View Full Version : **NEED HELP** Any pain killer alternatives that don't cause nausea??
11-06-2007, 08:41 PM
My mom had knee surgery last Wednesday and has been having an EXTREMELY hard time with her pain medication and has been in misery nearly 24 hours a day. The problem is that so far, every pain killer they've tried causes her to have very bad nausea and she's been throwing up all the time. They also have given her a couple different things for the nausea, but neither the pain killers nor the nausea medication work because they keep coming up.
She HAS to do therapy 2x day, moving the knee and leg in all different directions which is extremely painful. She knows she needs to do this (and is religiously doing them), but she is basically doing this without the benefit of pain medication to take at least the edge off of her pain. She is most upset that she has to deal with the pain continually, there is no reprieve. She is having trouble sleeping and she is just getting overwhelmed since the pain is unbearable.
When it gets bad enough, she tries the pain medication again, but that just triggers the whole nausea reaction over again. Last night she threw up at least 20 times. They called the doctor today but the phone call was never returned. They are going to call first thing tomorrow to explain how horrible this is for her, but my dad asked me if I could post on here to see if perhaps any of you have ideas for alternatives to the pain medications they have already tried.
The medications tried already are:
Tylenol #3 (prescription strength with codeine, I believe)
All of these cause nausea for her. Does anyone have knowledge of pain killers to know any other options she could try? Any help is greatly appreciated, she is really having a hard time... she was crying on the phone because of the pain and the frustration at either being sick or continually in pain, or both.
11-06-2007, 08:44 PM
Poor thing! Has she tried taking a Phenergan for nausea an hour before she takes the pain med?
It's really a wonder drug for nausea if it gets the chance.
11-06-2007, 08:47 PM
I have the same problem and the Tylenol#3 is the only thing that has ever worked for me. I see she has already tried that. The only thing I can offer is:hug: and I hope you find a solution soon.
11-06-2007, 08:47 PM
I had a hard time with the pain meds too.....so I had to eat at least a half hour before I took the pills.....it is sort of like having a buffer there to let the pills land and not kill my stomach......and make me sick
11-06-2007, 08:51 PM
It may be trial and error for her, unfortuntely, as medications affect everyone differently. They might try her on a anti-nausea med prior to taking the pain pills to help.
11-06-2007, 08:58 PM
You can ask her doctor for pain medication patches. I'm not sure which medication it is, but its like a nicotine patch.
How awful! I might not be as sensitive to any nausea-inducing effects of pain meds, but I've had excellent results with both Vicodin and Tramadol. I actually took the Tramadol to stave off a migraine that was starting about half an hour before the St. Louis Marathon and not only did it kill the headache and not mess with my stomach, I also felt NO pain whatsoever anywhere else. Unfortunately, I tore a muscle in my hip at some point during the race and didn't realize it till 3:00 that afternoon, so it might've been a little too effective.
Hope your mom's feeling better soon!
11-06-2007, 09:04 PM
Last summer I got all four wisdom-teeth removed and it turned out I was allergic to the anestisia :scared1: so i was very nauseaus and I kept vomiting. So they finally decided it was ok to give me pepto bismol, and it actually stayed down and allowed me to take my pain meds. it seems simple but it worked for me! i hope she gets to feeling better soon! :)
11-06-2007, 09:07 PM
I've been taking Zofran - much, much stronger than phenagren and it works extremely well for severe nausea.. It's pricey though - $889 for 60 of the generic brand.. The co-pay varies according to her health insurance plan, but if she has a "maximum" yearly drug benefit she would need to be careful because the actual cost ($889) is what comes out of her max..
The pain "patch" might be more tolerable if nothing relieves the nausea because it's not going "through" her stomach..
Poor thing.. Hope she gets some relief soon.. Being in pain is bad enough (and that knee surgery and the exercises after certainly are painful!) - but then vomiting too? I feel sooooo bad for her.. :(
11-06-2007, 09:09 PM
Another vote here for Phenargan as an anti-nausea. It comes as a suppository or a pill. The pill is handy if you have to carry it around, but the suppository is better if you're actually throwing up.
Also, I can't use Dilaudid or Vicodan because they make me so nauseated, but I can use Percocet. She might have issues with Percocet, but not with one of the others. She should get her doc to try one of the others.
11-06-2007, 09:09 PM
I had good luck with demoral (though my mom had a nausea reaction to it), but it's also a bit too addictive, and I had to be careful.
I've had percocet before, and it didn't even take any edge off of pain, so it didn't really matter if it made me nauseous. Also, is percocet the one with codeine in it? If so, with that and with the Tylenol 3, I hope she's on a stool softener or laxative, b/c codeine will stop up her system.
How about ibuprofen? I took 600mg ibuprofen once and had NO pain. Sure, it made me hallucinate, but there was very little pain.
