Saturday, January 26, 2008

Handful of Death


I am no M.D. and I don't claim to know everything so I'm hoping that someone can explain to me why an oral surgeon would prescribe 30 Vic.u.din(sp) for a 17-year old.

I very rarely fill prescriptions for pain pills and I have received plenty over the years, usually for dental work. I have convinced myself that since I pushed out two babies with no drugs than I can handle anything. Trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds.

A few months ago I had my wisdom teeth pulled and I received a prescription for Vic.u.din but I didn't fill it. I used mo.trin and I was okay in about three days. Yesterday, my son had his wisdom teeth removed and, again I received this prescription. I did choose to fill his because I didn't want to overestimate his tolerance for pain and I wanted him to be comfortable.

While in the surgeon's office the nurse (or dental assistant ... I don't know) was explaining what I needed to do for my son and I expressed my concern about the prescription. "Aren't these highly addictive?" I asked. "He'll be fine," she replied. "If you want to start him off on these and switch to mo.trin, that should be okay. And if you're worried than you can just flush the extra down the toilet." Hmmmm

So I fill his prescription yesterday and over the course of six hours he took two pills. Now, twenty-four hours later he is absolutely pain free. So, here's my question: why was he prescribed 30 pills when he only needed two? I can see prescribing 12 or maybe 15 ... but 30?

Who needs 30 pain pills for 4 wisdom teeth?

8 comments:

Sharon said...

Not to defend the oral surgeon as 30 tabs of Vicodin are without question excessive for such a procedure when refills could be made available if continued pain-relief was required, but there is an explanation.

Pain tolerance is a very individualized phenomenon and one person's tolerance for pain can vary significantly and dramatically from the next. Typically however this is NOT manisfested in the quantity of doses of medication prescribed but more so in the dosing of the medication prescribed. As a registered pharmacist I can tell you that while 1 Vicodin every 6 to 8 hours might suffice for one person's pain, it might take as many as 2 Vicodins every 4 to 6 hours to manage another person's pain. With no way to determine this in advance, most pain meds for short-term pain such as this are prescribed 1 to 2 tabs every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain and no more than 12 to 20 tabs are dispensed which typically covers 3 to 4 days for most people.

chele said...

Thanks Sharon. But with all the accidental overdoses I'm reading about, you can certainly understand my concern, right?

G. Cornelius said...

But still 30 pills? It just seems like they are asking for somebody to get addicted...

I'll keep you posted

lyre said...

Wise to be cautious

Blu Jewel said...

you were wise to not underestimate your son's pain tolerance, but you're right 30 pills is excessive. I just had MAJOR surgery and was given a Rx for 10 Codeine pills. Fortunately, I didn't need them all as I had a few left over from my previous surgery, but what my Dr did made much more sense.

People take Rx pills for every pain once they've gotten used to the high powered effect they have and that can lead to addiction.

The pills are typically good for about a year, so you can save them just in case they're needed in the future or return the unused pills to the pharmacy, which is safer to the environment and let them dispose of them for you.

Blah Blah Blah said...

...to answer your question...
I don't know.

However, my doc prescribes them for my headaches... 3 months on and 3 months off so I don't get addicted. He's just plain silly thinking I'mma get addicted.

Btw, you can send me the un-used pills.
Just sayin...

LadyLee said...

That's a lot of pills.
Vicodin is in the opiate family, and you can build up a tolerance to it... Thereby having to take more and more of it just to get pain relief. People get addicted fast. My doc wanted to give me some and I flat out refused. But if taken correctly, it's all good. I'm just not that brave.

But 30 pills. Too much. Geez

Liv For Me said...

Damn that's scary...as a Nurse, we see usually an err on the side of caution especially with a potentially addictive or heavy narcotic. Most dental surgeons prescribe Advil/Motrin or at BEST Tylenol #3's with Codeine. Vicodin?? 30 of 'em?? Wow...