With an estimated 12million people abusing prescription pain relievers in 2010, the need for effective opioid addiction treatment has never been greater. Although Suboxone has often been used as a treatment for short-term opiate withdrawal, some have questioned how effective it is and whether the risks outweigh the benefits.
Suboxone and Withdrawal Relief
Suboxone is an orange film that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. Two studies conducted by the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN) found that 77 percent of the patients given buprenorphine successfully completed a 13-day taper program and gave negative urine samples. It appears that use of Suboxone and buprenorphine is far more effective in an inpatient setting; though only 29 percent of outpatient participants completed the same taper program and gave negative urine samples.
Concern Over Medication-Based Treatments
Suboxone was approved back in 2002 and was initially used to treat heroin addiction. It quickly became an alternative to methadone, but doesn’t have the same government agency tracking as methadone currently does. As a result, doctors lack information to determine the drug’s safety. Additionally, Suboxonehas its own addiction potential, leaving many politicians steering clear of supporting medication-based drug treatments.
“One effect of this controversy within the treatment community has been to stigmatize medication-assisted therapy, making it unavailable for those who might benefit from it,” noted a report by the Governor’s Council on Alcohol And Drug Abuse.
“Substance abuse treatment… must be based on state-of-the-art science. It appears, however, that in many instances, the decision to forgo [medication-assisted treatment] is based on what is essentially a philosophical predilection that is maintained by some without regard to clinical studies that reveal recent advances in addictions medicine.”
Opiate Addiction Treatment is Paramount
Recent facts from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than two million people ages 12 or older used a prescription painkiller non-medically for the first time in 2010.Unsurprisingly, overdose deaths from prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, while inpatient treatment admissions for opioid addictions jumped from 18,300 in 1998 to 113,506 in 2008. With opioid addiction rates drastically rising, the need for the medical community and politicians to reach an agreement on this issue is critical.