This is a bit lengthy, so please bear with me ...
I have myofascial pain syndrome. I've had it for a while, since mid 1994. Until early 2006, my pain was managed semi-successfully with the benzodiazepine Klonopin. Relocation to a new city necessitated a new pain management doctor. The new doctor wanted me off of Klonopin as he doesn't believe that benzodiazepines are appropriate for pain management.
I was on a high dose (3 mg daily, equivalent to 60 mg of Valium daily) for over ten years. The doctor had me taper to zero in just under a week and a half. What followed was the worst two weeks of my life ending with a seizure and an ambulance ride to the hospital where Klonopin was reinstated.
I commenced a much slower, safer taper over the next half year, but I began this second taper before recovering from my ill-advised first taper. I became so sick that I felt life was no longer worth living. Finally I put myself into the hospital to get off of the Klonopin safely.
In the year following my release from the hospital, my major health concern was the multiple symptoms of the benzodiazepine protracted withdrawal syndrome, which I won't go into here. Finally, those symptoms have mostly abated and I'm ready to get back to living my life. Just one problem, I no longer have an effective treatment for my myofascial pain syndrome.
I have seriously considered simply reinstating the Klonopin as it was once the most effective treatment for me. But however ill-advised my doctor's too fast taper was, he was right about one thing. Benzodiazepines aren't appropriate for long term pain management. The reason is that the body becomes tolerant to the drugs and they no longer work leaving you physically dependent on them (as I was) despite no longer providing any benefit.
Last week my husband and I went out to dinner. There was a long wait for a table which we spent in the bar. Consequently I got drunk ... and my pain decreased dramatically. Now I've been told that alcohol hits on the benzodiazepine receptors of the central nervous system. In other words, the alcohol was doing the job that the benzos once did. This set me to thinking.
Since taking up a life of alcholism isn't really an option and going back onto benzodiazepines presents its own set of problems, what OTHER medicines work by the same mechanism and might they help me?
Reading on the Internet suggests that benzos inhibit sustained repetitive firing of nerves by inhibiting the sodium channels. Other drugs that work by the same mechanism may include phenytoin (Dilantin), mexiletine (oral Lidocaine), lamotrigine, zonisamide, etc. So my question is, is anyone out there taking one of these drugs for myofascial or other chronic pain? And what has been your experience with the drug? Any and all replies appreciated. Thanks!
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