Opioid use disorder causes death and suffering throughout the country. Thankfully, help is now available through office-based Suboxone treatment in Wisconsin. I’ve worked for years in a wide variety of treatment settings and seen the destruction from opioid use disorder first-hand. Media articles suggest that opioid addicts are ‘getting high’, but users know how horrible it is to scramble hour by hour to avoid withdrawal.
In the traditional treatment model, people addicted to opioids leave their homes and families to attend residential programs. They return in better shape than when they entered, but their addictions are often waiting for them. As medical director of abstinence-based programs I often noticed obituaries of people who ‘successfully’ completed treatment. Family and friends get hopes up only to be let down one more time. And counselors comfort themselves by saying ‘he just didn’t want it bad enough’. Nonsense!
Medication – Assisted Treatment
Medication assisted treatments use a different model where patients are treated long-term with medications like Suboxone that reduce the desire to use opioids. In fact, treatment for opioid use disorder is similar for treatment of other health problems. Patients continue to work and live their lives as they create a life free from opioids. Each addiction medication has advantages and disadvantages. My opinions about these medications were formed during my training, and through my experiences treating patients over the past 30 years.
The most important thing to consider when choosing treatment is that change takes time. A couple months in a residential treatment program rarely has lasting results. Other considerations include cost, insurance coverage, and use of other addictive substances. Suboxone treatment provides the time required to leave opioids behind, without the cost or daily visits required for methadone treatments.
FDA-Approved Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
- Naltrexone is administered by monthly injections that block the effects of opioids. Naltrexone is used in ‘drug courts’ and as an adjunct to other treatment programs. Treatment with naltrexone has high drop-out rates outside of court settings. My concern about naltrexone is that it is usually used for a year or less, and many studies have shown very limited long-term success after treatments less than a year.
- Methadone-assisted treatments include daily administration of methadone, a synthetic opioid, coupled with counseling and other treatments. As with buprenorphine, successful treatment usually requires a year or more. Methadone treatment is the most appropriate treatment for people with severe addictions that include other substances. But methadone treatment requires daily visits to pick up medication at a central clinic.
- Buprenorphine is the active substance in Suboxone. Patients on buprenorphine develop full tolerance to the medication and feel normal with minimal or no side effects, but the desire for opioids is reduced or eliminated. Patients are encouraged to stay on the medication for at least a year. Buprenorphine treatment is not helpful for addictions to non-opioid drugs.
Suboxone Treatment in Northeast Wisconsin
My practice provides Suboxone treatment in an office setting, serving people in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, and throughout Northeast Wisconsin. This type of treatment is not appropriate for people with primary addictions to multiple substances other than THC. If you are interested in buprenorphine treatment click on the link for ‘admission‘.