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Necessary Medications For Opioid Withdrawal

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An opioid is a classification of drugs that is naturally found in the plant called the opium poppy. Some opioids are directly made from plants, while others are made in labs by scientists using a certain chemical structure. Opioids, like heroin, are illegal drugs. There are, on the other hand, opioids that you can acquire legally, like, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, and many more.

In 2016 alone, over 42,000 people died from an overdose. That is like 115 people every day. There are already effective treatments in the market to reduce opioid addiction. Many times, relapse happens because opioid withdrawal is painful and difficult.

All types of opioids are chemically related and can interact with opioid receptors on the nerve cells in your body and your brain. Opioid pain relievers, when prescribed by doctors, are generally safe to take for a short time. Since this can produce ecstasy aside from pain relief, it can be misused. Dependence on opioids can happen when you continually use them regularly, even when a doctor prescribes them. This can also lead to addiction, OD, and even death.

An OD or overdose can be reversed by taking naloxone right away. In some regions in the country, improvements have been shown in the form of the reduction of opioid pain reliever prescriptions; in turn, the decline of opioid misuse among teens has improved as well. In 2011, however, OD deaths that involved heroin completely increased. Luckily, there are a couple of effective medications for opioid withdrawal that exist to treat different opioid use disorders, like buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone.

NIDA once found that when treatment is initiated, a combination of naloxone, buprenorphine, and an extended-release of naltrexone formulation is said to be as effective in treating opioid addiction. Note, however, that naltrexone needs you to detox fully from opioids. That is why it was harder to initiate treatment in active users.

detox from opioid
Source: Restore Health + Wellness Center

Opioid Withdrawal

Opioids or opiates are pain reliever drugs. Opiates are plant-derived, while opioids are synthetic drugs that work like opiates. If you decide to cut back on narcotic drugs like opioids after heavy use for a few weeks or more, you will be experiencing withdrawal, and we will list down the symptoms you could be experiencing.

Symptoms at the early onset of withdrawal include:

  •         Anxiety
  •         Agitation
  •         Insomnia
  •         Increased tearing
  •         Muscle pains
  •         Runny nose
  •         Sweating
  •         Yawning

Late symptoms include:

  •         Diarrhea
  •         Dilated pupils
  •         Abdominal cramps
  •         Nausea
  •         Goosebumps
  •         Vomiting

The symptoms mentioned above might be very uncomfortable, but they are not life-threatening. You can expect to experience these symptoms within 12 hours of your last opioid use and 30 hours of your last use of methadone.

opioid withdrawal medication
Source: Unsplash.com

Exams, Tests, and Treatment

Once you seek treatment or are already in a treatment facility or rehab, the providers will perform a physical exam. They will ask you questions about your drug use and your medical history.

Blood and urine tests are done to screen you to confirm opiate or opioid use. Another testing will depend on your healthcare provider, but it could include any or all of the following:

  •         CBC or complete blood count
  •         Chest x-ray
  •         Blood Chemistry
  •         CHEM-20 or liver function tests
  •         ECG or electrocardiogram
  •         Tests for Hepa C, HIV, and TB

Withdrawal can be very hard and dangerous. Most treatments in rehab involve medication, counseling, and tons of support. You and your healthcare provider should discuss your treatment goals and options, such as:

  •       In-patient, or you stay in a rehab facility for the duration of your treatment with detox.
  •       Out-patient or you stay at home with all the medication for opioid withdrawal needed with your family or friends as your support system.
  •         Hospital if your case is already severe.
detox from opioid LA
Source: Restore Health + Wellness Center

Medications For Opioid Withdrawal

Lofexidine or Lucemyra will be the first medication used in reducing symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal among adults. Lofexidine is an oral tablet designed to manage anyone’s symptoms when the patient is under opioid withdrawal.

Buprenorphine or Subutex helps withdrawal from opiates, and it can reduce the length of your detox. This is also used for long-term maintenance, like methadone. Buprenorphine is combined with Naloxone (Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv), which helps avert dependency and misappropriation.

Clonidine helps reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle pains, sweating, runny nose, and even cramping because of withdrawal. It does not, however, help to reduce cravings.

Other medicines can:

  • Treat diarrhea and vomiting
  • Help with sleep

Naltrexone helps thwart any chance of relapse. This is available as a pill or as an injection. If you still have opioids in your system, however, there is a chance of bringing about sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone helps with detox and relieves any symptoms due to withdrawal. Used as a long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependency. After a period of use, the dose may be lessened slowly over a long time. Some people stay on methadone for years as their maintenance medication.

Individuals who go through withdrawal time and time again should be treated with long-term methadone or buprenorphine maintenance. These individuals also need to be checked for depression or other mental health illnesses. Treating these disorders can dramatically help in reducing the chances of these people experiencing a relapse. Anti-depressants can and should be given as needed.

opioid withdrawal medication LA
Source: Pexels.com

Support Groups

Support groups are very helpful to anyone with opiates or opioid addiction. Two popular support groups include:

Quality Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you think that addiction ends after detox, you would be wrong. Addiction recovery is a journey that an addict has to go through to get better. It is as much a physical disability as it is a mental. After the detox treatment from their healthcare provider, patients will continue with their quality opioid addiction treatment program especially made by Restore.

Restore Drug Treatment Center offers quality programs you’ll need to get better and be on your way. We have traditional therapies, alternative treatment programs, and tools for your long-term recovery and success. Give us a call today!


Insurance can cover up to 100% of treatment


We Accept Most Major Insurance Companies. We accept other forms of payment to make treatment affordable for yourself or a loved one

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