According to data from the CDC, about a half-million Americans died from opioid overdoses during the 20-year period between 1999-2018. That’s more than 60 people every day. Opioid drugs can serve an instrumental purpose in managing chronic or severe pain. But the way they act on the brain can also make them highly addictive.
At Vulcan Pain Management, Victor E. Mendoza, MD, helps patients in Birmingham, Alabama, overcome opioid addiction with patient-centered Suboxone® therapy. Each treatment plan is customized for the needs of the patient for greater chances of long-term success. Here’s how Suboxone could help you or someone you love.
Opioids and addiction
With the proper dosage and for the right amount of time, opioids can play a critical role in managing pain. But these medications have powerful chemical effects on your brain. It’s these effects that can lead to addiction in many people.
In opioid addiction, chemicals in opioids “bind” with special chemical receptors on specific nerve cells. These cells are responsible for pleasurable feelings. When the opioids bind with the chemical receptors, they “turn on” those good feelings, helping you feel more relaxed and even euphoric.
Over time, your body can get used to the effects of opioids, which means it needs more and more opioid drugs to produce the same effect. This is the cycle that can lead to abuse, overdose, and even death. Because the cycle affects your body’s chemical balance, you need medical help to overcome it.
Suboxone: Break the cycle of addiction
For decades, methadone has been the primary agent used to break the opioid-dependence cycle. But methadone itself can be addictive, and cutting back on methadone has unpleasant side effects that can interfere with treatment. Suboxone was developed to provide addiction-beating benefits while decreasing the risk of becoming addicted to the treatment agent.
Suboxone is a proprietary combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, two powerful agents that can fight pain independently. When used in combination, these agents can also help decrease opioid cravings in the brain, “turning off” the cycle of dependence on opioids.
The first component, buprenorphine, has a very strong binding power of its own — so strong, it can block other opioids from binding to nerve cells. This is the first way Suboxone can fight opioid addiction. At the same time, buprenorphine produces a more “normal” level of pleasurable sensations, so you can avoid the side effect of withdrawal while decreasing your cravings for opioids.
The second component, naloxone, also binds strongly to opioid receptors. In Suboxone, though, the primary role of naloxone is to prevent you from becoming dependent on buprenorphine.
These two medications work together to help break the cycle of opioid addiction, but because they’re strong agents on their own, you still need to have your treatment monitored closely by Dr. Mendoza. He’ll adjust your dosage over time to ensure it meets your needs while also preventing unwanted side effects that could interfere with your progress.
Get the help you need
If you’re dealing with an opioid abuse problem, Suboxone treatment could play a critical role in helping you break that cycle and enjoy a healthier life. To learn more about Suboxone treatment at Vulcan Pain Management, call the office or use our online form and schedule an appointment today.