Oxycontin And Back Pain


Oxycontin is a narcotic painkiller recommended for pain, which has been found to have mixed results. Although many have been benefitted by using this drug in relieving long-term back issues, some had fallen prey to it by inhibiting addiction resulting in death because of overdose. Oxycontin and back pain are correlated in both beneficial and harmful ways. While it may help in reducing chronic back soreness substantially, the addiction part of it may have a killer effect. Many instances have been found where people have become seriously addicted to Oxycontin have ultimately become physically impaired and had to rely on the help of others for every movement of their body.



Oxycontin And Back Pain

Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin and other similar prescription pain medicines.

Driving home from a hunting trip in 2008, Johnny Sullivan called his wife to say he was having trouble staying awake.
It was early afternoon, but Mary Lou Sullivan wasn’t surprised. Her husband was a long-time user of the narcotic painkiller OxyContin (oxycodone) and frequently dozed off as a side effect,sometimes in the middle of chewing his food.


About 10 years earlier, Sullivan and six other chronic pain sufferers had been featured in a Purdue Pharma promotional video for the drug, which Purdue makes. In the video, Sullivan stood at a construction site and talked about how the powerful narcotic eased his back pain and enabled him to run his company again.


But a few years after being prescribed OxyContin, Sullivan became addicted to it and other prescription opioids, his family said. That afternoon in 2008, Sullivan, 52, fell asleep while driving and flipped his truck on a country road in North Carolina.


“I told my sons one day ‘that medicine is going to kill him,'” his widow said.


Against that background, the Purdue promotional video emerges as a case study of marketing running ahead of science in the pursuit of the bottom line.


The video, made 14 years ago, showcased ordinary people who spoke glowingly of their experiences with OxyContin.


· Two of the seven patients died as active opioid abusers.


· A third became addicted, suffered greatly, and quit after realizing she was headed for an overdose.


· Three patients still say the drug helped them cope with their pain and improved their quality of life.


· A seventh patient declined to answer questions.


But when it works…


Three patients in the video say they have greatly benefited from taking OxyContin to manage their long-term pain. Two of the women had severe, debilitating conditions while the third has taken the powerful painkiller for nearly 15 years to deal with back pain.


Mary Dell, who asked that her last name not be used, said in the video that she felt normal for the first time in a decade after taking OxyContin. She had undergone spinal surgery and suffered from back pain for years.


Mary Dell, now 73 and a biotechnology researcher in North Carolina, said not much has changed for her since the video was filmed. She still takes OxyContin every day.


“I would not be able to do the work I love here if I did not take the medicine,” she said. “I would be lying on the bed with a heating pad.”


OxyContin also made life livable for Dorothy, a patient who asked that she be identified only by her first name.


Dorothy appeared in the video wearing a neck brace. She had been in a car accident five years earlier and had spent the time since trying to control her neck and back pain. At times, she was in so much pain she felt like a “badly injured animal” with no appetite. She remembered staring at a salad one day, unable to move to put the food in her mouth. Riding in a car was unbearable, she said.


The last ride


Opioids didn’t just make Johnny Sullivan sleepy. They overpowered him, said his widow Mary Lou.


“He would fall asleep while we were eating,” she said. “I’d hear him gasping for breath.”


Early on, the drug seemed to help Sullivan, his wife said.


But then his doses had to be increased.


Sullivan had been prescribed both OxyContin and morphine. He alternated between the drugs and made sure they were never out of reach.


He kept a pouch filled with pills hidden under the seat of his pickup truck. Mary Lou said she did not know which drug he was taking at the time of the accident and a blood test was never done.


At least twice he was taken to the hospital because of an accidental overdose, Mary Lou said.


One trip to the hospital began with a strange incident at a restaurant.


“He had a hamburger, but instead of biting the hamburger he would actually be biting his hand,” she said.


Mary Lou took him the emergency room and he was put in intensive care for 24 hours, but he never remembered the incident.


As time went on, the drug had more profound affects, Mary Lou said.


She had to put on his socks and shoes, shave him and wash his hair.


Sullivan’s family said they were hesitant to confront him about his addiction because they knew he was in pain.


Read more of the article



When discussing Oxycontin and back pain, the main concern is due to its potential harmful addictive effect in the long-run. Although being effective in providing relief for chronic back pain, using it for long periods can cause problems that may be lifelong, but this may be attributed to the variations of behaviour from person to person. If you become addicted, it is a long road out. Sticking to the recommended dose and try and wean yourself of as soon as possible.



Oxycodone and its long-acting form Oxycontin gets the most publicity and is the market share leader in the category of opioid pain medications used for moderate to severe pain. Video by Dr. Shearing – Medical Director of Pain Management North.




Prescribers and the public have been misinformed about the risk of addiction when chronic pain is treated with opioids. This has led to overprescribing of opioids and the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. This video is from the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.





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