Will I become addicted to the pain medications I may need during my cancer treatment?

Pictured: Natalie Moryl (Khojainova), MD

Pain specialist Natalie Moryl

Although many cancer patients never have pain from their disease or its treatment, the possibility of experiencing this symptom is often a cause of great anxiety for those who are newly diagnosed.

What’s more, patients who do have pain are often reluctant to ask for pain medications or even admit they need them because they worry they will become addicted. In particular, they fear addiction to opioids such as morphine and oxycodone, which are frequently prescribed by cancer doctors.

Memorial Sloan Kettering physician Natalie Moryl specializes in treating pain and other cancer-related symptoms. She says concern over opioid addiction has been a longstanding barrier to controlling pain effectively in cancer patients. In almost all cases, this fear is groundless.

“Cancer patients rarely become addicted to medications prescribed for cancer-related pain,” she says. “If the patient takes the medication exactly as prescribed and follows the directions of the physician, we see very little reason to be concerned.”

Dr. Moryl explains that cancer patients with a history of substance abuse receive additional counseling and may require more frequent clinic visits. Their pain treatment may have to be adjusted to minimize the risk of substance-abuse relapse. They also may need a few additional layers of support such as social workers, psychiatrists, and drug rehabilitation centers.

Opioid Misconceptions

The widespread misgivings about opioid use may rest on a failure to understand the difference between physical dependence on a drug — which is temporary and usually no cause for worry — and actual addiction. Patients usually become physically dependent after taking opioids for more than a few days or weeks, but this dependence is a normal part of proper pain treatment.

“Most of our patients have no problem stopping opioids as long as we taper the amount slowly, usually over a few weeks,” says Dr. Moryl, who serves on the Adult Cancer Pain Panel for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of 23 of the world’s leading cancer centers that develops evidence-based treatment guidelines for most cancers and cancer-related symptoms including pain.

“Even if opioid withdrawal symptoms do occur, they are usually short lived,” she adds. “Although opiates are more publicly scrutinized than some other pain medications, they do not cause any permanent or irreversible organ toxicity, and any side effects will stop after the patient discontinues the drug. With long-term use, they are often much safer than pain medications you could get over the counter.”

Dr. Moryl says that increased media coverage of opioid abuse in society over the last few years, especially prescription painkillers outside the hospital setting, may have heightened worries about addiction among cancer patients.

“The government has become concerned about side effects and death associated with opioids — it’s been called a new epidemic,” she says. “But most emergency room visits and deaths related to opioids are seen in the non-cancer community. In a majority of cases, the person abusing the drug is not even the person for whom the medication was prescribed. This type of abuse is more of a societal problem than a medical one. It’s not really an issue in the cancer population.”

Another emerging barrier is a backlash from pharmacies and insurance companies working to control the increase in abuse and overdose. “When patients with severe cancer pain pick up pain medication prescribed by their oncologist or pain physician, the local pharmacy or insurance company may at times ask questions that make some patients feel they are taking or wanting ‘too much’ medication,” Dr. Moryl explains.

She says that while more patients seem to be asking about the possibility of addiction, she is usually able to put their fears to rest, explaining that the likelihood for most people is very low.

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Pain Relief Is Essential to Good Care

Apart from fears of addiction, Dr. Moryl says cancer patients, especially elderly people, are sometimes afraid to report pain because they fear decline of cognitive function and loss of independence that may result from taking any sedating medications, including opioids. They also are concerned that their cancer treatment may be withheld if they report too much pain.

“I’m still surprised at how much stigma cancer patients may carry and how much shame they associate with taking opioids,” she says. “Recently, I had a patient with advanced kidney cancer who was very reluctant to increase her medications despite being in so much pain she couldn’t sit down to be examined. Even though we were discussing hospice care, she did not feel comfortable increasing her dose because someone outside our hospital had told her the dose she was taking was high.”

Dr. Moryl emphasizes that cancer patients should understand that pain relief is not a sign of weakness but an essential part of their care. Uncontrolled pain decreases a patient’s quality of life, mobility, ability to go to medical appointments, and in some cases ability to continue essential treatment that may cause pain as a side effect.

“I’ve seen patients decide to stop life-prolonging or life-preserving treatment because of pain that could be controlled,” she says. “It’s a shame people think they have to live with pain when we have medications that could help.”

