Dr. De Simone is one of only 108 doctors in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area licensed to prescribe Suboxone, used in treating opiate addiction. Although not yet FDA approved, recent studies have also shown that Suboxone can be used in some cases for chronic pain management.
Opioid dependence – physical addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin – affects many people in the U.S. Unfortunately, many people who struggle with opioid dependence may be reluctant to ask for help because of the stigma attached to the notion of “drug dependence”.
Opioid dependence is a complex health condition with many elements that are caused or made worse by continued opioid use. Key elements include social, psychological and biological components. Opioid dependence can occur as the brain adapts to the regular use of opiods over time. People who are opioid dependent may continue using opioids despite experiencing harmful consequences. They may also continue because the side effects of simply stopping are unbearable.
Opioid dependence is a chronic disease that can affect anyone. It could be a friend, a co-worker, a spouse, a brother, a sister or parent.
If you or someone you know may be dependent on opioids, you are not alone. In 2013, there were nearly 2.4 million reports of people that had abused or were dependent on opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers.
Opioids can be prescription painkillers such as Oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl – better known by the brand names as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and Actiq. The street drug heroin is also an opioid.
Alternatively, Suboxone may be a great option for those requiring pain management who have reached plateaus in their current pain medication or the side effects outweigh the benefits.
When you first start Suboxone, you must do so in the care of your doctor. You will be given a prescription for a test dose of Suboxone and you will be required to return to the office where the test dose will be administered under Dr. DeSimone’s careful supervision. You will need to be opiate free for 12 hours prior for this. You will then be monitored for one hour. This is because the drug may cause you to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Any withdrawal symptoms usually dissipate after one hour as the drug starts to work.
Patients who use this program to treat opiate addiction will be monitored very closely and may expect to be tested randomly for illegal or “street drugs” and to ensure that the drug is not being misused. There are very strict guidelines for taking Suboxone and you are expected to understand them and adhere to them in order to stay in the program. Addiction counseling is one of the requirements. Most insurance companies cover the cost of these visits.