Some of, if not the most, popular substances to abuse today are opioids and opiates. Hence, why we’re currently in an opioid epidemic. Opioid overdose, death, and relapse rates continue to increase. As a result, doctors and medical professionals have become determined to develop a more effective form of opioid addiction treatment. In search of this new form of opioid and opiate addiction treatment came the implant for opiate addiction.
What is an Implant for Opiate Addiction?
An implant for opiate addiction is a medicated pellet or rod that’s inserted underneath the skin. Opiate addiction implants help reduce cravings for opioids and eliminate the high-inducing feeling of opioids and opiates. Thus, an implant is a great way to help treat opioid addiction and dependency.
Opiate addiction implants are for recovering opioid and opiate addicts who have already been clinically stable for approximately six months, but still need the added assistance of opioid and opiate antagonists to remain sober. An opiate addiction implant provides an ongoing release of a low dosage of either a partial opioid agonist or an opiate antagonist over the span of approximately six months.
What is a Partial Opioid Agonist?
A partial opioid agonist is a chemical that activates the opioid receptors in the body. There is a difference between partial opioid agonists and full opioid agonists like heroin, fentanyl, morphine, or oxycodone though.
The difference is that partial opioid agonists activate opioid receptors to a lesser degree. Thus, partial agonists like buprenorphine provide a safer and more controlled dosage of prescription opioids. That way partial opioids can take the place of the full agonist opioids that addicts have been abusing.
Ultimately, providing lower, controlled doses of prescription opioids helps opioid addicts slowly reduce their cravings for opioids. Lower, controlled doses of opioids through partial opioid agonists also help opioid and opiate addicts manage their withdrawal symptoms.
What is an Opioid Antagonist?
Since opioid antagonists block the effects of opioids rather than activating them, opioid antagonists don’t produce euphoric effects. If anything, opioid antagonists block the euphoric effects of opioids.
Types of Implants for an Opiate Addiction
There are different types of implants for opiate addiction. These different opioid and opiate addiction implants vary based on whether they’re partial opioid agonists or opioid antagonists. Only one type of opiate addiction implant is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) though.
Probuphine Implant for Opiate Addiction
Probuphine is a form of buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a medication that recovering opioid addicts take to help them manage their opioid withdrawal symptoms. Recovering opioid addicts also take buprenorphine to help treat their opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist.
Probuphine is the only FDA-approved implant for opioid dependence. So, it’s the most popular.
A Probuphine opiate addiction implant comes in the form of a medicated rod. Doctors insert this rod under the skin in the upper arm.
Inserting a Probuphine implant for opiate addiction is so simple that doctors can do it in one single procedure. To receive a Probuphine opiate addiction implant, you must have already been stable and sober for at least six months. You must also have already been on other forms of buprenorphine.
Naltrexone Implant for Opiate Addiction
The naltrexone addiction implant continuously releases doses of the opioid agonist naltrexone into the human body for approximately six months. This opiate addiction implant is still not FDA approved yet though. Still, thus far in Australia, the naltrexone implant has shown to be effective in treating opioid addiction.
People who take the Vivitrol injection must continuously go back and receive more Vivitrol injections to manage their addictions. Due to how often people must receive the Vivitrol injection, compliance with the medication is low. That’s why Dr. O’Neil decided to go about finding a new and effective opiate addiction implant that involves naltrexone.
Probuphine Opiate Addiction Implant vs. Naltrexone Opiate Addiction Implant
The time frame that the naltrexone implant for opiate addiction releases doses is the same as the time frame that Probuphine addiction implants releases doses for, six months. Also similar to the Probuphine implant for opioid addiction, doctors can insert the naltrexone addiction implant into a person in one single procedure.
There are some differences between the Probuphine and naltrexone opioid addiction implants though. The most obvious one being that Probuphine is a partial opioid agonist while naltrexone is an opioid antagonist.
Another difference between these two forms of opiate addiction implants is the place in the body in which doctors insert each implant. Physicians insert Probuphine into the upper arm of a recovering opioid or opiate addict. On the other hand, doctors insert the naltrexone implant into the abdomen of recovering opioid or opiate addicts.
A buprenorphine addiction implant is somewhat addictive and can lead to overdose when used while also consuming large amounts of alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other depressant drugs. This is unlike naltrexone implants which aren’t addictive and don’t lead to overdose due to being opioid antagonists.
A final and important difference between the Probuphine and naltrexone implants for opiate addiction is that Probuphine is FDA approved while the naltrexone implant for opiate addiction isn’t. This is because researchers must still do more clinical research on the naltrexone opiate addiction implant.
So individuals who want to receive an implant to help treat their opioid addictions must receive the Probuphine addiction implant. To legally receive the naltrexone implant for opiate addiction, you must go to Australia.
Pros to Using an Implant for Opiate Addiction
Overall, there are pros and cons to receiving an addiction implant. Some of the pros for receiving a legal implant for opiate addiction are described below.
One pro to receiving an opiate addiction implant is that it really does help curve opioid and opiate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. In fact, forms of buprenorphine, like probuphine, are known as the best forms of medication to help treat opioid addiction. This is because partial opioid agonists, like buprenorphine, helps recovering opioid addicts slowly wean themselves off of opioids.
Another pro to using an opiate addiction implant is that it’s convenient. You only have to receive an opiate addiction implant once. Once you do that, the implant takes care of the rest of the work for you. This is because the implant will release small doses of opioids or opiates into the human body at regular time intervals all on its own. This means no more worrying about taking a pill everyday.
It’s Not Accessible for People That Don’t Need It
There is no way to acquire an opioid/opiate implant without needing one. This is unlike many prescription opioid addiction medications that come in pill form.
You can’t acquire an opiate/opioid addiction implant without needing one because a doctor must run multiple tests and perform a surgilogical like procedure on you prior to giving you one. Without a green light from a doctor, you can’t receive an opiate implant. This is especially true since implants are within a person’s body. This is unlike prescription pill medications for addiction that people can easily steal or acquire under false pretenses.
Cons to Using an Implant for Opiate Addiction
Just like there are pros to using an implant for opiate addiction, there are also cons for using opiate addiction implants. Some of these cons include:
It Can Be Somewhat Addictive
Since buprenorphine and all of its forms are partial agonists, they’re somewhat addictive. Due to its slow onset, mild effects, and long duration, most people don’t develop addictions to buprenorphine though, especially when in the form of an opiate addiction implant.
It Can Lead to Deadly Interactions
Although this is a rare occurrence as well, if a person contains a Probuphine implant for opiate addiction while also consuming large amounts of alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers or other slow breathing drugs, it can lead to overdose or death. This is because forms of buprenorphine such as Probuphine are partial opioid agonists. Thus, using an opioid addiction implant while taking large portions of other slow breathing drugs is still equivalent to mixing substances.
Florida Center for Recovery Will Treat Your Addiction in a Way That Best Suits You and Your Needs
At Florida Center for Recovery, we know how important it is to provide treatment options for highly addictive substances like opioids. That’s why we offer a wide variety of specialized and individualized treatment programs.
We even offer different forms of substance abuse treatment. For example, we offer scientific and holistic substance abuse treatment methods that treat the patient’s mind, body, and soul. In other words, we treat the “whole” patient.
We even utilize various forms of addiction therapy to treat our patients. To learn more about the different forms of addiction treatment and therapy that we use to help treat alcohol and drug addicts here at Florida Center for Recovery, contact us today!
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.