Tag Archives: opioids

Does Vivitrol Really Work for Opioid Dependency?

Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone, is an opiate/opioid antagonist. This means that it works on opioid brain receptors in a manner opposite that of opioids. In other words, when a person takes an opioid medication, the molecules of that medication “fit” into receptor sites in the brain, very similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This causes the opioid effects such as pain relief and euphoria. Opioids can also cause unpleasant effects like nausea, and if enough is taken, can even cause life-threatening suppression of the brain’s breathing center. Opioid antagonists like naltrexone work to reverse these effects and/or prevent them from occurring.

Is Vivitrol Safe? Is it Effective?

Vivitrol is safe as long as you are not allergic to it. It must be used with counseling, and the patient cannot be actively dependent upon opioids when they begin therapy. Vivitrol is given only once a month. It’s a long-acting injection. As long as the patient stays compliant and keeps their injection appointment, Vivitrol is extremely effective. This is because the antagonistic effects of naltrexone in the brain totally prevent any “high” from opioids. Even if the patient weakens and takes them, they will feel nothing because the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked. Only one molecule can occupy a receptor at a time, and naltrexone has a higher affinity, or priority, for the brain’s opioid receptors.

 

Benefits of Vivitrol Therapy:

It’s Not Addictive

Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors, not by stimulating them. There is no danger of addiction to Vivitrol.

Helps Patients Break Their Addiction

Recovering addicts can focus on rebuilding their lives, knowing that “giving in to temptation” won’t have the desired effect. They know they can’t get high so they think about other things.

Steady, Automatic Dosing

Because Vivitrol is an extended-release injection, there is no need to take a pill or go to a clinic every day. It provides 24-hour blockage and therefore protection against any opioid-induced “high” for a full month.

Some Possible Disadvantages

Like any other medical therapy, Vivitrol isn’t perfect. For example, if the patient actually needed pain relief, say, due to an accident, because their receptors are blocked, they would not experience the pain relief normally provided by opioids. Also the success of Vivitrol depends upon the patient continuing to show up for their injections on time.

Looking for opiate addiction treatment? Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

I Have Chronic Pain and Need Painkillers To Help Ease The Pain. How Do I Keep From Becoming Addicted?

The use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain is very controversial. Possible addiction is one of the main reasons for this. Is the relief of chronic pain worth the potential for addiction? The consensus is yes. The fact is, most patients treated for chronic pain by a health professional qualified to do so will not become addicted to their opioid medications.

Addiction is Not the Same as Dependence

Anyone who takes opioid medication for any length of time, say, more than a few weeks, will become physically dependent upon their medication. This is a consequence of the actions of opioids on the body. They cause physical changes to take place in the brain which result in a physical dependence. This is not the same as addiction, which is generally defined as compulsive, uncontrollable use of a substance even when the negative consequences are obvious. Addicted patients often increase their use of medication without their physician’s knowledge or approval, which only makes their addiction even worse. They hide their drug use from friends, family, and employers. They become devious.

In contrast, those taking opioids as directed by their physicians rarely experience addiction. They are simply taking a drug, under medical supervision, that they need to control their chronic pain. There is no emotional dependence on the drug, no compulsion to use it beyond what is needed for pain control, and the patient remains in full compliance, taking the drug only as directed.

  • An addicted patient will often run out of medication early
  • An addicted patient will show signs of drug-seeking behavior, such as repeated requests for more pills and escalating doses when such is not medically indicated
  • Those addicted are likely to withdraw from friends and family as the drug takes over more and more of their lives

In contrast, a patient who is merely physically dependent, which is not their fault anyway, continues to live their lives normally. Their basic behavior doesn’t change and they feel no compulsion to take more and more medication. They just enjoy the relief and quality of life provided by responsible use of opioid medications.

For most people, the risk of true addiction to prescription opioids is low. In fact, the negative effects and stress of living in constant, untreated pain are more of a real concern than addiction.

