Drugs Used To Get Off Opiates.
There are numerous detox plans available for inpatients at a medical facility. Each plan has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to talk to your doctor and/or an addiction specialist to determine the plan that’s right for you.
- Medical Detoxification: This detox plan involves tapering down the dosage of opiates. Tapering is done in a controlled medical setting that allows nurses to administer any medication necessary to help counteract the effects of withdrawal, if those effects arise.
- Rapid Detoxification: This plan involves stopping all use of the opiate immediately. You will be anesthetized and given intravenous opiate blockers (such as naltrexone, naloxone, and nalmefene) to ensure that you do not get high on any opiates you subsequently take. After approximately four to eight hours under general anesthesia, your body goes through sudden and rapid withdrawal, but you will not experience the unpleasant physical effects of withdrawal. You will then typically be discharged within 48 hours after an assessment and medical evaluation. There are risks of complications from the use of anesthesia, however, including the risk of death.
- Stepped Rapid Detoxification: In this alternative plan, opiate blockers like naloxone are administered intravenously and withdrawal-management medications are administered orally, reaching the same ultimate effects of rapid detox but over a more gradual period of time. Stepped rapid detox may be less taxing on the body than regular rapid detoxification. In stepped rapid detox, you are alert and awake the whole time, but your symptoms of withdrawal are closely monitored and quickly addressed with medication.
- Naltrexoneis an opioid antagonist. It doesn’t have the effects of an opioid drug and is used only for recovery. “If you try to take an opiate while in recovery, naltrexone will block the high. One drawback is that if you need an opiate drug for pain, naltrexone will also block pain relief, Weaver says. “You can override the effects of the block with larger doses of an opiate, but it’s tricky. Buprenorphine can be given as a pill or as a monthly injection.” Naltrexone is prescribed less often because people don’t tend to stay on it long-term.
- Buprenorphine: This is an opioid medication used to help ease withdrawal symptoms and help ease you off opiates. It is a partial opioid agonist, meaning you will experience less euphoria, less dependence, and the withdrawal is milder than with other opiates. It can reduce cravings, suppress withdrawal symptoms, and block the effects of other opioids. Not all doctors can prescribe buprenorphine so you will need to find an addiction specialist who is able to do so. It comes three administration forms including by mouth, through a patch, or via injection.
- Methadone: Some doctors recommend methadone treatments to help addicts come off of opiates. Methadone is the most commonly used method of opiate detoxification. In methadone treatment, you will receive daily doses of the synthetic narcotic medication methadone from an approved clinic over a period lasting around 21 days, after which you should be able to discontinue all opiate use. Methadone detox still subjects you to a painful period of withdrawal and may not adequately prevent you from using other opiates.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term treatment using buprenorphine or methadone is an essential part of drug addiction treatment and has been proven to reduce drug use and is consequences. “Success rates are hard to measure because so much depends on each person’s motivation and support system,” says Weaver. “It appears that methadone and buprenorphine are equally effective. Methadone may work better for someone who needs close supervision. Buprenorphine may work better for someone who is more committed and has better support.” If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to heroin or opioid prescription drugs, medications, along with counseling and support, can help you get your life back on track.