Explanation of Opioid Treatment
This explanation of Opioid Addiction Treatment is intended to provide a general framework for opioid addiction treatment. Ultimately, all medical decisions pertaining to a patient’s course of opioid addiction treatment will be at the Ideal Option, PLLC practitioner’s sole discretion and, by signing below, you acknowledge and agree that your course of opioid addiction treatment may vary from the explanation below.
Intake: You will be given a comprehensive substance dependence assessment, as well as an evaluation of mental status and physical exam. The pros and cons of the treatment medications recommended will be presented to you. Treatment expectations, as well as issues involved with maintenance and medically supervised tapering off the medication will be discussed.
Induction: Treatment begins here. You will be switched from your current opioid of misuse (heroin, methadone or prescription painkillers) to your treatment medication. Your provider will explain the induction process to you.
Sometimes the induction will be performed in our office and sometimes it will be performed at home. Either way, you must be in a state of moderate withdrawal for the medication to work well. If you are not in moderate withdrawal, the medication might actually make you feel worse rather than better (intensifying withdrawal symptom). This is called precipitated withdrawal.
It is really important to be truthful with your practitioner about the last time you used an opioid, which opioid it was, how much you took, and which other drugs or medications you used, when you last used them and how much you took. Your doctor needs this information to determine the timing of your dose of treatment medication.
If the induction is performed in the office, you must have someone who can drive you home from the office. It is not safe for you to drive after the induction. An induction office visit may take anywhere from 2-3 hours.
When you leave the office, the practitioner will likely give you a prescription that will last until your next appointment.
Since an individual’s tolerance and reactions to the medicine vary, daily appointments may be scheduled, and medications will be adjusted until you no longer experience withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Urine drug testing is typically required for all patients at every visit.
Stabilization & Maintenance: This is the second phase of treatment. During this phase, your practitioner may continue to adjust your dose of medication until you find the dose that works for you. It is important to take your medicine as directed. During this phase is when you may also begin working on your treatment goals. As times when you feel stressed, or experience triggers or cravings, your practitioner may suggest as dose adjustment, or there may be a need to change the frequency of visits.
Occasionally, as you achieve your treatment goals and feel confident about your progress, you practitioner may suggest a dose decrease. The maintenance phase is different for every patient. It may last a few weeks for some patients and a few years for others. The most important parts of this phase are your functionality and safety. Examples of good functionality are active employment, active school, lack of legal trouble, caring for your family, stable finances and just a general improvement in your life circumstances.
Tapering: There are no time limits for treatment with this medicine. Length of therapy is determined by you and your practitioner. If you and your practitioner agree that the time is right for a medical taper, he or she will slowly lower your dose (known as a taper), taking care to minimize withdrawal symptoms. If you feel at risk for relapse during a taper, let your practitioner know. You can be re-stabilized and continue maintenance if needed.
Please note: The treatment medicine prescribed may be a narcotic medication indicated for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence, available only by prescription and must be taken under a practitioner care as prescribed. It is illegal to sell or give away your medicine.
If at any time you have questions or concerns about your treatment, please call 877-522-1275. We have an on-call line that will connect you to a nurse 24 hours a day.