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Why Do They Still Prescribe Opiates If They Cause Addiction?

The United States is currently facing an opiate addiction epidemic, with opiate-related deaths quadrupling since 1999. There were approximately 19,000 deaths linked to opiates in 2014 alone, and it is estimated that up to 36 million people abuse these substances worldwide. Despite these numbers and all the problems that opiate addiction can cause, many of them are still being prescribed by doctors across the country. Some would argue that prescriptions for medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin should be taken off the market, while others believe that these drugs are helpful as long as they aren’t abused.

Opiates are often prescribed to help patients deal with pain after suffering an injury or while they recover from a major surgical procedure. They have also proven useful for those living with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, endrometriosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These are all painful chronic conditions, and many people who live with them need some kind of medication just to maintain a good quality of life. Should they be expected to go without medicine that they arguably need because so many people abuse their prescriptions?

The Dangers of Opiates

The thing that makes opiates so dangerous is that they produce an intense high that makes them very addictive. The short-term effects of these drugs include pain relief and a feeling of euphoria. The relief from pain is attractive to anybody living with chronic pain or even acute pain from an injury, while euphoria is a common desired effect of many drugs. Abuse of opiates can also cause people to become addicted in as little as three days. Some of the side effects of opiate abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • A depressed respiratory system

Long-term opiate use can cause problems such as chronic constipation, liver damage, and brain damage resulting from a depressed respiratory system.

With as dangerous and readily available as opiates are, should doctors stop prescribing them? Many people say yes, and the government has even encouraged doctors to avoid prescribing them. On the other hand, they do have their uses as long as they are taken as prescribed. Short-term opiate use can help people recover from injury and illness, but doctors need to make it clear that these drugs should only be used in the short-term.

If you believe that you are developing a dependence on opiates or you have struggled with substance abuse, there is help available. Contact us today to learn how you can recover from opiate addiction. Call Now 800-737-0933

Why Do Opiates Cause Constipation?

Constipation is having hard stools, excessive strains when passing bowels, infrequent stools, partial bowel evacuation, unsuccessful defecation, or spending too much time passing stool. Constipation has two common classifications:

  • Primary constipation, which results from natural anorectal function or colon defects
  • Secondary constipation that occurs because of pathologic changes, for instance, intestinal obstruction and medications such as opioids

 

Low fiber intake, inadequate body fluids, physical inactivity, spinal cord compression, high calcium levels, kidney problems, or diabetes can lead to bowel dysfunction too.

Constipation can arise because of pharmacologically-based reasons including taking opioids. Opioids are analgesics used for pain relief. Unfortunately, opioids cause hard stools. 81% of patients on opioids to reduce chronic pain end up having opioid-induced constipation (OIC) or opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OBD), says Salix Pharmaceuticals.

How Opiates Cause Constipation

Opiates include prescriptions medicines for pain, methadone or suboxone, morphine, illicit opiate heroin, which doctors say leads to an opioid epidemic in the United States. Opiates change the way the gastrointestinal tract functions. The pain relievers prolong the time the stool takes to move through the human gastric system.

A person on the pain reduction drugs will have increased non-propulsive contractions across the jejunum or the small intestines midpoint. Consequently, the longitudinal propulsive muscle contractions can slow down affecting how food travels through the intestines.

Food that does not normally move through the digestive tract causes partial stomach paralysis or gastroparesis. Food will remain within the digestive organ for far too long. Further, the opioids cause the reduction of digestive secretions making the patient not have the desire to defecate.

The side effects of illicit opiates abuse begin in the brain with the victim experiencing hallucinations and later digestive issues such as hard stools. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication methylnaltrexone bromide -Relistor or naloxegol-Movantik can treat OIC. The two medicines reduce constipation arising from opioids without affecting the patient’s brain opioid receptors.

