Opioid treatment with medication assistance has been proven to be a safe and effective method for helping people with an opioid use disorder to stop using opioids like heroin. There are several steps that patients go through when they choose to undergo opioid treatment with medication assistance, and we will look at these steps next so you know what to expect.
As with any treatment program, it's always best to sit down with a qualified medical professional to discuss your options before making a commitment. Currently, in the United States, there are three drugs that have been approved by the FDA for opioid treatment with medication assistance.
Therefore, prior to starting treatment, you have to make an appointment, during which you will learn the benefits and drawbacks of medication and the possible outcomes of your treatment. You will also receive a physical exam, and some urine, blood, and hair samples may be required.
This simply refers to the first three days of your treatment. But before the induction, you will be asked to stop using opioids while at home or in an inpatient facility. At this stage, it's very important to be forthcoming about your opioid use and other drugs you may be taking. By the time your induction begins, you will be in a moderate state of withdrawal, but you will start to feel the effects after getting your first dose of opioid treatment with medication assistance.
During the stabilization phase, you will continue collaborating with your treatment provider to find a dose that works for you. If you experience any triggers or cravings, you should will communicate quickly with your provider, and they will make the necessary adjustment. The stabilization stage is also the perfect time to work on forming your treatment goals and achieving those.
After you have made some progress, your treatment provider may find it necessary to decrease your dose, and they may recommend counseling or other supplementary programs.
In the maintenance phase, your treatment provider will keep monitoring your progress. The great news is there's no cutoff time for the treatment to end. Research has even shown that patients that stick with the treatment for up to two years have a greater chance of success. When the time is right for you, your treatment provider will gradually decrease to minimize withdrawal symptoms.