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Old 05-10-2007, 06:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pain pills & liver damage

A recent post from Liz underscores a hidden danger of abusing pain pills.

Most pain pills also contain acetaminophen, or Tylenol(TM); some 1/3 of a gram; most contain 1/2 gram, and others 3/4 gram.

The maximum daily recommended dose of Tylenol is 4 grams / day. If you regularly drink alcohol that number is lower (see below).

According to published literature, the minimum toxic dose of Tylenol is 7.5 - 10 grams / day. For example, if you consume fifteen to twenty (15-20) Vicodin or Lortabs with 500 mg. of Tylenol you are taking a toxic amount and risking big problems from the Tylenol, not to forget the opioid.

Here's a simplified explanation of how it works:

The liver is responsible for detoxifying the blood and metabolizing most drugs. In a healthy liver, the Tylenol is broken down harmlessly. The liver stores a substance called glutathione which it uses to metabolize the Tylenol.

However, if the store of glutathione is low, or the liver is overwhelmed by too much Tylenol, the breakdown products include a toxin that kills liver cells. If too many cells are killed, liver failure occurs. Also, alcohol competes for the same store of glutathione, so drinking alcohol and taking Tylenol at the same time is doubly dangerous.

A Tylenol overdose can be fatal. There are remedies available if treated within 24 hours of injestion. The most popular remedy is NAC, or n-acetylcysteine, branded Mucomyst. NAC restores levels of glutathione so the liver can properly process the Tylenol. But it is nasty stuff, full of sulfur and very foul-smelling. However, it is much better than the alternative . . . .

If caught right away, many hospitals will give the patient a slurry of activated charcoal to absorb the poison.

My own physician said that during an autopsy he picked up a liver of someone who OD'ed on Tylenol and it literally disintegrated in his hands. The liver is one organ in the body that can regenerate if it is not too badly damaged; those who severely overdose either get better or they die.

Liver failure is horrible. A patient will probably never feel sicker. As a liver fails it causes problems with other organs: brain swelling, kidney shutdown, gastrointestinal bleeding, etc. Severe liver failure can progress to what is called fulminant failure, where an immediate transplant is needed. Sometimes, however, a proper donor organ is not available in time, or the patient is too sick to undergo the surgery, or death occurs from a side effect. Successful transplant patients can look forward to a life that includes anti-rejection meds and other complications.

Chronic use over the recommended amounts can cause kidney or ear failure as well. One well-known radio personality lost his hearing to pain med abuse . . .

I mention these things because many people are unaware that recreational use or chonic or acute abuse of pain meds can cause misery and death from the acetaminophen alone.

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Old 05-10-2007, 06:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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in the 90s when i was addicted, i didn't think anything of taking 80 or so 5mg vicodins in a day. i was young and healthy, didn't even think about liver damage. or when i did think about it, i knew it wouldn't happen to me.
now, i'm a lot older, a lot more broken down, lol, and have thought about it a lot. i haven't been checked yet, but i imagine the 4gms of tylenol i was taking almost daily for about a year has taken its toll. my last relapse on 60 10mgs in less than 24 hours scared me to death. i looked for jaundice daily in the mirror, cried and prayed that i hadn't killed myself.
the scary thing is addicts really don't think about the damage they are doing to themselves when they are using. i was invincible. nothing would ever happen to me.
maybe this will be a wake up call for some of us
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have Hep C so that's one more reason for me to quit. Which today is day one with no Lortab. Wish me luck!
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Towards the end of my doping years my skin was kind of yellow.

Yuck, glad that's over.
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have Hep C so that's one more reason for me to quit. Which today is day one with no Lortab. Wish me luck!

Good luck!


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Old 05-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ok. Now I'm scared.

To be honest I did think about the damage I was causing by pain pills quite a lot - it's just that I took them all the time and when I didn't die from taking more than I should I just kept gradually upping the dose till it was up to 20 pills a day. Did it without wanting to but the addiction took hold.

Drinking booze has also been a problem for me as many of you are aware.

I've been clean for a week now.

But my kidneys (it feels like it's coming from my kidneys) are still constantly complaining at me. Is this still withdrawal or are they messed up now?

I know I should see a doctor but I'm scared.

Over 5 years of pain pill abuse. Is there any way my body could have got away without damage?
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz Kilowatt View Post
Good luck!