Other reliable IOC treatment methods include the use of stool softeners, usually the docusate sodium (Colace). Increasing fiber intake, eating more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables help a great deal. Also, request a doctor if you can use daily stool softeners or stimulant laxatives.

When the stool overstays in the intestines, the body will absorb all the water in it, making the stool too hard and unable to move.

We have helped thousands of people detox and recover from Opiate addiction.  Call us today to learn more 800-737-0933

 

OxyContin

List of All Drugs That are Considered Opioids

Opioids fall into the category of narcotic pain medications. If not taken correctly, they can produce serious side effects, including addiction. The body has the ability to produce natural opioids, but when considerable pain relief is necessary, these medications may be prescribed. They work by attaching to pain receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and digestive tract. These receptors are known as opioid receptors and are part of the system that controls behaviors related to pain, reward, and addiction. Prescription opioids mimic our bodies’ natural neurotransmitters and when attached to these receptors, flood the brain with dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for thinking, emotion, and feelings of pleasure. Because prescription opioids are present in such large quantities, they create overstimulation in the brain. This leads to the reward-seeking behavior exhibited by those who have developed a dependence on these substances.

Opioid Drug List

• Abstral, Actiq (fentanyl)
• Avinza (morphine sulfate)
• Demerol
• Butrans
• Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
• Dolophine (methadone)
• Duragesic (fentanyl)
• Fentora (fentanyl)
• Hysingla (hyrocodone)
• Methadose (methadone)
• Morphabond (morphine)
• Nucynta ER (tapentadol)
• Oxaydo (oxycodone)
• Oramorph (morphine)
• Onsolis (fentanyl)
• Roxanol-T (morphine)
• Sublimaze (fentanyl)
• Xtampza ER (oxycodone)
• Zohydro ER (hydrocodone)
• Anexsia (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Co-Gesic (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Embeda (morphine/naltrexone)
• Exalgo (hydromorphone hydrochloride)
• Hycet (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Hycodan (hydrocodone/homatropine)
• Hydromet (hydrocodone/homatropine)
• Ibudone (hydrocodone/ibuprofen)
• Kadian (morphine sulfate)
• Liquicet (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Lorcet (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Maxidone (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride)
• Oxycet (oxycodone/acetaminophen)
• Palladone (hydromorphone hydrochloride)
• Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen
• Percodan (oxycodone/aspirin)
• Reprexain (hydrocodone/ibuprofen)
• Rezira (hydrocodone/pseudoephedrine)
• Roxicet (oxycodone/acetaminophen)
• Targiniq ER (oxycodone/naloxone)
• TussiCaps and Tussionex (hydrocodone/chlorpheniramine)
• Tylenol #3 and #4 (codeine/acetaminophen)
• Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Vicoprofen (hydrocodone/ibuprofen)
• Vituz (hydrocodone/chlorpheniramine)
• Xartemis XR ( oxycodone/acetaminophen)
• Xodol (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Zolvit (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
• Zutripro (hydrocodone/chlorpheniramine/pseudoephedrine)
• Zydone (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)

If you or a loved one are experiencing opioid dependence on any of these substances, our understanding counselors can help. If you are ready to speak to someone, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-737-0933

Detox Program

Why Detox Alone Won’t Cure Drug Addiction

Detox ProgramPerhaps, you are like a number of parents with a drug dependent off-spring. You decided that going cold turkey was the best way for your child to kick the drug habit. Consequently, the drug dependent kid is locked away in their home, detoxing on their own. This is a bad, life threatening decision. The fact is that detox alone won’t cure drug addiction. The primary purpose of detox is to remove all the drugs out of the system and cleanse the body. Thus, giving the body time to heal and recover from the addiction. However, drug addiction is also a behavioral problem too. Therefore, cleansing the body and treating the person’s mental addiction is important.

