Can I Get an Implant for Opiate Addiction?

Can I Get an Implant for Opiate Addiction?

In 2018,  there were 67,367 fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. Nearly 70 percent of the fatalities involved opiates. But, advances in the fight against addiction may provide you with an implant for opiate addiction. 

If you struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), you know the lure of prescription opiates and heroin. Opiates reduce pain and have effects similar to morphine. Examples of prescription opiates include Vicodin. Percocet and OxyContin. 

Even though opiates can make you feel good, they also can be the biggest struggle of your life. Opiates and other drugs destroy relationships and careers. And even with all the personal devastation it causes, opioids can be challenging to stop using. An implant for drug addiction may be the answer to Recovery for Life. 

How Did the Opioid Epidemic Start?

Opioid Epidemic

The opioid crisis in America has devastating effects on families. In 2019 there were 130 opioid-related deaths every day. Prescription opioids hit the market in the 1990s. And doctors started prescribing them without knowledge of their effects. 

Soon after, many Americans were struggling with opioid use disorder. The struggle is still a real problem today with people addicted to heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids. For instance, in 2017, opioids contributed to 1.7 million people struggling with addiction. 

Is There an Implant for Addiction?

Although medications such as Naltrexone treat opiate addiction, they require you to take medicine every day. This can be difficult for many people struggling with substance use disorder. 

But, in 2016, the FDA approved a subdermal implant for opiate addiction. Probuphine is metal rods implanted under the upper arm’s skin that delivers low dose buprenorphine over six months. 

Most recently, the FDA approved trials of a brain implant for drug addiction. Using Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a battery-powered chip emits electrical impulses to fight drug cravings. But, just how safe and effective is an implant for opiate addiction?

What is a Naltrexone Implant for Opiate Addiction?

Probuphine is the first FDA approved implant for opiate addiction. This temporary implant for addiction eases the worries of losing your medication, having it stolen, and forgetting to take it. 

Can I Get an Implant for Opiate Addiction?

However, this implant for drug addiction is not for those new to recovery. The Naltrexone implant for opiate addiction is for those who are clinically stable on low-to-moderate doses in a medication-assisted program (MAT). 

The implant for opiate addiction is four small rods inserted under the skin of the arm. Each rod is about the size of a matchstick and releases medication at a steady rate. A significant benefit of this implant for drug addiction is it lasts up to six months. 

The implant for opiate addiction can be prescribed twice, once in each arm. After the second round of the implant for addiction, the pre-implant doses of Naltrexone can resume.

Insertion and Removal of Naltrexone Implant for Opiate Addiction

Because Probuphine is an implant for addiction, it has to be inserted under the skin via a minor surgical procedure. Trained professionals do the procedure in a sterile environment. 

Providers, including medical staff and healthcare personnel, attend live training on insertion and removal of the implant for addiction. The FDA utilizes a step-by-step guide for the procedure. After inserting the implant for drug addiction, it’s crucial to follow all doctor directions to prevent infection.

Side Effects of Naltrexone Implant for Drug Addiction

The Naltrexone implant for drug addiction is typically well-tolerated. However, some side effects have been reported.

Common side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Implant site pain or itching
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Tooth pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression

Uncommon but serious side effects include:

  • Opioid withdrawal
  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Liver injury
  • Low blood pressure

Cost of the Naltrexone Implant for Drug Addiction

The four rods of the implant for drug addiction contain 74.2 mg of medication. Each one of the four rods costs almost $1500. As a result, the typically 6-month course of the Naltrexone implant for drug addiction costs about $6000.

Deep Brain Stimulation: Implant for Opiate Addiction

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) involves implanting electrodes in the brain. These electrodes provide continuous electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain. This stimulation allows for the altering of brain activity. 

Could an implant for opiate addiction be the answer to fighting addiction?

DBS is very successful in treating many disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, OCD, and chronic pain. It can change the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a huge factor in addiction. As a result, DBS can curb opiate cravings encouraging Recovery for Life. 

