Opiates are among the most addictive substances in the U.S. Many people are being prescribed painkillers, whether for acute pain or chronic pain and end up having addiction by the time they are done with their prescription. The main drug found in most prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet, is an opioid called Oxycodone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46 people die from overdoses involving prescription opioids every day. In 2017, prescription opioids continued to contribute to the epidemic in the U.S. – they were involved in more than 35% of all opioid overdose deaths.
Is it Safe to Be On Suboxone While Pregnant?
During pregnancy, everything a woman puts into her body can affect the developing fetus in her womb by the placenta. This includes over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and illegal drugs. Because the fetus is so sensitive during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women stay as drug-free as possible. However, this may be impossible for some women who need prescription medications to function properly in their daily lives. Women taking Suboxone when they get pregnant are generally advised not to stop taking it. Since this medication is a partial opioid agonist, stopping use could result in acute opioid withdrawal, presenting dangers to an unborn baby, such as fetal distress, preterm labor, miscarriage, and having NAS when born. Neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NAS) is a syndrome that occurs when pregnant women use opioids, and their babies become dependent upon them. Symptoms of NAS include tremors, excessive crying, issues falling asleep, high-pitched crying, tight muscle tone, hyperactive reflexes, seizures, stuffy nose, sneezing, poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, sweating, and fever. Because of the potential dangers of withdrawal, it is best to continue to take the medication in most cases. It might also be prescribed as a type of replacement drug for pregnant women struggling with an opioid use disorder when they become pregnant.
Getting Off Opioids Safely While Pregnant
The ultimate decision on whether or not a pregnant woman should stop taking opioids such as Suboxone is handled on a case-by-case basis by medical doctors. Sometimes, clinicians may decide it’s best to stay the course and wait to get off opioids until after the pregnancy because the shock of even low-level withdrawal can be more detrimental to the fetus than continuing to take a management dose each day. There are many ways an addict can detox from opioids, such as therapy, group support groups, natural herbs, cold turkey, and many more. Still, the one medication that has proven to be the best at safely getting addicts off opiates with little to no withdrawal symptoms is Suboxone. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NIH):
Suboxone is the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone used to treat opioid dependence (addiction to opioid drugs, including heroin and narcotic painkillers). Buprenorphine is in a class of medications called opioid partial agonist-antagonists, and naloxone is in a class of medications called opioid antagonists. Buprenorphine alone and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone work to prevent withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking opioid drugs by producing similar effects to these drugs.
Safer Alternatives to Opioids for Chronic Pain During Pregnancy
Methadone is an alternative to Suboxone for pregnant women. However, the same study determined that it was safer for pregnant women to take Suboxone than methadone. Methadone is also classified as a Category C drug during pregnancy. It can be more difficult to obtain methadone since doctors cannot prescribe it the same way as Suboxone. Instead, women have to receive their daily dosage at a federally regulated facility. This can be inconvenient, especially as a woman gets further into her pregnancy. The one exception would be for chronic and heavy opioid users before pregnancy. Methadone is considered the better option in this instance for many women. Ultimately, you will need to talk to your doctor about what is best for your situation.
Evoke Wellness at Cohasset Offers Safe Opioid Detox
At Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, we can help. Our programs use Medicated Assisted Treatments (MATs) to detox patients from opiates. And if need be, we administer MATs to help patients maintain long-term recovery. Sometimes, additional help is required, but these prescription drugs give every addict a chance for permanent recovery. Get help today!