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What causes increasing abdominal girth while on Percocet?

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Posted on Mon, 25 Jul 2016
Question: I am a 71 yr old female. Be n on Percocet for 2 years from a pain clinic for fibromyalgia and lower back pain. I now have this huge stomach area beneath my sternum area. It doesn't' seam to be as items. I also am SOB and have asthma. Heart checks out ok. Not as cites. Maybe paralytic ileus or gastroparesis?
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Answered by Dr. Ronald Schubert (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Abdominal distention

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for contacting HCM with your health care concerns

You are concerned about increasing abdominal girth. You have had ultrasounds of the abdomen which did not see any ascites and you have had your heart checked for heart failure and they all reported as normal. Then the cause is probably bloating and slow GI transit times due to the percocet. Any opiate reacts with the entire GI tract from esophagus to anus with slowing things down. You would call it gastroparesis but that entity is only for slow stomach emptying. With the percocet your entire colon and intestines and stomach are slow allowing for increased gas and distention. If you could wean yourself off the percocet your distention would resolve. It is not paralytic ileus because you would have intractable vomiting and sever GI cramping and pain.

I hope I answered your question. Please contact us again if you have any additional questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Ronald Schubert (4 hours later)
Can I go off of the Percocet suddenly. I want to get off this stuff. If you read the side effects of Percocet it is very scary. Going to CCF for a work up because SOB IS worse. Could it be the Percocet. Depresses cough. Been on for 2 years. Going to cardiology dept to Dr XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Ronald Schubert (18 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Weaning from percocet

Detailed Answer:
You can't just stop the percocet because you will go through some terrible withdrawals. Talk with your doctor about your concerns and get a plan in place to help you wean from the percocet.

And yes the percocet could definitely be causing your shortness of breath becuase of the CNS depression of your breathing centers.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Ronald Schubert

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1984

Answered : 2407 Questions

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What causes increasing abdominal girth while on Percocet?

Brief Answer: Abdominal distention Detailed Answer: Thank you for contacting HCM with your health care concerns You are concerned about increasing abdominal girth. You have had ultrasounds of the abdomen which did not see any ascites and you have had your heart checked for heart failure and they all reported as normal. Then the cause is probably bloating and slow GI transit times due to the percocet. Any opiate reacts with the entire GI tract from esophagus to anus with slowing things down. You would call it gastroparesis but that entity is only for slow stomach emptying. With the percocet your entire colon and intestines and stomach are slow allowing for increased gas and distention. If you could wean yourself off the percocet your distention would resolve. It is not paralytic ileus because you would have intractable vomiting and sever GI cramping and pain. I hope I answered your question. Please contact us again if you have any additional questions