Patient education is a key piece of our treatment plans. In order to undergo a successful recovery, patients and their support system must thoroughly understand their condition and their treatment options.
Use of prescription opioids has skyrocketed in recent years. Prescriptions have climbed 300% in the past decade and narcotic pain medications are now the most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S.
That is an increase of more than 400% from 1999, and now exceeds yearly deaths from car accidents. And for every death, more than 30 people are admitted to the emergency room because of opioid complications. Between 5-25% of people who use prescription pain pills long term get addicted. To further complicate this issue, many patients who become addicted to opioid pain medications are turning to heroin as a cheaper alternative.
In 2012 there were approximately 2.5 million Americans who abused or were dependent on opioids (Opioid Use Disorder) but fewer than 40% received medication-assisted therapy for their condition. Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder is aimed at countering the disruptive effect of dependence so that the individual can regain control of his or her life. Because Opioid Use Disorder is a chronic medical condition characterized by risk of relapse, successful treatment requires a comprehensive, long-term approach involving maintenance medication as well as behavioral therapy.
Medication maintenance treatments for Opioid Use Disorder include buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone, ZubSolv, etc.) and naltrexone (Vivitrol, etc.).
Studies show that treatment approaches including the use of both maintenance medication (buprenorphine/naloxone) and therapy in an outpatient setting are critical to prevent relapse.
• In a 1-year retention study, all detoxed patients who received only placebo and behavioral therapy (n=20) relapsed in approximately 50 days while 75% of patients treated with maintenance medication (buprenorphine/naloxone) and behavioral therapy (n=20) remained on therapy (P=0.0001)2