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This article was very timely for me. I am trying to wean myself off of my pain meds. I definitely feel that uncontrolled pain does more harm than good when recovering from cancer surgery. The pain med goes to the pain receptors. Thank you for clarifying this and discussing the fear of addiction for those of us who are not abusers of these meds. This was much appreciated.

I have had Lymphoma for just under a year now and have gone through CHOP, ICE and Rituximab - I have had the same type of worries about taking opioids due to the fact I know I have an additive personality. I made this clear to my doctors and they said that I should not worry about it. I took probably 6 or 7 rounds of Oxycodone - it basically made me sick every time I took it - I would just feel completely out of it and couldn't focus on anything. So it was safe to say that I didn't grow any type of addiction to them. I think it would be interesting to hear the doctors view on Lorazapane - this was an extremely effect drug for me during the hard times - especially when the side effects where strongest. I watched my behavior and released I was taking too much of this drug - kind of put me in La La land when I wanted to get away. I am happy to say I realized I was over doing it with this drug. It was just something that was giving me an escape instead of dealing with the disease. I now only take it when the times get really bad – Great article!!

Dr. Moryl has been treating my husband for chronic pain for many years. Her extensive knowledge,is matched by her compassion. Don't know what we would without her.

Thankful for reading this! I have stage 4 breast cancer w mets to the bone. I have a TON of pain on a daily constant basis. One if the things I struggle with is the stigma of being on opioids. I know I shouldn't because I actually need to have round the clock pain management, but I often feel ashamed if I have to go up in dosing on my pain meds. It's something the Dr's at Sloan have helped me deal with by explaining to me and reassuring me. They are right. I've tried to taper down and the pain is so unbearable that I can't. I've learned there's no shame in it. It's ok to take these meds! I deserve a quality of life! This article means a lot to me. I almost became a patient of Dr. Moryl! But I have Dr. Cubert instead, he's been wonderful. Sloan Kettering really cares about their patients quality of life. I've had the office team work very hard getting my insurance to cover my expensive pain meds! It saddens me that there is such an epidemic and stigma that the insurance companies can deny a cancer patient pain meds. It's unreal. I am thankful that my team at Sloan cares about patients comfort and fights hard for us to have access to a "normal" way of life.
Thank you Dr. Moryl for this article! :)

Dr. Moryl shouldn't be defending the use of suboptimal and dangerous treatments like opioids- he should be calling for better medications. We all know that doctors are addicted to using opioids for they lack education in pain care-and refuse to have education in pain care. And so regretfully doctors like Dr Moryl dont know how to use treatments like electrotherapy, scs, scrambler therapy, ultrasound patches, etc. Moreover Dr. Moryl fails to recognize that opioids dont work for neuropathic pain that is not uncommon in cancer.

Dear Dave, We reached out to Dr. Moryl. She writes: “Fortunately, at MSKCC we have access to most of the FDA-approved pain treatment modalities. Every modality has its advantages as well as side effects that MSKCC doctors are experienced with. Each patient’s treatment strategy is decided individually. If needed, consultation is done with Rehabilitation and Anesthesia Pain groups that help with nerve blocks and implanted devices such as spinal cord stimulators (SCS) or other devices. Fortunately, most cancer pain management doesn’t require such surgically implanted devices. Opioids, along with other medications often used for cancer pain (including neuropathic pain), are effective in the majority of cases.”

Dr. Moryl, if you could offer me some advice God bless you, I have breast cancer and was prescribed pain meds when it was found in the bone. I am finished treatment except for maintainence but i am still taking about 30 mg of oxycodone a day, I am so depressed and feel no good because i cant seem to stop although i rarely go over that amount i am afraid to be black listed if i ask for help will my dr. abandon me will insurance do the same if I need meds in the future will i be able to get them i am 61 and did not ask for this i nned help i feel alone and ashamed. God be with you i feel like i am nothing,

Michele, we consulted with Dr. Moryl about your question and she provided this response:

“Thank you for your question. I recommend that you discuss your concerns with your oncologist who may address this with you or refer you to a pain specialist. A pain specialist will interview and examine you to help you decide if you should continue your pain medication or should try to taper it down and even stop. If you have withdrawal symptoms when you are trying to stop I would definitely recommend a consultation with a pain specialist who would guide you through the process and help address your symptoms as you are tapering down your medications. This is just another part of your treatment. Your doctor’s team may help you work with the insurance company as well.”

