New York, NY – I have a solo addiction medicine practice in New York City specializing only in the treatment of alcohol and drug addictions. I am not associated with any pharmaceutical companies or institutions. My medical practice is not exclusively a Suboxone practice. I of course do prescribe Suboxone for the treatment of addiction to opioids.
I feel that the recent New York Times article highlighted important information about the negative aspects of Suboxone. While some of the positive benefits of this drug were mentioned, I feel that it was heavily slanted toward the negative. I think that a narrative about success stories might be helpful to someone who might be looking for treatment.
For a more positive outlook, I will speak from my own personal experience in private practice for the past two years. The opioid addicted patients that I treat come to me way before they have “hit bottom and lost everything”. These are people with functioning homes, jobs, and families, as well as students who are ambitious for their futures. Oxycodone is the usual drug of choice, and is frequently used, in part, to deal with professional stressors. People come to me when they realize that things are just starting to get bad.
Health, business relationships, and personal relationships are some of the first things to be affected with addiction. Suboxone therapy improves physical and emotional health. Opioid withdrawal symptoms in between and on escalating doses of oxycodone are gone. Emotional irritability from withdrawal, and from the drug itself, is gone. Patients typically describe their use of oxycodone as initially allowing them to be more productive at work. Oxycodone with coffee in the morning is described as energizing, giving one’s mood a lift, reducing anxiety, and providing a buffer against pressure. Eventually this effect is lost. Suboxone provides these psychiatric benefits without causing intoxication. Patients are able to stay on a steady dose of medication, with no need for escalation. In fact, the effective dose of Suboxone can eventually be reduced from the initial starting dose after a period of time. The other interesting thing I have seen is some patients appear to have an opioid responsive depression. These are patients with a history of depressive disorders, diagnosed in the past before their addiction started. They have a history of poor response, or no response, to previous appropriate doses and trials of antidepressant medications, along with psychotherapy. With Suboxone therapy, they describe their depression as being adequately treated for the first time.
I consistently see patients progress and excel professionally when their addiction is stabilized with Suboxone. In short, I see people getting promoted at work and making more money. Grades improve at school, along with the opportunities that come with having that higher grade point average. I consistently see marriages and relationships improve after patients start treatment with Suboxone. Being around a spouse who now feels well and who is happy obviously makes for an improved relationship.
Addiction can be defined as dysfunction affecting multiple areas of one’s life. “Recovery” can be defined as a reversal of these dysfunctions. Suboxone therapy, which is used legitimately by many patients, allows this to happen.
Stuart Kloda, MD www.stuartklodamd.com