Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Opiate addiction has become a growing problem due to the rise of prescription drug problems in America. Prescription opioids are not too dissimilar from heroin, the base ingredients are essentially the same, so treating prescription opioid addiction is about the same as treating heroin addiction. In the past ten years a number of drugs have been made available for treating opiate addiction, drugs like buprenorphine, commonly known as Suboxone, has proven to be far more effective for treatment purposes than methadone.
A study was recently conducted, the first of its kind, of treatment for addiction to prescription opioids. The study found that Suboxone (buprenorphine plus naloxone) is quite effective. The study was conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
650 people addicted to prescription painkillers took part in the study, according to ABC News. Suboxone tricks opioid receptors in the brain, which reduces one’s cravings, making treatment for opioid abuse more effective.
Over the course of 12 weeks, 49 percent of participants reduced prescription painkiller abuse. Once they stopped taking Suboxone, the success rate dropped to 8.6 percent.
“The study suggests that patients addicted to prescription opioid painkillers can be effectively treated in primary care settings using Suboxone,” NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, MD, said in a news release. “However, once the medication was discontinued, patients had a high rate of relapse—so more research is needed to determine how to sustain recovery among patients addicted to opioid medications.”
There is a downside to taking drugs like Suboxone, it is addictive and prolonged use could lead to a relapse. It should only be used in prescription settings where usage can be monitored and counseling can be provided along with the medication. Taking the drug at home can lead to taking too much as well as people selling the drug for cash to buy the drugs they really desire.
The results appear in the Archives of General Psychiatry.