By Robert Dinse, Guest Columnist
I suffer from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. I can best describe the pain as something akin to being doused in gasoline and then having a match tossed on me. Pretty much everything from the neck down at times is involved in severe burning pain.
Over time I've been placed on a number of combinations of anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications with various degrees of effectiveness. Presently I am on Lyrica and nortriptyline, an anti-depressant. So far this seems to be the best compromise between sedation and pain.
I actually got slightly better pain control with amitriptyline, another anti-depressant, but nortriptyline helps my mood more and since Lyrica negatively impacts my mood but greatly reduces my pain, this seems to be the best compromise.
With this combination of drugs, my pain is reasonably controlled about six days of the week, but I have periods, usually lasting 3-6 hours, of breakthrough pain in which I'm on fire again.
Kratom provides relief during those times and it does so without getting me high, or noticeably affecting my mental state in any way. This leaves me almost pain free and totally functional.
There are two other drugs I've found to be helpful for this breakthrough pain. The first is marijuana, which is legal in Washington State but leaves me pretty much non-functional. I cannot drive, nor effectively do my work on enough marijuana to give pain relief. Marijuana also stimulates my appetite and as a diabetic I need to lose weight, not gain weight.
The other useful drug is tianeptine sodium, but for it to be effective I need about 140 mg, which is higher than the maximum recommended single dose. At that dosage I also build a rapid tolerance. Not a problem if the pain flare up is short, but if it lasts more than two days, which on rare occasions it does, then tianeptine sodium becomes ineffective.
Some people get withdrawal symptoms from tianeptine sodium. I am fortunate that I have not ever experienced that, but it's lack of effectiveness if I get a bad flare-up lasting more than two days is its chief drawback.
I do not seem to rapidly build tolerance to kratom, and I've yet to experience any loss of effectiveness. It doesn't get me high. I don't get withdrawal symptoms. For my needs it is ideal, yet the DEA wants to take this away.
I wish that doctors and DEA officials could experience neuropathic pain firsthand so they could understand the hell their fouled up policies are putting people through. We have tens of thousands of deaths every year due to alcohol and tobacco, and the 16 alleged kratom deaths in the last five years all involved a mixture of other drugs that were most likely responsible for those deaths.
It is very hard to overdose on kratom because you take too much and you puke it up. I have experimentally determined the puke up threshold for me is about 12 capsules, and 10 capsules totally relieve my pain with no sense of intoxication or impairment.
I don't know how you could ask a pain reliever to be simultaneously anywhere near as effective or safe as kratom. Too much aspirin and you bleed to death internally, too much Tylenol and you toast your liver, many other NSAIDS readily available over the counter are bad for your heart.
Problem is, as a natural product, it's not patentable and thus competes with other patentable but much more dangerous and less effective drugs.
Robert Dinse lives in Washington State with his family.
Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to: editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.