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A New Implant Could Help Opioid Addicts

Of all the different forms of addiction, opioids – heroin in particular – are famous for being bad news. Whether you went looking for the euphoria of an opioid high or whether you simply took too many prescription painkillers over too short a time, opioid addictions are easy to start and often very, very difficult to stop.

Fortunately, there’s help for opioid addicts in the form of mild opioid medications which can step down a recovering addict so that he or she won’t have to go through the painful and often dangerous withdrawal period.

Unfortunately, these medications are currently limited to methadone, which has to be administered daily in a specially licensed clinic, and buprenorphine, which is a daily pill that patients can at least take in the comfort of their own homes. But in the first case, not every recovering addict wants to be seen visiting a methadone clinic, and in the second case it’s often too easy to take a break from the medication.

However, an FDA committee has recently approved a new buprenorphine delivery system called Probuphine. Instead of being a daily pill, Probuphine is an implant which releases a small but steady supply of buprenorphine over the course of six months. This means the recovering opioid addict will remain free of opioid cravings for half a year, and as a bonus Probuphine is less likely to end up on the black market both because of the need for a painful extraction and because the implant carries much less buprenorphine than a six-month supply of pills.

Still, not everyone’s path to clean living is the same, which is why it’s also good news that more delivery systems are coming down the FDA’s pipeline. They include a buprenorphine shot which lasts for a full month, which is a good medium option between the daily pills and the six-month implant.

Sadly, recovering addicts may still have trouble getting their health plan to cover their medication-assisted treatments. Even though insurers have to cover addiction recovery treatments by law, many are still reluctant to pay for medications which they mistakenly think “feeds the habit” instead of allowing the recovering addict to safely ignore it.

But on the plus side, the USA Rx pharmacy discount card covers virtually all medications, including those used to treat opioid addiction. You can sign up online for free with just a name and an email address, and once you have your card you can present it in any of over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide to get a discount of up to 75 percent on prescription drugs. You can find out more by calling our number at 888-277-3911 or by emailing us at [email protected]

Published January 26th, 2016 by Stephanie Clegg
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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