expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. James Laurent Gagne, MD

Pain Management Specialist

Dr. James Laurent Gagne MD is a top Addiction Medicine Specialist in Glendale, . With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Dr. James Laurent Gagne MD is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the field, Dr. James Laurent Gagne MD is a prime example of a true leader in healthcare. As a leader and expert in their field, Dr. James Laurent Gagne MD is passionate about enhancing patient quality of life. They embody the values of communication, safety, and trust when dealing directly with patients. In Glendale, CA, Dr. James Laurent Gagne MD is a true asset to their field and dedicated to the profession of medicine.
46 years Experience
Dr. James Laurent Gagne, MD
  • Glendale, CA
  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Accepting new patients

Why is suboxone recommended for drug addiction?

Suboxone has some real pluses and minuses. Let's start with the minuses: if you're an opiate addict, you basically have to take it forever, at least several years. Shorter courses READ MORE
Suboxone has some real pluses and minuses. Let's start with the minuses: if you're an opiate addict, you basically have to take it forever, at least several years. Shorter courses usually lead to relapse. Many addicts get tired of being sober and go on and off Suboxone, keeping it around so when they run out of their preferred opiate, they can prevent withdrawal. Suboxone has value on the street, so some addicts who are close to the streets wind up selling it and buying dope.

The benefits are clear. If you take Suboxone as directed (usually 8-24 mg/day), the success rate of maintaining sobriety rises from 5% with abstinence (not taking any medication at all) to over 50%. It dramatically lowers the risk of death from overdose. Many people who simply stop opiates without medication go through months of "post-acute withdrawal" they feel exhausted, depressed, unable to enjoy anything, and crave drugs intensely. Suboxone almost always prevents all these symptoms. It's pretty good at treating depression. Family members are often thrilled to find their son/daughter/spouse/sibling is back to their old, pre-addiction self. Used properly, the outcome is amazing. There are some minor exceptions, but basically Suboxone is incredibly safe and won't hurt your liver, kidneys, or other organs.

But the biggest problem with Suboxone is toxic ideology. You=E2=80=99ll run into hundreds of people who consider Suboxone =E2=80=9Cjust another drug. You can do it without taking anything.=E2=80=9D That=E2=80=99s like saying you don=E2=80=99t ever need to use seatbelts in your car, which is a terrible idea. Many doctors won=E2=80=99t prescribe Suboxone because they don=E2=80=99t want to treat =E2=80=A6 ADDICTS! It=E2=80=99s frequently hard to find physicians who will prescribe it, and many of the prescribing MDs run mills where you=E2=80=99re in and out in five minutes and pay $100 just for the prescription.=20

The scientific evidence supporting Suboxone is overwhelming. Taken as directed, it promotes sobriety and saves lives. But you=E2=80=99ve got to overcome all the naysayers.


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How can I convince my son to stop taking drugs?

Finding that your young adult child is using drugs is truly heartbreaking. As you know, abusing many kinds of drugs can kill him or cause serious illness or put him in prison. READ MORE
Finding that your young adult child is using drugs is truly heartbreaking. As you know, abusing many kinds of drugs can kill him or cause serious illness or put him in prison. But you have no direct control over his use and probably can't "convince him" to do anything. Often, the more you nag him, the more he uses.

First question is, are you part of the problem? Do you give him money that he can use to buy drugs? Do you give him free rent and overlook transgressions like stealing family possessions? Do you rescue him from the consequences of his actions? That's almost always unwise. If he's arrested, do you bail him out? In short, are you good at setting limits?

Second, do you have insurance that covers rehab? If so, CAREFULLY research drug rehab facilities and find one that accepts your insurance and has a good reputation. Be really picky because the rehab business has attracted more than its share of scammers. Once you find a place, consider giving your son an ultimatum: get help or get out. Tell him, "If you're going to kill yourself with drugs, I'm not going to let you do it under my roof."

Third, and probably most important, get help for yourself. Therapy with a good psychotherapist can be incredibly helpful. You may find Al Anon meetings in your community that can help. Again, BE PICKY and keep looking until you find honest to goodness support.

Should I consider suboxone for my son?

The answer depends somewhat on your son's specific circumstances. For almost everyone, abstinence alone ("just stop using" and go to rehab or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings) fails READ MORE
The answer depends somewhat on your son's specific circumstances. For almost everyone, abstinence alone ("just stop using" and go to rehab or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings) fails 95% of the time. Opiates rewire the brain to the extent that it's not possible to experience pleasure with anything except using, and this effect often lasts for months after you stop. The craving is overwhelming, and it's just too hard to quit. Yet 75% of rehabs are ideologically committed to abstinence and won't support Medication Assisted Treatment with Suboxone or Vivitrol. They refuse to treat anyone on Suboxone because "It's just another mind-altering drug." It can be hard to find physicians who will prescribe Suboxone. But the science is clear: Suboxone saves lives and dramatically improves the likelihood of success.

