreciated.


annette030 responded:
I would talk to your doctor about genetic testing. I believe I have read somewhere that certain people are genetically different and respond to opiates differently than other people.

I would ask to find out about this now, not when you need the meds.

Take care, Annette
SDaveO replied to annette030's response:
Thanks. I'll have to check into genetic testing. I am native american and morphine resistance runs about 25% in the popluation at large.
BeckyB2010 replied to SDaveO's response:
Hi, How interesting this is to me. I, too, am morphine resistant which I have learned by experience during 14 knee surgeries over the past 12 years. The only drug that works on me post-op is Fentenal with hydrocodone or Percocet as a follow-up medication. I can't tell you how much suffering I have gone thru learning this about myself and standing my ground with medical personell when I have surgery. Demeral is another medication that does not work for me. I finally listed Morphine and Demeral as allergies and they quit trying to use them on me. Interestingly, my father who recently passed away from pancreatic cancer was non-responsive to morphine as well and was pain-fee to the end on hydrocodone. We are 1/8 Choctaw.
SDaveO replied to BeckyB2010's response:
BeckyB2010 ,

There's the native american connection again. I've seen statistics but never a cause of alternative.

Fentanyl (seems to be several different valid spellings) is what was used for pain management after my bypass. I have had no luck getting this outside of ICU. I'm glad you've found a doctor that will address your pain but sounds like it's been an uphill fight for you too.

Good luck in future.

annette030 replied to SDaveO's response:
I think it is worthwhile to at least talk to your doctor about it. Far better to know now, than after you need it and you hurt unnecessarily.

Let me know how it goes for you.

Take care, Annette
MMVincent1 responded:
I just had full knee replacement and I had told my doctor that I thought I was morphine resistant but sure enough, I was given morphine 4 times, in increasing dosages before my plea was heard. I had found out about the resistance a few years ago when I broke the transverse processes on L3 and 4 at a riding accident and an emergency Dr. gave me so much of it that I should have been jogging home but I still could not walk. He finally gave in and had a ambulance take me home but not before letting me know that he thought I was putting on a show. A few years later, when having Thyroid surgery, I requested something other than Morphine; I was given Demerol without a problem.
Why are doctors not listening???

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Peter Abaci, MD , is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Abaci received his undergraduate educat...More

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