Embeda is a prescription, brand-name medication used for the treatment of severe, ongoing pain. Embeda is a combination drug. The active ingredient that provides pain relief is morphine, which is an opioid. Embeda also contains naltrexone. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It’s included in this drug formulation to reduce the risk of misuse. The naltrexone in Embeda isn’t absorbed by the individual unless they try to misuse Embeda by crushing or breaking the capsules. People who are addicted to opioids or who want to get high from them will often crush or break extended-release drugs to get the full effects of it all at once. Since Embeda is an extended-release version of morphine, without the inclusion of naltrexone, the risk of misuse and medical diversion is high. If someone does physically disrupt the capsule in any way before they use it, the naltrexone will be active. Naltrexone can then block the euphoric effects of the morphine and can cause opioid-dependent people to experience sudden withdrawal symptoms.
Despite the protection put in place by the inclusion of the sequestered naltrexone, there is still a misuse potential with this drug. Before someone is prescribed Embeda, their doctor should go over their history of substance misuse and look at potential risk factors that could make them more likely to become addicted to the drug. When someone uses an opioid drug like morphine, it can trigger a reward and reinforcement response that creates a powerful addiction.
Embeda comes with a black box warning about the risks of misuse and addiction, but there is also a black box warning about the risks of combining it with certain substances. Alcohol is one such substance. If someone mixes alcohol and Embeda, side effects can be mild and uncomfortable, such as lack of coordination, memory impairment and severe drowsiness. Also possible are side effects like confusion, lack of judgment and nausea or vomiting. Unfortunately, there are much more severe side effects that can occur with an interaction between alcohol and Embeda.
Embeda’s manufacturers warn individuals of the risk of what’s described as serious, life-threatening or deadly respiratory depression that can occur with Embeda. This risk is amplified when the drug is mixed with any other central nervous system depressant. Embeda is a CNS depressant, and alcohol is as well. When two CNS depressants are taken together, the slowdown of the respiratory system can become so profound that a person suffers brain damage, goes into a coma or dies. Alcohol also affects how Embeda is metabolized, and it can increase the concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream of the patient. All of these risks are more likely when someone misuses Embeda by crushing or breaking the capsule and releasing all of the morphine into their system at one time.
Mixing alcohol and Embeda can cause severe intoxication, poor judgment and fatal respiratory depression. If someone is regularly combining alcohol and another substance like Embeda or any prescription or illegal drug, they could have a polysubstance misuse problem. If someone is dependent on both alcohol and Embeda or any other drug, they may go through withdrawal symptoms that are more severe than they would be otherwise. For someone who does feel they have a problem with mixing alcohol and Embeda or any other drug, it’s important to seek treatment.
To learn more about treatment for addictions to multiple substances, contact The Recovery Village. Our addiction and treatment specialists can answer any questions you may have, and help you determine the best next step.
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