drugs drugs and more drugs

Fibromyalgia and Zohydro: the Perfect Storm

drugs drugs and more drugsA powerful new opioid painkiller called Zohydro is about to be unleashed on a willing, yet misguided population.

Opioids are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed for pain-killing affect. They include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and methadone. Opioids may be more easily recognized by drug names such as Kadian, Avinza, OxyContin, Percodan, Darvon, Demerol, Vicodin, Percocet, and Lomotil.

Prescriptions for painkillers in the United States have nearly tripled in the past two decades and fatal overdoses reached epidemic levels, exceeding those from heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The perfect storm is brewing. Combine desperate patients who’ve tried drug after drug only to continue to suffer years of chronic pain, poor sleep, depression, fatigue, and sheer mental exhaustion with well meaning, but totally short sided, and often frustrated, “drug only” physicians and you have a tsunami of such magnitude, there are no categories to place it in.

The long term and residual damage this drug will cause to the fibromyalgia community and their families, is cause for real alarm.

Experts report – Zohydro’s easily crushed capsules will contain up to 50 milligrams of pure hydrocodone; that’s 10 times more hydrocodone than a regular Vicodin. One capsule will pack enough hydrocodone to kill a child. An adult lacking a tolerance to opioids could overdose from taking just two capsules.

Zohydro is the atomic bomb of pain pills. Do we really need another, stronger, yet potentially more deadly narcotic?

Sadly for many fibro patients reading this, their initial response is-“yes, give me a stronger pain pill, the stronger the better.”

And while I understand that years of unrelenting pain can cause even the most stoic patient to look for any relief, no matter the risk, pain meds, at least long term, only lead to more problems.

Now before I get a flood of email from patients defending their pain pills, let me go on record as I have before – I’m not anti-drug and I’m not totally against pain meds. They can be a welcomed relief, a blessing for those in chronic pain. However, pain meds weren’t ever meant to be used long term. These drugs were supposed to be used for end stage cancer patients.

The problem with these drugs is that patients develop a tolerance for them over time and eventually they must more and more and stronger and stronger meds.

I realize this isn’t the case for everyone, but it is true for the majority of patients who go down this road. The road can be long and treacherous as these drugs take their toll on a person’s mental and physical health.

young woman stressed and in pain dealing with fibromyalgia, Dr. Rodger Murphree can help.The scary thing about these meds is that more and more are being prescribed each year, over 92 million prescriptions last year alone.

My fear is that those with fibro, who have failed to respond to the mostly worthless “fibro drugs,” will be prescribed this drug too soon and too often, by traditional doctors who treat symptoms, not causes, and as such are doomed to failure. There will be, no doubt, an army of drug reps calling on doctors with samples and trinkets-pads, pens, coffee cups, free dinners, and trips, all to promote the SAFETY and effectiveness of Zohydro. The brainwashing will be intense.

Pain is a symptom. In the case of fibromyalgia the cause can be usually traced to allodynia or a low pain threshold brought on by poor sleep, low serotonin and other stress coping chemicals. The only way to reverse the symptoms of fibromyalgia is to treat the cause-poor health. Getting healthy from the inside out, finding the causes and then correcting the cause(s), is the only way to beat fibro.

If caught early enough, fibro can be reversed and without life robbing drugs.

Please read my book https://essentialtherastore.com/collections/books or listen to some of my patients testimonials, it can be beat.


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdoses of prescription painkillers have more than tripled in the past 20 years, killing more than 15,500 people in the United States in 2009. In fact, more people die from prescription opioid painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined (45 deaths each day).

Emergency-room visits for prescription painkiller abuse or misuse have doubled in the past five years, to nearly half a million. About 12 million Americans reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons or simply to get high. And nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs more than $72.5 billion each year in direct healthcare costs.

The FDA approved Zohydro despite the strong objection of an FDA advisory committee, which voted 11-to-2 against it. This may be the first time in history that the FDA will allow a drug to be released despite a landslide vote to keep it off the market.

A letter signed by more than 40 organizations was sent to FDA Commissioner Hamburg, urging her to keep Zohydro off the market. The organizations include some of the most prominent addiction-treatment agencies in the country, including Hazelden, Caron, and Phoenix House. Other co-signers include CASAColumbia, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, and dozens of community-based addiction-prevention organizations.

try a more natural approach to your fibromyalgiaI know from specializing in treating and beating fibromyalgia for the last 17 years, I will get hate mail from patients defending their pain meds, I understand. I’m a realist, I know there is a time and a place for pain meds, for all meds.

