Opium addiction treatment and recovery is a continuous process that rarely stops for anything. As beneficial as that is, it can pose a problem for women who are pregnant during treatment. While methadone maintenance treatment, a common method for opiate addiction, is considered to be safe during pregnancy, it is not the only option.
When you call 800-530-0431 to learn more information about opium addiction treatment, consider what alternatives to methadone for pregnant women are available for you.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is defined by the DEA as a Schedule II drug that has a legal medical function as a pain reliever. Even though it is synthetic, or man-made, it does have similar capabilities and effects as naturally occurring opiates.
As a result, it is an effective option for maintenance treatment of opioids, especially when its abilities to reduce cravings for the drugs, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and block the effects of opioids are taken into account.
In recent years, buprenorphine has become a popular alternative to methadone for opioid treatment. It is much more accessible than methadone, which needs to be administered in a structured clinic. Buprenorphine can be prescribed and dispensed at a office of qualified doctors. It has a low potential of misuse, greatly diminishes the effects of opioid dependency like withdrawal and cravings, and is long-lasting.
Occasionally, buprenorphine is combined with another methadone alternative called naloxone. However, naloxone is often used to trigger withdrawal symptoms—it is often used to prevent abuse of buprenorphine—which can be dangerous for pregnant women and fetuses. If considering buprenorphine as a methadone alternative, make sure that it does not contain naloxone.
For pregnant women, buprenorphine is considered a safe and effective option for opioid treatment. A study supported by the NIDA found that it produced milder symptoms of opioid withdrawal in the children born to women treated with it verses those treated with methadone. As a partial synthetic opioid, buprenorphine causes less opioid dependence and distress for the fetus than methadone does.
Weaning is a detoxification option that is not often used due to the high risks that often accompany it. This alternative uses carefully administered doses of opioids that are tapered at a slow rate. It induces withdrawal slowly and in a way that it can be easily and safely controlled. Eventually, the drug loses its effect on the patient.
It can be quite effective, but somewhat unpredictable. The patient and fetus must be heavily monitored throughout the process in order to prevent any adverse effects from withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms often include abdominal cramping, insomnia, hot and cold sweats, and muscle pain.
For a pregnant woman, these symptoms can pose a threat of harm or even death for the fetus and are often the main reason why many physicians avoid weaning as a treatment option.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please know that help is available. Call 800-530-0431 for the opportunity to speak with one of our caring specialists about your treatment options.