What is an opioid?
Opioids (prescription medications like codeine, oxycodone, Vicodin, morphine or Percocet) are very effective treatments for pain. Unfortunately, they are also physically addictive. Many people are introduced to these medications when they are prescribed after an injury or surgical procedure. But after a relatively short period of time our body can become physically dependent upon the medication and may experience very unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. Many people find themselves needing to continue the medication just to feel “normal.” Eventually, this physical dependence on the medication can lead to a psychological dependence where even the thought of going without the medication may trigger intense anxiety. Opioid Use Disorder has become a real concern in our community and deaths from accidental overdoses are near an all-time high. Opioid Use Disorder knows no demographic boundaries; age, income and profession are no protection. It strikes business executives, retirees, healthcare professionals, attorneys and stay-at-home parents.
What is buprenorphine?
Because of the ways opioids induce physical dependence, simply stopping the use of the medication can cause intense physical discomfort. At Advantage Mental Health, however, we can help avoid that. We use FDA-approved medications such as buprenorphine (also known as Suboxone®) to minimize opioid withdrawal symptoms and suppress cravings so a person can stop taking the opioid medication to which he or she is addicted. Buprenorphine has been shown to be very effective and does not require daily clinic visits, so you can stay on the path to recovery without disconnecting from your daily life. Patient education and counseling is essential to opioid dependence treatment and can help patients change negative thinking and behaviors that have resulted from opioid use. With professional counseling, patients learn skills to cope with triggers, stressors, relationships, and life changes—something that medication alone cannot provide. By suppressing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, buprenorphine can help people with opioid dependence take steps to manage their condition so they can focus on rebuilding their lives.
Is buprenorphine FDA approved?
Buprenorphine received FDA approval in October 2002.
Can anyone be treated with buprenorphine?
Our doctors have received special training and a license to prescribe buprenorphine. They will determine if you are a good candidate to be treated with buprenorphine. You must be willing to attend counseling sessions for your recovery to work as effectively as possible.
How is treatment with buprenorphine different from treatment with methadone?
Like methadone, Buprenorphine lessens symptoms of withdrawal and lessens cravings for opioids. Unlike methadone, however, you do not have to visit an office on a daily basis, which makes it ideal for a discreet, outpatient program.
What is treatment with buprenorphine like?
- You will first come to the office for a consultation to see if this program is right for you. The doctor will explain all of the steps during your consultation and you’ll be provided with detailed paperwork that explains the procedure for beginning your treatment plan.
- Under the care of the doctor, you begin taking buprenorphine at home (the first few doses will be administered at the office) and return to the office for weekly follow up appointments with the doctor and counseling sessions with the counselors who specialize in opioid addiction recovery.
- You will continue to see the counselor weekly, but the appointments with the physician will be gradually scaled back to every other week and then to once a month. Continuation with the counselor on a continual basis is a crucial part of your treatment plan – your success is greatly enhanced if you decide to fully participate in these session.