Drug Replacement Options for Opiate Withdrawal

November 26, 2015

More than 12 million people in the United States reported having used prescription painkillers in 2010 for non-medical purposes. Unfortunately, many people eventually turn from prescription painkiller opiates to heroin, also an opiate. There are many side effects both from taking and withdrawing from opiates. Drug replacement therapy is a viable option for many people seeking to wean themselves away from their opiates of choice. However, much criticism stands against these replacement drugs.

Definition of Opioids

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are a class of drugs used to treat pain. They are derived from opium. Some opiates include Codeine, Vicodin, morphine, oxycodone and illicit substances such as heroin, all of which are highly addictive.

Drug Replacement Options

Addictive substances such as opioids and opiate replacements should be monitored during withdrawal. Clinics for these treatments are available and prescriptions can be given by doctors. Opiate withdrawal and opiate drug replacement therapy should require intensive supervision and management.

Here is a list of common opiate replacement drugs:

Methadone - Methadone is used to help reduce cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms and block the effects of other opioids. This medication is only available in a small number of clinics due to the high potential for abuse which requires daily monitoring when taken. Naltrexone - Naltrexone also works to block the effects of other opioids. It does not suppress withdrawal symptoms or cravings, which may make individuals less likely to take it as prescribed.Buprenorphine - This medication is more effective than both Methadone and Naltrexone as it suppresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings while also blocking the effects of opioids. Suboxone - This medication is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naltrexone. Suboxone reduces the likelihood of addiction and abuse which makes it one of the more popular ones to use. This can be prescribed for at home use but should be monitored due to potential for misuse. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if stopped suddenly or cold turkey. Opioid addiction is very serious and withdrawal, unsupervised or at home, can lead to a full relapse and potential dependence on the opioid replacement drugs. Staying informed and asking questions is a good way to keep ahead of potential risks.If you are concerned about opiate addiction, withdrawal and have questions about drug replacement therapy contact The Last Resort today. We are available to answer any question you have: 512-750-6750

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