Mind & Body Focus

The sobering fact is that detox in combination with treating the addictive drug behavior is vital to complete recovery. Detox alone does not end the addictive behavior. Often, the individual is unable to handle the negative symptoms that are a part of detox. They return to drugs to handle the withdrawal symptoms. A professional detox program will help your child to free their body from the drugs and clean all the toxins out of their system. An in house detox program will help the individual with their withdrawal symptoms too. However, complete drug treatment requires that the individual changes his addictive behavior. Clearly, getting free of the addictive behavior is a twofold process.

Treating Emotional Side Of Drug Addictive Behavior

Certainly, it takes a professional rehab center or private counseling to focus in on the emotional side of drug addictive behavior. The fact is that the drugs have a very strong effect on the brain’s wiring. It’s vital to focus on rewiring the brain. Generally, this involves focusing on the emotional and mental aspects of drug addiction. Rehab centers work with the individual in group sessions, private sessions, to help the individual start to heal and to clear their mind. The fact is that a professional detox program primarily focuses on healing the body, while a complete rehab treatment requires changing the addictive behavior and building resistance to drugs mentally too.

Detox is the first step to complete rehabilitation. Detox cleanses the body and prepares it for the next step. If you have a child or another family member that is addicted to drugs, a rehab facility might be required to completely end the dependency on drugs.

Call Genesis House today to get started with your first step 800-737-0933

Connection Between Opioids and Marijuana Use Among Teens

prescription painkillersResearchers may have found evidence that prescription painkiller use is linked to early marijuana use. This information comes at a time when multiple states are in the process of legalizing marijuana, or considering putting the issue on the ballot for a future election. And while no state is looking to make marijuana legal for adolescents, it would seem that legalizing marijuana would make it easier for teenagers to obtain the drug, as has been demonstrated in the rising numbers in Colorado.

In a recent survey, 11,000 children and teenagers were asked a series of questions related to their drug and alcohol use. Included in these questions was whether they had used prescription opioids in the past 30 days and if they had ever used marijuana. After the data was collected, it was discovered that out of 11,000 participants, 524 had used prescription painkiller in the last month. Of those 524 children and teenagers, 80% had also used marijuana.

While this certainly does not mean that if you use marijuana you will definitely use painkillers, it does a show a link when it comes to drug experimentation (i.e. gateway drugs) and poly-drug use. There was also a correlation with alcohol and tobacco use, indicating that these substances that are becoming increasingly available to young people are contributing to further drug use.

On a policy level, our nation is continuing to send mixed messages to America’s youth. For a long time marijuana and cocaine were major focuses of prevention efforts, yet prescription drug and synthetic drug use has surged. Now we’re working to keep kids away from prescription drug abuse but telling them that smoking weed is okay when you’re old enough.

All of this seems to be missing the point of teaching kids and adults how to live without seeking out drugs for external stimulation. Without it, the patterns will continue to repeat, even though the types of drugs may change over time.

The Start of the Painkiller Epidemic?

OxyContinA recent investigation published by STAT news found what appears to be evidence of the beginning of the prescription opioid epidemic, and how efforts to stop it were thwarted by the maker of OxyContin 15 years ago.

Officials from the West Virginia state employees health plan saw a rise in the number of deaths related to oxycodone, and requested to have OxyContin placed on a list of drugs that required pre-authorization. Instead, the drug’s maker, Purdue Pharma, apparently paid off the pharmacy benefits management company via “rebates” to keep it on the regular list of easily accessible drugs. This action, combined with the fact that the drug maker was hiding information about OxyContin being more addictive than other similar drugs, started one of the worst healthcare crises in the last century.

Since that time, the number of deaths tied to opiates, including painkillers and heroin, has skyrocketed to 28,000 lives lost in a single year.

Tom Susman, who headed West Virginia’s employee insurance agency back then, stated, “We were screaming at the wall. We saw it coming. Now to see the aftermath is the most frustrating thing I have ever seen.” Unfortunately, their efforts fell on deaf ears and were chewed up by a corrupt pharmaceutical business. Now West Virginia has the highest incidence rate for opioid fatalities.

