Thousands of people in the United States suffer from an opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic in the country has been the topic of news cycles and heated debates for years. If you or someone you love has an opioid addiction, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There is help available should you choose to seek it.
Detox and treatment centers have been trying to combat the opioid epidemic since its inception. They’ve largely been successful at implementing varied treatment options and engaging in relapse prevention methods. But many addicts are most worried about the initial detox — fear of pain keeps them from seeking the help they need to get clean.
What Are Opiate Antagonists?
Some people struggle with the idea of using medication to safely detox from an opioid addiction. After all, if an addiction began with pills, how can adding more pills help? To answer this question, it’s important to understand what the potential medication does.
Treatment centers that provide mental health screenings will also often have doctors or psychiatrists on staff who can prescribe mental health medication. These may be antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers. The goal of this medication is to responsibly medicate whatever the individual was self-medicating before. The staff at treatment centers are very careful to monitor the effects of the medication.
On a more immediate note, detox from opioids can be aided by opiate antagonists. Opiate antagonists can also prevent a relapse. An opiate antagonist is an agent which blocks opiates from registering in a person’s body. It acts like a shield against the opioids, keeping them from being able to land on the opioid receptors.
The benefit of these medications is huge. Even if a patient relapses, if they’re taking an opiate antagonist, they’ll fail to experience the high of the opioid. They’ll also be much safer from risk of overdose and other bodily harm caused by opiate abuse.
Do All Detox Centers Use Opiate Antagonists?
The types of medication available at any given detox center vary depending on the center’s policies. There will also be variation in the type of treatment available. Some detox centers are only available for medically supervised detoxes, while others offer inpatient residential rehabilitation services after the detox is over.
More and more detox centers are turning to opiate antagonists to fight against the opioid epidemic. Sometimes sheer willpower isn’t enough, and you need a little extra help to take care of yourself. These medications are a tool you can use to keep your ongoing sobriety.
Centers in South Florida are turning to opiate antagonists. These treatment facilities service people from all over the East Coast. Many of them have the most advanced treatment methods in the world. These rehabs have always been on the front lines of new treatment options; they turn to opiate antagonists because these medications show real results.
What Are Suboxone and Naltrexone?
Suboxone and Naltrexone are two prescription medications that have been proven in studies to be effective at treating painkiller and heroin addiction. The medication that will work best for you depends on your unique circumstances. There are differences in the benefits and the ways the medications work, although both are used to curb the craving for opioids.
Suboxone is a pill taken daily. An individual would take a daily dose of Suboxone if they were about to go through a detox, or if they needed to continue curbing their cravings after their detox ended. Like methadone, Suboxone is considered a replacement medication. It replaces the need to use opioids. The person taking Suboxone has to remember to take it daily, though, for the medication to be fully effective.
Naltrexone, also known by the brand name Vivitrol, is a true opioid antagonist. Rather than taking this medication orally, Naltrexone is injected once a month. Unlike Suboxone, though, Naltrexone can only be injected after the withdrawal period is over. If you try to use Naltrexone while the opioid receptors are still blocked by actual opioids, the medication will be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.
Is Suboxone or Naltrexone Better?
In clinical studies, Suboxone and Naltrexone have been proven equally effective at treating the cravings for opiods. Because Naltrexone can only be used after the withdrawal period, sometimes a physician will prescribe Suboxone to weather the initial detox and then inject Naltrexone afterward. Some patients choose to use Suboxone both during detox and in the following treatment; some patients choose not to use medication during the initial detox and inject Naltrexone as soon as they’re able.
The following comparisons were drawn in a study of the two medications:
- Naltrexone users initially had lower opioid cravings, but within 24 hours the Suboxone patients’ cravings had decreased to the same level
- 56% of patients taking Suboxone relapsed within six months, compared to 52% of Naltrexone patients
- About one-fourth of people using Naltrexone alone are unable to get through detox unassisted
A relapse rate of more than 50 percent may sound high, but this is the most effective approach to opioid addiction treatment available right now. Medication assisted treatment is especially important in cases of opioid addiction, because the physical cravings for opioids are so overpowering.
Even if you have every intention of taking care of yourself and quitting the substance, there’s a chance you’ll go through a painful withdrawal. Physical symptoms are even more likely to cause opioid relapses than mental health issues. This is why a supervised medical detox at a treatment center is a far better idea than trying to face your addiction alone. These medications can help you, and the medical professionals at a treatment center can make sure you detox safely.
If you want more information about what a medical detox entails, our counselors are available twenty-four hours a day to talk. Call 866-802-6848 to move forward with your recovery today.