Opiate Withdrawal Medication
- PrintArticle Summary
- Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Methadone, Vivitrol
- Medically-Assisted Opiate Detoxification Medicines
After the extensive or heavy use of opiates, stopping that usage can result in a period of withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal can make passing through the withdrawal process extremely uncomfortable. Taking opiate withdrawal medication can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal significantly. Reducing withdrawal symptoms can improve the chances of success with going through withdrawal without a relapse.
Opiate withdrawal begins shortly after the last dose of the opiate is taken. The symptoms of withdrawal can include sweating, insomnia, anxiety, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. The severity of these symptoms is dependent on the length of time spent taking opiates or the dosage of the opiate taken. The longer a patient has been taking opiates or the greater the dosages taken, the more severe the symptoms are likely to be. Opiate withdrawal medications are given to reduce the symptoms to a bearable level, allowing the patient to proceed through the detoxification process, which involves removing the opiate drug from the patient's system.
Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Methadone, Vivitrol
Buprenorphine, naltrexone, methadone, and vivitrol are all commonly used medications for opiate withdrawal treatments. Each has a beneficial effect on the patient's body that helps the patient pass through the withdrawal process. Buprenorphine and methadone are used to lessen withdrawal symptoms, while naltrexone and vivitrol prevent the effects of any opiates taken during the withdrawal period.
Buprenorphine is an opioid given as medication during opiate withdrawal to reduce the symptoms related to the withdrawal process. Taken sublingually, buprenorphine produces mild opioid effects, preventing the patient's body from exhibiting withdrawal symptoms as the drug of abuse is removed from the patient's system. With long-term usage, buprenorphine can be addictive.
Methadone is used in the same way as buprenorphine to reduce the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms. It also provides low levels of euphoria similar to the effects of other opiates. As with buprenorphine, methadone can be addictive. The positive effects on narcotic withdrawal symptoms make the negative aspects of methadone acceptable in most cases.
Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist. When taken, it occupies the opioid receptors in a patient's brain and spinal column. Once in place, the psychotropic effects that produce the euphoria common in opiate use are prevented. If an opiate is taken after the occupation of the receptors, the opiates have nothing to bind to. This prevents the opiates from producing the pleasurable response that reinforces their use. If opiates are taken, there may even be a negative response, as naltrexone can cause the patient to feel sick after opiate use.
Vivitrol is a form of naltrexone that can be injected by the patient. Like naltrexone, vivitrol works by blocking the opioid receptors in the patient's brain. The injection is given once a month and lasts for 30 days.
Medically-Assisted Opiate Detoxification Medicines
Opiate addiction medication is a vital part of the detoxification process for users of opiate drugs. Without medication, the symptoms of opiate withdrawal can be so severe that they drive the patient back to opiate use as a method of ending the discomfort. Using an opiate addiction medication avoids most withdrawal symptoms throughout the withdrawal process. Alternatively, these medicines can discourage continued use of the opiate by removing the positive response to the drug. This allows the patient to take the time necessary to flush the opiates from the body and to readjust to the lack of the drug in the bloodstream. Once this adjustment is made, physical dependence on the original opiate is broken. After withdrawal treatment is completed, use of the addiction medication is gradually decreased until the patient is drug free.
For more information concerning opiate withdrawal medication or the location of treatment facilities for opiate withdrawal, call 1-888-657-1908. The 24-hour toll-free line will connect you with knowledgeable operators who can answer any questions you may have or provide you with a facility referral.