Fight Against Opiod Addiction has Another Weapon
> 1/27/2006 2:07:22 PM

This past Monday, USA Today ran an article entitled, "New drug treats the new face of addiction." Detailing the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of opiod addiction,in the form of painkillers, the article is slightly deceptive in thatneither painkiller addiction nor buprenorphine is terribly new. 

In fact, buprenorphine has been on the scene since the early 90s.  This 1992 studyfrom the Journal of the American Medical Association detailed the earlyevidence of buprenorphine's efficacy in treating opiod dependence incomparison to methadone, which was introduced in the U.S. in 1947. Likewise, morphine, a powerful painkiller has been a source ofaddiction since the 19th century. 

It was not until recentlythough that buprenorphine has become commercially available.  In theform of Subutex and Suboxone, buprenorphine can be prescribed by adoctor, which prevents addicts from needing to go to a methadone clinicfor treatment. 

Continued research has proven buprenorphine's use.  One 2005study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that buprenorphine was effective in treating adolescents. Another from the same year, published in the American Journal ofPsychiatry, confirmed again that for particularly difficult cases methadone still proves the more effective treatment.

Asthe USA Today article makes clear through anecdote, buprenorphineprovides another option for the treatment of opiod addiction.  If youor someone that you know may be a candidate for treatment utilizingbuprenorphine, talk to your doctor. 

As the article makes clear, the rewards for those that qualify for treatment using buprenorphine can be great:
"Thereare just not that many things you do that so dramatically changepeoples' lives," says Yale's Sullivan, who has treated David Alexanderand Nick Carrano. "They recoup their lives, their families, their jobs,their self-esteem."

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