#12: Using Opioids to Treat an Opiate/Opioid Addiction

June 14, 2019 Archived Blog Posts

Affinity is defined as a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something.  Buprenorphine is a drug that has a high affinity for the human brains opioid receptors.  In fact it has a higher affinity (stronger binding ability) than other opioids and thus it will “knock off” other opioids and occupy a receptor (the mu receptor) thus blocking other opioids from binding to it.  

Buprenorphine is called a partial agonist.  Remember my blog on agonist vs. antagonist.   Heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone are examples of full agonists.  Although Buprenorphine is an opioid and can produce typical opioid effects (euphoria) and side effects (respiratory distress), used in the correct dosages it will produce a sufficient agonist effect to enable opioid addicted individuals to cease the misuse of opioids without the severe withdrawal symptoms.  Essentially you are using a semi-synthetic opioid to treat an opiate/opioid addiction.  As an opioid people got creative and began to abuse it.  It is for this reason Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) was developed.  The addition of naloxone was only to discourage misuse of buprenorphine. As I have discussed in the past naloxone has very little effect when taken sublingually, however can precipitate a withdrawal syndrome when injected.   

Studies show taking the medication alone is not sufficient for ceasing opioid abuse.  Treatments that include repairing family and social relationships, finding positive social support networks, obtaining employment and engaging in new forms of recreation and other activities that contribute to a healthy , active, balanced life style are all important components for recovery.   Recidivism rates are high in addicts and many times takes several attempts to get clean prior to success.  There is always hope. 

Our job as a lab is to assist you as the provider to ensure your patient stays on the correct path.  We partner with you in your treatment of your patient.  Making sure the patient is taking the prescribed meds and is not including illicit or unprescribed medication in their drug regimen by performing quantitative testing is essential in the treatment of an addict or a pain patient.  We appreciate your trust in us and are always here to assist you in any way we are able to.

On another point, many of the providers we do testing for have multiple talents.  Steve Montgomery, MD an addiction specialist who uses our lab, has written a children’s book called “The Longest Storytime”.  Those of you familiar with “Goodnight Moon” will appreciate his book.  Dr. Montgomery is a very talented and caring individual who treats a lot of addiction patients with success.  Anyone with little children, grandchildren or knows someone with children can order this at https://www.authorhouse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/320543-The-Longest-Storytime.

“Never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart”.  We thank you for allowing us to be your toxicology lab.  See you in two weeks.

Lance Benedict
President/CEO Industry Lab Diagnostic Partners