Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ow, quit it. Ow, quit it. Ow, quit it.

I saw a pain specialist the other day. For the last four years or so, I've had this burning pain down the backs of my legs, and I've tried a lot of different things to get relief. So far, I haven't had much luck.

The pain doc says that MS pain is pretty common--maybe 40% of MS patients experience pain as a result of MS. It's not well understood, though, and medical science-types have really only been paying attention for the last ten years or so.

I've been through the first-line drugs: certain older antidepressants and anticovulsants. The antidepressants didn't really do anything for me, and the anticonvulsants made me feel so dopey that I quit 'em. For the last few years, I've been taking Neurontin, that Swiss Army Knife for the brain. I take quite a bit: one 600 mg pill every two or three hours during the day. It doesn't make me as dopey as old-fashioned carbamazepine did, but I'm still at about a 4 on the pain scale right now. I've tried non-drug stuff, too: I tried accupuncture, which didn't help, and I've been doing yoga, which does help.

Anyhow, I'm optimistic about the pain doc. He's a very nice guy, and seems highly regarded as a clinician. He's recommended a new drug: Cymbalta, a newish antidepressant. (What's with the name? The drug companies are apparently naming their products by opening the dictionary to a random page, pointing at a word, and adding a vowel. Cymbalta? Molari? Drywallo? Toiletta?) Apparently, it shows great promise for reducing neuropathic pain. He also noted that Marinol was a possibility. Unfortunately, my employer's pharmacy benefit manager seems to feel that Cymbalta should cost me more than the stuff I've already tried. I'm told I should send an appeal letter. That should be fun.


lisa gill said...

I love your writing style. I have MS also. You got some feedback on braintalk also. A bunch of responses and at least I sent you a private message. I'd love to collaborate, am trying w/o luck to figure out how to set up my own blog.

Great writing. I'm glad you're doing it. Thanks.

camille said...

Doug, and a hello to you! i also read your comment on braintalk. i have ms as well(rrms.) i bookmarked your blog. i look forward to reading future bloggings take care,