The Urgent Need For Rapid Detox Safety
New CDC Report Reveals Lack of Regulation as Cause for Increased Danger to Patients
Rapid Detox Safety; BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Oct. 3, 2013 –/PRNewswire/ — In response to recent news, including a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report noting severe adverse effects associated with rapid detox programs in New York, Waismann Method® Medical Director Dr. Michael Lowenstein is calling for the creation of universal standards of care for all rapid detoxification treatments to minimize potential risks to patients.
“Unfortunately, rapid detox has become a catch-all term that encompasses a range of unregulated treatments for opiate dependency. Thus, often leaving patients uneducated about important safety precautions that are vital to their health,” said Dr. Lowenstein. “It’s frightening how many practitioners are not following proper safety protocols and performing rapid detox procedures under sedation or anesthesia as an outpatient, leading to increased emergency hospital admissions and deaths. Medical professionals must perform rapid detox in an ICU setting, under the strict supervision of trained medical doctors with appropriate post-treatment monitoring. When done correctly, rapid detox is safe and effective. The key is educating patients on what to look for, and restricting practitioners from cutting corners.”
According to Dr. Lowenstein, the key factors that impact the safety of rapid detox procedures include:
- Medical Screening – All rapid detox patients should undergo a detailed evaluation, including analysis of medical history and a physical examination, laboratory testing, EKG, chest x-ray, and urine toxicology screening. Some patients may require additional cardiac testing. Admission to the hospital at least one day before a rapid detox procedure affords the necessary time to conduct proper medical screening, hydration and pre-medication.
- ICU Setting – Rapid opiate detoxification under sedation can significantly affect the heart, lungs, nervous system, and fluid balance in the body. Therefore, treatment must take place in an intensive care unit. Additionally, medical staff should monitor patients in a hospital or inpatient setting for approximately a day post-procedure. Hence, staff can appropriately treat patients for changes that may arise as a result of the procedure.
- Anesthesia –General anesthesia is unnecessary for rapid detox, and procedures that place people under for four to eight hours or more can pose great risks to patients. Waismann Method® achieves rapid detoxification using moderate sedation, avoiding general anesthesia and its associated risks.
- Dosage – The procedures under scrutiny in New York used very large doses of Naloxone and Naltrexone to reverse opiate dependence. Waismann Method® utilizes significantly lower doses to safely and effectively rid the body of opiates.
- Post-Procedure Care – Patients who are sent home or to hotel rooms to recover are at much higher risk for serious injury, dehydration, pulmonary/cardiac events, and even death, because they don’t have qualified medical professionals to evaluate and treat potential medical emergencies.
Waismann Method’s Safety Protocol
Waismann Method®, which pioneered the procedure in 1999, has established a rigorous safety protocol for the treatment of opiate detoxification under sedation. The protocol does not resemble other rapid detox programs performed in New York or other parts of the country that utilize general anesthesia and/or perform the procedure on an outpatient basis through clinics or surgery centers.
“Over the course of 15 years we’ve performed more than 3,000 rapid detox procedures with the Waismann Method®, and we’ve refined the process to maximize the safety and efficacy,” said Dr. Lowenstein. “It’s alarming that patients are being placed in harm’s way because other treatment programs are cutting corners to reduce the cost of the procedure at the expense of patient safety. Patients must be knowledgeable to ensure they are receiving the highest level of medical attention. It’s time that experts and leaders in the medical community create a specific standard of care for rapid detox, removing the risks associated with unregulated facilities.”
In order to ensure the highest level of safety, medical staff perform all Waismann Method® rapid detox treatments in the ICU of an accredited hospital. In addition, patients undergo extensive medical evaluation prior to treatment. Waismann Method® rapid detox treatment under sedation involves careful administration of medications to reverse the physiological dependence on opiates while the symptoms of withdrawal are addressed.