In addition to this input from Dr. Moryl, you also might contact Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Counseling Center to learn about the services they offer. The center can be reached at 646-888-0100 or go to:


Pain medication has become part of my life. A small price to pay for surviving two cancers. Making the decision to use a medication that may be seen as addictive was not easy. I began to look at as If I was diabetic. I would take daily injections. I could have a heart issues which required that I take medications daily also. The conclusion I came to was that if I had a different medical issue other than pain, that required daily medication for the rest of my life, of course, I would take it. Why should pain be different? My pain is a medical condition with a name, radiation fibrosis. The medication prescribed helps me live with less pain. I applaud the physicians that are knowledgable enough and brave enough to write my monthly scripts.

Opioids are not effective for neuropathic pain as Dr Moryl suggests. In addition, to say Sloan Kettering will make available alternative treatments when needed is indication that Sloan Kettering is just promoting the opioid economy for opioids should not be the first line of treatment for cancer pain- as opioids can lower immunity and spread cancer. I regret that dr. Moryl has failed to indicate knowledge of such- but I am not surprised. If Dr Moryl would like to openly discuss proper pain care of people with cancer or painful conditions- let her know this pain care advocates dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is well methylated for such discussion.

Thus, would it say pain killers also the danger of heart attack, or the underlying pain/disease/inflammation that leads people to chronic use of pain medication? Better avoid pain killers if you want than first consult your doctor than take it.

I am thankful for insightful pain doctors. I survived advanced metastic breast cancer stage 3c a very aggressive form. I had to endure high doses of chemo which included Taxol. I was left with CIPN: chemically induced peripheral neuropathy that has severely affected my life. Traditional nerve pills such as neurotin and lyrics actually made my nerves more sensitive. I tried all of the other non drug therapies which "Dave" above recommended and to no avail. At only 43, a single mother, I needed to be able to work. I was recommended to a wonderful pain management Dr in my area. He also has a psychologist in his office. Both convinced me to try the Morphine treatment and I am able to work without too many days missed due to horrible pain. Dave some neurologic pain does respond to narcotics. Trust me my quality of life was horrible due to my uncontrolled pain from chemo damaged nerves. My pain is like my lower leg bones and feet have been beaten by a baseball bat. I do not believe in doctors throwing medications at people, but just like insulin for diabetics, some of us whose bodies were permanently damaged by the treatments to save our lives, need narcotic medications to be able to be productive members of society and enjoy our lives. Being treated like we are criminals is frustrating and also cancer related pain is nothing like any pain I have ever experienced and I would not wish CIPN on my worst enemy. Thank you for an insightful article from a knowledgeable doctor who cares.

We had a patient who was on stable dose of opiates for > 2 weeks and had a pain relieving interventional procedure which eliminated the pain...he then became narcotised when given his normal dose of opiates. How is this physiologically possible. ?

Sloan is notorious for over medicating patients with pain medicine . My son became quickly dependent on the medicine . The pain he was experiencing in his stomach was caused by all the narcotics which slow the bowels down . The oncologist refused to call a GI consult for weeks until I finally insisted by getting the administration involved . The GI doctor found it was something unrelated to the cancer .
Sloan gave him his own push pump for the pain medicine . They just didn't care enough to find out why he was having pain in his stomach . It's just easier to medicate patients . He is now going through a lot of suffering trying to get off these pain meds . The Doctors don't have any idea what happens after they leave sloan and don't understand the negative consequences of their actions .

Suzanne, we’re sorry that your son had this experience. If you’d like to discuss it further with someone at MSK, our Patient Representatives are committed to ensuring that your rights are respected and that your concerns are addressed. You can contact them directly at 212-639-7202 to discuss this in more detail. Thank you for your comment.

My 95 year old mother was diagnosed with colon cancer which has spread to her liver. She is in hospice care at a skilled care facility. She is given a low dose of Vicodin in the AM and at bedtime which I feel has managed any pain but unfortunately has turned her mind to mush as one of my sisters stated. This sister is recommending taking mom off the Vicodin and using Tylenol. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. Is there one opioid that might work better for a 95 year old?

Dear Janet, we are sorry to hear about your mother. It is important to keep her pain under control while doing as much as possible to maintain her quality of life. We can’t make any specific medical recommendations for her on our blog, so we would encourage you to go back to her treating physician to see if there are any other options available that might work better for her particular circumstances. Thank you for reaching out to us.

