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Chemical Dependency

What are opioids?
Opioids also called narcotics, such as Morphine, Codeine and Vicodin are commonly used prescription medications for pain. There are opioids for other uses as well such as Dextromethorphan used as cough syrup and Loperamide used for treating diarrhea. Other opioids, such as Heroin are only available as drugs of abuse.

What is addiction?
Addiction means prolonged and repetitive use of a harmful substance. It is usually associated with tolerance (need for more substance to produce a similar effect) and with withdrawal (unpleasant side effects when the use of the substance is interrupted). Narcotic addiction is common. Narcotic abuse is often a result of legitimate prolonged use of the medication for a valid medical indication such as pain. Addiction to narcotics is a socially and medically dangerous disease and should be treated.

What are the treatment options for addiction?
Buprenorphine (Sobutex) is one of the medications used for the treatment of addiction to opioids. It is taken sublingually and is effective in over 90% of the persons treated for 1 year. Methadone is another medication used for the treatment of addiction. The risks of overdose and intoxication with Sobutex are lower than the risks of overdosing or intoxication with Methadone.

Most common reasons for consideration of Buprenorphine over Methadone are:

  • Relapse after detoxification with Methadone
  • Sobutex has a mild withdrawal syndrome
  • Because of lower toxicity than Methadone, Sobutex can be used in people at risk for methadone toxicity, such as those with breathing problems
  • Sobutex is indicated for prescription opioid users