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Porphyria Educational Services

Porphyria Educational Services Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 37 September 17, 2000
FOCUS: Pains medications and porphyria

Medications often are the first line of defense for acute pain. But the question of which medication to use and when to use one for chronic pain is very complex.

It is rare if a "quick fix" comes in the form of a pill for chronic pain, and all medications have side effects and risks of toxicity. Medications for porphyria patients have far more risks than for the average patients with other diseases because so many drugs are processed through the liver or contain known triggers of acute agttacks.

As a key thing to remember as a porphyria patient, you should approach medications and even over-the-counter pain relievers with much caution, and always in active collaboration with your primary care physician who should oversee all of the various medications that you are taking.

So just what are the various pain medications?

There are NSAIDs - Helpful, but with serious side effects

There are also the complementary and alternative medicines which also can help alleviate pain. These therapies cover a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches and therapies that aren't widely used by medical doctors,hospitals or paid for by insurance.

Also it is good to point out here that many of these do not undergo the rigorous testing that FDA approved drugs have undergone. Also many have been found to be bad for porphyria patients.

Complementary medicine refers to unconventional therapies used in combination with diet, exercise and treatments prescribed by your primary care provider.

Ogf course, some of these obviously are safe and sensible, such as yoga or Tai Chi, which promote physical reconditioning

Also one can mention the fact that meditation techniques also can counteract the stress of chronic pain and enhance relaxation skills.

Alternative medicine is a therapy or healing approach used in place of traditional medical care. Such medicine may include consulting a homeopathic or naturopathic practitioner for health care.

Because the purity of herbal medications is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration a porphyria patient must use cautious consideration before using herbal therapies. Some of these medications can be toxic, and they can interfere with prescription medications. Also it has been noted that some such medications can be quite expensive.

Jerry Steel PhD Pharmacology