Living With Fibromyalgia - Online Support Group

Doctor refuses to treat because i'm on pain meds?

I was dropped by my PCP about a month ago. Today I was cold calling prospective new doctors. I call this place and asked if they were accepting new patients. The women said yes and asked what my insurance was, I told her. She said, “Great!”, then asked what medications I was taking. None of the other offices asked this, but I started listing my meds. When I got to the tramadol, she cut me off and said, “We don’t accept patients on pain medicine.” I said, “What? Seriously?!” She got pretty snippy after that and ended up hanging up on me when I asked if that was really the only deciding criteria. They hadn’t even asked my name or what conditions I had.

Anyone else run into anything this?

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How odd, No. But my PCP & I both figured out Fibro together. I want to ask a question that I cannot ask (No negativity of MD’s). Maybe a MOD member could or someone who has been on here longer than I. I am sorry that you had to go thru this. Love, Light & Peace. Maggi.

What did you and your doctor figure out

No, sorry you encountered this.

Thank you both for your sympathy. I guess what Maggi wanted to ask is why my doctor dropped me. I think it goes back to the visit where I had to fill out the paperwork and sign the pain contract to continue to receive tramadol for my fibro and PsA pain. No one told me it was best to fudge the truth a little on the questionnaire; so I told the truth. She classified me, (she says by mandate), as a high risk opioid user. I was pretty unhappy about it and said so at our next visit. But when I left that day it was on good terms. I then saw my endocrinologist who suggested that a D.O. might not be the best choice for me because my case was very complicated. He thought I should look for an Internist. So the next time I saw my PCP I brought this up. She immediately said it was a great idea. So I called one and made an initial appt., which did not go well. I didn’t feel like that Dr. and I would be able to work together, and I emailed them the next morning thanking them for their time but declining further visits. I figured I’d call another and try again. But before I did, I received a certified letter from my PCP saying they would no longer see me and had canceled all follow-up appointments and that I should see my new doctor for any further treatment.

When I called the next morning I was told that she would not take me back even temporarily because the doctor said that she could tell I was obviously frustrated and unhappy with my care and that our relationship was no longer therapeutic. I explained my predicament, but it made no difference. Mind you, I had not yelled or pitched a fit when I talked about how the high rick issue had negatively affected my life, only that it had. I wasn’t upset with her, only the system. So now I’m PCP-less. I do still have other docs but none I would see for a cold or flu or bother for simple refills of well established prescriptions.

Oh well, what’s one more challenge?


No , I’ve not experienced a care refusal notification. I’m sorry that you lost an important part of your health care team . Have you considered trying a pain clinic or a Rheumtologist they may be a bit more understanding and recognize your need for pain meds for your fibromyalgia treatment. Also in Illinois when you get “ fired” by a doctor that doctor is required to give suggestions on where you are to seek further treatment in the future as well as supply your meds for 90 days while you are seeking alternative care. Try to speak to an office manager and request a list of other qualified doctors who can treat your specific conditions. Good Luck to you .

**sorry , I just realized you said it was a primary care doc you needed to oversee some more general things not the pain meds themselves, I’d still check with a office manager to see if they can recommend another pcp or ask one of your specialist to refer you to a pcp for general medical conditions. **

That’s awful! I’ve had issues with doctors both primary and specialists. Never had a Primary Care Physician act that way though. I will say that my Internist has been a great doctor. He will have me see specialists for things he is unsure about treating himself. He’s been great on helping me navigate between which specialists are worth the time and effort in seeing.
I hope you can find a primary that is compassionate and willing to see you for who you are and not make assumptions based off your medications alone.

Wanted to add: Do you research doctor offices online before making calls? I’ve found Google reviews so helpful when trying to find doctors and doctor offices in my area.
If you haven’t, search by practices then the doctor(s) from that office. There are other websites that share reviews for doctors but Google usually has many more reviews(better average of positive/negative and critical reviews too). It has helped me avoid practices that have unsympathetic staff/doctors and find those that are sympathetic, experienced and knowledgeable.
[Be sure to read the reviews themselves because some reviews aren’t a good source; some don’t make much sense or are written by someone who sounds combative]

I try to find a few reviews that seem to give a good impression of an office and the doctors and staff there. I then make a list of the offices that sound good. Making sure to call the more accommodating offices first.

It’s also good to look at a doctor offices website before calling. I avoid doctor offices that don’t have a website just because it’s so much easier to make an appointment with one that does. They will often list information on there that can help determine if it’s a good fit, like the doctor’s specialties. There may be a list of services they do or do not offer. As in, Internist not treating children. Also accepted insurances are sometimes listed too.
An office might have multiple doctors, and they each could be knowledgeable in separate fields of medicine or one having experience with chronic ill patients(even if it’s just knowing who to refer you to, etc). So be sure to check out the staff page(s) of an office’s website. Then note if there’s a particular doctor that has experience that would best suit you and ask to make an appointment with them.

I hope this helps. It can be hard to find compassionate people and doctors that care about the patients they see.

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That is utterly ridiculous and also, DISCRIMINATION. And for Tramafol??? You’d think you told her you use heroin daily to treat your pain. As a retired nurse, I believe this warrants filing a complaint.
Best of luck in your search for a new Dr.!!

