Getting treatment for an addiction is difficult. It is difficult for the patient, their family, their friends, and those people who are trying to help them. The first step in getting help with an addiction is the detox phase. It is important for the patient to get all the drugs out of their body before they can work with therapy to address the cause of their addiction. Sometimes, other drugs are used during detox and there are dangers with them. The following are three of the commonly used drugs that are used during detox.
- Buprenorphine (Subutex) – Buprenorphine is used to help prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with the discontinuation of opioids. Sold under the name Subutex, the drug is often administered when the patient experiences the first signs of withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, a secondary addiction can develop requiring Subutex detox to treat. A doctor should titrate the dosage, so the patient uses less and less until they are not taking it any longer. This will help decrease the chances of withdrawal from the medication itself. Furthermore, the medication does have some side effects. These include dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, and headache. As with most medication, if the symptoms get worse, the patient needs to let the doctor know.
- Methadone (Dolophine) – This is a narcotic used to treat addiction. The goal of the drug is to get a patient off other opioids, like heroin, by decreasing withdrawal symptoms. However, like Subutex, if the patient takes this medication for a long time, in high doses, or more often than prescribed, they can suffer a methadone addiction. This will result in withdrawal symptoms when the patient tries to stop the medication quickly. The patient needs to be weaned off the medication to reduce the chance of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include nausea, sweating, restlessness, and muscle aches. In addition to the possibility of addiction, there are side effects that come along with its use, including dry mouth, vomiting, and constipation.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol) – This can be used to treat alcoholism and opioid addiction and help prevent a relapse. The patient needs to be able to stop drinking for before starting this medication. This medication can help reduce the amount of alcohol ingested or stop it all together by reducing the desire to drink. It can also be used in conjunction with Subutex to help with opioid addiction. It has some similar side effects of the other drugs used to help with opioid addiction. They include anxiety, loss of appetite, cramps, bone, and joint pain, and mild opioid withdrawal symptoms.
So, it is important to understand the dangers of these drugs and how sometimes they can do more harm than good. Ask questions before taking these medicines. If a patient chooses to use the medications to help them get off the drugs they are addicted to, they need to make sure to follow the prescription guidelines and directions. Otherwise, they can suffer adverse effects or worse, the patient could become addicted to the medication.