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Cambridge, MA
A 57-year-old male asked:

Girlfriend takes 3 to 4 500mg vicodin a day for permanent chronic pain. sural nerve removed. drinks 6 beers a day and cigarettes. is health at risk?

3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Rothman
Internal Medicine 36 years experience
Absolutely: Your girlfriend is slowly killing herself. There is a good chance her pain problems are going to get worse and worse and she may already be addicted to pain meds.
Dr. Stuart Wasser
Addiction Medicine 36 years experience
Absolutely: Lets focus on the current issue. Alcohol use of this degree is associated with rebound anxiety and pain exacerbation which is increasing the need for the pain meds. Pain need use of that regularity will also be associated with mild withdrawal between doses and subsequent anxiety. This drives the need for alcohol. However the use of these substances keeps her regularly on the edge of withdrawal.
Dr. Jeffrey Collura
Cosmetic Dentistry 15 years experience
Serious risk: The combination of heavy drinking and cigarette use has a synergistic effect, making the combo much more unhealthy than either alone ( which of course are not great by themselves). She should seriously considered counseling to get all 3 habits under control and at the same time seek a pain specialist.

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Last updated Oct 4, 2016

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