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abortion and pain meds
August 30, 2009 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm having a medical abortion and I think my gynecologist forgot to prescribe pain meds.

Yesterday I took the pill that stops the pregnancy and today I'm taking the pill that completes the abortion. My gyn mentioned something about writing a prescription for pain meds but I didn't realize until just now she never gave it to me. I called her office but it's closed. I don't have an emergency number. Apparently this is going to hurt a lot and I am freaking out. Should I not take the second pill and wait until tomorrow and call my doctor then? Should I take OTC pain medication?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total)
 
Maybe try calling a hospital emergency room?
posted by nosila at 12:49 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's possible you may be able to wait 48 hours, rather than 24 hours, to take the second pill, which might solve your problem if you can get in touch with your doctor early enough on Monday. Look at the packaging inserts and see.

The chances that you can get pain medication through the emergency room or other emergency services are small, because pain medication is so highly regulated. I have known people who toughed it out with only over-the-counter pain meds and heating pads, so that's an option.

Good luck, however you choose to handle it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:52 PM on August 30, 2009


She's got to have an on-call number somewhere. There isn't one on the office answering machine. Otherwise, I guess I'd try to tough it out until morning and call then unless the pain is super severe. You could try an online drug interaction checker for info on taking OTC mess with your abortion drug or just call your pharmacist about this. It's what he/she is there for.
posted by zachlipton at 1:00 PM on August 30, 2009


And of course, good luck and I hope you feel better soon!
posted by zachlipton at 1:01 PM on August 30, 2009


Yes, call the doctor.

If you get an answering machine, it'll have a bit about "if this is an emergency, call..."

Call that number. You might not feel like being a bother, but you're not, it's the right thing to do to check. Please do; I don't know anything about this, and you can't necessarily trust everything you read on the internet, but you don't want to risk horrible pain or injury, right? Just call right now.
posted by koeselitz at 1:05 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is there any kind of emergency number on her answering machine, or does it just say to dial 911 for an emergency?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:05 PM on August 30, 2009


Call the doc! She can call the prescription into the pharmacy, I think.
posted by anniecat at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2009


Call around your girlfriends and see if anyone has any T3 or Vicodan in the house. The sort of pain relief you are after is exactly the kind of thing people have leftover in their medicine cabinets. Failing that, most people don't know you can take acetaminophen and ibuprofen together at the max recommended dosage and it's quite effective.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


DarlingBri has it - take the second pill as scheduled (you do NOT want to mess with the dosage schedule) and then if you can't get in touch with the doc, take ibuprofen and acetaminophen together. It may not be as painful as you expect, more like menstrual cramps, but you don't want to delay taking the pills on time.
posted by annathea at 1:14 PM on August 30, 2009


Ok, someone just emailed me who wishes to remain anonymous. Here's the relevant part of the email:

"Take a look at the documentation that came with your pill. See if this link applies to you.
If it does, you might be able to wait until Monday: http://www.fwhc.org/abortion/medical-ab.htm

I just had a medical abortion one month ago. I had no pain whatsoever. Don't panic. Everybody's different but not evrybody gets crippling pain from an abortion. The doctor prescribed me codeine in case of horrible pain but I didnt' even use it. They told me ibuprofen should be enough in most cases and codeine was more of a last-resort thing. Not only does the amount of pain differ but also different women's ability to handle it. Also i was advised that if the ibuprofen wasn't enough I could take a hot bath. There's very useful information here: http://www.mariestopes.org.uk/Womens_services/Abortion/Aftercare_video.aspx"
posted by vacapinta at 1:23 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I second DarlingBri's advice, but move that you may want to increase the pool of potential medications by not worrying about the sex of the friends you're asking for spare meds.
posted by Dysk at 1:27 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whatever you do, don't skip the medications.

I had a miscarriage over a long weekend (when I couldn't afford a hospital stay) and it was like really bad "curl up in a fetal position" cramps. Oddly enough, it didn't feel too unfamiliar. Actually, the pain was the least of it: I think the smell of all the blood I was losing nauseated me more than the pain did. Ugh, I was so weak and dizzy, lying on puppy pads on a futon mattress, waiting for Monday morning...