However, once again I must do what is right for my fibro patients and community at large that reads my blogs, listens to my conferences or reads my books-and what is right is warning that while failed back surgeries, chronic pain from past traumas, or end stage cancer warrant long term opioid treatment, AND I KNOW there exceptions, but the overwhelming majority of fibro patients don’t.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired why not try something different? 90% of my practice is phone consults. If needed I order blood work and lab tests that they patient does in their hometown. Everything can be done by phone.

Call the clinic 205-879-2383 and set up a phone or in clinic consult.


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Have you registered for this week’s teleconference? If you are interested in joining us, please visit EndFibroNow.com to register today!

23 replies
  1. Donna -Pain Care Advocate
    Donna -Pain Care Advocate says:

    Dr. Murphee,
    I wouldn’t send you a hate mail. I’m glad that you’ve been able to cure many Fibro patients naturally but I also have to say.. that many of these patients have more pain issues than just Fibro. The majority I speak with have spinal problems, Lyme disease, and arthritis of various types. I don’t think Zohydro is a bad medicine and other pain professionals agree with me. It’s really not that strong, even at 50 mgs for the high dose. There are many other pain medicines that are out there that’s not abuse deterrent and thank God they aren’t because so many people that have had long term chronic pain don’t find them nearly as effective as the original formula sad to say. The pain community needs more pain medicine options as well as other techniques. Sending out negative media against pain medication is NOT helping these people. It’s honestly causing more harm.
    It’s really low that the IOM is now being attacked for their report on “Pain in America 2011” because there are this many people, (100 million) suffering in America given the high population adding all the pain conditions and accidents that happen everyday. We’re all sorry that addicts have over dosed but given the numbers of patients successfully getting relief of pain with medicine, we can’t continue to cause frantic fear against pain medicine and it needs to stop. The medications work for many people to help them have a somewhat normal life. I really wish that all negative media would stop now. The pain community is sick of hearing it. We need doctors to support patients with pain. Plenty of patients have tried everything to get relief and it didn’t work. So why not allow them to have a life and if pain medication is what works? So be it.

    Congratulations on curing your patients the natural way with Fibro. Just please stop the negativity of pain meds that help so many in todays world of pain. The negative media is killing these people and causing doctors severe fear to prescribe what they need, let alone pharmacies denying to fill legal scripts because of fear caused by the DEA. It’s really hell for many of pain patients out there right now.

    • Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team
      Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team says:

      Thank you for posting. I believe I made the point that spinal pain,failed back surgery and other pain syndromes may warrant pain meds and are appreciated. However, the majority of fibro patients shouldn’t be ROUTINELY placed on pain medications-if they are then they will be facing a very disturbing long term future. I’m starting to see patients starting pain meds in their thirties and this is very disturbing pattern. Where will they be when they are in their fifties? There are other options.

  2. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    No. Fibro, if caught early, does NOT go away. Matter of fact, it gets WORSE over time! You should walk in my shoes .. how wrong you are!!

  3. mike gentry
    mike gentry says:

    after years of pain and fatigue and a diagnoses of fibro i read all i could about it including dr. murphrey info which is very good… i also found the more i read and researched that it was caused by something else like trauma , repeated long bouts of emotional stress etc. and was more of a symptom not a disease. so at that point i started trying to discover what is causing my fibro. i was in the best shape of my life really at the time it began to get in the way of daily life. my diet was very healthy and i was doing what was recommended to help the fibro including herbs ,foods and exercise , regular massages.. after 10 years of a slow but steady down hill health with other things popping up along the way, i started researching once again to find something.
    3 doctors into this and no real help at all other than blood test after test that were normal. one test at the beginning of this 10 yrs ago showed a high feritin count but it was dismissed as inflammation but not checked out . they actually sent me to a rhumatologyst for high ferrintin which seems crazy to me now with what i know. i looked back at all my test over the years and saw that one.. it bothered me to know it was never checked….. i google the high feritin and found a condition with almost every symptom i had and it said doctors usually miss it. it is called hereditary hemochromatosis and it will kill you if untreated… i knew in my soul right then my journey after 10 years had led me to my problem. i called my doc and requested the dna test. 2 weeks later i was diagnosed with hemochromatosis have 2 copies of a defective gene. my adrenals have been causing me problems as well as my sugar levels . i now have arthritus in my neck and back .. short term memory problems very bad a d d and my liver is stained blue with iron . for the last few years i havent been able to work more than 20 hhours a week . i am now doing blood letting to remove iron from my body. hopefully my organs will recover.. check it out please