Lastly...if she's at all interested in another sort of pain med that *might* help at least somewhat...arnica is amazing. It's homeopathic and not necessarily what one would reach for post-op, but I've known people who have had major abdominal surgery not need any other Western pain medicine, when they are taking arnica. It also promotes healing, which is an extra benefit!
Good luck to your mom!
11-06-2007, 09:18 PM
Thank you all for your suggestions so far; I will email them to my dad right away. If anyone else has additional suggestions, please let me know, I'll keep checking back.
Also, some people mentioned about a pain medication patch. I believe she did have that while she was still in the hospital but I guess it must not have worked for her.
She was so happy the first day after surgery because she wasn't having any ill-effects from the medication, which she was expecting because she's had the nausea reaction in the past. Then that evening hit, and that's when it all started and hasn't stopped since.
11-06-2007, 09:54 PM
Vicodin. It worked wonders for me after my surgery. No nausea, just took the pain away. Used it for about 3 weeks, and then didn't need it anymore.
11-06-2007, 10:28 PM
Anything with codeine makes me extremely nauseous.
11-06-2007, 10:31 PM
Anything with codeine makes me extremely nauseous.
DD has the same problem.. Codeine used to be the best thing for me - now suddenly I find it no longer agrees with me at all..:confused3
11-06-2007, 11:26 PM
Is there a reason she can't take NSAIDs like motrin? I would try that along with a PPI to protect her stomach. The key, however, will be to take it around the clock, not just when there's pain. It's easier to keep pain away than it is to treat it when it comes. Pain is usually caused by inflammation and the NSAID is an anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal). Some people like to take tylenol as well, but it shouldn't be necessary if the motrin is being taken correctly - ie every 6 to 8 hours. Good luck. Knee surgery is known to have a very painful recovery. PS I don't do well with codeine based products, either.
11-06-2007, 11:54 PM
Some years ago my DS had her wisdom teeth romoved and had the same nausea problem. They gave her a pain medication which was in a nasal spray form . It worked beautifully-no nausea. I think the name was Stadol. I have no idea if this medicine is still available but it's worth checking.
11-07-2007, 12:10 AM
dw has been taking some tramdol and althought it doesn't help as much as vicodin will, it's non-narcotic. i'd try that.
11-07-2007, 06:27 AM
Oxycontin, Vicodin, Fentanyl (patch), Dilaudid, Ultracet...
The trick with opiates is to make sure you've eaten enough. You'll get incredibly nauseaous if you haven't eaten enough and then take an opiate. Also, take a look at the dosage. Opiates are the kind of thing you have to work up to. If you've never taken an opiate before and then you decide to eat a 10mg Percocet, you'll get really sick.
11-07-2007, 06:29 AM
In the hospital I made them cut them, I took 1/4 Percocet and then 1/4 again 2 hrs later and did fine. I once took 1 whole and got sooo ill. 1/4 works good if you keep up with it.
11-07-2007, 06:33 AM
My mom had luck with the addition of Fenagren (sorry for the phonetic spelling!) to both Demoral and the percoset.
Otherwise they made her so miserable.
Frankly, though, the non narcotic nsaids kill pain better when taken as directed. (per double blind studies.)
11-07-2007, 07:07 AM
I have very strong aversions to pain medicines. Like your mom most cause nausea, vomiting or extreme fatigue. There are meds out there that will help. Tell her to strongly explain the situation to the doctor. Anti-nausea meds did work for me but then all I could do was sleep. A nurse friend told me the name of a very common pain med used that doesn't have these side effects but I'm sorry I can't remember the name. My friend said that doctors often just prescribe what is the easiest for them....you often have to make them work to find a better solution. Good luck to your mom.
11-07-2007, 10:58 AM
Again, thanks for your tips; I just keep passing them along to my dad. I haven't checked in yet today to see if they were able to get hold of the doctor.
Is there a reason she can't take NSAIDs like motrin? I would try that along with a PPI to protect her stomach. The key, however, will be to take it around the clock, not just when there's pain. It's easier to keep pain away than it is to treat it when it comes. Pain is usually caused by inflammation and the NSAID is an anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal). Some people like to take tylenol as well, but it shouldn't be necessary if the motrin is being taken correctly - ie every 6 to 8 hours. Good luck. Knee surgery is known to have a very painful recovery. PS I don't do well with codeine based products, either.I think worst thing of this situation is that she has NO reprieve from the pain... it is a constant. That is what's killing her, the fact that she is in agony at any given moment, and since she can't hold down the pain medicine the pain is not getting reduced. Of course severe nausea on top of that is making it miserable.
Thanks for the helpful info; I'm sending it along to them so they have as much to go by as possible.
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