Frequently Asked Questions
What about Methadone?
Methadone is the drug first used in MAT for opiate use disorder, and it comes with serious side effects. Because of those dangers, it has to be given one dose at a time under a doctor's supervision, which results in opiate use disorder clients having to go to a methadone clinic every single day to get the methadone. In addition, Methadone is a drug of abuse, because clients can actually get high from methadone, making the dangers of the drug even more profound. In short, daily methadone use keeps the cravings alive rather than treating them.
What about Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is far superior to methadone. Once the dose is titrated by our skilled clinicians, the client doesn't get high on it, and taken as directed, clients will not overdose on it. Because Buprenorphine is so safe, you can take home more doses than Methadone, giving our clients more time to enjoy their new lives, and not waiting in line at a Methadone clinic every day.
How does Buprenorphine work?
Buprenorphine the generic name for the drug found in preparations such as Suboxone, Bunavail, Zubsolv or Subutex, is in the opiate family, but it was engineered to do unique things to fight opiate use disorders. Those unique characteristics mean that clients on buprenorphine don't get high on it, and they do not get a tolerance either. Buprenorphine works by tricking the opiate receptors in the brain to think the opiates of abuse are in the client's system. Once at the optimum dosage of buprenorphine clients don't experience any withdrawal or cravings. It allows them to be themselves again, and return to a useful & happy existence.
Buprenorphine acts like a guard at the opiate receptor gates, protecting the brain against other opioids. In other words, if there is a therapeutic dose of buprenorphine in the client's system and if the client uses opiate pills or heroin, they don't get high. This aspect of the medication can stop the relapse cycle in its tracks. This also allows buprenorphine clients to get right back on the path of recovery again without a protracted relapse.
Our goal in buprenorphine therapy is to use the medication to abate the symptoms of opiate use disorder, thereby giving our clients the ability to make necessary life changes, getting back to the life they desire. Once stabilized, when the client becomes ready, we can very slowly taper the buprenorphine over weeks, even months, to a lower dose or off the drug completely. We always use a plan that is congruent with the goals and desires of the client.
Am I just replacing one addiction with another?
No. As mentioned earlier, you won't get high on buprenorphine even though it is technically in the opiate family. Think of it in this way – Buprenorphine, taken as directed can put the underlying opiate addiction in a remission of sorts, so you don't have to worry about it. When clients stop the buprenorphine abruptly without a slow taper, as the buprenorphine gradually leaves the opiate receptors, the underlying opiate use disorder becomes active again. Mild withdrawal symptoms are the first manifestation, not because they are addicted to buprenorphine, but because they still have the underlying opiate use disorder. By sticking to the prescribed regimen and working with our care team, clients when ready, are able to gradually taper down and eventually be off all opioids, including buprenorphine.