  4. Kat
    Kat says:

    Though I agree 100% with you that pain pills are prescribed far too often and many times at much higher doses than needed, Im not totally going to agree with you on a new pain med being introduced is a mistake.
    I don’t have fibromyalgia, but I know quite a few people who do suffer from it. Sad really. I was recently diagnosed with CRPS after almost a year of a ridiculous roller coaster ride. Numerous physicians wanted to just give me pills without knowing what was going on. It was very frustrating! I would ask point blank…”why in the hell are you prescribing me meds when you have NO clue what you are dealing with? Especially considering I have a history of allergic reactions or adverse reactions to sooo many medications?!”
    The answer was ALWAYS the same… ” Well….typically this is what we use when this and this are reported.” Typical? Huh? You can see how confusing that was. Being told I was being treated with certain kinds if meds due to the few ‘typical’ symtoms I had. Not bothering to take in ALL of my symptoms or my reactions or allergies. I even had a so called Specialty Pain Management Physician trying to tell me my treatment plan based on ‘how we typically treat fibromyalgia is..’ HOLD ON!! Did you NOT just rule out fibromyalgia just like the 4 doctors before you? Yes, you say? Then exactly why the hell would you treat me for something I don’t have?!
    I think what happens is if a physician has one thing work for one or more patients, they stop listening to their patient and insist their plan is the ONLY way. That is ignorance at its best. And that is why people get frustrated and eventually turn to pain pills and often over use or abuse them.
    You say pain is a symptom. Ok, well, what do you do if those symptoms can’t be treated? Say too bad? Sucks to be you? You don’t fit into this little box that medical school told me everyone should fit into….sooo…..since I can’t admit I have no idea what’s going on, I’m going to blow smoke up your ass about how pain is just a symptom and since I have my fibromyalgia under control, then you can get yours under control the same way.
    What if it isn’t fibro? What if your patient has severe reactions to SSRI’s, SNRI’s, and Tricyclic Anti depressants? And they are allergic to numerous pain meds? Then what? Can’t throw an anti depressant at it? Which….oh that’s right…alleviates pain because its tricking your brain into slowing down the nerve pulses that tell you its pain. So…a bandaid! Just like pain pills, only some people can’t take them. What other options are there? On the lovely pain scales that you lovely physicians like to use…..my disease rates higher than those with end stage cancer. So what now? What happens when the hydrocodone isn’t working anymore? Yes, the natural progression of pain medication means that your body becomes dependant and you will eventually need more and more until…..what? What is left? You tell me.
    How am I supposed to function and live my life everyday when I am in excrutiating pain? Because if you have an option other than pain meds that actually works…I’M IN!!!! Because people who suffer from true, excrutiating, chronic pain don’t WANT to have to take pain meds. A handful of irresponsible physicians and drug addicts (not patients with REAL pain) habe made it very, very difficult for those of us who are suffering every single day.
    I have a friend who comes up with things that cause her pain in order to get pain medication. And she gets it!! I have lenghty conversations with my physicians about how I want them to promise me they aren’t just trowing pills at me as well as I INSISTING that I take the very LEAST ammount of pain medication I can because I know what pain meds are all about and what the nature of it is. That’s the difference! I NEED the pain medication, but don’t want it even though I have to take it. And she WANTS it even though she doesn’t need it.