Buzz

Thanks!!!!
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They'll screw w/your pancreas, too. And unlike the liver, the pancreas does not regenerate.

Peace & Love,
Sugah
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have Hep C so that's one more reason for me to quit. Which today is day one with no Lortab. Wish me luck!
Good luck flutter - you can do this!

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Old 05-11-2007, 04:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Buzz, thanks for a wonderful, informative, and helpful post.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I am only 22 years old and I fear that I have severe liver damage. I took oxy's and vicodin everyday for about 2 years and then moved on up to heroin. I have been clean for 2 years now due to the fact that I married a South American and now I live down here. It's nearly impossible to find opiates here. Anyways, now whenever I drink even just 1 or 2 beers, I wake up with a horrible hangover. There are times that I wake up feeling completely hung over without drinking a thing.

Could this be a sign of liver damage?

Thank you.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Do a web engine search for "liver damage symptoms." Those typically include a bloated abdomen; yellowish tint to skin and whites of the eyes; dark urine and light stools; exhaustion, itching, etc.

If you've been using needles, Hep C is a possibility, too.

Go see your doctor. A liver function panel is not very expensive and will help to establish if you have a problem or not. You might be anemic. But you won't know if you don't go . . .

Good luck.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I really commend this post, I strongly believe in getting this kind of information out to addicts, instead of a vague "it's bad for your body", because we already know that, but having detailed information like this can save lives.

I'm also an avid advocate of pill abusers separating the acetaminophen out from the opiate in the pills, it minimizes damage to your body considerably and can prevent the vast majority, if not all acetaminophen overdoses related to pill abuse. Knowledge is priceless, every addict should educate themselves as best they can.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #14 (permalink)
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That's why they never give out narcotics mixed with things like that here. If you're given pain meds in Quebec in most cases they'll give you either 5mg oxycodone or 1mg or 2mg hydromorphone alone.
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Old 10-04-2009, 05:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great post, Buzz. This sort of harm minimisation information is vital.
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Old 10-08-2009, 02:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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What about drinking cough syrups with codeine and diphenhydramine ? Is that as bad ? physically.

I know I went through severe anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings,narcolepsy and depression after getting off them.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:13 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Was the addition of diphenhydramine in textbook quantity to potentiate the opiate or was it added in quantity for it's own therapeutic effects? If it's the former then I think that such an elixir may be unique to India as I have no knowledge of any company making that concoction with that intention in mind. Do you remember the name of the company that makes it? I'd like to see their research documents if I can.

Personally I found the potentiation quantity of diphenhydramine to be far less powerful than a simple therapeutic quantity of dextromethorphan; however a high therapeutic dose of diphenhydramine has no discernible effect on me.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:41 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Was the addition of diphenhydramine in textbook quantity to potentiate the opiate or was it added in quantity for it's own therapeutic effects? If it's the former then I think that such an elixir may be unique to India as I have no knowledge of any company making that concoction with that intention in mind. Do you remember the name of the company that makes it? I'd like to see their research documents if I can.

Personally I found the potentiation quantity of diphenhydramine to be far less powerful than a simple therapeutic quantity of dextromethorphan; however a high therapeutic dose of diphenhydramine has no discernible effect on me.
I've been given to understand that the diphenhydramine was to reduce any side-effects caused by the codeine like nausea, but I can't be sure.

The brand name is Phensedyl. Company name is glaxosmithkline.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:21 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah I know it's used as an antihistamine to mediate unwanted side-effects from opiates or even as an antiemetic on it's own - but traditional sources will tell you that it can vastly potentiate the effects of opiates, so I wanted to know if THAT was it's purpose in the mix. Personally I'm of the belief that whatever potentiating effect it may have is purely psychological, reducing ill-effects, without enhancing positive ones, hence making the subjective experience more positive for the subject.

I'm curious about this topic now because I just saw a guy who literally ate a positively sacriligeous (over 800mg) amount of this with his dope because he couldn't afford to buy enough heroin to stop the pain. I told him next time he wants to be a retard to drink DXM if robbing someone in place of throwing away the needle was his next option. He's doing fine on methadone now.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The mixture of opiates and alcohol is very dangerous.

BUT, emotional pain is also dangerous. We are here, trying our best. Let us give ourselves some slack. We have a nice community here, and for that we should be grateful.
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