Pros of a Brain Implant for Drug Addiction

  • With an implant for drug addiction, there is no worry about daily pills or injections. You can’t forget to take it. Nor is there a risk of having your medication stolen or lost. 
  • Because of the constant release, an implant for addiction is effective in managing withdrawal symptoms. It also lowers the risk of recurrence of use. 
  • The use of Probuphine lowers the chance of selling your meds on the street. 
  • An implant for addiction lowers the risk of children or pets getting into your medication.
  • The implant removes the daily choice between taking buprenorphine or using opiates. 
  • This implant could be an excellent option for people in prison.

Cons of a Brain Implant for Drug Addiction

  • As with most medications and procedures, the implant for addiction includes health risks. These risks can include damage to nerves or blood vessels and, specifically, an embolism.
  • Medical and addiction professionals show concern that using an implant for addiction will neglect therapy and check-ups. Although they have a 6-month “cure” for addiction in their arm, therapy is still vital to recovery.
  • Medical professionals must be specialty training to insert the implant for addiction. However, if the trained doctor prefers a surgeon to do the implant, both doctor and surgeon must be present. Will insurance cover both professionals? On top of that, the procedure must be done twice – once for insertion and once for removal.

First U.S. Trials of Brain Implants for Drug Addiction

The first U.S. trial of the brain implant for drug addiction began in November 2019. Gerod Buckhalter, 33, has struggled with addiction for over a decade. With multiple overdoses and recurrences of use, he was ready for the chance of Recovery for Life. 

In short, DBS starts with a series of brain scans. Then surgeons make a small hole in the skull. They insert a 1 mm electrode in the area of the brain that regulates self-control and addiction. After, the patient is monitored for two years. 

Although this is the first brain implant for drug addiction, DBS is used for multiple conditions. In fact, over 180,000 people have brain implants. 

Does an Implant for Opiate Addiction Work?

Published human experiences with the implant for addiction is limited to promising case studies that weren’t controlled. But, most animal studies have shown promising results. Most animal studies typically focus on brain stimulation during active addiction. For this reason, more data is needed on the effects of withdrawal symptoms in humans.

The Opioid Crisis in Missouri: The Need for an Implant for Addiction

Deaths from opioid overdoses are steadily increasing in Missouri. The devastating misuse of opiates places a huge burden on families, communities, and healthcare systems. In 2018, 1 in 56 deaths in Missouri were due to an opioid overdose. That means 1,132 people died in 2018, which is up from 951 deaths in 2017. 

So, when will people struggling with opioid addiction have access to the implant for addiction? It may still be years before the implant for opioid addiction is available for treatment. It is still in the trial phase here in the U.S. 

In addition, the cost of DBS to insert the implant for addiction can cost up to $100,000. The high-tech nature of an implant for opiate addiction is a disadvantage. But, for many who have tried everything to beat their addiction, it can be worth it. 

Comprehensive Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction

The implant for opiate addiction can help maintain Recovery for Life. However, it isn’t a cure and should be used with a comprehensive treatment program. A combination of comprehensive treatment and an implant for opiate addiction offers a greater chance of beating your addiction.

Treatment programs at Sana Lake include:

  • Medical detox
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Transitional housing

What many people don’t realize is addiction is also a mental health disorder. For this reason, individual and group therapies can be beneficial. Therapies help change your behaviors and attitude surrounding addiction, which increases the chances of Recovery for Life. 

Therapies offered at Sana Lake include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Get the Help You Deserve at Sana Lake Recovery

If you or a loved one struggles with substance use disorder, we can help you overcome the physical and mental issues of addiction. You may feel like you deserve to struggle with addiction, but we believe you deserve to enjoy a life free from addiction and full of happiness. Contact us to find out more. 

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2016/05/fda-approves-six-month-implant-for-treatment-of-opioid-dependence

https://health.mo.gov/data/opioids/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30064320/

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.