    • Tammy
      Tammy says:

      I feel for you….
      i have tried all the fibro meds, and because of another problem(tachycardia) and the meds I take for it, I can not take any of the meds to treat it….I have been on my mix( norco, flexerill, xanax) for over 7 yrs now. I hate living on pills, I hate that I have to tell my kids to say NO to drugs, but hang on let me go pop some more pills…..I try to take the least I possibly can, because I have seen severe abuse of them, and I know that I am dependent on them, and that I will in time have to have stronger meds, but I have no choice. I have tried diet changes, vitamins( especially vit D, mine was almost nothing when it was found). The vitamins do help with some of the depression and fatigue, but not all. And I SO agree if they could find something else for me I am there with bells on. In trying to find the cause of my fibro and many other medical conditions, we have tracked it all back to an allergic anaphalxis shock from a hepatitis B vaccine….my first symptoms showed up 1 week after the shot, while I was still being treated for the allergy to it. I have the fibro, neuropathy, tachycardia(they are still trying to figure out if it is normal tachycardia or SVT) kidney problems, several bulging discs in neck and back, and degenerative arthritis in neck, back, hips, knees, and hands, and now also being checked for RA and I am only 39 yrs old….I joke with people and tell them I turned 30 and started falling apart, but that was when I received my vaccine. It is so difficult to have people you know look at you like you are a druggie, when they look at you and don’t SEE anything wrong with you. I wish this disease had physically noticeable symptoms, so at least then we wouldn’t have to deal with family, friends and yes our Drs. questioning our every complaint. This is definitely a real condition and wish they could find out what is the exact cause and treat that not just put us on a ton of drugs to mask the symptoms, as we progressively get worse with every turn of the seasons.
      My Pain Dr has tried to put me on stronger meds (oxy), but I refuse to take that next step yet. I know in time if I am in a major accident or have major surgery again, they will have to give me enough meds to drop a horse, but there is nothing I can do about this. That is why I refuse to start on stronger meds just yet. I will deal with this until I can no longer stand the pain before I ever agree to go to a higher medication. So in my opinion this new drug should be available to those who have no choice. And I am quite certain that the ones that actually need it will not try it till there is no other option. As with any feel good medication, you will have those that abuse it, but why should those that truly need it suffer unnecessarily, just because some junkie abuses it. No matter what you do to regulate it, the junkie are going to get it one way or another, or something equivalent.
      If you have to take pain meds PLEASE do so responsibly and only as precribed, and try to hold out as long as you can on the lowest you are able to stand. Just remeber you do build a tolerance to the pain meds, and if you go up the scale too soon, what are you going to do next year or in 10 yrs when the pain is still there and your tolerance is so high nothing helps. Let the meds take the edge off, you will NEVER be pain free so don’t abuse the meds to try to get rid of the pain. I take them to tolerate the pain, but also pain tells you that you are still alive and pain is your bodies way of telling you to take it easy, if you totally mask the pain, you WILL over do it and then where are you….in so much pain you can’t get it under control.

  5. Karen
    Karen says:

    Listen. I didn’t and thought my Doc was great when he put me on methadone. Four years later my Doc was audited by the state for excessive prescribing and I end up in addictive med and on suboxone. I have been for over a year now. They say its not addictive but believe me it is. Just saying if I had listened to Dr Murphree when I spoke to him at a conference . As he signed my book he said read this and get off the methadone it is not the way to go. Well wish I did. But think I was already addicted.Believe me you don’t want this path. Having to answer to someone for every drug u take. Random drug screens. And being treated by other Docs like you were a drug seeking monster. Being on suboxone is like wearing a scarlet letter on your forehead. Choose the right path even if its the hard one.

  6. Deanna
    Deanna says:

    I have Fibromyalgia degenerative disc spinal stenosis arthritis sciatica a cyst in my foot from a break on my 3rd metatarsal that no Dr. will touch and it keeps growing migraines a previous history of a C2 break in two places all 5 lower discs are bulging with one torn muscle spasms and twitching andvso much more. If this new drug can get me off of 4 10mg hydrocodones 3 30 mg Morphine 2 50mg Diclofenac and 3 muscle relaxers a day then why not try it? And by the way my Mother and 3Aunts also have Fibromyalgia. Please explain that to me.

