OxyContin can be a godsend for people who are experiencing severe, lasting pain. This prescription medication, however, can be highly addicting if misused in any way. There are a number of outpatient treatment programs that vary in their approach to treating opiate dependence.
Methadone, a synthetic opioid, has been used for more than 30 years as a treatment for opioid withdrawal and dependence. It's usually doled out in an approved clinic and is meant to be taken orally once a day. It reduces cravings without producing euphoria. This medication is sometimes taken over a period of years but may not be the best option for people who want to quickly become totally free of opiates. Proponents of methadone maintenance therapy say it helps to get patients off more powerful opiates such as heroin and OxyContin, and eliminates the destructive behavior that goes along with such addictions. This can include abuse, addiction, overdose, crime and disease transmission among IV drug users. Opponents say that methadone can be habit forming and keeps people chained to their opiate dependency.
Buprenorphine, marketed under names including Suboxone, Subutex and Buprenex, can be used for pain management but is most often prescribed to treat opiate addiction. It works similar to methadone but is available by prescription, so it can be taken home. Buprenorphine blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin and OxyContin. It blocks the "high" associated with these drugs and staves off withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Buprenorphine is a long-acting opioid that can cause severe respiratory depression when combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. Abuse of buprenorphine is a serious problem and can lead to addiction, overdose or death. Though buprenorphine is often used to treat opiate addiction, it too has the potential to lead to dependence. This can happen among recreational users as well as those on long-term therapy.
Suboxone is an opioid used in the management of opioid dependence and withdrawal. It is made up of buprenorphine hydrochloride, which reduces the symptoms of opiate dependence, and naloxone, which guards against misuse. It is prescribed as a take-home dose, making it more susceptible to illegal diversion. The narcotic painkiller in Suboxone can be habit-forming and is often targeted by those who misuse or abuse street drugs or prescription painkillers. The sublingual tablets, which should be placed under the tongue, can be abused in different ways and lead to problems including dependency, withdrawal and overdose. Many outpatient OxyContin detox programs use Suboxone to help patients get off more potent drugs. The drawback, however, is that Suboxone therapy can be long term and some patients would rather get off opiates altogether.
As part of other outpatient treatment programs, patients may have to submit to drug tests, attend therapy or involve themselves in a 12-step program that stresses abstinence and group meetings. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help patients to reformulate their thoughts and beliefs about issues such as addiction, depression and pain. A comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to OxyContin dependence may give patients the best chances at recovery. Inpatient OxyContin treatment is another option. Many patients do better in a supportive inpatient environment and options include opiate rehab and rapid opiate detoxification.