Savers Medical Group Prescribes Supportive Medication to Ease Cravings

There are three main FDA-approved medications which are used in combination with psychosocial treatment for a Substance Use Disorder: buprenorphine (Suboxone), naltrexone (Vivitrol), and lorazepam (Ativan). Ideally, the prescribing doctor will prescribe the medication best suited to the individual’s needs. Because OUD is a chronic condition, some clients may need to continue use of the medication indefinitely.

Some clients need to switch from one medication to another in the course of treatment. This could happen for a number of reasons, such as illness, progress, or an adverse reaction to the medication the individual is taking. There should be regular assessments of whether continued use of the prescribed medication is indicated.

Using Pharmacotherapy to Treat Substance Use Disorders

Our clients who are in recovery from opioid use disorder have typically come to us for a medically supervised opioid detoxification and we utilize a  long-term treatment to prevent relapse.

Long-term treatment  includes psychotherapy, a variety of therapeutic processes and activities, and can include supportive medications (ie buprenorphine).

Evidence Based Intervention into Opiate Use Disorder

Medication Assisted Treatment is a treatment strategy that combines counseling and therapy with psychiatric medications to help opiate-addicted (including heroin) clients recover and maintain healthy lives. Studies have shown that Medication Assisted Treatment greatly increases a recovering person’s chance to recover completely from opioid addiction.

Many studies have shown that the best greatest chance for ongoing recovery from opioid dependency comes from combining medication and psycho-social-behavioral therapies in a holistic approach to treatment. Combining therapy and medication together in personalized treatment regimen helps meet the individual’s specific needs and produces better outcomes than either medication or therapy-based treatment alone.

Psychosocial Issues: Therapeutic Interventions

Psychosocial treatment begins by assessing the person’s specific needs. This assessment is done by a team of medical providers prior to MAT intake. Some specific needs that will be assessed and, if necessary addressed include

• Behavior patterns
• Substance abuse history
• Other psychiatric disorders
• Support networks such as family and friends

Psychosocial treatment can include

• Individual and/or group therapy
• Family therapy
• Inpatient treatment
• Intensive outpatient treatment
• Referral to community services
• 12-step programs
• Peer support

While an individual may not need every resource available, each client’s treatment plan should be tailored to the specific needs of the client and monitored to ensure that the treatment is updated according to the progress made by the client.

Some programs are tailored to a specific demographic. For instance, young people almost certainly need family therapy and peer support while adults may need housing and educational support to successfully transition back into the workforce.

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      Addiction only gets worse as time goes by. That’s why you should contact us now if you suspect that you or a loved one has a problem. Savers Addiction Medical Group is a leading provider of prevention, education, and outpatient treatment services for alcoholism, addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders. We can help you or a loved one recover and help your family heal, right now.


      Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, which means it expels existing opioids from the opioid receptors in the brain and blocks other opioids from attaching, but it only partially binds to the opioid receptors. Buprenorphine is administered orally and via injections, with the most popular brand names being Suboxone, Subutex, and Sublocade.

      Buprenorphine prevents withdrawal for up to 72 hours. Though it does have a limited euphoric effect, it does not have the full effect of an opiate such as heroin or painkillers like OxyContin and fentanyl. Also, there’s a ceiling on the euphoric effect so that, even with increased dosage it will not produce a stronger euphoric effect. While there is some risk of buprenorphine abuse, it is limited to those who don’t already have OUD.

      Buprenorphine is available in a wider variety of settings than Methadone, including
      • Doctor’s offices
      • Community hospitals
      • Health departments
      • Rehab programs
      • Correctional facilities

      A qualified physician must undergo special training in order to prescribe buprenorphine.

      If you’re taking other medications or have another health condition you must talk to your prescribing doctor before taking buprenorphine. You must avoid use of alcohol or sedatives while taking buprenorphine as this could cause an overdose. Always talk to your doctor before taking another medication while you are on buprenorphine.

      Pregnancy: There hasn’t been enough research available to safely rule out risks for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you’re on buprenorphine maintenance you should speak to your doctor if you become pregnant.

      Buprenorphine is available as a pill, a film placed in the cheek or under the tongue, as an injection or as an implant. It is frequently combined with naloxone to block the euphoric effect and decrease the risk of misuse. FDA-approved brands include

      • Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
      • Cassipa (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
      • Probuphine implant
      • Sublocade extended-release injection
      • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
      • Subutex (buprenorphine and naloxone) film or tablet
      • Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone) tablets


      Naltrexone, commonly prescribed under the brand name Vivitrol, is an antagonist, which means it fully blocks the opioid receptors and produces no euphoric effect. Because of this, it’s mainly used as a relapse-prevention drug and cannot prevent withdrawal symptoms. Clients must be opioid-free for at least 7-10 days before taking Naltrexone. Naltrexone is used for alcohol dependence as well as OUD.

      You must seek medical detox before beginning Naltrexone treatment if you’ve taken an opioid drug within the past 7-10 days.

      If a client relapses while taking Naltrexone, it blocks the euphoric feeling completely. However, Naltrexone can lower tolerance so there’s an increased danger of overdosing from taking another drug while on Naltrexone. Clients must avoid taking opioids, drinking alcohol or using sedatives or tranquilizers while on this medication.

      Naltrexone side effects can include:
      • Vomiting or nausea
      • Diarrhea
      • Headaches
      • Nervousness or insomnia
      • Joint or muscular ache

      If you experience any of the above side effects while taking Naltrexone you should consult your doctor. Dosage may need to be adjusted or you may need to switch to another medication. Do not stop taking Naltrexone without consulting your healthcare provider.

      Naltrexone may also cause
      • Injection site reactions
      • Liver injury
      • Allergic pneumonia
      If you have signs or symptoms of the above, consult your medical provider immediately.

      Naltrexone is available as an intramuscular injection or by mouth. While the use of Naltrexone is limited to relapse prevention and not as an aid to withdrawal, it can be prescribed by any doctor who can prescribe medications, which makes it widely accessible.

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      MAT Gives SUD Patients the Best Chance to Recover and Go Forward with Healthy Lives

      The opioid epidemic is growing steadily nationwide and along with growing numbers of people suffering from OUD, opioid overdoses are claiming more lives every day. We have a national emergency. Because of this, government health officials are working hard to ensure that MAT services are widely accessible in all regions.

      Savers Addiction Medical Group is Here to Help

      Our caring practice is in the heart of Orange County, California.  We have created a state-of-the-art environment dedicated to addressing opiate use disorder. Contact us today at 714-760-4043 to speak with one of  our caring intake counselors. We are happy to give a confidential assessment of your situation and discuss what options you have for pursuing treatment.