Are there natural medications that can help me overcome addiction?

Alas, no, there are no magical answers in treating alcoholism. One thing that might help is if YOU get treatment and support. Consider going to Al-Anon or seeing a therapist yourself. READ MORE
Alas, no, there are no magical answers in treating alcoholism. One thing that might help is if YOU get treatment and support. Consider going to Al-Anon or seeing a therapist yourself. One trick: be PICKY about which Al-Anon meetings you attend; some will be a much better fit than others. Ditto with psychotherapists, be picky.

How can we revive a person who passes out?

You can't. Enough alcohol causes general anesthesia. IF you were a surgeon, you could probably remove their appendix without waking them up. The thing to watch out for is if their READ MORE
You can't. Enough alcohol causes general anesthesia. IF you were a surgeon, you could probably remove their appendix without waking them up. The thing to watch out for is if their breathing slows or they start to turn blue. Then this could become a fatal overdose. Call 911!

How Can I Finally Overcome my Pain Medication Addiction?

Here are some of the factors to consider: 1) Opioids often make headaches WORSE, so often stopping them completely will lessen your pain once you're through the pain flare-up that READ MORE
Here are some of the factors to consider: 1) Opioids often make headaches WORSE, so often stopping them completely will lessen your pain once you're through the pain flare-up that typically lasts 1-2 weeks after stopping these drugs. 2) It does sound as if you're taking the pain medication for euphoria (to feel good) and not just for pain. Most opioid addicts can't stop without Medication Assisted Treatment. This involves long-term maintenance treatment with methadone (at a federally licensed methadone clinic), Suboxone, or Vivitrol. 3) Most rehabs emphasize abstinence: just stopping and going to 12-step meetings. That works for alcohol or cocaine but only very rarely for opioids. Google "Medication Assisted Treatment" and look for links to SAMHSA (samhsa.gov <http://samhsa.gov/>) or the FDA (fda.gov <http://fda.gov/>) on this topic. 4) Often, emotional factors like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder help drive opioid addiction. Get therapy if you've had trauma in the past.


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What are the best ways to deal with alcohol addiction?

There's no medication that consistently helps people with alcohol dependence. Some people who drink for the euphoria they get do well with naltrexone, but many of my alcoholic READ MORE
There's no medication that consistently helps people with alcohol dependence. Some people who drink for the euphoria they get do well with naltrexone, but many of my alcoholic patients drink to numb emotions. If you're a "euphoria drinker," naltrexone may help, but if you're an "oblivion drinker" (drink simply to get numb), it probably won't. Overall, naltrexone is helpful in a minority of patients. Acamprosate also has scientific evidence of benefit, but I've not found it useful. Antabuse is commonly prescribed for alcoholism, but almost never helps. Science shows conclusively it's of little or no benefit.

So, basically, drugs don't do much for most alcoholics. The treatment is rehab, either inpatient or outpatient. There are also good internet-based programs. Some people can get sober going to Alcoholics Anonymous, which requires 90 meetings in 90 days to have any effect. The trick with Alcoholics Anonymous is you have to find a meeting where you feel comfortable; typically, 9 out of 10 aren't a good fit and you have to keep looking.

Is there any medication for drug rehabilitation?

Absolutely! Three medications can help heroin addicts stay sober, and most heroin addicts should be using one of them. The sobriety rate with abstinence alone (i.e., not using READ MORE
Absolutely! Three medications can help heroin addicts stay sober, and most heroin addicts should be using one of them. The sobriety rate with abstinence alone (i.e., not using long-term medications) is terrible. The three drugs with solid scientific support are buprenorphine (Suboxone and others), naltrexone (best used as a Vivitrol shot), and methadone maintenance at a licensed methadone clinic. These drugs save lives. This whole approach is called Medication Assisted Treatment.

Here's a brief overview of Medication Assisted Treatment: https://drugfree.org/article/medication-assisted-treatment/
And you can Google this term to learn a lot more.

Can long term medications make the body really addicted to them?

