Pain relief after Surgery

My girlfriend just recieved an at appendectomy at NTU hospital in Taipei. She is having difficulty convincing her doctor to provide her with adequate pain medication. As soon as she came out of surgery, they were already providing her with paramol (aka tylenol aka paracetemol) despite repeated requests for something stronger. We would like to go to a different doctor to try to get stronger medicine for her pain. In America, this would be completely ridiculous, but Taiwanese doctors do not see it the same way. Are there any doctors specializing in pain treatment in Taipei? Does any one have any recommendations for us. I really feel awful about having had her surgery here, instead of returning to America where they care about patient suffering. :cry: Please post on the forum or send me an e-mail if you have any advice. :help:

I imagine its up to the attending doctor and very much doubt you’ll get any joy from anyone else . . . if she’s in hospital. On the bright side, pain doesn’t usually linger long after an appendectomy.


Ibuprofen is excellent good for aches and muscle pain. You can buy 400mg capsules in a pharmacy.

I read a post on this forum for a codeine laced cough syrup that would probably help. I seem to remember it as being available over the counter.
take care! it’ll be over before you know it. If the patient gets cold, clammy, shows signs of infection or internal bleeding, get thee to the hospital. I imagine you could go back and DEMAND a good ol’ shot of morphine to get her through a few hours, but she’ll be ok.

Just to add to the above suggestions the obvious warning about taking different painkillers at once - be very careful that the total Paracetamol intake, for example, is not too much. Some painkillers, cough medicines etc. contain Paracetamol as one of the ingredients even if it’s not the main one.

Also remember that aspirin reduces clotting effectiveness – so none of that.

Opiates drop blood pressure, IIRC, so if someone is shocky, you don’t want to give them any of those either.

All in all, I’d much rather deal with pain than worry about painkiller side effects. Then again, I’m one of those masochists who refuses anaesthetic at the dentist’s. . . .

Hope she’s feeling better soon.

[quote=“MaPoDurian”]Opiates drop blood pressure, IIRC, so if someone is shocky, you don’t want to give them any of those either.[/quote]Morphine’s used on battlefields, though, isn’t it? I’ve just finished reading Stephen Ambrose’s ‘D-Day’ and I’m sure morphine shots were mentioned there.

Yeah, morphine was the painkiller of choice for a very long time. Sadly it’s addictive nature means its almost used exclusively for serious pain in terminal illnesses. Heroin is also good as is virtually any of the processed drugs from refine opium up.

I must say that the Taiwanese penchant for not providing painkillers seems so out of kilter with the veritable carpet bombing you get for a cold. Fortunately I’ve grown used to the needle free dentist . . . usually by self medicating in advance!


During my recent travels thru the medical system here, I was given demoral (the best) during my stay in the hospital and even had a morphine on demand drip hooked up. Figuring I would hit the motherload for my recup at home, I was shocked and dismayed when all they gave me was aspirin.

Last week, I had a strange flare up of pain in my arm and went to emergency. Sure enought the pain was gone by the time I sat for x-rays, but when joking with the Dr. about painkillers, I said how about some demerol, he said sure…I politely declined…way to easy to slip into that dream…

And of course there was the time I was trying to get the anti-depressant buproprian (at the time, unavailable) so the clinic Doc gave me Xanax…hehehehe

It sure is a strange trip thru the Pharmaceautical Taiwan.

Thanks for your advice. I tried the cough syrup route, and I found you can indeed buy codeine-containing cough syrup OTC in Taiwan, but I am skecptical as to its usefulness.

The first product I purchased is a syrup containing the following per mL:
Codeine Phosphate…0.5 mg
dl-Chlorpheniramine Maleate…0.2 mg
Caffeine…1.033 mg
Guaifenesin…2.834 mg

Using this to provide pain relief would require you to overdose on antihistimines. Maybe once at night would be safe, but several times a day would not be a good idea at all.

The second product is amusingly labelled Health:
Brown Mixture Liquid (with Opium)

At first this sounded quite promising, until I read the ingredient list:
Each cc contains:

Extract Glycyrrhiza…0.12 cc (licorice)
Potassium Antimony Tartate…0.24 mg (rat poison)
Tincture Opium Camphor…0.12 cc (paregoric/opium)
Spirit Ethynitrate…0.03 cc (???)
Glycerin…0.12 cc (maybe used to dissolve the
other ingredients)

I thought I should do a web search before giving her so many things to swallow. Paticularly, as I remembered Antimony as a poison given by doctors in the 19th century to cure patients by inducing violent diarrhea (the flux) and vomiting (purging). An internet search confirmed my suspicions, by 1921 its use had already been discredited in America due to its extreme toxicity. Most modern citations refer to it as a pesticide and a type of rat poison. What do they have in mind putting this in cough medicine?
Do they want to kill off unsuspecting foreigners or is it some form of traditional Chinese medicine (of which I am completely ignorant)?

I think we will go visit a clinic to get a second opinon from another doctor. What are the legalities of sending a legitemately prescribed substance from America to Taiwan via the mail. I am sure we could get something prescribed in America easily, but could we have it sent here without risking jail time?

I’ve had numerous major surgeries performed on me and have been given various painkillers in connection with the same. In the US, I think it is generally recognized that while medicines should not be used if not necessary, pain relief does assist in the healing process.

The best pain killer for me has without doubt been morphine, administered via IV drip in restricted dosages (I think x amt. every 3-6 minutes). The problem I had with morphine is that I would frequently hallucinate… not fun hallucinations, but rather frightening ones.

Demerol, Darvon and Valium administered together via IV injection are wonderful. I get that once a year when I go for my annual check-up. Its like the proverbial “spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down”, but in my case, it helps the instrument go up… :astonished:

I’ve always been told that narcotics, if used for the relief of real pain, are not addictive. That’s been my experience. However, if I could get my hands on some of those meds and I had no responsibilities, there would be serious temptation to deal with.

The Codeine Phosphate in certain OTC cough syrups sold here doesn’t do anything for me. It doesn’t even stop my cough. Same goes for the Tincture Opium Camphor prescribed here. The dosage is simply too low, for me. In any event, I think it would be wise to heed the advice provided by joesax above.