I am in the depths of suffering right now. I filled my prescription yesterday for oxycontin, and this morning when I went to take it, I noticed the pills were different. I took off my glasses and read the label on the bottle: they were oxyCODONE, 15 mg. I didn't take one!
I hate to think what I would have felt like if I had taken my regular 5 mgs of oxycodone PLUS the mistaken 15 mg of oxycodone! (For those who do not know, oxycodone is "immediate release" and oxycontin is oxycodone BUT "extended release."
My usual regimen is 2 oxycontin a day, one in the AM and one at night. Then I take oxycodone throughout the day for breakthrough pain, 5 to 6 per day. This does not take care of the pain completely and some days, I feel awful rough.
But now I can see what good the oxyCONTIN does for me this morning, not having it (at the time of this writing) up to 4 hours late. Oh my! I don't feel withdrawal symptoms so much (such as chills) but I just feel the PAIN that is happening when the oxycontin is covering it up. And oh dear, not good! Now, I understand why people addicted to oxycontin break into pharmacies, quite honestly.
Addiction: this might be a good time to talk about that. No one likes to be addicted. And I do not feel I AM addicted. However, my body IS used to having it. I'm not addicted to the action of getting a glass of water and taking a pill every 3 hours. I do not feel a "high" when I take my meds, so I certainly am not addicted to that! I just am so glad that there are drugs out there that help mask this central pain because this is surely reminding me that I have some severe spinal cord pain happening!
I can't think right now of the word that is used for when your body is used to getting a certain thing (cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, soda, and yes, medication) versus addiction. I have heard over the years and have also read on medical sites that someone who is in pain, real pain, will NOT become addicted to the pain medication. Their bodies are accustomed to having the medication, but the patients themselves are not addicted to that behavior.
I always think that proof of this are the hundreds of people I know and have seen on support groups over the last 5.5 years who are so eager to get off the meds. Everyone I know with central pain wants to be off the meds, and some even go through the process of getting off of them (always having to go back to taking them, however. Short of a miraculous healing, there is nothing natural or herbal that can be done for spinal cord/brain pain. You can't meditate your way out of it).
Well, what has happened this morning is that I called the pharmacy as soon as it opened, speaking with a very kindly pharmacist with an Australian accent (don't we northerners love that accent!). He told me he was not on duty yesterday, but that he would make the switch (take back the oxycodone 15 mgs and give me back the correct oxycontin 15 mg) when I bring it in. I told him, "I live 35 miles away and I do not drive. I can't get there today. Could you have a courier bring it?"
Right now, I'm waiting for the taxi driver to bring the correct meds. Great idea they had, hiring a cab to bring it out here. I've taped the top/cap of the wrong med and put it back into its original pharmacy bag, stapling the top. This was a request from the pharmacist so they know they are getting the full 90 back.
The druggist said, "If it's any consolation, the pharmacist yesterday, his daughter was in labor having his grandchild. But I'm so sorry you've had to go through this!"
I replied: "That's okay. It's simple human error. No bad was intended. I'd hate to have to pay for every mistake I've ever made. I'll probably be just fine as soon as the right med gets here."
He said, "Yes, I will, too!"
Litigation: Of course, your mind goes to "should I call a lawyer and sue this place for this error that is causing me so much pain?" After all, it is a big, national chain of a place.
However, I'm not that kind of person. I can't take credit for it, I just am not wired that way. If I ended up in the hospital and suffering for a long time or whatever, then I'd certainly consider making someone pay the damages for their error. But, if I just suffer for one morning, and all is fine as soon as the meds arrive, I just can't even begin to consider suing anyone.
As I said to the Aussie pharmacist, "I'd hate to have to pay for every mistake I ever made!"
Bottom line: When you open a new bottle of meds, do NOT take them if they look differently. Even if the label says the right med, if the pills look even just a little bit different, don't take one! Call the pharmacy and talk to the druggist. Call your doctor if you need to. You might find that a different company is making the drug you take, and thus the pills are differently colored or shaped. If this is the case, then that is fine.
Another lesson: if this ever happens to you, if you live far from the pharmacy, then ask firmly for them to deliver the meds as soon as possible. I think they will do it, their butt and reputation are on the line. In my case, the pharmacy folks were wonderful.
Sigh...taxi is not here yet. I'm waiting!