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Opioid addiction is a growing problem in the United States, with more than 2 million people(opens in a new tab) struggling with an opioid abuse disorder. Overcoming addiction is a difficult journey and no one should have to do it alone. That's why there are many different treatments available, including the use of medication to aid in recovery from opioid use disorder.

Medication can be used to help treat the physical aspect of opioid addiction, like managing cravings and reducing the risk of relapse. There is no right or wrong way of reaching recovery, each person is unique and requires different treatment approaches. If medication is the right approach for you, we want you to be as informed as possible. That’s why we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how medication can help you recover from opioid addiction.

Understanding Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that can affect your physical, mental, and financial well-being. Opioids are a type of medication that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief. Some opioids are lawfully prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat severe and chronic pain. Commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, methadone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Some other opioids, such as heroin, are illegal drugs that are primarily used for recreational purposes.

Opioid addiction occurs when a person has a strong, uncontrollable desire to use opioid medicines, even though they are no longer needed medically. Even when opioids are used appropriately and as directed, some people can become dependent on them. Prescription opioids are frequently misused or diverted to others, leading to dependence and addiction. People who become addicted may put obtaining and using these medications above other priorities in their lives, often to the point of affecting their professional and personal relationships.

Signs of opioid abuse include:

  • Inability to control opioid use.
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms.
  • Uncontrollable cravings.
  • Grogginess.
  • Change in sleep/exercise patterns.
  • Weight loss.
  • Decreased libido.
  • Poor hygiene.
  • Isolation from loved ones.
  • Stealing and reckless behavior.
  • New/sudden financial struggles.

If you notice any of these symptoms or feel that you are becoming dependent on opioids, you should speak with your doctor immediately. There are many treatment options available to aid in recovery from an opioid disorder.

How Does Medication Help?

Suboxone and Sublocade are two medications that can help treat opioid addiction. Suboxone is the brand name of a prescription medication that is used to treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It is a long-acting medication that can be taken once a day. Sublocade is an injectable form of Suboxone that is used to treat severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It is given as an injection once a month.

Suboxone contains two active components, buprenorphine and naloxone, that assist to control cravings and prevent relapse. Buprenorphine is a 'partial agonist' drug, which means it can bind to the same receptors as other opioids. It reduces people's physical urges and cravings during the detoxification process. Naloxone is a type of “opioid antagonist” that binds to opioid receptors and inhibits their activity. It works as a protective substance by causing abrupt opioid drug withdrawal symptoms, preventing people from abusing the medication.

Suboxone and Sublocade help treat addiction to opioid substances such as:

  • Heroin.
  • Morphine.
  • Opium.
  • Codeine.
  • Oxycodone.
  • Oxycontin.
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin).

Both of these medications are effective at treating opioid addiction and helping people reach recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, talk to your doctor about if Suboxone and Sublocade are right for you.

What Are The Benefits of Using Medication?

There are many benefits to including Suboxone and Sublocade in your medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plan. Some of the most common benefits are:

  • Reduced cravings and withdrawal symptoms - Suboxone and Sublocade can help reduce or eliminate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This prevents “cold turkey” withdrawal symptoms and allows you to wean off of opioids slowly while minimizing painful, dangerous side effects.
  • Improved ability to participate in counseling and other behavioral therapies - By helping to control cravings and withdrawal symptoms, medication assistance can make it easier to participate in counseling and other behavioral therapies. You can truly focus on and stick to your treatment plan. 
  • Improved overall health - Medication-assisted treatment can improve your overall physical and mental health, as you won’t be causing long-term harm to your organs, and your mental health will improve without the use of substances. 
  • Reduced risk of relapse - Not only do Suboxone and Sublocade reduce cravings, but it also lowers your risk of abusing opioids in the future. The medication makes it so that patients do not feel high when they abuse opioids, reducing the risk of patients returning to the substance.  

A medicated assisted treatment program that integrates Suboxone or Sublocade can help you reach a sustainable recovery. These medicines have helped many people achieve sobriety, as they allow them to complete the rehabilitation process without experiencing compulsive urges or severe withdrawal symptoms. If you are struggling with opioid addiction, the expert team at James K. Cardi M.D. can help you start your journey towards recovery with the use of Suboxone and Sublocade medications.

If you are struggling with opioid addiction, let the expert team at James K. Cardi, M.D. help. Dr. Cardi is a highly experienced, board-certified internist who can guide you through your recovery journey with Suboxone and Sublocade medications. Request an appointment online or call our office at (401)- 440-1977 to set up an appointment.