When opioids become a drug of last resort

Reservation

BETHLEHEM, Pa.

— If you have chronic pain, you may be able to get your pain medication at the pharmacy.

But the pharmacy may not be able treat your pain without a prescription.

That’s what happened to two patients in Philadelphia.

One had pain that could be treated with opioids but the other had pain from a life-threatening disease.

“I have chronic fibromyalgia,” said Joseph Estrada, 58, of the city’s east side.

“It’s not a condition that I could walk away from and not get medication.”

Estrada was diagnosed with fibromyalgias, a chronic, painful pain condition that affects the joints, muscles, and tendons of the body.

The condition causes chronic inflammation and loss of tissue.

Doctors prescribed painkillers to treat fibromyal pain and other problems, but they also prescribed opioids.

He got his first prescription for painkillers from the pharmacist on May 6.

On the next day, Estradas pain returned.

He was put on opioids and had to stay in the hospital for several weeks.

“I felt horrible, I was vomiting all the time, I didn’t feel like myself, I couldn’t breathe, and I was feeling so depressed that I just had to leave,” Estraderas mother, Joanne, said.

Joanne Estradadas’ son Joseph EStrada, left, is treated at the hospital.

Joanne and her son Joseph, both from the Philadelphia area, have chronic Fibromyalgia and have been prescribed opioids for years.

Joseph Estradian is seen at his hospital bed after suffering from fibromyala pain.

When Estradeias pain returned, he had to take a new medication that caused side effects, including dizziness and confusion.

Joseph ESTRADADAS mother, was given a second opioid for fibromyals pain and anxiety and had an MRI on July 14.

The doctor prescribed a third opioid for Estrades pain and gave him an MRI.

The pain returned and Estradia was taken to the hospital again on July 17.

“It’s like the doctor said, ‘We have to treat this as a chronic condition and treat it as a condition of life and death,’ and then we have to take him off the opioids,” EStraderas father, Joe, said after his son was admitted.

Joe Estrado and Joanne EStradadas son Joseph sit in the family room at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Joe and Joane EStradas son, Joseph, is seen in the front yard of their house in Bethleham, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2018.

Joe is seen during an interview at the family home in Bethlham, Pennsylvania.

Joe’s mother, Joe Estradanos, said her son suffered from fibro and arthritis, but that she was not worried.

Joe said he suffered from the same pain as Joseph but he did not have fibromyalfas.

He said he had a physical exam, a CT scan, and a pain medivac.

“We’re looking at maybe three months to a year,” Joe said.

“You can’t say I was never going to get any kind of pain relief.”

Joseph EStrado was taken off of opioids and placed on another pain medication.

On August 10, EStradeas pain returned to his home and he was placed on an opioid, but his doctor gave him a different drug.

Joe was taken into surgery for his fibromyalis pain and put on a new opioid that had the same side effects as the one that caused his pain.

“He was going to die, so we gave him another one,” Joe’s father, Joanna, said as he clutched a bottle of pills in his hand.

“And then we gave it to his son.

We thought he was going home.

It’s not going to be good for him.

It was not a good decision.”

Joe EStradias father said he was not able to stand at home for more than two weeks while his son had to be hospitalized.

Joe and his mother were unable to see their son.

His mother said she was overwhelmed by the pain.

Joe was able to take his own life on Aug. 22.

Doctors say that even though the drugs were the same, Joe’s family is now facing the uncertainty of having to find another painkiller.

“The question is, what is the best medication?”

Joanne said.

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