Opiate Detoxification with Buprenorphine (Subutex) or Methadone

Methadone and buprenorphine (Subutex) are used as substitution therapy to avoid withdrawals and achieve stabilisation in opiate dependence treatment. A withdrawal regimen after stabilisation with methadone or buprenorphine should be attempted only after careful consideration. Enforced reduction or detoxification is ineffective for sustained abstinence, it can precipitate withdrawal symptoms, increasing the risk of relapse and eventually overdose due to loss of tolerance. Complete detoxification from opioids usually takes between 4 and 12 weeks in a community setting.

A new buprenorphine prolonged-release injection (Buvidal) administered under the skin, either once a week or once a month, is available to our patients at our London-based treatment clinic. No need for daily or weekly pick up from chemist, nor supervised consumption.

Our detoxification treatments are designed to eliminate the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and decrease your chances of relapse.

Learn more about Buvidal injection.

Methadone or Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine and methadone are medications licenced in the UK for the treatment of opioid withdrawal and long term opioid substitution therapy. Both medications have strong evidence of positive effects.

The World Health Organization lists methadone as an essential medication given that it can be taken indefinitely and in gradually reduced doses to help curb opiate withdrawal. Since its discovery in 1965 at the Rockefeller Institute, methadone has shown evidence of alleviating cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also has the ability to boost social and emotional functionality. As such, it plays a significant role in opiate detoxification.

Buprenorphine is also listed as an essential medication according to the World Health Organization. It’s particularly relevant in opiate addiction treatment because it’s been proven safe for daily consumption as an opioid replacement for patients undergoing detoxification. This medication is a partial opioid agonist. In other words, it doesn’t fully stimulate opioid receptors, effectively lowering the chance of an opiate overdose. Due to the strong affinity for opioid receptors, when prescribed in appropriate doses, it prevents the use on top of other opioids like heroin. In a way it tends to work like naltrexone but without the unpleasant symptoms some patients experience.

Our approach to reduction and detox

Our multidisciplinary team works hand-in-hand with you to determine the best treatment option according to your specific circumstances.

  • We monitor your progress and have a flexible and practical approach to your treatment plan.

  • We do not set time limits to your opiate detox journey unless you would like us to.

  • We will advise you of what is your best option for achieving abstinence.

  • We do not discharge or exclude people for not succeeding, it is rarely the ‘end of the world’. It just means reassessing and trying again, being wiser for the experience.

Let’s discuss your opiate detoxification regimen today.

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