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Can Fibromyalgia kill me?

by | 14 Feb 2019 | Fibromyalgia | 2 comments

Estimated reading time:
4 minutes
Word count:
771
Updated Date:
Aug 18, 2020
I have seen the question “Can Fibromyalgia kill me?” asked many times, so that is what I will talk about today. My answer to this also addresses another hot topic at the moment, the opioid crisis.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

As I have mentioned before, Fibro is a syndrome which features a collection of symptoms as opposed to a singular disease. My post Fibromyalgia is not just Fibromyalgia talks through many of the symptoms. The ‘good news’ is that none of these symptoms can kill you. Yet we read about people dying from Fibromyalgia so the story is not that simple.

The Opioid Crisis

At this point I want to emphasise I am not a Dr of any sort and other than first aid courses I have had no medical training. These views are my opinion based on what I have read and witnessed. There has been much in the news for the last few months about the opioid crisis and I have not really commented on it in the past so I will address that now. My views on this are simple. There is a growing concern over the long-term benefits of taking opioids. This concern has caused the medical profession to clamp down on issuing opioids. On the face of it this seems like a sensible reaction, however, this is not a simple situation.

Existing opioid users

New patients are easy to manage because they have not been taking opioids, the doctors therefore have to come up with an alternative way to manage their treatment. But what of the patients on long-term repeat prescriptions? From what I have witnessed the doctors are removing the medication without providing an alternative solution. Good medical practice requires a Dr to: Make the care of your patient your first concern as stated by the General Medical Council. Removing long-term opioid medication has two effects; the physical experience of reducing pain-masking medication in the body, and the mental experience of understanding that a crutch is being removed. When a person goes into rehabilitation to come off drugs like Heroin, the practitioner gives them Methadone (an opioid!) or similar. The experience of cold turkey i.e. instant removal of drugs is not the recommended method. When they remove opioid medication from someone with a condition like Fibromyalgia, the same cold turkey experience will kick in.
Living Creatively with Fibro | An image of love hearts looking like pills on a pink background with the words: Will Fibromyalgia kill me? Opioid Crisis: Make care of your patient your first concern

Will Fibromyalgia Kill Me?

To address the initial question, the Fibromyalgia deaths I have read about in recent months have tragically been suicides following removal of medication. This would suggest that the initial ethical oath of Doctors is not being met? I am very fortunate; I have a prescription for 500/30 co-codamol which has not been threatened. On a bad day I take eight of these tablets and on the best days I can manage without any. For over two years I took eight tablets a day without question because the Doctor prescribed them! I am being proactive and reducing my dose gradually whilst finding alternative therapies that assist me with pain management.

I still have quality of life

I am even more fortunate that although my Fibromyalgia is life changing and I have some horrendous days. I also have pleasant days where I (within limited) follow my passions. I have love and joy in my life. I am also beyond blessed to have a husband, Michael, who understands what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia. Not everyone has this experience and relationships can break down when a life changing illness arrives. I don’t think Fibromyalgia will kill me.

Can Fibromyalgia kill me?

Let’s put ourselves in the place of someone who is all alone in their home living with severe Fibro symptoms. Their Doctor removes their opioid medication or exchanges it for something else without doing this gradually and helping them through the physical and mental aspects of the change. Then ask ‘Can Fibromyalgia kill me?’ sadly the answer sometimes is yes.

Your Experience

Have they affected you with a change in medication? Please comment below if you have come through this experience and have advice for someone who has just had opioids removed. We are so much stronger together and it breaks my heart to think there are people who are contemplating the last resort.

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