Thanks to FDA ,the State of Ohio, and lawsuit-fearing medical practitioners, my pain medication now has less acetaminophen in it and costs 125% more. Until this year, my doctor was able to write me a prescription for Vicodin with a 7.5/750 strength. If I take four of these a day, I am still 1,000 milligrams under the FDA’s recommended maximum daily dose of acetaminophen. The maximum dose my doctor can now prescribe is 7.5/325.
As you may know, we have an opioid epidemic in this country. Well, actually that is not correct. We have an Acetaminophen (Tylenol) epidemic. When people hear of someone overdosing on Vicodin and dying, they wrongly assume that the death was caused by the Hydrocodone part of the prescription. While taking too much Hydrocodone can suppress a person’s respiratory system and kill them, it is often the Acetaminophen that actually kills them.
If you watched Dr. House, you know that Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) was addicted to Vicodin, He was shown taking the drug by the handful. Every time I saw House down a handful of Vicodin I would laugh, knowing that in real life if he made a habit of downing that much Vicodin (along the booze he loved to drink) his liver would have quickly failed and he would have died.
People like me, who are chronically ill and have to deal with chronic, unrelenting pain on a daily basis, are often frustrated by our doctors and government treating us like we are drug addicts. We don’t abuse the drugs, we don’t pharmacy shop, we take them as prescribed, yet, because pill popping junkies are killing themselves, we have to suffer the consequences.
My doctor prescribes both of my narcotic medications with one refill. This means I have to go to his office every two months to get my prescriptions refilled. When I factor in the cost of the cost of the office visit, I am actually paying $225 for a two month supply of two cheap generic pain medications.
This is how life works, isn’t it? Those who play by the rules and act responsibly end up paying for those who won’t. I recognize that opiates need to be regulated and controlled. I know they are, in the wrong hands, dangerous drugs that can kill someone if they are abused or misused. But must everyone be treated like they are an addict looking to score some vikes/hydros? In this modern day of technology and digitized medical records, surely pharmacies and doctors can track opioid use and easily know who is abusing the drugs and who is not.