I find this odd as well. I would call your insurance company to ask about this practice.

I take Temazepam to sleep every night. I had to fill out an extensive form that the nurse practitioner said she is required to have filled out each year. I thought it was something I had triggered but she said no, it was something she has to do each year now with each patient who takes an opioid.

Oh that’s awful. Being refused medical help on the basis of medication?
I’m a bit sick of the witch hunt against opioids (which tramadol barely is…its more akin to an antidepressant and has been proven to have a low succeptability to being used for recreational use). I was prescribed tramadol in conjunction with gabapentin by a pain clinic specialising in fibro and ME (I have both) and the amount of times I get shut down or criticised for using tramadol on fibro help pages is ridiculous. It helps me, I’m not addicted and hopefully if people don’t ban it I’m going to keep using it to help me day to day. I have kids and just about managing to hold down a part time job to support them. Wouldn’t be able to without meds.
I certainly hope you get your PCP sorted out. I’m in the UK so never have experienced this sort of rejection (doctors here cant refuse to treat you) and I’m so shocked this can even happen.

Charto - I also work and couldn’t do it without the meds. My job is pretty physical, and I’m not going to lie, makes a lot of things about my fibro and psoriatic arthritis worse. But as many people experience here in the US, the job gives me health insurance, which pays for the meds, which keep me working, which gives me health insurance…and so on. If I stop working I couldn’t afford the insurance. But I also couldn’t afford the cost of doctor visits to get the paper prescriptions we have to have to get the pain meds or the out of pocket cost of all the meds I take, (the biologic for my PsA is approx. $5000 for two injectable pens a month). It’s a vicious and self perpetuating cycle.

Some days I really want to just give up and apply for disability. But I’m only 49 and I should have 15 or so more years of work left in me, (my mom is 71 and still working full time). I’m not mentally ready to be less active. So I keep going to doctors and trying new therapies all in an effort to stay in the work force. But maybe it is time.

I actually got the name of that Doctor from my insurance company’s list of in-network doctors.

Zunanne that’s an awful predicament. I cant imagine having the stress of medical insurance on top of everything else. I truly hope with all this Brexit nonsense in the UK we don’t end up with a similar system over here. (Sorry to go all political!)
If I stopped working we’d lose our house as disability payments can no way pay enough to support a mortgage. The stress of these financial burdens cannot be good for our fibro either!
In regards the medication…yes its essential for me. I wouldn’t be able to function daily without it. Plenty people give me the rest and pacing advice but it’s just not feasible with two kids and a job. I hope you find a doc that supports your needs for the meds.

That a bit of an extreme action on a docs part. It is understandable however as the body of evidence that opiates/opioids not only do not help FMS pain and can make it worse grows with every new study. Frankly with the new oversite and state regulations limiting how much and how long opiates can be prescribed, I do understand physicians reluctance. The ever-increasing regulations and oversight of opiate use, has led to a lot of anger and resentment in the patient community—especially from those who’ve been refused a drug they say helps them function. Docs in primary care simply don’t have the time OR experience to deal with it.

However this stance does NOT consider that FMS is known to overlap with numerous other conditions, and it may be that people who get relief from opiates are seeing a reduction in pain from something else, which also helps quiet FMS pain. This is why pain management for FMS is now being refered to Pain management specialists (make sure they are fellowship trained and not a washed up anesthesiologist or burnt out neurologist)

There are only three drugs approved for use in fibromyalgia: pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella).

There are others used off label including anticonvulsants and antidepressants

FWIW Tramadol is becoming very hard to get a hold of. Its not the safe non-dependency/non-addictive alternative it was thought to be. Its predecessor Stadol taught a lot of lessons that were ignored when Tramadol started being handed out like candy.


Sounds to me like someone’s office staff really doesn’t care to deal with insurance paperwork that might be complicated. If you’re really sick it means a lot of paperwork. Most likely they probably think you’re an addict looking for a fix. Anything can be addicting even sugar. But to just toss people on the side? I don’t think you needed to see that doctor.

Tj, Thanks for responding. I think this is likely the case with me. I received my FM diagnosis first. That diagnosis was hard fought for and made by a rheumy at well respected hospital in Seattle, Wa. The PCP in my small town had never treated a case before and we kinda stumbled along, learning together. It was probably two years before they put me on tramadol for the pain that wasn’t being helped by the gabapentin. Then 2 years ago they switched me to Lyrica and my FM pain was reduced greatly. So I went off the tramadol. But I was still having pain in my joints and suffering terrible bouts of tendonitis, so I went back on it. About 9 months ago I started looking for answers for that pain, and mostly because of Admin Seenie’s encouragement, I received my Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis.

So I suspect that my PCP had unknowingly been treating PsA pain all along, which did helped with my overall well being. I am still in the process of finding a biologic treatment for the PsA that works for me. But until I do, I’m still in pain and need the meds so I can work. I can get them from the rheumy but they are 3.5 hours away and I have to take a full day off work to go up and get a paper script. I really need someone closer. So I’ll keep looking.

I sure appreciate everyone’s feedback! I don’t post often, but I come everyday to see what others are up to.

Have you joined our PsA community yet? Lots of folks there with the dual conditions…


TJ, of course I recommended Zananne join us at PsA! I recruit the best!