One method of addiction/chemical dependency treatment is called methadone maintenance. Methadone is a synthetic opioid with a long duration of action, powerful effects and low cost. It is used in managing chronic pain because of its long duration of action and low cost. It is also used to treat opioid dependence due to its long duration of effectiveness. Because of its long duration of action, patients addicted to or dependent on substances such as heroin, morphine and other opioids can be on methadone and maintained (or stabilized) on it in order to prevent acute opioid withdrawal. Like other opioids, patients become dependent and may become addicted to methadone, and when a patient misses a dose they will experience withdrawal. If the decision is made to discontinue methadone maintenance, the individual will go through acute opioid withdrawals. Methadone withdrawal symptoms may be twice as severe as those of morphine or heroin at equivalent doses. Methadone withdrawal is significantly more prolonged lasting for several weeks or longer. Stopping or decreasing a dosage could precipitate what has been called “the worst withdrawal imaginable” that may last from weeks to months.
An individual on methadone maintenance wishing to become opioid free is faced with a true dilemma. Gradually decreasing or weaning methadone at high doses may take 12-24 months in order for the individual to not experience significant withdrawal symptoms. Anesthesia Assisted Rapid Opioid Detoxification can safely and effectively detoxify an individual off of methadone without the agony and misery of this prolonged and especially uncomfortable withdrawal.
Another option for treating individuals with opioid addiction and dependence is the use of buprenorphine. Subutex (buprenorphine), Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and the Butrans patch, all contain buprenorphine, which is an opioid agonist and antagonist used to treat acute and chronic pain as well as opioid addiction and dependence. An individual is transitioned or “induced” off of the opioid-based substance that they are dependent upon and put on Suboxone most commonly. They are maintained on this while undergoing counseling and attending 12-step meetings with the usual goal of ultimately being taken off of buprenorphine. Because buprenorphine acts like an opioid and binds to opioid receptors as well as having a long duration of action, individuals can expect to go through acute opioid withdrawal when coming off of this medication. It is becoming evident that individuals can become addicted and dependent to buprenorphine. Anesthesia Assisted Rapid Opioid Detoxification can safely and effectively detoxify individuals off of buprenorphine and Suboxone. It is reported in the medical literature that the intensity of the opioid withdrawal symptoms are not as severe when one is going through them due to a buprenorphine dependence; however, it is also becoming more evident that it is quite difficult, if not impossible, for some individuals wishing to be weaned off of Suboxone to do so without going through the agony and misery consistent with acute opioid withdrawal due to other opioids. A safe and effective method of detoxifying an individual off of the substance is Anesthesia Assisted Rapid Opioid Detoxification (AAROD).