Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Crohn's Polls » Crohn's = Pain Med Tolerance ?

View Poll Results: With Crohn's do you have a natural high pain med tolerance?
Yes 49 59.76%
No. 14 17.07%
yes, but built over time from taking pain meds 19 23.17%
Voters: 82. You may not vote on this poll

06-23-2009, 08:14 PM   #1
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Crohn's = Pain Med Tolerance ?

If you have Crohn's do you have a natural high tolerance to pain medication?

Just my observances, but I have noticed that a lot of folks with crohn's have a high tolerance to pain meds. But is it a natural tolerance or built over time from being on pain meds for so long?

I know when I was 18 and diagnosed with crohn's I had never taken anything stronger than a Goody's powder and they gave me Vicodin ES, which I had no idea at the time what that was. It said to take 1 every 4 hrs but I'd take 2 or 3 and never felt the effects of it. I remember my first bottle of 90 I took maybe 20 and tossed it.
06-23-2009, 08:29 PM   #2
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I do, but I'm also redheaded... red heads tend to have a harder time with pain medication doses being as effective as it is for others.
06-23-2009, 11:45 PM   #3
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i think i do. right now im on 40-60 mg percocet a day and its just barely manageable, but i dont wanna go more.

i had NEVER had anything more than tylenol in my entire life (with the exception of what they give you during a 1 day surgery) and my first percocet didnt do a thing, then after my surgery the dose pushed up. i also tried 4 mg dilauded every 4 hours and that was nothing either.
06-24-2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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i had had stronger pain meds when i was younger from my other surgeries idk the doses i was young but i do remember them giving me a drip with a button so i could push it to get extra pain meds drip, so im guessing i had a high tolerance. i no if they give me vicodin es it may take the edge off but it never takes the pain all the way away.
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06-28-2009, 06:10 PM   #5
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I seem to always need very strong painkillers, it really started when the crohn's symptoms did I suppose. I now take MST (morphine) morning and night 20mg.
06-01-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
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In hospital the only thing that would touch the pain was a dose of codeine or tramadol followed by morphine, or 2 doses of morphine- bearing in mind I have never had anything stronger than over the counter painkillers before so can't have built up a tolerance. When I had the sore throat virus I was taking the maximum doses of cocodamol and ibuprofen, and gargling with aspirin and the pain was still bad enough to make me cry.
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06-01-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
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I have a naturally high tolerance for pain, but not for the pain medication, but that is because I only take pain meds when I really need them, and even then it's not anything strong, just "extra strength tylenol"
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06-02-2010, 02:17 PM   #8
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No I do not have a tolerance to pain medication, just a high tolerance for pain. I only take pain meds when it's needed and the hospital ALWAYS dishes out heavy duty stuff to everyone. The dose I give myself works fine (I take about 3 Advil and that knocks out any pain for hours and I never take it more than twice a day and yes, I still take Advil and it doesn't bother me) and the dose of the stuff the hospital gives is sometimes too strong as in it makes me far too tired to function.
Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
Surgeries: 1 Small Bowel Resection in 1999; Central IV in 1991-92
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06-07-2010, 08:50 PM   #9
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Wow Crabby...I wish I could take Advil or Motrin (that would knock these darned cramps out). If I take any kind of NSAID, it will seriously aggravate my Crohns.

I have a low tolerance to pain medications. I can take Darvocet and get relief (it doesn't completely relieve all of the pain, but it makes it managable). However, I do have a high tolerance for pain. My greatest pain level was natural childbirth with a pitocin induction and no epidural (I DON'T advise anyone to try that). I was at the most intense level of pain (pushing stage) for three hours...OUCH. I will say that morphine does not seem to work for me at all...don't know why (had two surgeries where this provided very little relief). Vicodin makes me all warm and fuzzy and VERY VERY sleepy. I usually can take a half and I won't go to sleep....but overall, when it comes to pain medication, I'm a light weight.

