Implant Addiction Treatment

Introduction – Implant Addiction

The implant is a small, solid rod containing medications for therapy of drug addiction, especially the opioids. The implant is placed under the skin of the upper arm (most commonly) by a doctor in a simple outpatient procedure. This implant elutes a controlled dose of the medication slowly over months and helps in treating the addiction.

This therapy is basically utilized in addiction of opiates like heroin or prescription medicines containing codeine, oxy-codeine and others. An opioid addiction is one of the difficult addictions to overcome. As the cravings that individuals feels in this addiction are impossible to ignore, and withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant. The only way to treat this addiction is an opiate detoxification followed by rehabilitation. Heroin addiction is typically difficult to treat as it is taken intravenously. The medical professionals have found various ways to solve this problem.The novel method to treat it is implants fitted in the body. Three drugs have been found effective. These are naltrexone, buprenorphine and methadone.


Naltrexone is very effective in opiate addiction treatment because of the following:

  1. It is an opiate antagonist
  2. It reduces opiate cravings
  3. Physiological addiction is treated.
  4. Opioid receptor damage is repaired
  5. Future relapses ofopiates provide no high

The currently available implant lasts for about six months. Longer lasting implants are under development.


This drug is under research for implant therapy. Buprenorphine also prevents withdrawal symptoms from opiates, limits cravings and blocks the physiological effects of opioids. This implant also lasts for six months.

Potential benefits of using these drugs in the form of an implant include:

  1. The drug is released at a controlled rate, so there is no risk of overdose.
  2. The drug elution is reliable and safe.
  3. The patient should not worry about taking a medication every day or missing it.
  4. No worry about the medication being lost, stolen or sold which is common in addicts.
  5. If the patient goes to jail or rehab for a while during the time the implant is working, he or she does not experience an interruption in medication or goes into withdrawal.
  6. Side effects of oral treatment are avoided.
  7. Procedure of implanting and removal are outpatient procedures and are very convenient.
  8. Supervision of the treatment is usually not needed.
  9. Better compliance for therapy. It is better than the oral therapy in a situation where the patient gets irritated and stops taking the pills suddenly. This can cause serious consequences afterward.

Problems with implants as an Addiction treatment:

  1. The individual side effects of the drug can occur even with the implants.
  2. Some patients suffer from irritation, infection or other complications with the local implant site like any surgical implant.
  3. One of the biggest problems with the implants is the lack of their effectivenessin some of the patients.
  4. Sometimes, the implant needs to be supplemented by oral therapy when the cravings or withdrawal symptoms get worse.
  5. A surgical procedure needs more motivation than oral therapy.
  6. There are bad relapses when the patient continues to take the opioid in between in irregular fashion. This behavior can cause nasty withdrawal symptoms.

The patients who receive this treatment also need counseling for de-addiction throughout the six month treatment period. It is an essential part of treatment. Lifestyle modifications and complete rehabilitation program require to be strictly followed by hard work even after the treatment. There is no magic pill or implant that can just make the patient free of addiction.

- Link of interest: Addiction Treatment News on Twitter

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


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