Opiate Replacement Therapy
Substitute medication, can be an important element in the treatment of individuals who are dependent on opioids such as heroin.
ICADS offers comprehensive medical assessments to diagnose dependence. Treatment options will then be discussed with service users. The type and length of treatment will depend on a number factors and will take into account the individual’s goals which may be to reduce drug use, achieve stability and stop using illicit drugs or to detox altogether.
Methadone/Physeptone and Buprenorphine/Subutex are both approved for the treatment and prevention of withdrawals from opioids:
- Methadone or Physeptone mixture is a synthetic opiate which is prescribed as a substitute drug in the treatment of heroin dependence. Methadone, can prevent or reduce the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Some people remain on methadone for long periods. However, others gradually reduce the dose and come off drugs altogether.
- buprenorphine or Subutex is an opioid-receptor partial agonist (it has opioid agonist and antagonist properties). buprenorphine is preferred by some patients because it is less sedating than methadone; for this reason it may be more suitable for employed patients or those undertaking other skilled tasks such as driving. Some people remain on buprenorphine for long periods. However, others gradually reduce the dose and come off drugs altogether.
A decision about which treatment will be most effective is made on an individual basis, in consultation with the service user and taking into account the benefits and risks of each treatment for that particular person. Substitute medication is commenced with a short period of stabilisation, followed by either a withdrawal/detox regime or by maintenance treatment aimed at supporting people to achieve and maintain stability.
ICADS will offer opiate replacement therapy at either the Camden Specialist or Community Drug Service depending on service users’ needs. We also work across a number of Camden GP surgeries offering prescribing and drug counselling.
In addition, ICADS offers specialist prescribing support to individuals who have become dependent on other sedative or pain medication such as benzodiazepines, pregabalin, gabapentin, tramadol and other over the counter medications.