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06-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
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I definitely have a high tolerance for pain meds. I don't think it's a natural tolerance.. just because I've been taking them for so long. During one of my colonoscopies I kept waking up because whatever area they were looking at was inflamed and the scope was killing me.. I remember the doc telling me afterward that he had to give me four times the amount of sedative that he usually gives people.
06-08-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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Tammy: Doesn't the Darvocet aggravate your Crohn's? I've read before that it is one of the worst things you can take with Crohn's.
06-24-2010, 06:40 PM   #12
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I remember when I first got percocets for the pain I took 2(I think 7.5mg each with aceta added) and I was high as a kite for it seemed up to 5 hours and took away the pain. But after my surgery taking 2 I'd barely feel it and it would only last an hour or so.
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06-30-2010, 07:28 AM   #13
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I have a high tolerance to pain meds... most likely due to the amount I have had over the years... now it is struggle with A&E docs when I go into to hospital as they attempt to overule my knowledge of my disease and what I need to manage it

Crohn's Disease Diagnosed Jan 2000

30th June 2010 began Modulen for 6 weeks (Liquid diet especially for crohn's. No food allowed whatsoever )

06-30-2010, 07:33 AM   #14
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If I flare, I stay on half a tylenol 3.. stabilizer control.
06-30-2010, 11:26 AM   #15
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This disease definitely has increased my tolerance for pain
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08-28-2010, 09:43 AM   #16
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I find the disease has increased my pain threshold, but at the same time I do not know if I would say I have a high tolerance to pain medication. Tylenol does nothing for me, Advil puts me in bed for a week in pain, so to sidetrack a bit I've been prescribed 4mg Dilaudid (hydromorphone) every 4 hours as needed (until surgery while weaning steroids). That seems to hardly take the edge off but enough so I don't go crazy.
08-28-2010, 11:52 AM   #17
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I also seem to have this weird issue. I was on a lot of percocet for pain 6 pills per day at 5mg per pill I guess it's not to bad in comparison to others on here but I keep having to up it and up it so that's no good. So I went to a pan clinc and they started me on fentanyl 25 patches which have been a big help not the total solution but has helped and is stopping me from having to take so many darn pills my liver is thanking me. The pain clinic was telling me that it's common to have this tolerance a lot of people have this and if I am getting around 50% relief that I should be thankful so I am very thankful. I would recommend the patch to anyone it will save your liver.
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08-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #18
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i am lucky, have never had pain, although after my operation, i was screaming, but then the morphine kicked in which helped
emergency stricturplasty surgury april 1, 2010- april fools on me, lol, dianosed mid april chrones, although i had no symptoms- currently on pentassa 8 blue ones a day, vit d, liquid fish oil, and a bunch of other great drugs for my i various problems.
08-30-2010, 11:10 AM   #19
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I find the disease has increased my pain threshold, but at the same time I do not know if I would say I have a high tolerance to pain medication. Tylenol does nothing for me, Advil puts me in bed for a week in pain, so to sidetrack a bit I've been prescribed 4mg Dilaudid (hydromorphone) every 4 hours as needed (until surgery while weaning steroids). That seems to hardly take the edge off but enough so I don't go crazy.
I agree with thend2, regarding the Fentanyl patch. After one of my hospital visits, I was taking Dilaudid and I got totally hooked on it and it did not take the pain away. I switched to the Fentanyl patch and felt much better
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1. Diagnosed with Crohn's UC 1995
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09-06-2010, 08:54 PM   #20
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Since I was a kid I've had a high pain threshold, I was a clumsy child, had a lot of injuries and surgeries. I've always had a high tolerance for pain killers, and it's gone higher since the UC diagnosis 2 years ago. The last hospital stay it took them 3 attempts to find a dosage and painkiller that helped. Even then it didn't exactly take away the pain, it just took the edge off.
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11-25-2010, 11:43 PM   #21
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I know this is an older thread, but I just came across it...
I definately have a high tolerance to pain meds- as well as sedatives and anesthetics. After a very scary pre-op experience (they assured me the versed would knock me out and keep me from remembering most everything before the general anesthesia), I always make a special trip a few days before surgery to meet with the anesthesiologist. I had a hard time getting anyone to believe me until I recounted in vivid detail those things in the OR before you are completely out... right down to the conversations in the room. Now during post-op I have the anesthesiologist manage my pain rather than the pacu nurse- he can order better drugs in larger amounts. Now when I talk to my doctor, I give him very specific examples of why something isn't working or how I'm feeling. If he's not responsive, it's time to find another.
As a side note, my 9 yr old daughter is in the same boat. She's only had Rx pain meds twicw in small amounts, but to sedate her for her last CT they tried IV benedryl, the demoral and phenegan. They finally had to use ketamine to get her to cooperate. It's a metabolism thing.....
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11-26-2010, 09:38 PM   #22
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I think you tend to get used to the pain, when you have any of these concerns. I tend to know when something is wrong, when the pain gets worse. They prescribe be Diluadid 4mg like they are tic tacs. I know there has been some discussion on the use of narcotics with any diagnosed digestive problems, but it works for me, which they are unsure why. Since i have been on these for years, they only take off the edge and allow me to still function.