People like "Dave" really upset me. It's people like him who feed the paranoia of pharmacists, the FDA, and most doctors. Dave is either a doctor who thrives on shaming his patients for requesting pain relief, a pharmacist who has absolutely no regard for what pain can do to someone, or is just a person who is completely unqualified to discuss the "evils" of opiates.

I'm in so much pain that I think 100 years ago I would have killed myself... but then I remember that you could pretty much buy opiates over the counter and realize that I'd have been more comfortable back then than I am now.

I don't have a solid diagnosis yet, although it's clear I have some type of autoimmune condition. At this point, it is looking strongly like I have some sort of nasal cavity cancer and have been suffering paraneoplastic syndrome problems for years.

If Dave is just a regular person, he's either a know it all who thinks he's better than everyone else (like the women who shame other women for formula feeding their babies) or he's never been in pain. If he does suffer from chronic pain, I'm glad that alternative methods work for him, but they do nothing for me. In fact, physical therapy was so bad that I thought I was going to die from the pain I felt after every appointment.

If he's just a random guy who has never been in chronic pain, he should honestly just shut up.

If he's a medical professional who has some irrational hatred of opiates, then I say to him "walk a day in our shoes... walk an HOUR in our shoes... you'll be begging for pain relief." I have tried basically everything, medicine or alternative. Nothing helps except norco. Literally... norco. That's it. My pain is both chronic and acute... that seems like an oxymoron, but it's not. I literally suffer from acute pain all the time. Every day, at different times, I can't think from the pain. It really upsets me when people who have never felt the pain I feel try to say I shouldn't take opiates. They are so paranoid that even with my history of filling my prescription every month at the same time, this last month a pharmacist gleefully thought I had forged my prescription. He was seriously disappointed that I wouldn't be arrested after my doctor's office confirmed the validity of my prescription. I have enough problems just dealing with my condition. I don't need people like him who make it their life's mission to avoid filling opiate prescriptions.

When I was visiting my in laws in New Jersey over the summer, I went to Target to see if I could fill my prescription there. The pharmacist considered filling it but it turned out the prescription was expired under NJ law as they are only good for 30 days... in CA they are good for 180 days. But that wasn't the issue. Instead, she said "normally I would never fill a prescription for this many pills." 180 pills... 6 per day... and that was "too many" according to her. As if it's her job to decide how many pills I need per day. So what, because she thinks it's too many, I should suffer? I thank GOD I live in California after dealing with people like that in other states. The bottom line is that chronic pain is debilitating. I can barely function most days and the last thing I need is some judgmental pharmacist making snap judgments on how much pain medicine I need. Do you seriously think I wouldn't give up pain medicine in a heartbeat if I could? You seriously think being prescribed painkillers is something I would choose over feeling normal? If that's what people like Dave think, I have no use for them. It's not up to him how my pain is controlled. I wish I could pass my pain onto people like that for an hour just to see how they deal with it. It's easy to be judgmental when you've never experienced it. And if he has experienced chronic pain, then he's just a judgmental jerk in general. Thank god for people like Dr. Moryl... people who actually care.

And seriously, Dave... I have tons of nerve pain, and norco works great. You know what didn't work? Lyrica. At all. I am so sick of people saying "take lyrica! take wellbutrin! take this seizure medicine!" I've tried them and they don't work. I'm super glad they are so concerned about the drug epidemic that they pretty much refuse to treat people who need pain relief appropriately.

Oh and BTW... narcotics absolutely work for nerve pain. In fact, that's the type of pain they DO work for. Anyone who thinks differently is just trying to pull a fast one. Narcotics hit nerve pain receptors. Don't listen to anyone who tells you differently.

So sorry to see the comments from this ignorant "Dave" character. Clearly he is not a medical person at all, just based on the poor grammatical quality of his posts. That said, I am a nurse practitioner and a stage 4 cancer patient, with bone mets. My disease seems to be regressing (tumor marker dropping every month) but recently I have developed severe neck and right shoulder pain. I am being worked up (scans) to discover the cause of this. Meanwhile, my oncologist pretty much has to beg me to stop tylenol #3 and switch to MS contin (15mg) with another med for breakthrough pain because I was in such sever pain I would just cry and hold my shoulder. I am the kind of person who gets dental fillings replaced WITHOUT numbing. Just let the drill away and pop in the new filling. So, I consider myself to have a fairly high tolerance for pain but this has been unbearable. Despite all of that, when I filled my weekly pill dispenser for this week I literally sobbed at seeing myself put 2 doses of morphine in for each day. I hate being on it. I'm scared to death of getting addicted, though I can say that I do not get any high off of it AT ALL and I have no clue why anyone who does not have to take this crap would want to (with all the side effects, like constipation.) But, without it I was having thoughts like "maybe I will just stop all treatment (despite that my tumor markers are dropping) and just die quick because this is no way to live." With it the pain is kept at a low level that I can deal with. I'm glad this article was written. I wish more attention were given to this issue in the media so that those of us who truly need pain control would not feel such shame.

