A Look at Emerging Technologies in Opiate Addiction Treatment

Effective treatment for opiate addiction requires more than just a cessation of the drugs’ intake.

However, as insidious as OxyContin (and other opioids like heroin) have become, we need to take advantage of every scientific and medical development we possibly can to give men and women the best chance at recovery.

Enter Vivitrol shots and Probuphine (Suboxone) implants.

As an improvement over the tried and true (and outdated) methadone maintenance program, Vivitrol and Suboxone allow for the curbing of cravings and even (in Vivitrol’s case) prevent the euphoria of taking opiates like OxyContin.

Obviously, the main downfall to such medications are that since they have traditionally been prescribed as tablets that are taken daily, for someone to miss a dose (accidentally or otherwise) opens up the risk for a relapse on an opioid that could be life threatening.

The Vivitrol shot has already been approved and allows for a monthly shot to be administered to the recovering individual.  The shot will gradually release a steady stream of Vivitrol (brand name for active ingredient naltrexone) to release into his/her system.  Vivitrol reduces cravings and actually blocks the person from feeling “high” if they drink alcohol or take an opioid drug like OxyContin.

In 2011, the manufacturers of a Suboxone implant, or Probuphine, hope to have the new method of administration approved by the FDA.  This technological advancement would allow a doctor to implant a small implant into the body of the recovering addict that would gradually release buprenorphine into the persons system. Buprenorphine (active ingredient in Suboxone, Subutex and Sublocade) reduces cravings.