ONLY thing that sucks is when I am admitted they tend to dope me up a little to much, DANCING ELFS are NOT a good thing to see. Never mind what comes out of my mouth as I tend to talk, LOL
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Age 8 - ABD pain, weight loss, no appetite
Age15 - Admitted with rectal bleeding and pain - treated as Colitis
Age 19 - Colon removal with a ileostomy
Age 20 - J Pouch with a Pull through procedure
Age 32 - Complete blockage (due to scar tissue)
Age 34 - Partial blockage and found to have Crohn's
Age 35 - J pouch has a fistula & both connected to spine
Age 36 - Ileostomy and rectum closed

Last edited by semicolon306; 11-26-2010 at 09:41 PM.
11-28-2010, 11:43 AM   #23
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I was in once and the morphine was doing nothing. So they switched to dilaudid. My doctor said it was better to increase the strength of an opiate than to increase the dose, because it's the quantity that will cause the slowing of the digestive tract as opposed to the strength.
12-01-2010, 08:23 PM   #24
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I was wondering this myself....... My pain clinic has me on 150 mg. of oxycodone daily and 125 mcg of Fentanyl every 3 days and there are days it does nothing to touch the pain especially with the fistulas.

When I have had to have surgery, they have had to have me hooked up to the Dilaudid PCA pump and I was still screaming in pain. My pain doctor had to come in and authorize more and the nurses were going ape shit because they said I was taking enough to kill a horse.

But they knew I wasn't faking because they had me hooked up to monitors and all and could tell by how my body reacted to the pain.

I hate being on this much pain medicine, but I can't even get out of bed without it. This is just to keep me sane.
12-31-2010, 04:30 PM   #25
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If I'm in the hospital, skip the morphine. Give me the dilaudid continuously. What tolerance?

Outside the hospital, I usually take the 7.5/325 hydrocodone. I will take one, then an hour later take another. It works for me.

Last edited by Nytefyre; 12-31-2010 at 04:34 PM.
12-31-2010, 04:44 PM   #26
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My tolerance for pain meds has definetly gone up since this recent flare started. I was on hydrocodone for a burst ovarian cyst a year ago, and it was so strong I couldn't function. Now I'm on 50mg tramadol every 8 hours as needed and my pain can still rise if I move. But I think its more towards the fact that I have taken so much of it in the past year.