My husband has gone through radiation and chemotherapy for Cancer of the tonsil and a lymphnode in his neck. He finished his treatments about 7 weeks ago. He was on Morphine 15 mgs. 2 x a day and Hydrocondone every 4 hrs during the day as needed. Question, hes trying not to take the MS( has been 4 days without and not feeling good) He's taking the Hydrocondone about 3 x a day. It's so confusing , does he still need the ms and hydrocondone, or is it really time to wean off. Hes not sure if he feels bad from no ms or its his throat. He is able to take 2 milk shakes a day , all his water by mouth. Tube fdgs about 2 - 3 x a day now. Still very tired, etc. Is it too early to come off ms or hydrocondone? very concerned wife and caregiver

Jean, we are not able to offer personal medical advice on our blog. This is something you should discuss with your husband’s healthcare team. Thank you for your comment.

I, too battle constantly with shame. From my extended family, a few random pharmacists who felt I was too young to be on this medication and literally refused to fill it,and sometimes even my husband. I'm glad there are warriors out there like Dave that don't need these medications. I'm happy for you. But it ends there. I have severe neuropathy from a sliced nerve in my spine during a spinal fusion, combined with leukemia. I have been on MANY forms of pain relief. Anti-inflammatory drugs that damaged my liver, Lyrica, neurontin, and Cymbalta... All of which caused a very severe withdrawal, blood pressure problems and disassociation, several types of narcotics (all of which were easier to come off than the antidepressants and nerve medications). You know what has worked for six years?... Oxycontin. Plain old oxycontin. The only one I could function on and still be a functioning mother and wife. I constantly feel like I need counseling... Not for the medication, but for the way other people make me feel about taking it. It's doing a lot less damage to my organs and brain than any other drug... And I HAVE tried ultrasound, electro therapy, and bout light and used enough Young Living oils that I should have bought stock in their company. So, until you are in another person's shoes, just shut your mouth. You are doing more damage than these medications EVER could.

Dear Mommabass, we are sorry to hear about your leukemia diagnosis and the pain issues you have had. But it’s good to know you have found a pain medication that works for you. Wishing you all our best.

I was somewhat encouraged by your article. My husband has had chronic back pain for years along with osteoarthritis, and managing it fairly well with oxycodone when he was diagnosed in May with Multiple Myeloma. Now he uses the maximum dosage of oxycodone for short term pain relief, along with a low dose of morphine for longer acting relief. He hates morphine, due to side effects, primarily because he feels like he can't function well on morphine and the constipation that makes him miserable. He was doing well with this pain treatment and with his regular oncologist, but she is out temporarily and the new ones suggest more morphine, methadone, or the fentanyl patch and probably less oxy. My fear is that fentanyl is stronger and more addictive, thus dangerous. But since it is absorbed thru the skin it will not cause the constipation. He is fine with the oxycodone alone, but the stigma and suspicion of abuse of oxy is most likely the real problem.

Weaning myself off <20-years use of hydrocodone to control cancer/back pain has been horrific, even without being addicted. I am learning how to honestly assess pain levels, and changing my lifestyle to accommodate pain i.e. no lifting, no 10-mile hikes, less gardening. A few patients have unbearable pain. The rest of us are trading immediate gratification and an easy fix for all the well-documented negative effects of opioid habituation. Withdrawal from opiods is terrible. Opiods will eventually be taken off the market, forcing you into withdrawal. I suggest less prescriptions and a frank discussion with patients about consequences. You claim tapering reduces withdrawal symtoms, but nobody gets off opiods without suffering.

As a survivor of a rare very aggressive stage 3c cancer and now trying to wean of Actiq and Fentanyl I have a very different view of pain control. I feel that drugs like Fentanyl should only be used for palliative care at the end of life.
Long term dependency on this drug is not good to say the least. Trying to get support from medical staff to taper down on this drug is difficult too.
Don't get me wrong I appreciated the pain control when I went through the past 3 years of treatment and surgeries etc. I however have a new long battle ahead to get off these drugs and find an alternative means of pain management rather than the current "brain fog" I have due to Fentanyl.

