Savella (Milnacipran) Addiction and Abuse
Savella is a medication that is classified as a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). The medication is most commonly used to treat depression and several other mental health conditions.
Despite its ability to treat depression, Savella has not been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to be used in this way. The medication, however, has been approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Savella was first approved in 1995 in France for treating depression. In addition to France, Savella is also used in Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal and Russia. It is important to note that Savella has been approved for use in the treatment of fibromyalgia, which made the medication one of a few approved substances used for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that involves chronic pain.
No matter the condition that Savella is used to treat, it is important to understand some of the important details about how the medication is used, including the risk of misuse.
Milnacipran is most often taken orally. The medication can be used with or without food. The medication is often prescribed in 50 mg or 100 mg doses to be taken once or twice a day.
While many people take milnacipran without experiencing any complications, some people do experience side effects after taking the medication. Some of the side effects that are most commonly reported from milnacipran include:
- Bloody bowel movements
- Dry mouth
- Excessive fevers
- Hot flashes
- Sexual functioning issues
- Sleep issues
- Weight changes
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Savella is not addictive in the way that other medications, including alcohol and cocaine, are because people do not crave the medication. There is still a risk, however, that a person might become dependent on Savella. Several different groups of people are at high risk of facing addiction issues involving the medication. For example, people who experience adverse complications when attempting to discontinue the medication sometimes continue taking the medication. Another group that is at higher risk of overusing Savella are people who have addiction issues with other medications.
It can be difficult to determine whether a person is addicted to an antidepressant. Some of the most common signs that a person is overusing Savella include:
- Impaired coordination
- Irregular heartbeat
- Uncontrollable shaking
Aftercare plans should be part of any recovery process. Without a sufficient aftercare plan, there are many risks including economic challenges and family issues that can cause a person to pick up old habits again. A skilled medical professional should help a person identify issues that might impact their lives in such a way. Relapse rates, however, decrease significantly after the first year, which means that it is very critical for a person to implement an aftercare plan during this time. The goals of aftercare should include staying off the medication, identifying ways to prevent relapse and achieving meaningful goals in a person’s life.
The exact aftercare program that a person selects depends on a variety of factors including that person’s needs, symptoms and status after completing a rehabilitation program. Some examples of rehabilitation programs include the following:
- Sober Residencies. These options are often a wise idea for people whose home living situations might cause them to begin using milnacipran again. Some examples of these residencies include recovery housing, residential re-entry centers, social models and therapeutic communities.
- Outpatient Treatment. This category includes programs that let a person return to their home each day. This option is pursued by people who do not require the intensive nature of inpatient facilities. Some examples of these programs include intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs and group therapy.
- Support Centers. These centers provide help to people who need continuing support and encouragement to remain off the medication. Some examples of support groups include 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous; non-religious 12-step groups, which offer non-spiritual approaches for providing encouragement in staying off the medication; peer recovery support networks, which offer case management and peer support for staying off of a medication; and adolescent programs, which provide specialized help for teenagers and young adults.
The best way to determine what your aftercare plan includes is to speak with a knowledgeable physician who can determine what paths should be taken to avoid continued use of the medication.