Question: Should I post a publication on suicide in persons with uncontrolled pain?


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I would like your feedback.

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Suicide does occur. My concern is that posting the publication on suicide in persons who have one specific pain syndrome will open the door for others to act on suicide. There is a tool to leave a comment on bottom of this page. Even simpler, I’ve also added a poll that you can follow.

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It is very difficult for anyone to cope with severe pain, especially given the medical system in this country that seems to “push” opioids without teaching that opioids create pain. Insurance covers the cost of opioids, often more than $17,000 per month. Congress supports that insurance coverage and the high costs.

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But Congress mandates that Medicare does not cover highly effective compounded medications that are low cost but, in combination, do add up monthly. In the last year, more and more PPO insurers “save” money, by not covering low cost compounded medication that works. This insures greater and greater medical costs, hospitalizations, and your taxes paid for Social Security disability for those in pain who cannot work.

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Of course no one will do research on these generic medications because they won’t make billions for anyone, not for universities, for NIH, or for pharmaceutical companies. Without the specific research on pain, they won’t be “legitimate” or approved for treatment of pain though the medications have been FDA approved for decades and available to those wealthy enough to afford them. These are profoundly valuable, they are available now, and decades of work should not be ignored.

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What if you were to develop intractable pain? The first point is to remember that this is common, it may happen. The second is to ask what the most constructive reaction would be if that actually happened to you.

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What can you do? I urge you to donate to the RSD Syndrome Association – see banner at top of these pages. They have supported key research in pain, not just RSD, when NIH gave less than half of 1% to pain research in 2006, now far less since the deadly recession of 2008 and the ever threatened fight over funding the national debt. Your donation may prevent the end of career for young researchers who have trained all their lives to find the cure for pain.

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People seem to ignore pain and instead donate to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease. But those conditions are often associated with chronic pain. When will this change? When will we realize that research in pain needs to become a priority? Our researchers have the tools now, and need your support.

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                                                                             sigh….

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Here’s the poll:

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.

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For My Home Page, click here:  Welcome to my Weblog on Pain Management!

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10 Responses to “Question: Should I post a publication on suicide in persons with uncontrolled pain?”

  1. Michael Scott Says:

    There’s not a person in any substantial chronic pain that hasn’t thought about suicide. Anyone that says otherwise is lying to someone. I don’t believe talking about it will necessarily encourage it.

  2. chiquitar Says:

    This post ends in hopelessness, which is exactly the kind of thing pain patients have trouble coping with. If you do post a paper on suicide please include other options for readers who are seriously considering suicide, and end on a hopeful note. For instance, there are still many good doctors and researchers who are in medicine for the right reasons out there. In addition, there is money in cancer research that is from donations and not big pharma, and pain research is relevant to them as well. No reason we won’t see some supporting studies for cheaper drugs that work when both of those conditions still exist. It may be more difficult, it may be frustrating, but it certainly is neither impossible or hopeless. Helping us stay positive is a great way to keep the suicide numbers from not getting any worse.

    • Nancy Sajben MD Says:

      Thank you. I have added more at the end of the post, as I have at other times written on taking action.

      Please vote on the poll.

      And not to be hopeless, but to point out what happens: there was a profoundly exciting compound to relieve pain, discovered by a scientist who has won many awards in Europe and the US. But a university or a PhD is not equipped to do clinical studies to obtain FDA approval. The cost is tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. So it was sold to a pharmaceutical company who promptly buried it. Why? Competition?

  3. Renee McGee Says:

    What meds are you referring to in your last paragraph?  I can see both sides of your dilemma but personally would like to read the article.

    Sent from Samsung tablet

  4. R.K. Brumbelow Says:

    Nancy,
    I voted other in the above which should be a yes with caveats. I suspect here is always the apparent risk that someone will come across a post and use it to justify their actions to commit suicide. However, if they were not looking for a way to kill themselves, they would likely not see a way (reason) to kill themselves in any thing you might post. The views on suicide are changing, to the worse in my opinion. In the 1980’s Physician assisted suicide was something that outraged the American mind, today there is debate as to if it should be funded. So long as you point out the cost to family, friends, society and the individual of suicide I would fully back your posting.

  5. saraannon Says:

    Talking about suicide and chronic pain can bring attention to how bad people’s situation really is. However, please offer the options that DO exist- Low -dose naltrexone works for me and is available.

  6. Sondria Says:

    I believe it should be discussed as well. More for the reason that people that don’t live with the pain every day don’t understand what we go through and the insurance companies are in control of our lives by either accepting or denying claims for our treatments. Especially when the treatments are medically necessary. I’m pretty sure that we don’t just want to go in for infusions because they are fun. As well as we don’t want to be on narcotics and nonfunctional. We just want our lives back.

  7. Violet Mabe Says:

    Yes — please do discuss this. We see suicide on a regular basis in chronic pain support groups online, and could use any input you have in helping people to deal with it. We lost someone with CRPS and other chronic pain issues this week who had exhausted all treatment options, and it is a painful reminder how difficult this fight is.

  8. Dooley Says:

    Michael Scott, I have had RSD/CRPS for 10 years. It is in both arms and hands and legs and feet. I have Sjogens and small fiber neuropathy. I am acutely familiar with neuropathic pain every minute of every day. I have never thought of suicide nor am I lying to anyone. As a chronic pain patient, I would never presume to speak for my fellow sufferers. I so not know them, their belief systems nor experiences. You also should never presume to know what we all have felt or experienced. I’m sure I am not the only one who does not fit your generalization of us all regarding thoughts of suicide or our honesty regarding this subject.

  9. wishingwarmrsd Says:

    I think an open and honest discussion of the suicide, preferably with a crowd that isn’t actively suicidal. This however, ought to be made clear that people who express an active desire, are followed up on.

    And the information available, yes, is also hopeful. That it’s contained in the same blog is good. I think it’s offered me a lot of hope to be able to read what’s here, know that if one thing doesn’t help the CRPS, something else will.

    Before even that, when I set my sights higher, and realized I can’t have it all (even family support) that I wasn’t the problem-sick or not. And I have made a few personal sacrifices, and am “making it happen” as a friend put it. And once I did, I realized that I had taken steps towards getting better. But I also had to sink to a level of such physical pain from the CRPS, that I came as close as ever to completing suicide. But what I did instead, was reach out to several friends. And we each have a 24/7 agreement that if a certain code (911) appears on a text or Facebook message it is a “Call now” and we’ve each agreed that the hotline is the next step. And if any of us are uncertain, we all are aware it could mean a cop at the door. That’s a sign that someone cares. And if it’s from out of state-someone really is invested in you.

    Within a community, where recent “backbiting” has gone on, I have concerns. But I think that a lot of us are more resilient than we realize.


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