What should be my expectations for treatment?

Our program at Brightside is broken up into 4 stages for the medical treatment.

Intake

During the intake phase, you will be given a comprehensive substance dependence assessment, as well as an evaluation of mental status, a physical exam, and potentially a urine sample for medication compliance testing. You will also be presented the pros and cons of the buprenorphine medication, such as Suboxone or Suboxone equivalent. We will discuss the treatment expectations as well as issues involved with maintenance versus medically supervised withdrawal.

Induction

During induction, you will be switched from your current opioid (heroin, methadone or prescription painkillers) on to a buprenorphine medication. At the time of induction, you will be asked to provide a urine sample for medication compliance testing to confirm the presence of opioids and possibly other drugs. You must arrive for the first visit experiencing mild to moderate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Arrangements will be made for you to receive your first dose at the Brightside clinic. Your response to the initial dose will be monitored. You may receive additional medication, if necessary, to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Since an individual’s tolerance and reactions to buprenorphine medication vary, daily appointments may be scheduled and medications will be adjusted until you no longer experience withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Urine drug screening is typically required for all patients at every visit during this phase.

Intake and Induction may both occur at the first visit, depending on your needs and your doctor’s evaluation.

Stabilization

Once the appropriate dose of buprenorphine medication is established, you will stay at this dose until steady blood levels are achieved. You and your doctor will discuss your treatment options from this point forward.

Maintenance

Treatment compliance and progress will be monitored. Participation in some form of behavioral counseling is strongly recommended to ensure best chance of treatment success. You are likely to have scheduled appointments on a weekly basis, however, if treatment progress is good and goals are met, monthly visits will eventually be considered sufficient. The Maintenance phase can last from weeks to years—the length of treatment will be determined by you and your doctor, and, possibly, your counselor. Your length of treatment may vary depending on your individual needs.

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