Given this and so many other stories that have risen in recent years about the drug company’s involvement in the opioid epidemic, it seems like more should be done to help save lives today. The White House recently asked for over $1 billion in new spending to treat the opiate abuse crisis. Rather than passing that off onto Congress (who gets the money from all of us taxpayers), a much better resource for that funding should come from pharmaceutical giants who make billions off of these drugs, including the ravages left in their wake.

Some Doctors Hesitant to Prescribe Naloxone

narcanAs naloxone, a medication that reverses an opioid overdose, has gained more publicity, doctors are being urged to prescribe it as a preventive measure to patients who are also given narcotic painkillers. The thought behind this is that the risk for overdose is so great that even patients who do not abuse these drugs are at risk of this possibility.

However, some doctors rejected this idea. The fear was that their patients would be offended if given a prescription made popular by its use on heroin addicts. The survey, however, showed different results.

“Some providers have voiced concern that prescribing naloxone to patients could result in negative patient reactions. We found that this was rare. Even among the few with a negative initial reaction, all but one patient still wanted naloxone again in the future,” explained Dr. Phillip Coffin, a co-author on the study.

Doctors are placed in a difficult position. They are required to treat patients to the best of their ability, though there is still the human element of additional thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes doctors may agree with a decision like prescribing naloxone to painkiller user in theory, but they have to weigh that decision with the potential backlash of offended patients. And while the survey shows that patients are generally not offended, the question still looms for many of them.

This hesitation is even more important when one looks at the origins of the prescription painkiller problem today. When the epidemic was still in its infancy, most doctors were not educated enough on the potential for dependency and abuse, and nobody was prepared for the levels of addiction that ensued. By the time the full ramifications were realized as a nation, it was too late.

Since then, the medical community has increased its efforts to minimize the amount of harm caused by opioids. Doctors are now being required to enroll in more addiction education classes, limits are being placed on the number of pills that are given out in hospital emergency rooms, and prescription drug monitoring programs are being used more widely.

Officials Study Pain Treatment Alternatives to Reduce Opioid Addiction

alternatives for treating painWith much of the national focus in the substance abuse treatment and prevention field being on opiate addiction of late, researchers throughout the United States have been looking for alternatives to pain medication. This has lead to examination of treatments including magnets, electricity and non-narcotic medications.

A new study shows techniques like yoga, massage or meditation are so effective at handling chronic pain, that they could be an alternative to pain medication for many. This is important because the painkiller epidemic has continued to spread throughout the country thousands of people are losing their lives each year as a result of prescription opioid addiction.

Integrating a more holistic approach to managing pain is something that has gained more popularity over the years, and lately among medical doctors as well. The healthcare profession has come under scrutiny for the over-prescribing of narcotics, and now many are taking action to help reverse the trend, including a recent plea from the U.S. Surgeon General.

According to researchers, certain holistic methods are more effective than others. The studies show that patients who suffer from back problems are likely to benefit from yoga and acupuncture. Patients who report neck pain are likely to feel pain reduction if they receive massage therapy. Chronic migraine sufferers were also studied, it was discovered that these patients saw relief from the implementation of breathing and relaxing techniques.

“We don’t believe these approaches will be the entire answer, but may be used as an adjunct to help reduce the reliance on opioid medications and associated side effects. What we wanted to get from this review is to understand evidence-based approaches for pain management,” explained Richard Nahin, lead Epidemiologist at National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

The hope is that more research will be conducted to locate more effective ways to manage pain, while still providing effective care to patients. As too many people still become addicted to prescription painkillers, it is necessary to decrease the number of pills available to addicts and provide less harmful ways of addressing their symptoms. This research, combined with an increased focus on effective drug treatment strategies, will hopefully save future generations from succumbing to the prescription painkiller temptation.