Opioid Use Disorder
Addiction medicine physicians at Pathfinder Health Services are trained in the cutting edge use of combined medications assisted therapy and behavioral therapy to help address your opioid use disorder. For a patient addicted to opioids it is vitally important to address signs and symptoms of craving & withdrawal. This is important so that the patient can return to feeling normal again, and not be battling the constant cycle between stability and withdrawal syndrome. Once these symptoms are controlled, the patient can fully engage in the behavioral aspects (counseling, 12-step facilitation, group therapy) of treatment that are proven to help maintain a long lasting recovery.
The two main medications available to treat the signs and symptoms of withdrawal are Methadone and Buprenorphine. Methadone has been around for a long time. It is a full opioid agonist (meaning it fully activates the opioid receptor when bound to it). Methadone for the treatment of opioid use disorder (ie..opioid addiction) is regulated closely by the federal government and only available in OTPs (opioid treatment programs…ie…methadone clinics).
Buprenorphine is the second medication available to treatment the signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist/antagonist. This means that when the buprenorphine molecule binds with a patient’s opioid receptors, the receptor is only partially activated. The net effect? Control of craving and withdrawal without the typically euphoria found with full opioid agonists. Buprenorphine has many formulations and is often combined with naloxone as an abuse deterrant. Your addiction medicine physician will choose a buprenorphine product that is appropriate for your individualized treatment plan. Most insurance plans cover the cost of buprenorphine based medications.
There are three stages to getting a patient stabilized on buprenorphine: induction, stabilization, and maintenance. Remember each patient is different, and each addiction is different. Induction, stabilization, and maintenance phases of treatment are unique and individualized to the patient based of response to treatment, and progress in the behavioral aspects of addiction treatment.
Below you will find a wide variety of high quality educational material from “The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment”. Take the time to download the brochures. Read them over. Become an informed patient. The more you know about the science behind your addiction and proposed treatment, the more successful you will be in achieving long term recovery. If after reading these brochures you have more questions…..thats OK, discuss with your addiction medicine physician. Your physician is more than happy to help you understand your disease process and the steps needed to achieve recovery.