Opioid Detox: The Importance of Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

The first step in recovery for a person with opioid use disorder is to stop taking opioids. The process is known as detoxification when the opioids leave the body. This may sound easy to an outsider, but the withdrawal symptoms associated with detox may be too much to bear. The fear of these symptoms often cause patients to avoid treatment and continue opioid use.1

Withdrawal Symptoms Explained
Withdrawal symptoms may show up within 12 hours after a person takes their last dose of the drug. The onset of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the type of drug and the duration of use. Opioid withdrawal isn’t typically life-threatening, but it can cause severe physical discomfort and psychological distress. The most common signs of opioid withdrawal include:2

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach and muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • High blood pressure

Treatment During Detox
Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, and many people try to manage these symptoms on their own. Medically supervised detox is recommended. Treatment in a controlled inpatient or outpatient environment can make patients more comfortable and helps to offer a greater chance of success. Mild withdrawal can be treated with acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen with additional comfort medications to help with diarrhea and nausea. More intense withdrawal symptoms may require hospitalization and specialized medications. One medication used primarily in the inpatient setting is clonidine – reported to reduce withdrawal symptoms by 50-75%.3

Migration to At-home Detox
With insurance costs rising, site-of-care preferences are shifting. At-home detox is becoming more common due to lower costs. While it is less expensive, physicians are not able to address a patient’s medical needs as quickly when a patient is at home. The patient may have to travel to a medical facility to receive medications during detox or rely on milder options that can be prescribed and taken at home. If a patient experiences severe withdrawal at home without supervision, they are more likely to relapse into drug use.4

A Revolutionary Way to Manage Withdrawal
Speranza Therapeutics S.T. Genesis is an FDA-cleared, drug-free medical device that manages the physical and emotional challenges of opioid withdrawal during detox through neurostimulation. After applying the noninvasive device to the outer ear, the patient experiences rapid relief from opioid withdrawal. Studies have shown a patient’s withdrawal symptoms are reduced by 93% within the first hour with significant signs of relief in the first 20 minutes. The device is worn for 5 days of uninterrupted treatment during the most critical time of detox.  – With shifting detox trends, S.T. Genesis can be used at –home providing needed relief from withdrawal symptoms without supervision once applied by any healthcare professional. The device offers a new treatment solution to transition patients through detox in any setting.


Sources:

1. Weiss RD, Potter JS, Griffin ML, et al. Reasons for opioid use among patients with dependence on prescription opioids: the role of chronic pain. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014;47(2):140-145. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2014.03.004

2. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/opioid-withdrawal-symptoms#1

3. https://www.healthline.com/health/opiate-withdrawal#opioid-effects

Sources:</p4. https://pcssnow.org/resource/detoxification-from-opioids/