Opiates are an opium derivative. Opiates typically mirror the effects of morphine. Consequently, opiates are the main class of drugs used to treat pain. Fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone all fall under the opiate category.
Pain sometimes becomes rather difficult to treat. With increasing pain, users will usually increase their dosage. To keep the pain at bay for longer periods, the dosage may exceed the recommended levels, paving the way for opiate addiction. Opiates, when taken, give users a feeling of euphoria, hence the ease of addiction.
How is opiate addiction treated?
In the past, opiate addiction, specifically heroin, was treated using methadone. However, the success rate for methadone treatment has not been satisfactory. Methadone is effective against weaning off users from heroin. Be that as it may, methadone can be abused to replicate the same effects of euphoria.
If taken in large doses, methadone overdose may cause low blood pressure, nausea, and coma.
Even though the instances of overdose are not too common, methadone treatment is not 100% foolproof.
How is Buprenorphine used?
2002 was a good year. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2002 allowed doctors to prescribe narcotics from Schedule 3 to 5 to treat opioid addiction. Unlike methadone, Buprenorphine could be accessed and administered anywhere as long as a qualified physician oversaw the whole process.
The FDA approved four main Buprenorphine products for use in medication-assisted treatment. Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv and Transmucosal products that contain Buprenorphine. These drugs are either buccal films or tablets.
How does Buprenorphine work?
Buprenorphine is a partial agonist. This property makes it an excellent suppressor of respiratory depression if it is abused. Buprenorphine works effectively against combating symptoms of opioid withdrawal, lower opioid craving, decrease use, block the effects of opioids and help users get through treatment better. The partial agonist property reduces physical dependence, curb abuse and manage the withdrawal symptoms.
How is buprenorphine taken?
Buprenorphine can be administered anywhere in the presence of a certified doctor. It is administered intravenously. Oral administration is mostly ineffective as its absorption into the body is poor. The presence of a doctor is stressed because Buprenorphine treatment is a tri-stage procedure.
- Induction to Buprenorphine
Induction is when a patient is first put on the drug. The doctor is supposed to identify the most appropriate drug to use and depending on the last usage of opioids; the doctor administers the medicine. This stage is a vital stage as the wrong administration could exacerbate withdrawal symptoms.
- Stabilization through maintenance
After a user has reduced the usage or shows a lesser affinity for the problem drug, the doctor may find it fit to adjust the administration of Buprenorphine. While in the induction stage the drug is administered daily, in the second stage, the doctor may opt for alternating the days.
- Long Term Maintenance
Stage three is mainly monitoring stage. The dosage at stage 3 is steady, and this is the optimal time to initiate a medically supervised withdrawal. Rehab from here, can now be a little easier and the chances of relapse are drastically reduced.
Buprenorphine is an effective medication that is changing the rehab landscape. With the right care, Buprenorphine-assisted treatment could be exactly what you or your loved one needs.