See? Things could be much worse.

Be sure to eat nourishing foods with plenty of potassium and iron, and stay hydrated with gatorade or pedialyte. Good luck!
posted by aquafortis at 1:36 PM on August 30, 2009


take the second pill as scheduled (you do NOT want to mess with the dosage schedule)

The thing is that many chemical-abortion pills can be taken either 24 or 48 hours apart, and the only thing prompting doctors to choose one over another is their own preference. Others have more strict dosage schedules; the package insert should make clear which one this is.

Call around your girlfriends and see if anyone has any T3 or Vicodan in the house.

Presuming that you already know you don't have any negative reactions to those medications, that is. The time to experiment with taking other people's prescription medications you've never had before is NOT when you're having a medical abortion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2009


Do not mix and match people's leftover pain meds with your medication without advice. For example, if you take maximum dosage Tylenol and vicodin (which contains Tylenol) and maybe a little codeine to close (which also sometimes contains Tylenol) you can overdose on it, which can cause liver failure.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:58 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


a robot made out of meat: Do not mix and match people's leftover pain meds with your medication without advice. For example, if you take maximum dosage Tylenol and vicodin (which contains Tylenol) and maybe a little codeine to close (which also sometimes contains Tylenol) you can overdose on it, which can cause liver failure.

Looking at the pills and what's in them should pretty quickly inform you not to take Vicodin (hydrocodone + paracetamol) with other products containing paracetamol, for example. Similarly if you're looking at T3s (codeine + paracetamol). In fact, just using some common sense, reading the warnings that come with pills, and looking at the maximum safe dose of the various medications (active ingredients rather than branded pills here, i.e. 1 gram of paracetamol every four hours rather than 'two of these pills') should stop you doing anything as stupid as you're describing.
posted by Dysk at 2:06 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil: The time to experiment with taking other people's prescription medications you've never had before is NOT when you're having a medical abortion.

Why is this significantly different than taking the exact same T3 or Vicodin for the first time when your doctor didn't forget to write it for you?

It's not. As Brother Dysk points out, a bit of common sense care and attention here should be entirely sufficient.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:27 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why is this significantly different than taking the exact same T3 or Vicodin for the first time when your doctor didn't forget to write it for you?

It's not.


When I'm taking a new medication, my doctor carefully goes over the list of possible side effects, pointing out those which should prompt a call to the emergency room if I experience them, and those which are minor annoyances I shouldn't worry about. If your doctor doesn't do this, I would suggest you might want to find a new doctor.

Taking a new medication without any medical supervision at the time one is already experiencing a fairly challenging medical procedure sounds like a recipe for disaster to me if, God forbid, anything should go wrong.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:52 PM on August 30, 2009


Sidhedevil, all medication should come with a document that goes over the list of possible side effects, pointing out those which should prompt a call to the emergency room if you experience them, and those which are minor annoyances you shouldn't worry about.

Additionally, many of the painkillers we're talking about here are OTC, or OTC in many parts of the world. (So if we don't die taking codeine in the UK without a doctor signing off on it, I don't see why it'd kill you in the US, whether or not codeine is prescription-only there).
posted by Dysk at 5:09 PM on August 30, 2009


I had a medical abortion last year, and for the record... I did not find it to be all that painful. I was prescribed Percocet, but did not even wind up taking them. I've had menstrual cramps that were far, far worse.

YMMV, of course.
posted by MiaWallace at 6:01 PM on August 30, 2009


if you get drugs from a friend, look up what the drug is online, make sure you understand side effects, dosing, and that you have someone with you who also understands these things. but the people who say that vicoden or T3 is probably what would have been prescribed in the first place is spot on.
posted by nadawi at 8:00 PM on August 30, 2009


Brokether Dysk: Yes, you'd think that common sense and reading the packaging would prevent this from being an issue. However, it happens all the time, so I give a well-meaning warning.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:56 PM on September 1, 2009


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