Catapres for Opiate Withdrawal

Medications for Opiate Withdrawal

Unmanaged opiate withdrawal can be a significant obstacle to receiving treatment for and recovering from opiate addiction. Opiate withdrawal refers to the symptoms and side effects that occur when someone stops using opiates. Physical dependence isn’t the same as addiction, and it should be treated separately. When someone is physically dependent on opiates, their body has become accustomed to the presence of opiates. When they stop using those opiates suddenly, their body tries to readjust. The result are withdrawal symptoms. Psychological addiction describes a chronic disease in which someone’s drug use is compulsive and out of their control. Dependence can occur with or without addiction.

To begin inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment, a person must first go through opiate detox. Once all the drugs are removed from a person’s system, that person can begin actual treatment. During a medical detox, there are certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can be provided. These medications achieve three primary goals. Detox medications can address drug cravings, alleviate physical symptoms, and help manage psychological opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxing from opiates isn’t usually deadly, but it is painful and uncomfortable. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and pains, intense drug cravings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. For long-term or heavy opiate users, these symptoms are often severe. During a medical detox, patients who are dependent on opioids can receive the medications that are right for them in a safe and comfortable environment. This is the best way to increase the chances of making it through detox successfully and to reduce the likelihood of a relapse. One medication used for opiate withdrawal is Catapres.

Catapres for Opiate Withdrawal
Catapres is a brand-name prescription medication. It is most often referred to with the generic name clonidine. Clonidine is also available under the brand name Kapvay. The FDA approves the medication for the treatment of high blood pressure, and in some cases it is used to treat ADHD symptoms. Catapres is believed to decrease heart rate and relax blood vessels, all of which allows blood to flow more efficiently and deliver oxygen to the body’s systems.

Many primary uses of Catapres are off-label. This means the FDA hasn’t approved Catapres for these uses, but doctors frequently prescribe it for reasons outside of what is FDA-approved. Some of the main off-label uses of Catapres include treating restless leg syndrome and Tourette’s syndrome and alleviating hot flashes. Prescribing Catapres for opiate withdrawal is another common off-label use.

Prescribing Catapres for opiate withdrawal is helpful in several different ways. First, unlike many other medications used for opioid withdrawal, it’s not an opioid agonist. This means Catapres doesn’t activate opiate receptors at all — unlike maintenance medications like methadone and buprenorphine, which can themselves cause physical dependence. Taking Catapres for opiate withdrawal is also believed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Catapres is thought to act on certain nerves in the brain to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety or changes in mood. Catapres can also reduce impulsivity and increase attention and focus, which can help reduce mental drug cravings.

While Catapres does have benefits for the opiate withdrawal process, it can’t help with all withdrawal symptoms. Some of the symptoms not aided by the use of Catapres include insomnia, muscle aches and physical cravings for opioids. In many cases, a person will take Catapres for opiate withdrawal in conjunction with other medications to manage symptoms holistically. After completng detox, one can then enter a treatment program.

A supervised detox program is the best way to go through opiate or opioid withdrawal. During supervised detox, a team of medical professionals can track important vitals like fluid levels and heart rate. Doctors can also prescribe the right medications to mitigate symptoms; at the same time, they can start working on any long-term medications that may be needed. Medical detox can also reduce the risk of complications and relapse.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiates, reach out to us at The Recovery Village. We can walk you through exactly what to expect in detox and treatment. We can also answer specific questions, such as how to pay for rehab, as you work toward recovery.

Catapres for Opiate Withdrawal
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