Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pancreatitis and Oxicodone

Oxycodone pancreatitisA reader commented about her use of Oxicodone. The entire comment is on the Hot Flashes: Chronic Pancreatitis or Menopause post. Here is an exerupt from it:

"I have chronic disk pain in my upper back and neck so, I had been taking Oxicodone for two years for that and recently discontinued the use of it and switched to a non-narcotic pain medicine called Tramadol, this switch occurred about two weeks before I started feeling the symptoms of the Pancreatitis."

Recently, my dog was not feeling well. I began researching his symptoms online. It appeared that many dogs acquired Pancreatitis as a result of medication prescribed by Vets.

The woman's comment above reminded me of this drug/pancreatitis connection. So, I looked it up.
Oxycontin Pancreas

It appears that Oxicodone can cause acute pancreatitis per the site:

"Use In Pancreatic/Biliary Tract Disease
Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi and should be used with caution in patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis. Opioids like Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets may cause increases in the serum amylase level."

No Drugs pancreatitis
Prescription drug-related pancreatitis might explain why it seems like so many younger people (women in particular, whom often opt for prescription drugs over illegal drugs) would be coming down with pancreatitis.

I don't take pain killers for my pancreas. Yes, I feel discomfort there often but I know it and what caused it because I can feel it since I am not on pain killers which can mask the pain and symptoms. By feeling the discomfort I can detect what has caused it and from there minimize the discomfort by not over-eating or from staying away from this or that fatty food, etc. If the discomfort is masked then I am more likely to continue the behaviors which aggravated the situation in the first place potentially causing greater harm and permanent damage and scarring to the pancreas. I'd rather feel what is going on, know what has caused it and change my behaviors and diet so the discomfort stops and my pancreas is at ease.

To me, pain killers seem like a quick fix with deadly consequences. I guess it's fair to say I'm not looking for either. It just doesn't seem like pain killers are actually the easier, softer way - more like, they are the quiet killer.

Ginger and Pancreatitis
And example of my approach to abdomen discomfort is making an anti-inflammatory tea which will decrease the swollen pancreas thereby taking away the pain and discomfort while protecting the pancreas and it's longevity.

I understand the fear of the pain and how that can take a person straight to the bottle of prescription drugs for immediate relief. Maybe an option would be to have pink ginger which tastes great if eaten straight and works immediately. For me, the affects are immediate. It's an option which a person could try. If it doesn't work within 2 minutes then the medicine cabinet is still there.


  1. Hello,

    I am wondering whether anyone is familiar with the therapy developed in the UK using a specific combination of supplements, primarily methionine and selenium. A Gastroenterologist over there, Joan Braganza, has been using it for 20 years, apparently to great success, and there have been a few very good, but small, studies confirming the therapy.

    It basically taking a rather large daily dose of methionine and selenium, along with very ordinary doses of vitamin C, betacarotene, and vitamin A. In practice, this is done through a supplement called Antox supplied by a Danish supplement company called Pharma Nord.

    I have looked through a heck of a lot of the literature and there is remarkable lack of nuts and bolts understanding of the physiology of pancreatitis. It is literally that no one has bothered to figure it out. Braganza and company seem to be the only ones with a good working theory on why and how pancreatitis arises at the cellular level. They definitely seem to be the only that even claim to have discovered a therapy that treats the underlying condition.

    Basically, the pancreas is an enzyme creating machine, and the enzymes are packaged in lysosomes (membrane bubbles) in acinar cells in the pancreas and then excreted from the acinar cells in a very controlled manner so that the enzymes are activated and escape the lysosome only in the intestine. Pancreatitis is when this lysosome excretion goes wrong and enzymes begin to destroy the pancreas. Braganza shows how the excretion of lysosomes is dependant on membrane signal molecules that are also used to detoxify metabolites (such as those arising from alcohol). When the signaling molecules on the membranes are all used up due to dealing with toxins, the excretion goes haywire. The basic problem according to this model is a depletion of methyl groups in the acinar cells, and an inability to methylate the signaling molecules needed for excretion. The supplement cocktail is designed to provide methyl groups and cofactors that support methylation.

    Anyhow, this is about the only thing that I can find that (1) claims to treat the underlying condition and (2) isn’t pure conjecture or quackery. And I am astonished to find that it is so little known. I can’t find any gatroenterologis in the US that is familiar with it. And yet it is standard procedure at the Royal Infirmary in Manchester, UK. It is also the subject of a large study that is apparently now completed, but not yet published (according to my correspondence with the investigators.

    Any info or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Believe it or not, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota advised me of this treatment during my 2010 visit, but I has to put the supplements together myself and do all the calculations and be very careful not to overdose on Selenium. I've tried to spread the handout throughout the country to many of the GI specialists in the US, but they did not seem interested and one comment I received from a doctor's receptionist is that there is no money to be made by using these supplements. More than likely this doctor makes good money by promoting and prescribing meds like narcotics and gets a kickback for doing so. What a shame, I've been dealing with Chronic and Acute reoccurring Previou

  2. 1 yr ago a GI specialist gave me a sheet if a study in India using the high levels of antioxidants much like u described. He has since left to practice elsewhere & I haven't gotten in touch with him yet. I'm not sure where he is at now would be able to give that same info as it's considered alternative. BUT I'm wanting to check into it, even tho 95% of my pancreas is scarred over. Idk if it's too late for me now??

  3. It seems they do not have the product anymore?