Modesto man with severe chronic pain can’t get prescriptions filled

Miguel Perez, who has severe multiple sclerosis, lives with an unbearable pain few people ever experience.  The 42-year-old Modesto man is prescribed four pain medications for trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition causing such searing facial pain it is sometimes called the suicide disease…

Doctors cannot fax or call in prescriptions to pharmacies. Some people with prescriptions for the painkillers said pharmacies ran out of supplies late last year as manufacturers repackaged the reclassified pills with appropriate labels…

Terri Perez said pharmacists have sent faxes to her son’s primary care doctor saying they won’t fill the prescriptions due to poor pain management. Dr. Priti Modi, his primary care doctor, said Perez and some other patients with a legitimate need for pain medications have run into roadblocks. She said pharmacies are not interested in seeing the patient’s medical history. “The pharmacies are taking over as physicians,” Modi said. “This guy is in so much pain, I don’t know what to do.”

Miguel Perez underwent procedures at Stanford Hospital and University of California, San Francisco, to treat trigeminal neuralgia without drugs, including a radiation treatment and a surgery to deaden the nerve. But nothing has prevented the excruciating attacks. A pain management doctor in Modesto gives him a nerve block that provides a little relief, Terri Perez said…

Jose Carranza, who owns independent drugstores in Modesto and Hughson, said pharmacies are now required to place separate orders for hydrocodone products with suppliers and report prescription sales, including the names of patients and doctors, to the DEA.

Physicians cannot fax or call in prescriptions but can use a DEA-approved electronic system for sending prescriptions to pharmacies, he said. “The wholesalers restrict the amount we can buy based on our purchase history,” Carranza added…

Under comments:

Steve Ariens · Top Commenter · Pharmacist at Chronic pain consultant
Denying a pt covered by the Americans with Disability Act their needed medication is discrimination… and a civil rights violation.. likewise, denying a pt their needed medication by a pharmacy could be considered prescribing or practicing medicine… which is outside of a Pharmacist’s scope of practice… also throwing a pt into withdrawal by denial of medication could be considered pt abuse and irresponsible professional negligence.

Debra Bush · Top Commenter · Modesto, California
OMG- I have gone through this same problem.

I am a stage 4 cancer survivor twice over. I also have severe arthritis in every joint and spine. I am in constant pain even with meds. I take Norco and Morphine daily… Last month I took my prescriptions to the CVS I have used for 8 years. They said it would be over a month before they could fill them. I went to EVERY pharmacy in town and they all claimed to be out. Finally a walgreens filled them for me. I was so worried. Morphine IS an addictive drug. I have forgotten a dosage several times and feel very sick as it wears out. Last month I freaked out that I would be forced into withdrawals. I even wrote a letter to the DEA.

People can not be expected to live in pain. I agree there are abusers and they need to be stopped. BUT making it hard for people with a real need is wrong. I have a doctor that monitors me, I live a full and productive life and I can not do that without controlling my pain. I am NOT getting high on drugs, I am making life possible. Without controlling my pain, I would prefer to be dead than unproductive.

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