Treatment of Opioid Dependency
Most people cannot just walk away from opioid addiction. As it is a process
which requires changing their behavior, environment, and, most importantly,
thinking. “Quitting cold turkey” is still an option, but it has a very limited
success. This is where medication-assisted treatment comes into play. In
opinion of our highly trained physician Suboxone is the best option as it
allows patients to stay sober while reducing the side effects of withdrawal and
curbing cravings which can lead to relapse.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment provided by us?
Medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence is a program which
includes assessment by the doctor and making the plan for successful
treatment which includes the use of buprenorphine (Suboxone) to complement
the observation, testing, education and counseling provided by our highly
trained physician. Subaxone can allow the patient to regain a normal state of
mind – free of withdrawal, cravings and the drug-induced highs and lows of
addiction as well as the ability to sustain normal course of life (working,
receiving education). Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and
dependence is much like using medication to treat other chronic illnesses such
as heart disease, asthma or diabetes. Taking medication for opioid addiction is
not the same as substituting one addictive drug for another.
Insurances and Fees
We do not accept any health insurances for this service. The fees are as follows: First visit $250; Follow up: biweekly
$75, monthly $150. The medication can be purchased at most pharmacies and we usually have coupons in our office.
What is Subaxone and How does it Work?
Suboxone is a combination of two medications in each dose: buprenorphine (which is classified as a “partial opioid agonist”) and naloxone (“opioid antagonist” or an opioid blocker). A ‘partial opioid agonist’ such as buprenorphine is an opioid that produces only partial effect than a full opioid when it attaches to an opioid receptor in the brain. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and methadone are examples of ‘full opioid agonists.’ When a ‘partial opioid agonist’ like buprenorphine is taken, the person may feel a very slight pleasurable sensation, but most people report that they just feel “normal” or “more energized” during medication-assisted treatment. If they are having pain they will notice some partial pain relief. People who are taking buprenorphine properly do not get a euphoric effect or feel high. Buprenorphine tricks the brain into thinking that a full opioid like oxycodone or heroin is in the lock, and this suppresses the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with that problem opioid. Buprenorphine is a long-acting form of medicated-assisted treatment, meaning that it gets ‘stuck’ in the brain’s opiate receptors for about 24 hours. When buprenorphine is stuck in the receptor, the problem ‘full opioids’ can’t get in. This gives the person with opioid addiction a 24-hour reprieve each time a dose of Suboxone is taken. If a full opioid is taken within 24 hours of Suboxone, then the patient will quickly discover that the full opioid is not working – they will not get high and will not get pain relief (if pain was the reason it was taken). This 24-hour reprieve gives the patient time to reconsider the wisdom of relapsing with a problem opioid while undergoing medication-assisted treatment.
Another benefit of buprenorphine in treating opioid addiction is something called the ‘ceiling effect.’ This means that taking more Suboxone than prescribed does not result in a full opioid effect. Taking extra Suboxone will not get the patient high. This is a distinct advantage over methadone. Patients can get high on methadone because it is a full opioid. The ceiling effect also helps if buprenorphine is taken in an overdose – there is less suppression of breathing than that resulting from a full opioid. An opioid antagonist like naloxone is a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid addiction that also fits
perfectly into opioid receptors in the brain. Naloxone is not absorbed into the bloodstream to any significant degree when Suboxone is taken properly by allowing it to dissolve under the tongue. However, if a Suboxone tablet is crushed and then snorted or injected the naloxone component will travel rapidly to the brain and knock opioids already sitting there out of their receptors. This can trigger a rapid and quite severe withdrawal syndrome. Naloxone has been added to Suboxone for only one purpose – to discourage people from trying to snort or inject Suboxone.
Because it is long-acting (24 hours or more) Suboxone only needs to be taken one time per day. It should be allowed to completely dissolve under the tongue. It comes in both a 2 mg and 8 mg tablet, and a 2 mg or 8 mg filmstrip. The convenience of taking this medication, as well as its high success rate, plays a big part of why many people are considering Suboxone a preferred treatment for opioid addiction.