AS a survivor of stage 3c cancer and someone who is trying to wean of Actiq and Fentanyl Patch I have very strong views that these type of drugs should only be used for cancer patients at the end of life. Otherwise individuals are faced with the issue of having to experience withdrawal from these drugs through a taper programme . That is often if they can find a Dr to agree with a taper programme . many pain Dr just expect patients to "cold turkey" it when they decide due to changing legislation to stop prescribing this drug. At the end its the patient that suffers not the Dr.

Thanks for the great article. I have stage 4 breast cancer with mets to the lungs twice. I take Oxycodone. I have such horrible pain, but I'd like to come off it so that I can drive again and lose the side effects like hand and leg jerks and confusion when I speak. I am 46. I am scared that I will become truly dependent on the oxycodone. But the pain is so unbearable without it........

Dear Julie, we are sorry to hear about your diagnosis and the pain you are experiencing. We recommend that you discuss these concerns with your doctor and ask about whether there are other effective medications you can try. Thank you for reaching out to us.

I can't seem to get an answer for this question:

I had stage 3c small bowel cancer and had a small bowel resection. Post-surgery, I was on VERY high doses of oral IR oxycodone because most of my small bowel (where the drug, and most nutrients are absorbed) was gone or routed-around.

I needed (and continue to need) to take a much higher dose of everything I ever take orally ever again (food, vitamins, all medications, pain meds), because I'm only actually absorbing about 1/3 of whatever I ingest. (I've also lost half of my previous bodyweight... not a good look, but I'm happy to be alive!)

My questions are:
1) Now that it's 2018 and opioids are even more difficult to get prescribed, what are the chances of me ever getting adequate pain relief should a situation arise where oral opioids prove to be the best solution? Will anyone ever prescribe (or dispense) such high doses of IR meds? (ER/XR meds do not work on people with minimal small bowel!)

2) If a person was ever prescibed a very high amount of opioids, what will happen if they ever need another surgery or anesthesia? Can patients with high opioid tolerance be successfully anesthetized should a future surgery be necessary? I ask because I know opioids are often used during anesthesia. I fear waking up during surgery!

I imagine there are other patients with small bowel resection/diversion and for whom malabsorption is a challenge. Any thoughts on ensuring adequate pain relief in this population?

I imagine bariatric patients (BPD/DS patients specifically) face this challenge as well.

Thank you!

Dear Julianne, we sent your question to Dr. Moryl, and this is her response:

Thank you for your excellent question.
Without looking at a total clinical picture I can’t answer all your questions fully, but will be happy to discuss some common case scenarios I have come across in my practice.

1. Tolerance.
Tolerance and dependence are real concerns with chronic opioid use and in our practice we always try to decrease opioids to the lowest effective dose, especially in cancer survivors. Each case is reviewed individually and balance between pain management, functional status, quality of life, and safety plays a role in developing a joint treatment plan by the patient and the treating team. I don’t know if it applies to your case as in situation like yours poor opioid absorption may mimic opioid tolerance.

2. Poor absorption.
There are cancer patients and cancer survivors with minimal or unpredictable bowel absorption posing a problem in administering any medications, including opioids. When chronic opioids are needed in such patients a non-oral medication may be considered, such as transdermal fentanyl or transdermal buprenorphine. This may allow much more predictable and safe pain control.

3. Further surgeries/ analgesia.
There should be no problem medicating your pain during further surgeries if your requirement of “higher doses of everything” is related to poor absorption alone as you will be getting opioids intravenously and not through your limited small intestine. In fact, if you need surgery or intravenous opioids for any reason I would strongly recommend that you discuss your poor absorption with your surgeon or anesthesiologist before the surgery. You will need to clearly explain that your oral opioid dose doesn’t represent how much intravenous opioid you will need or will be able to safely tolerate. The standard intravenous opioid dose calculated based on your current oral dose may be too much for you.

I wish you well and hope my answers are helpful for you.

Ive been on pain meds 2 weeks been slowly tapering down now I'm finished with my script but woke up this morning feeling like crap . will this last long? I want no more meds just feel like crap.!

Dear Laurie, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor. Thank you for your comment, and best wishes to you.