'It is a crushing, searing pain. It never goes away' - Woman (40) 'devastated' to be deprived of pain-relieving patch
Amy O'Riordan says she is "shocked and devastated" she will be deprived of the pain-relieving patch she relied on to allow her to leave home.
The 40-year-old endures crushing nerve pain day and night, and used two of the Versatis pain-relieving patches a day.
Ms O'Riordan, from Clonsilla, in Dublin, said: "They did not take away the pain entirely but they dulled it. If I put one on the left ankle I could go for a short outing."
She had an active and healthy life until five years ago when she suffered a devastating accident causing permanent nerve damage.
"I have chronic neuropathic nerve pain in my legs and feet. It never goes away. It is a crushing, searing pain," she added. She can no longer work and relies heavily on her husband Alan and parents to function daily.
"I have had seven surgeries so far."
Ms O'Riordan walks with a crutch, but she no longer qualifies for the patch because her nerve pain is not due to shingles. "It is terrifying how it happened. There was no phasing-out period. It inspires hopelessness about the future," she said.
She was among thousands who were told by their doctor the HSE would subsidise it only for patients whose pain was linked to shingles, saying the evidence does not support its use for other conditions.
But Ms O'Riordan said: "I am already on three strong tablets a day. I cannot go back on morphine medications. I was on them for a while and they took the joy from my life. I was in bed for 98pc of the time. The HSE must have a change of heart."