If Want To Taper Off Medication-Assisted Treatment, What Should I Ask My Doctor?

Conquering addiction often proves to be a challenging process. Substance abuse counselors and medical professionals know that every individual might benefit from a different strategy. One such method is a process known as medication-assisted treatment.

Our facility, which serves adults with alcohol and substance dependencies, invites those considering this form of therapy or other interested parties to read this short overview of medication-assisted treatment, in addition to questions such subjects might ask their doctors should they wish to gradually stop using prescribed drugs for therapeutic purposes.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

This form of addiction treatment is a multi-pronged approach involving a combination of behavioral therapy, counseling, and the use of specific medications geared towards gradually weaning the addict off the offending substance, while also providing said individual mental, emotional and spiritual guidance.

Research has concluded that medication-assisted treatment has proven successful in numerous instances. Industry professionals and proponents of the approach maintain that this form of therapy:

  • Decreases relapse possibility
  • Increases the patient’s chances of survival and an eventual full recovery
  • Enhance the recovering addict’s chances of landing meaningful employment and becoming a productive member of society
  • Improve birth outcomes in pregnant program participants

Above all, researchers have found that participants are also more likely to complete full treatment programs.

The Type Of Medications Employed

Typically, medication-assisted treatment is usually employed to help those possessing opioid and alcohol addictions. Several drugs have been given approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which is commonly abbreviated as the FDA, for this purpose. Substances prescribed to help addicts gradually eliminate opioids from their systems, include:

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

Regarding alcohol treatment, disulfiram and acamprosate have proven effective.

Average Durations Recovering Addicts Remain On These Medications

It is difficult to pinpoint how long one must remain on these drugs. Several factors play into usage durations. However, in carefully managed and monitored circumstances, healing subjects could ingest the substances for weeks, months, years, or potentially the remainder of their lives.

The Desire To Gradually Cease Medication Intake

While usage of these medications may prove beneficial, certain recovering individuals might eventually display the desire to not rely on chemicals to maintain their sobriety. Said subjects spent significant durations relying on chemicals and often yearn to live a life free of such dependencies. That said, those subscribing to medication-assisted treatment are strongly cautioned to never cease taking prescribed medications without a physician’s approval.

Questions To Ask A Medical Provider

Healing subjects seeking to end drug therapy piecemeal are encouraged to ask the healthcare professionals overseeing their therapy questions, such as:

Will Any Side Effects Occur?

Quickly ceasing a drug could elicit side effects. In certain cases, these issues could be painful and debilitating.

Can Withdrawal Symptoms Take Place?

Medication-assisted treatment typically involves the administration of one powerful substance to help ameliorate the impact of no longer ingesting the other. That said, gradual cessation of these drugs might precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

At What Pace Should The Drug Be Stopped?

In most instances, stopping cold turkey proves hazardous. Therefore, carefully creating a moderate cessation plan could help the healing subject avoid any possible complications.

Is There A Heightened Possibility For Relapse?

Ceasing ingestion of the medication might yield drug cravings, which might potentially precipitate relapse.

Factors Influencing The Decision To End Medication Treatment

Once again, it is important to reiterate that those undergoing this therapy should never, under any circumstances, abruptly stop taking prescribed medications. The decision to taper off said chemicals at a cautious rate must be made by a monitoring healthcare provider.

Moreover, said medical professional will likely also consider several factors before giving the okay, including the patients:

  • Age
  • General health. If the recovering addict possesses any significant health problems, drug cessation could present potentially dangerous complications.
  • The type of drug being administered. Each drug used during assisted medication treatment has its own chemical makeup and potency.
  • The current dosage of the therapeutic drug being administered
  • The severity of the recovering addict’s addiction to the illicit substance
  • How far into treatment the recovering addict is
  • The healing individual’s current mental state

Again, every individual case presents its own set of challenges and medical professionals might weigh other factors before rendering a decision most befitting their patient’s needs and wishes.

Contacting Us

For more information about medication-assisted therapy or any other inquiry about addiction treatment, please contact us at 833-762-3739. Our Indiana-based facility primarily serves individuals from the Northeastern United States. However, we have helped recovering addicts from across the nation conquer drug and alcohol dependency.