Need Help! 90 year old mom's arthritis getting me down!

shamboJune 5, 2005

My mom has pretty severe arthritis, especially in her knees. That, along with a loss of cartilage in her knees leaves her in pain. Her doctors have given her prescription & non-prescription pain killers -- Naproxen, Celebrex, Vicodin, Darvocet, Bextra, Tylenol, Ibuprofen -- you name it, she's had it! Each time she's stopped taking the pain killers after reading the lists of possible side effects. Then she compalins because nothing works. In the meantime, she has sent for every cream or supplement known to man, looking for a miracle cure. Needless to say, those don't work either. In a few weeks she'll start injections of Synvisc into her knees. Perhaps that will afford her some relief.

But in the meantime, do any of you have any ideas? A few weeks ago I had her start taking Advil. The Tylenol wasn't relieving her pain, nor was it doing anything for the inflammation. She said the Advil gave her some relief. Last week when I told her doctor about it, he gave her a prescription for Ibuprofen. Dosage was the same as the Advil, just less pills to take. Well, wouldn't you know it, she now complains that the Ibuprofen doesn't work as well as Advil. I've explained & explained that they are exactly the same, but it doesn't do any good.

Are there any alternatives I haven't considered? I'd appreciate your help. I'm getting pretty discouraged.


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Hopefully the injections will help her. What a person believes helps often doesn't make sense to others. But if the 200mg Advil over the counter helps her, I would just leave it at that...maybe they dissolve faster or something. Sounds like she is pretty sharp! DW

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 7:07PM
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I can't help, but I can sympathize. My 95 yr old Mother reads every word in the info inserts. Every word. ANd she obsesses about it too. My solution? From now on, I'm not going to let the drug store deliver the Rx, I'll pick it up myself, and I'll take the inserts. Sorry, but she's driving me crazy, too. She does not believe that acetominaphen is the same thing as Tylenol, for example. Now she thinks that she should not be taking the Actonel because she has osteoporosis. And tomorrow when we have a Dr appt, I am going to ask the doctor to put Mother on anti-depressants.

Maybe we can put your mother in touch with my mother, and you and I'll just go out for a nice lunch together, maybe catch a movie. At least you and I will have a nice afternoon that way.

Wish I could help, but I can only offer my support.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 7:50PM
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I had synvisc shots in my knee last year after arthroscopy. You generally get a series of 3, one given each week. It takes a couple of weeks for them to kick in, but they do help. The effects aren't permanent, though, but perhaps you shouldn't share that with your mother, otherwise she might have a mindset before she even gets the first one. Be forewarned, however, that the shots are a bit painful when administered, but that passes fairly quickly.

Could you just put the prescription ibuprofen into the Advil bottle and not let on? Would she notice the difference in color or shape? Do you dispense her meds? Save your breath (and energy!) and don't try to explain any more that ibuprofen and Advil are one and the same.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 10:32PM
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Oh gosh, can I sympathize! My mother has terrible pain in her back and had spinal surgery, that didn't work, now they say its just the residual pain from her arthritis that she's had for many, many years. She's going through every painkiller in the book and nothing is working. She just lays on the couch and makes her way to the bathroom during the day and up to bed at night (6 steps). If they didn't have television, I think she'd just die right this minute.

She also had a stroke 5 months ago so things are a bit fuzzy for her and things just pretty much are on a downhill slope for her, my poor father (who is an angel) and for me too!

So sorry I have nothing to offer you shambo, just crying on your shoulder felt good for me and feel free to cry on mine any time! Just know you're not alone and I hope someone will have a better answer for you. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you and your mother in that regard.

My own experience, and I hope yours will be better, is that we went through all kinds of doctors and drugs and nothing works. Its frustrating and sad. You watch your beloved mother (or father or other family member) suffer and you are pretty helpless. It's a very tough situation.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 12:07AM
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Hi there! well here's a little story about Al and percocet, and morphine capsules. well he says that the morphine capsules don't do anything because only take them 2 times a day. the Percocet because there is a "on the street" problems with them and most of the pharmacies do not dispence them here have went up to about 98.00 for 100, so the pharmacy gave him a different manufacturer they are 22.21 for 120,and when they are out of them, he will have to buy the more expensive one, he swears that the cheaper ones are not as strong and are not working! i have shown him on the internet that they are exactly the same thing ingredient wise and read it outloud to him, but he still doesn't believe me, so i;ve even offered to take him to t he pharmacy as well. sometimes when i have a migrane i wish that those pills were prescribed to me so i could take one, but they're not, but it's nice to dream

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 12:45AM
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I can certainly relate to your problem with your mom. My mom just won't take her meds....well, she takes the ones she's taken for years (blood pressure, thyroid, etc) but if her arthritis acts up, it's almost a war to get her to take any pain med. She tells me she's going to "tough it out" and I've tried and tried to explain to her there's NO good reason to tough it out...just take some times, she will give in...her doc says she should take (3) 200-mg ibuprofen and when I try to give her 3, she says she'll take one, that's good at her last doctor visit, I asked him for a prescription for 600-mg now, she'll take it!!
And Deb, as far as the Percocet and generic not being the same for Al, it just may be true. I've had chronic pain for over 16 years and have been on many different pain meds to try to find relief. At one time, I was on Vicodin and tried to switch to the generic, because they were a lot cheaper, and found them to be not as effective. I was told that there are some generics that do not have the same quantities of meds in them; they may have the same ingredients, but not the same quantity - even though they tell you what is suppose to be in the drug, they are not always accurate and it just may be that for Al, it's not enough. One drug in particular, Synthroid (for low or high thyroid) is a good example. My doctor will not allow me to take the generic because she says the generics are not accurate enough and with thyroid you need to have the exact same dosage daily. So it's quite possible that Al can feel the difference in the is frustrating though, isn't it? Here you find a drug that is so much less expensive...take care, Mimi

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 8:15AM
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Hi, Shambo; the only thing that worked for my Mom was Oxycocet (Oxycontin), which I gave her sparingly, only when her arthritis was at its worst. The rest of the time, Advil seemed to lessen the pain. And HAD to be Advil, not ibuprophen. And no...I couldn't put the ibuprophen in the Advil bottle: she knew the difference...;-) She also got some relief from Myoflex or Arthritec, both creams. But be careful with them and wash your hands thoroughly...the Arthritec in particular is nasty if you get it near your eyes. I think the combination of the Arthritec and Advil, and snuggling her into bed provided good relief most of the time. But like I mentioned...for those very bad days, the Oxycocet certainly did the trick.
She was also on Neurontin for her ankle/leg pains, 3 each day, and I think that also aided in relieving her pain.

Good luck....Linda

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 9:35AM
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Thank you all for your kind thoughts and encouragement. It's comforting to know there are others out there dealing with similar situations. Part of my frustration is that my mother never takes any pain killer long enought to accurately judge its effectiveness. Or she mistakenly attributes some ongoing difficulties (such as dizziness or constipation) to the medicine.

You've given me some good ideas. I think when I see her Wednesday, I'll just tell her to go back to using Advil. I may ask the doctor if she can increase her dosage.

Lasershow, I'm glad the Synvisc worked for you, and I'm hoping it will help my mom. Glitter, I will look for the two ointments you mentioned.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 4:15PM
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