    Thank you

  7. Marsha
    Marsha says:

    I only have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, I have so many back problems for 27 years. Bulging disc, pinched nerves,etc … I also have chronic bursitis in both hips down to my knees for 10 years. I have a bad knee that stays swollen, is painful to walk, and can’t bend completely. I also have intercystal cystitis. I also have a knot on the bottom of my foot that is growing and they can’t remove it because it is on my tendons. So they say.. stay off it… really? I have Mytrovalvue prolapse. Ulcers in my stomach, and completely disabled. I can’t walk very far, sometimes not all. A lot of days I am mostly in bed with severe pain. I take percoset 4 times a day and it is not nearly enough to even take away a little pain. I have osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. I can’t hold anything and my fingers and toes are so messed up and hurt constantly. Doctors, and I have been to many, just don’t seem to care. What should I do?

  8. PJ
    PJ says:

    I have been to 3 neurologist for Restless Legs Syndrome. I have had this for 10+ years and have been on 4 different med’s and had a good run of Sinemet and Conzaepam for 7+ years but last 3 have been progressing and declining. Just failed Horizant after 2 years and retrying it and Mirapex. Not 3 Neuro’s recommending opiads. I am sleep deprived, only working 30 hours a week and suffering with severe depression which is untreatable due to most all anti-depressnats exacerbate RLS. So I guess opiates are recommended for that either. Currently working on some herbal remedies (valerian, and other anti-inflammatory herbs). I am 52 and quality of life is not good. So I suspect you disagree with opiate use for RLS too. Also tried acupuncture and essential oils. Nothing helps.

  9. Lee Monson
    Lee Monson says:

    Well if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck… So, you’re the only one to “CURE” fibromyalgia? Why aren’t you all over the news. With as many of us as there is, this is big news. It’s HUGE!!! Yet, in 25 years this is the first I’ve heard of you. Why do people play with others lives? Fibro isn’t a joke and real living breathing people suffer with it. Then we have so many out to make a buck on people desperate for relief from mind numbing pain. Are you even a real Dr? Are you brave enough to post this?

    • Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team
      Dr. Rodger Murphree & Team says:

      Thanks for calling me a quack. I love it. My videos are free, the information in my book which is as real as I am, can taken and applied for pennies a day, the book can be bought for less than $10 on Amazon, not sure if anyone could get rich off of that. No where do I say I have a cure or only person to have all the answers. You’d be better served doing some homework rather than attacking one of the few doctors who believes fibro exists, two understands it, and three actually has had some success treating it. We are on same team. https://yourfibrodoctor.com/testimonials-from-fibromyalgia-patients/

  10. Vivian Miller
    Vivian Miller says:

    II was diganosed in 1996 with Fibro
    there is NO cure so don’t pass around a false lie that there is!
    I have tried every med that is legal to use for it & I’ve ended up being allergic to most or they make me swell up like a huge balloon & none ever stopped the pain & I’ve taken shots {called trigger shot} & they are the only thing that does help for awhile!
    all the crap in this pill I can not take! anything in the codein family I can not take!
    Too many quacks like yourself trying to push crap on those of us who have Fibro are just so full of lies!
    Best thing for Fibro people is to keep moving not just any exercise but water therapthy in a swimming pool! change your diet! eat more protein less carbs! Stop using anything you drink or eat that has aspertame it makes Fibro hurt worse! I have found out by trail & error which foods hurt & help!

  11. Torrey Hamlin
    Torrey Hamlin says:

    I think there are some harsh comments here toward the doc although I understand the frustration as being a fibro patient for nearly 15 years and having a very hard time receiving proper treatment. It is hard to find a doc who truly believes that fibro exists, understanding the level of pain that we live with on a daily basis is another. I myself was quesitoned when I described the level of pain to a specialist and was told that it couldn’t be that high or I would be in the hospital??? There are many instances where I wanted to be, almost did go but wasn’t sure what they’d even do for me so just sufferred through with what I had. No matter what they say it is degenerative…it’s gotten much worse for me and insteady of taking multiple types of pain meds several times a day I wouldn’t be opposed to taking 1 med a couple times a day that had the ability to provide around the clock relief. Sounds like it takes a level of responsiblity on our part as well as the prescribing dr.’s part to determine if this is something worth trying and no one else.

  12. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    I have enjoyed reading this forum – my wife has just come off the worst fibro ‘storm’ I have ever seen in the worst fortnight of fibro pain and I jumped on the net to try and get better informed – wish you were in Australia, Rodger – can you point me to any colleague or association over here that can help us.
    p.s. I’m surprised at the amount of criticism this has attracted – narcotics, long term, are never going to reduce symptoms/side effects


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