I'm currently on Tramadol for major arthritis pain, which I am taking in prescribed dosages. It's the most constipating stuff I've ever taken and it's only sort of an opioid (and an SNRI....weird drug)
Deaths can also occur due to bowel rupture. I remember when I was in my teens, after a rather traumatic experience caused by taking Percodan after wisdom teeth removal, suddenly thinking that "junkies" must be the most constipated people on the face of the earth.
If you think codeine is a major pain killer, Opana would probably kill you. Oxymorphone is no joke. Even at my peak, when I needed at least 300mg of oxycodone a day, only 20mg of Opana would have me nodding out for hours. And usually made me vomit. Now THAT is a powerful drug. It is essentially a very pure form of heroin. They were designed as an extended release drug, but there were easy ways to circumvent the gel-like coating on the outside in order to get the entire effect at once.I know a fellow who was on major pain killers (codeine and other related medications) for years due to back pain. He found he had to do three things to avoid major bowel problems - and the doctors marveled that he did so well.
1) Drink 8 ounces of water for every pill. That's on TOP of whatever else you usually drink.
2) Make sure your diet includes lots of high-fiber foods, preferably a good variety of fiber
3) Also make sure you have a daily intake of healthy fats, more than you would expect
The combination of the three, used consistently, keeps things moving.
I'm sure Opana would kill me, as I react badly to lesser opioids in small doses. I do wish a medication like that had been available when my late husband was in the final stages of his illness, though, and fentanyl patches, dilaudid, and morphine weren't holding the pain completely.
Well, it wasn't cancer, it was a rare blood disorder caused by toxin exposure during the first Gulf War. He was on all the opiates available at the time, but it was a battle to get them into him as he hated just "nodding and scratching" as he put it.
What he was getting at that time were the most powerful available, except for Opana which had just come out to a limited number of patients. husband didn't qualify and our insurance wouldn't have covered it if he had.
What happened basically is that due to bone damage from the disease, combined with massive amounts of steroids used to treat the disease and prevent reactions to transfusions and treatments, his spine began to break down, which caused massive nerve impingement and a lot of disability, not to mention horrific pain.
Luckily, that was before the DEA totally freaked about opioids, so his oncologist could and did prescribe heavy duty medications for him, some of which were injectables as he had a port in.