Exciting New Opiate Addiction Treatment Trends
Ever since methadone was introduced nearly half a century ago, medications have played an important part in treating addictions to opioid substances such as heroin and powerful painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Standard medication protocols have helped thousands of people recover from opiate addiction. But now, some new products and approaches promise to make medication therapy safer and more efficient than ever before.
Medications for Treating Opiate Addiction
Along with methadone, medications most often prescribed to treat opiate addictions include buprenorphine and naltrexone. These medications have turned out to be highly effective. Used as part of a comprehensive program that also includes behavioral therapy and support for recovery, they can help even the severely addicted recover their lives, go back to work and mend relationships. But that effectiveness can be undermined by the logistics of the treatment protocol.
Standard Delivery Methods Create Obstacles to Recovery
Methadone is a standby for both detox and maintenance, but it must be taken every day, usually at a methadone clinic. Buprenorphine and naltrexone can be taken at home, but they still require a daily dose and refills on prescriptions. Having to report to a clinic every day, remember to take a pill or make repeated doctor appointments can create hurdles that lead to failure.
What’s more, these medications can be sold on the street, mixed with other substances or traded for other drugs. Alternative methods for delivery can reduce or even eliminate these problems, and make it easier for people to concentrate on recovery.
Vivitrol: An Injectable Alternative
Naltrexone is used for detox and also in long-term recovery. It’s the first non-narcotic, non-addictive medication approved for the treatment of opiate addictions. Now, the FDA has approved a form of naltrexone called Vivitrol, which is given as an injection only once a month.
Vivitrol delivers a consistent dose of naltrexone without the need for daily pills, which makes it easier for users to concentrate on the business of daily living and recovery without worrying about daily dosing. Vivitrol increases the likelihood of sticking with the recovery plan, and users can’t abuse it or sell it to others.
Probuphine: A “Get It and Forget It” Implant
Like methadone and naltrexone, buprenorphine is usually taken once a day by prescription. But in early 2016, the FDA approved a buprenorphine implant called Probuphine, which provides a six-month supply of the medication.
Probuphine is delivered through a capsule implanted in the tissues of the upper arm. Users never have to worry about taking their medication or getting prescriptions filled, so they can work on their recovery in other areas. The implant eliminates any kind of selling or trading for the medication, too. At the end of six months, treatment is either ended, or the user can opt for a second implant.
Buccal Films – Better Absorption, Lower Dose
Buprenorphine and naltrexone can be taken not only as pills, but also as sublingual wafers, which are held under the tongue until the medication is dissolved. This method is helpful for people who have problems swallowing pills, but it’s a less efficient way to deliver the medication.
A new alternative, called a buccal film, also delivers the medication directly into the mucous membranes of the mouth, but it’s applied as a thin film which sticks to the inside of the cheek. The film not only dissolves faster, but the medication is absorbed twice as efficiently, so users can take a lower dose.
Deep Brain Stimulation – Treatment of the Future?
In the search for more efficient treatments for opiate addiction, some scientists are bypassing medication altogether and going directly to the seat of addictions– the brain itself. Deep Brain Stimulation, which involves electrical currents applied to specific regions of the brain, is already used to treat a number of neurological diseases. Now, researchers are finding that stimulating areas of the brain affected by opiates can reduce cravings, eliminate the need for medications and speed recovery.
In all its forms, medication therapy can make the recovery from opiate addictions easier. Would you like to know more about the options available for you? Answers are only a phone call away. Contact us at 800-530-0431Who Answers? to find the solutions you need now.