Long full busy work days for many lupus patients can end in evenings filled with exhaustion and fatigue. It seems activity and responsibility don’t really slow down to accommodate this lupus patient, so the “break” she keeps wistfully hoping will be just around the next corner, just isn’t. Recent days at home and work have been especially busy and tiring, so, as result recent increases in lupus leg neuropathy thwart all natural efforts to obtain a restful night’s sleep.
This irritating neuropathy pain that gnaws at nerve endings and burns throughout lower limbs makes falling asleep nearly impossible. Reluctantly reaching for Tramadol pain medication proves to be the sole effective pain escape and solution. Meanwhile, hope persists that Benlysta infusions will soon ease lupus symptoms, and start making a change in a recent cycle of pain and lost sleep.
Tramadol is one of those drugs that is on the fence between narcotic and analgesic. It interacts powerfully with opiate receptors in the brain, but still allows a good degree of mental clarity with less grogginess than standard narcotics. However, although it is classified as an analgesic, I have heard from my pharmacists that it has similar narcotic addictive or habit-forming properties as opiates, and that some patients have had to enter rehab programs to break their dependency upon it. It has been described as a drug of potential for abuse and habit-forming.
Several years ago, when I was suffering extended excruciating lupus joint pain, I went through a period of several months when I was taking the maximum permitted daily doses of Tramadol, but my pain was still unabated. Even the maximum dosing was insufficient. My husband initiated some serious conversations with me about the effect the drug was having on me psychologically, and gently helped me grapple with the realization that the medication had begun to encourage self-defeating behaviors. We talked to my doctor about it, and he encouraged backing off my use of the medication.
Greatly heightened accountability was needed. My husband carefully and intentionally encouraged me through weaning off my excessive dependance upon Tramadol pain medication. Then, I began following a self-imposed stringent rule, which I have strictly followed even up to last night’s intense neuropathy pain. Each time I take any dose of pain medication, I report it to my husband. He is told exactly when, how often and how much I have taken.
Over the past dozen years, this accountability has helped me use pain medication in a more responsible and reasonable way. Accountability was a key to appropriate use of pain relieving medications.