Opioid addiction is increasing as millions of American citizens are using it to alleviate pain. According to US drug overdose statistics:
The death rate from drug overdoses more than tripled between 1999 and 2017, and that death rate from opioid overdoses increased almost six-fold during the same period. More people in the United States died from overdoses involving opioids in 2017 than from HIV- or AIDS-related illnesses at the peak of the AIDS epidemic.
As a result, new treatments for treating opioid addiction have been developed to help opioid addicts. Two of the most common drugs used are Methadone and Buprenorphine. There are two separate camps that believe that one is better than the other. We will examine both.
One of the main goals in treating opioid addiction is reducing the craving for it. Methadone is a proven and effective synthetic opioid that reduces the craving. It has a long history of effectiveness as it was developed by German physicians during World War II and later used by US physicians to treat extreme pain. (Addiction was accurately portrayed by Frank Sinatra in the film, “The Man with the Golden Arm”. It is heralded as educating the public on the dangers of heroin.)
Methadone can be distributed as a liquid, powder, or tablet. It requires a prescription and must be monitored closely by a doctor. Methadone changes the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. For pain, physicians typically prescribe methadone following surgery or in treatment from an injury or a chronic illness.
Additionally, methadone treatment is helpful in eliminating addiction to other opioids. Known as “replacement therapy”, this treatment replaces the opioids in your system with somewhat milder effects. Relief comes slowly as it blocks the high that comes from drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin, and codeine.
Methadone treatment is most effective when supplemented with individual or group counseling. Opioid addicts are referred to drug counselors, social services, or medical personnel trained in opioid addiction counseling. Many companies offer these services under their medical benefits packages.
Buprenorphine is an opioid medication that is also used to treat opioid addiction. It is dispensed in a physician’s office. It can also be taken at home as a prescription.
Buprenorphine is known as “partial opioid antagonist,” meaning it may decrease physical dependence on opioids. Buprenorphine’s potential for misuse is lower than that of full opioids, and it also can reduce the craving for them.
Buprenorphine is still an opioid, however, so its side effects can be problematic. It is known to cause euphoria and respiratory depression in some patients. In low doses, buprenorphine can produce a basic agonist effect to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can, however, reach a “ceiling effect” when increasing doses of the drug begin to reach a plateau. At this point, buprenorphine may no longer be effective for the individual.
Both methadone and buprenorphine have been proven to be effective treatment options for opioid addiction. Methadone, however, may be the most effective for long-term treatment.
If you or a loved one are battling opioid addiction, consult a physician immediately. They can recommend licensed drug addiction treatment centers suited to your needs. Opioid addiction cannot be treated alone. A team of medical personnel and addiction specialists are needed to help the addicted individual overcome this painful situation.
Concerted Care of Central Baltimore and Brooklyn, MD, Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) utilizes methadone as one element in a comprehensive treatment program in which methadone replaces opiate drugs, including heroin and oxycodone. Call (833) 224-5483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an immediate consultation.