Docket Management
Docket: 01N-0256 - Use of Opiate Analgesics in Various Patient Populations, Including Pediatric Patients
Comment Number: EC -227

Accepted - Volume 4

Comment Record
Commentor Mrs. Amber Churchman Date/Time 2002-01-26 17:21:25
Organization Mrs. Amber Churchman
Category Individual

Comments for FDA General
1. General Comments My name is Amber Churchman and I am 29 years old with two children. I have a medical condition called RSDS/CRPS. This condition puts me in extreme chronic pain. According to the McGill pain index, RSDS is rated at a pain level of above 40. For reference, child birth is rated at 26 and arthritis around 10. I am in this pain each and every day. I have good days and I have bad days. Sadly, I must rely on opiate pain medication to survive. With RSDS, not using a body part will only cause the condition to worsen and the body part to deteriorate. This vicious circle makes pain worse and worse. It is critical that the body part is used. To move I must rely on pain medication. Now, for the social implications - I have two young children. Even with pain medication I am limited in what I can do with them. Without pain medication I could not be a mother to them. I could not get out of bed. I am an EMT and see the misuse of drugs including prescription drugs such as opiates. However, these individuals are going to use drugs no matter what. They will get them legally or illegally. I have seen a doctor that refused to give me pain medication but regularly prescribes to individuals who have no medical conditions. Doctors already are hesitant to prescribe pain medication - even when medically indicated because they are afraid. This causes an extreme problem in society. Pain is real and debilitating. As a patient of chronic pain, I completely realize all of the implications of pain. It causes depression, frustration and even suicide. If you don't treat the pain the suicide rate will surely increase. People that are truly in chronic pain CANNOT live with the pain. There must be some options. One individual I know actually started using illegal drugs because his pain wasn’t controlled with prescription medication. Pain must be controlled and people will go to whatever measure is necessary to get relief. If you are not going to treat us with pain medication what are you going to do with us? I cannot function without medication - are you going to provide 24 hour in home care - or nursing homes just for pain patients? What about all the children you will leave without parents? The bottom line is - people who are truly in pain cannot function without pain medication. Think of what would happen to them and their families if you took away their only hope and relief. I can honestly say that I couldn't live with the pain I am in -which would only increase with not using the limb. I sit here now typing this letter in tears begging you to consider all of the implications of the decision you are about to make. My life is in your hands! Believe me, if I could go without the medication I would. I am scared about what my stomach will be like in 30 years after taking all this medication for so long but at least my children will be grown and can care for themselves. You should be focusing your attention on the real issue - healthcare reform! I have tried for years to get procedures and/or equipment that is proven to work for my medical condition and been denied by insurance. They would rather pay $500 or more per month for pain medication than to pay $3600 for a piece of equipment that would eliminate my pain and my need to take opiates. I fought Blue Cross Blue Shield all the way to an Administrative Law Judge and was denied. The reason? The machine I needed was not allowed for in the contract. So what can I do? I can't afford this machine so I go back to being forced to take pain medication. Do I like the medication? Absolutely not! I am restricted in activity, I am tired all the time, I have problems with my gastrointestinal system.... but I absolutely cannot live with my pain! All of the above at least get me to the point that I can function and get through my day. At least my children have a mother. When car accident patients are paralyzed it is a tragedy in which they must rely on people to care for them. Consider needing this type of care for the millions of people who live in pain! Please don't take my life away. Sincerely, Amber Churchman (928)367-4049

EC -227