Start the Journey to Recovery From Opioid Dependence

Dependence occurs when a patient has developed an unneeded but habitual use of any form of drugs for various reasons. Fortunately, opioid dependence can be treated with the right professional help.

How We Can Help

Dr. Ahmann is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine and has years of experience in treating opioid dependence. While there are several options for treating opioid dependence, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) has the strongest medical evidence for success.

MAT may consist of a “replacement” medication that is safer and far less likely to be abused than other opioids. These are prescription medications specifically designed to ease the detoxification process.

The FDA-approved medications for this type of MAT are buprenorphine (e.g. Suboxone ®, Subutex ®, Zubsolv ®, Sublocade ® etc.) and methadone. Since methadone can only be prescribed for opioid dependence at a federally sanctioned clinic, Dr. Ahmann will usually prescribe a buprenorphine-based medication for MAT.

Another option for complete detoxification and complete opioid abstinence would include MAT with a naloxone (oral naltrexone or the monthly Vivitrol ® injection). See below for information about Vivitrol ®.

Buprenorphine offers patients a way to control opioid-dependent cravings and behaviors. Patients who are prescribed this can detoxify without complete “cold turkey” withdrawal symptoms. This treatment is for dependence on drugs such as oxycodone, Oxycontin ®, Vicodin ® (hydrocodone), fentanyl, morphine, and heroin, among others.

In addition to the medication, MAT usually includes some form of psychosocial support such as peer support (AA, NA, HA, Smart Recovery ®, etc.) or individual counseling. Dr. Ahmann ensures that every patient is accommodated in a professional, friendly, and non-judgmental office setting.

What You Need to Know About Buprenorphine

Here are some facts about buprenorphine that may help answer some of your questions:

  1. Buprenorphine is a medication that is usually administered sublingually, meaning that is absorbed under the tongue. It is also available as a monthly injection (Sublocade ®) or a pellet that can be implanted under the skin (Probuphine ®). The most commonly prescribed is the sublingual form that you can take at home.
  2. It covers the opioid receptors in the brain so that withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be relieved. It is also effective in blocking out additional opioids to make continuing previous habits “unproductive”. This is an additional safety feature of buprenorphine.
  3. Soon after starting the medication, most patients experience feeling “liberated” from their dependent habits and helps them feel more “normal” and steadier throughout the day.
  4. Buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect”, which prevents patients from overdosing or feeling “high” from overuse.
  5. Buprenorphine is FDA-approved as a component for pain management. This is helpful for helping patients who have chronic pain but wish to discontinue use of other opioids. It can help relieve you and society of illegally obtaining opioids to satisfy dependence.
  6. Before starting with any form of buprenorphine, you first need to be in a state of mild to moderate withdrawal. The doctor will speak with you before your first appointment to give you instructions regarding how to prepare for this. You’ll be feeling better very soon!

Things to Know About Naltrexone / Vivitrol ®

  1. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist or blocking agent.
  2. Antagonists create a barrier that blocks opioid molecules from attaching to opioid receptors.
  3. It is non-addictive, non-habit-forming and does not lead to physical dependence.
  4. It prevents relapse to opioid dependence after opioid detox.
  5. It can significantly reduce cravings for opioids.
  6. It comes in two FDA-approved forms; a daily oral tablet (generic naltrexone) and a monthly injection (Vivitrol ®).
  7. Before starting naltrexone or Vivitrol ®, you must be opioid-free for a minimum of 7 days to avoid sudden opioid withdrawal.
  8. It is used as a part of a complete treatment plan which should include counseling and/or other psychosocial support such as peer support.
  9. It is also used for alcohol use disorder.

Let Us Help You in Your Recovery 

Choosing to get help for drug dependence is a brave decision to make; one that signifies that the person is more than willing to turn their life around. We at Total Primary Care are here to help our patients in Scottsdale, AZ and the Greater Phoenix Metro Area to get back on their feet and become drug-free. Call Now (480) 305-5640.