When seeking treatment for opioid abuse or dependence, access to a treatment clinic can be difficult due to busy schedules, distance, and lack of availability in one’s area. Those who have endured addiction know the misery of withdrawal. Many even fear withdrawal itself more than the cravings that come before it.
Doctors are increasingly embracing telemedicine, a technology that harnesses telecommunications advances to deliver medical care. Read to learn more about the suboxone options via telemedicine.
Suboxone is a brand name for buprenorphine and naloxone; you can use it as a tablet or film strips under the tongue. It treats opioid dependence, and doctors can prescribe it via telemedicine.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that helps reduce withdrawal symptoms in patients who are addicted to opioids. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of other opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers like oxycodone and morphine. When combined with buprenorphine, naloxone helps prevent misuse of Suboxone by making it less attractive as a street drug.
What’s Telemedicine Addiction Treatment?
Telemedicine is the practice of providing healthcare remotely via telecommunications technology. Telemedicine can deliver various services, including medical consultation, diagnosis, treatment, education, and counseling.
Telemedicine addiction treatment is a program that allows patients to receive addiction treatment services from a licensed physician with whom they do not have an existing relationship. It allows the doctor to see the patient’s medical history, test results, and other data on their computer screen. Patients connect with their physicians through video conferencing, email, skype, or phone calls.
Telemedicine addiction treatment has many benefits over traditional face-to-face therapy sessions:
- It’s convenient for patients who live far away from where they would normally receive treatment (such as those who live in rural areas).
- It allows patients unable to travel due to health reasons or other factors (such as pregnancy) to access therapy services without leaving home.
- It allows patients who may not have insurance coverage for traditional treatment options an affordable option for receiving care.
- It encourages privacy. Many patients are uncomfortable discussing their addiction with doctors in their local communities. Telemedicine allows you to connect with your patient where they feel most comfortable, so they can feel safe while getting help.
Telemedicine addiction treatment allows patients to learn about their addictions and develop strategies for overcoming them while still going about their daily lives.
Can Suboxone Be Prescribed Via Telemedicine?
Doctors can prescribe Suboxone via telemedicine. To register as an authorized prescriber under a state’s telemedicine program, a doctor must complete Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration( SAMHSA) training. The doctors must understand the possible side effects and risks associated with using it.
Suboxone is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it has a high potential for abuse but can be prescribed by a doctor if they deem it necessary.
Also, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the DEA allowed practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine through medicine without evaluating the patient.
Difference: Buprenorphine and Suboxone?
Buprenorphine and Suboxone are both opioid medications treating opioid addiction. They are also known as “substitute opioids” because they can help people with addiction to stop using heroin or other prescription painkillers.
The main difference between buprenorphine and Suboxone is that Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that helps prevent medication misuse by making it harder to inject or snort. Naloxone prevents misuse of Suboxone by people who want to get high from it because naloxone blocks the effects of opioids at higher doses than buprenorphine does.
Difference Between Medication-Assisted Treatment and Buprenorphine
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a treatment for opioid addiction that uses medications to help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, is one of these medications. It’s not a cure for opioid addiction; you’ll still need to attend therapy sessions and get support from your loved ones, but it can help you stay on track with your recovery plan.
The main difference between MAT and buprenorphine is that MAT involves more than just taking medication; it also includes behavioral therapy, which helps patients learn how to identify triggers and cope with cravings without substance abuse.
Telemedicine offers an opportunity to reduce the burden of addiction medicine and costs. It also improves access to a treatment that is life-altering, particularly in situations where getting to an opioid clinic becomes prohibitively difficult. Implementing a telemedicine program is worth considering, not only because it can help curb the epidemic of heroin addiction in our communities but because it can save lives and alleviate some of the stress off healthcare providers.