Almost Three-Quarters of Patient Respondents Say They Could Not Stop Taking New “Miracle” Drug Without Assistance
The Waismann Method, a world-renowned opiate dependency treatment, released findings of its 30-Second Buprenorphine Dependency Survey, which showed that almost three-quarters (70 percent) of respondents taking Buprenorphine in order to cease their narcotic dependency found themselves dependent on the drug and needing assistance to stop taking it. The survey was conducted in response to recent reports touting Buprenorphine as an effective treatment for dependency to prescription painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin. Dr. Michael H. Lowenstein, MD, medical director for the Waismann Method and board certified by the American Society of Addiction Specialists to dispense Buprenorphine as a treatment for opiate dependency, says he has seen a recent increase in patients seeking treatment for Buprenorphine, a drug that was originally prescribed to help them.
“Buprenorphine is being sold as a miracle cure that will put an end to opiate dependency, and it has been embraced as a social cure for reducing crime and preventing the spread of disease,” said Lowenstein. “Although it doesn’t carry the negative stigma associated with visiting a methadone clinic, the Waismann Method survey shows the people who take Buprenorphine run the risk of developing a physical dependency. Patients need to be educated that it’s a replacement therapy which is half opiate in composition.”
Results from the survey also indicated that 53 percent of those dependent on the drug were told by their doctors that Buprenorphine would cure their opiate dependency. In addition, 50 percent of respondents were never told they could develop a physical dependency.
doctors are required to become certified to dispense Buprenorphine for opiate dependency treatment but may not educate their patients on the potential for dependency. As a result, many patients are given false hope that their physical dependency on opiates will end.
“When OxyContin first came out, it was marketed to patients as a treatment for pain that would replace their Vicodin dependencies, but it was only a matter of time before they became physically hooked on OxyContin itself. Likewise, patients taking Buprenorphine may at first believe they will be free from their dependency, but ultimately will realize it is simply another opiate replacement,&rdquo
Buprenorphine, currently sold under the brand names Suboxone ® and Subutex ®, is a painkiller composed of 50 percent opiate, which has been used to treat dependency in Europe for years and is now becoming more widely prescribed in the U.S. Since Buprenorphine can be prescribed in pill form in the privacy of a doctor’s office, patients don’t feel the same stigma attached to standing in line at a methadone clinic. Board certified doctors and medical practitioners who undergo an eight-hour training class are permitted to prescribe the drug for opiate dependency, but are limited by the federal government to treat only a total of 30 patients at a time.