Friday, January 23, 2009

Who comes up with these drug names?

Skelaxin. What do you think this medication does? Is it something to prevent osteoporosis? No. Does it repair broken bones? No. Is it the newest character on Heroes who has the ability to shed skin and muscle to squeeze into tight places? No.

Skelaxin is a non-sedating muscle relaxer. My internist prescribed it for my ongoing shoulder problem. He also prescribed Meloxicam to reduce any inflammation that is present. Yet another weirdly-named drug. Meloxicam sounds like it should help with an upset stomach or a skin pigment condition.

Seriously, who comes up with the names for these drugs? I can't believe people actually get paid to come up with this!

I am glad my doctor is trying this method of treatment. I go back next week to see if these drugs are working. If not, we're going to assume this is an MS spasticity issue and possibly treat it with Baclofen. I hope it doesn't come to that.

To explain more about the shoulder, I received this injury in 1995 while in dress rehearsal for a charity musical revue. I was dancing in this number that was simulating the old-time fan dancers. We wore flesh-tone leotards and tights to give the illusion that we were nude while waving these lovely feather fans fore and aft to act like we were covering ourselves. Anyway, after the number was over, the lights went out and I started to descend the stairs of the platform where I had been dancing. Unfortunately, the stage manager had not put glo-tape on the stairs. As I went down the first step, the heel of my left character shoe broke off, throwing me off-balance. I pitched over the side and fell about five feet, landing on my left shoulder and thwacking my head quite smartly on the stage.

Long story longer, the lights came up and people rushed to me. A couple of doctors in the cast poked and prodded me and a firefighter (who was very cute; I was single then!) got an ice pack for me and someone volunteered to drive me to the ER. Someone got my bag for me and helped me on with some sweat pants (remember, I had on flesh-tone leotards and tights!) and a jacket to put over my shoulders. I went to the ER and determined if one more person poked my collarbone, I was going to punch them in the face. My brother met me at the ER and had me cracking up, although it hurt to laugh. He asked if I made a big thud when I fell. I told him it was actually very quiet. He said, "So, it was only a small splat!" Such a comedian!

Final verdict. I broke my left colloarbone. I still did the show, but not the dance numbers. I had something for the pain and went back to work. I healed eventually, but it was awkward because I am left-handed and I couldn't write or even wipe myself. Maybe it was good preparation for my flare last May when I couldn't use my left arm properly.

I have learned the valuable lesson that injuries one sustains in your twenties may come back to bite you in the ass in your forties. Or, MS spasticity really sucks. I don't know which is it for sure yet.

If it is determined that this is MS spasticity, I think I'll hold off on the Baclofen until the pain really gets persistently unbearable. Right now, it is minorly annoying (about a 2-3 on the pain scale. When it gets bad, it's about a 7-8. I can live with the 2-3 level on a daily basis, but not the 7-8. I would like to hear your stories of Baclofen experience or theatre injury stories!





Well, I don't have a theater injury story...unless you count tripping outside of a concert hall, before the concert, and causing a hairline fracture just above the elbow, and turning your instrument into a metal taco.... okay, so I did have a story.

I was talking to my PT just Thursday about the ongoing muscle cramps/knots/pain/etc in my shoulder and trap muscles.

She said that shoulder muscles are very rarely affected by spasticity and mostly it is the lower legs (calf) muscles which respond to Baclofen. At least that's for my case, might not be yours.

Hope you begin to feel better soon.

herrad said...


I have spasms in my legs and the baclofen controls them.

Lisa is correct shoulders/arms dont have spasms, mine are getting tighter and heavier feeling but no spasms,

Hope you get relief soon.


ps my partners blog is

steve said...

OK. Theater injury story first. Well, not so much injury as incident. In my high school's 1986 production of Oliver!, the strawberry seller passed out while singing "Who will buy?" because she had been shooting Jack Daniels in the dressing room. No permanent damage to anything but her reputation.

On to Baclofen. Great drug. Before BR's legs stopped working altogether in 2007, they spasmed painfully and uncontrollably. Baclofen brought relief.

About mid-summer 2008, we noticed spasms in his hands and arms. Baclofen helps those as well.

According to BR's first neurologist, you want to use the least amount that provides relief. (Duh!) Too much decreases limb function.

Lanette said...

Baclofen does help me with my leg spasticity. I take it in the am occasionally and always before bed - for my spasms act up at night.

What I've been trying to research and maybe you can answer is this - Does Baclofen actually help to relax your muscles at all or does it just block/interfere with the nerve pain? Because if it is not helping to actually prevent the spasticity somewhat then shouldn't I be taking something else in addition to Baclofen (and Neurontin)?

If you know, please do tell...