Monday, February 11, 2013

Opioid Dependence and Suboxone

Opioid dependence—addiction to opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin—is a challenging and complicated condition. But it can be treated effectively. At Arkansas Pain Management and Detox Center, we use a medication called Suboxone in conjunction with substance abuse counselling and therapy. 

But first......What are opioids?

Opioids are drugs that work in the body the way opium does. Some are made directly from opium (for example, morphine and codeine), while others are man-made but similar chemically to opium (for example, the painkillers oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, better known by such brand names as OxyContin®, Vicodin®, Percocet®, and Actiq®*). The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid. All of these drugs are extremely powerful. For people with severe pain, opioids are very effective medicines, and most patients treated for pain with opioids do not become dependent on them. For some people, however, opioid dependence is an unexpected side effect of proper pain treatment. The problem comes when someone is unable to stop using the drug after the pain passes. Some people become dependent because they start using opioids recreationally at parties or they may start using them to deal with stress. 

Why is it important to treat opioid dependence?
Opioid dependence can reset the brain’s chemistry to think the drug is necessary for survival. When your brain tells you that you can’t live without a drug, it can quickly lead to compulsive drug-seeking behavior, such as buying it off the street illegally or visiting multiple doctors with complaints of pain to obtain prescription pain killers.. Becoming opioid dependent can have a serious impact on every part of your life—from your daily routine to your closest relationships. Opioid dependence can threaten your plans, ambitions, pocketbook, and health. It can lead to jail or prison if you are illegally obtaining opioids. 
Buprenorphine—the active ingredient in SUBOXONE Film—is itself an opioid. But unlike opioid prescription painkillers and heroin, which are “full opioid agonists,” buprenorphine is a “partial opioid agonist.” That means the buprenorphine in SUBOXONE Film attaches to the same receptors in the brain that the other opioids attach to, but it can’t provide as much of an effect. Because buprenorphine binds tightly to the body’s opioid receptors, it can block, depending on the dose, the effects of other opioids. This is why SUBOXONE Film can help patients manage their withdrawal symptoms. Medical treatment involves an "induction" phase where you are dosed with Suboxone in the doctor's office when you are in moderate withdrawal. Your withdrawal symptoms are relieved quickly and you are monitored until withdrawal symptoms do not recur. An appropriate dose of Suboxone is determined by the doctor and then you enter into the "maintenance" phase where you have regular visits with the doctor to monitor your dose and renew your subscription. 
Counselling and Therapy
Counselling and therapy are critical to your success in overcoming opioid dependence. In counseling you learn how to recognize events that can trigger the use of opioids. You can also learn practical ways to cope with events, circumstances, or social situations that you associate with your past drug use.
Getting involved in counseling is relatively simple.......:
      1. Private one-on-one therapy with a trained professional, group counseling, and online group counseling with a trained professional and a group of your peers are examples.
      2. Support groups are also an important addition to therapy with a trained professional. Many people find self-help 12-step programs with a group of peers to be especially helpful, for example Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. 
     3. Get a referral from your doctor to get a list of counselors near you. The Here to Help® Program can also help you connect to a counselor near you by calling 866-973-HERE (4373).
This is an overview of opioid dependence and treatment. You may find the following link helpful as well:
We are definitely here to help you. Dr. Trussell and staff are very compassionate, yet offer a structured program to help you get on track and stay on track. Call us today for more information........501-372-7246

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