They gave me percocet 6 months ago when they *thought* it was a hernia..that was the best pain med I've been on so far. But I stick to the tramadol since it seems to be better for long term pain.
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01-04-2011, 02:49 PM   #27
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I would have to wonder if it is so much the medication or the way we ABSORB our medication. With Crohn's (which I have and am unable to comment on UC as I don't have), we obviously have trouble absorbing and digesting, especially if you're like me:5 surgeries in 4yrs, having multiple pieces of bowel removed. Also, if you have short gut syndrome (yes like me) and/or you live in the bathroom (me), then how could we possibly benefit from pain relievers of any kind like the rest of general population.
I was up to 400mg of Demerol every 3-4hours when I was first diagnosed. I have had an uncountable amount of PCA's including while I was in the ICU, these were always used with breakthough injections of toradol and IV pushes of dilaudid when I would max. my pump for the time period or I would have uncontrollable pain.
When I wore out the demerol (which still doesn't touch me now) I switched to morphine long and short acting. I was placed on 40mg every 4 hours, and 40mg long acting 3x day. When Morphine started killing my organs at 23years old, I decided it was time to stop it all together. I tried taking amitryptaline, toradol, tramadol, tramacet, atasol 30's, tylenol 3's and 4's, nerve blockers, anti anxiety meds, anti seizure meds and local anasthetic. NOTHING worked. I was beyond miserable and got so stressed from pain required more surgery. Then I was put on 8mg of dilaudid every 3hours with long acting 3x day and flexerol with an additional sleep aide (as my pain is more severe between 4am and whenever I get up). Unfortunately that stopped working so I was then placed on percocet 2pills every 4 hours with 30mg of oxycontin 2x day. I was miserable! So I stopped the oxycontin and was to date placed on 12 percocets daily, and 25mcg fentanyl patch. I will say my pain is more under control but definitly NOT "under-control". My pain specialist is beyond frustrated with finding solutions to manage my pain! It has also been "off the record" suggested I smoke some marijuana to help alleviate my symptoms including pain.
My tolerance to pain is (believe it or not) fairly high
My tolerance to pain medications, I would think is elevated but not as much as it appears.
How often have we looked down after a bathroom dash (you know you do it) and see (sorry for being to brutally graphic) what you just ate?! It's logical to think the same would apply to your "pills". How often do you have to supplement your diet b/c your guts have decided to no longer absorb B12, Iron, electrolytes, or any other essential nutrient or vitamin? All too often for me!
So if you can't or don't absorb those things then it is very likely you won't with your pills or any medication you may take orally. When you're in the hospital it is usually b/c you just had surgery or are flared up which is excruciatingly painful so it would require MORE meds anyway and they work a little better b/c they are bypassing the gut, and they may not work as well b/c of the increased pain.
My best advice for anyone struggling with pain is to go to a clinic and assess how much of your guts you still have and how well you absorb through your guts, then look at a medication that bypasses the digestive tract (injections, "lollipops", patches),and try that as you may find a significant improvement.
Hope that helps,
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01-29-2011, 05:25 PM   #28
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I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 1999, though it didn't become problematic until two and a half years ago. Now I'm in a constant battle with my digestive system, and am in pain every day. I also work about 60 hours a week; it's computer-based work, but it's hard work that requires my brain to be fully focused. (I'm a newspaper editor). Anyway, I'm prescribed Percocet (5 mg) twice a day, along with gabapentin (which helps me sleep but not so much with the pain). I have a pretty high tolerance to painkillers, having undergone numerous surgeries/procedures and broken many a bone from years of skateboarding and miscellaneous horseplay (and a really bad car accident). For me, 5 mg Percocet doesn't do squat, but the doctor won't give me anything stronger. The only other option was methadone, but I'm guessing it would be an equally low dose. I'm not sure if I should tell him to take me seriously or try another doctor.
01-30-2011, 03:32 PM   #29
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I actually don't do well with the strong pain meds. I have a very high tolerance for pain, and really prefer a standard tylenol. I can never maintain comfort with anything stronger. When I was in the hospital, they gave me morphine, and I felt very uncomfortable. It made me achier all over my body and didn't do much to the actual pain I was having. So I requested they remove the iv right away. I hated the woozy feeling I felt. Hated everything about it. When I had a csection, I did the same thing. Quickly switched to tylenol. I do have tylenol 3 in the house, but I don't really touch it.
07-22-2011, 09:55 PM   #30
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yes but it buldt up over time taking pain meds
may have crohn's diease i have endometriosis,fibromyalgia i am on meds for depression ,lortabs for chronic pain but they dont work i also have mild Asthma and also of other things

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