I'm afraid your question contains mistaken assumptions. First, the vast majority of medications have no risk of "addiction." Are certain medications essential to health if you READ MORE
I'm afraid your question contains mistaken assumptions. First, the vast majority of medications have no risk of "addiction." Are certain medications essential to health if you have a condition like hypertension or diabetes? Absolutely. Are they addicting? Well, are you addicted to food or oxygen? If you stop eating or breathing, you will die, but no one considers that an addiction. These medications are like gas in your car. No matter how tired you become of filling up your tank, you have to keep refilling it or your car will stop running. Not an addiction.

Second, only a couple of medications for hypertension pose a risk of withdrawal if you stop them suddenly. So, if you're taking a beta blocker like Inderal (propranolol), carvedilol, or metoprolol and stop suddenly, that could cause chest pain or even a heart attack in a susceptible person. Taper and stop them over about two weeks, no problem. Clonidine has a similar problem. Otherwise, you can stop an antihypertensive drug and all that happens is your blood pressure goes up. Diabetes is similar; I know of no drug with a withdrawal risk, but if you stop them, your blood sugar shoots up.

It's certainly true that hypertension and diabetes may get worse over time, so that you require more medication. It's a little like an old car that gradually gets less gas mileage over time, so you need to fill up the tank more frequently. The problem here is the car, not the gas. Similarly, when they need more medication to control their illness, people often refuse to believe the problem is their hypertension or diabetes itself. They blame their need for more medication on the drug, not the illness.

Finally, "addiction" is when you take a drug like alcohol, Xanax, or Norco that causes euphoria, and you wind up using more and more. You lose control and the drug takes over. The drug then starts causing problems, but you don't stop. No drug for hypertension or diabetes has this risk.

Is there a cure for sugar cravings?

How old is your daughter? Child? Teen? Adult? If younger than a teen YOU=E2=80=99RE in charge and need to be the parent in the house. If over age 11, you might work with your daughter READ MORE
How old is your daughter? Child? Teen? Adult? If younger than a teen YOU=E2=80=99RE in charge and need to be the parent in the house. If over age 11, you might work with your daughter to find HEALTHY treats she likes, like fruit. Fill up the house with healthy food. Cook together to create luscious, healthy treats.

There are other possibilities. Occasionally craving sweets can be due to a medication, so you might review the prescriptions she=E2=80=99s taking. Rarely, an illness like diabetes can cause sweet craving. There are no medications that help sweet craving, so usually this is a parenting/lifestyle issue.

What medicines are administered to treat drug addiction?

Drug addiction is more than one thing; it's several things depending upon which drug we're talking about. And are you asking about detox (safely stopping ongoing use of a drug) READ MORE
Drug addiction is more than one thing; it's several things depending upon which drug we're talking about. And are you asking about detox (safely stopping ongoing use of a drug) or maintenance, preventing relapse?

Detox is a complicated subject. The drugs that typically require a detox treatment protocol are alcohol, sedatives like Xanax, and opioids like pain killers and heroin. Marijuana, cocaine, and meth don't require a medical detox, although you'll feel lousy for the first week or two after stopping them.

Medications to help prevent relapse are useful in patients who abuse alcohol or opioids. For alcohol, naltrexone is often used, both pills and the once-a-month injection Vivitrol. For opioids, there are three choices called "Medication Assisted Treatment." They are Suboxone, Vivitrol, and methadone maintenance in a federally licensed methadone clinic. Suboxone and Vivitrol can be prescribed by a primary care physician. Campral (generic name acamprosate) has some evidence of effectiveness in alcoholics, but I'm not convinced it's useful. Antabuse for alcohol is proven useless and should not be prescribed except in very rare cases.

Will my anti depressants hamper my rehabilitation?

"Antidepressants" is a large category of different drugs, so your mileage may vary depending on which one. But I'm not aware that ANY antidepressant would interfere with your quitting. READ MORE
"Antidepressants" is a large category of different drugs, so your mileage may vary depending on which one. But I'm not aware that ANY antidepressant would interfere with your quitting. In fact, most antidepressants would HELP, because feeling punk is a lot of what drives smoking behavior. Moreover, one antidepressant, Wellbutrin (generic bupropion), is FDA-approved to HELP you quit smoking, under the brand name Revia, and is often quite effective. (It's the same drug whatever it's called.) Whichever antidepressant you take, you should see the prescribing physician about 1-2 weeks after you start to be sure the medication is working properly, and every few weeks thereafter.

Can cough syrups be an addiction?

It depends what's in the cough syrup. Several cough syrups contain diphenhydramine or other sedating antihistamines. One brand name of diphenhydramine is Benadryl, and it's also READ MORE
It depends what's in the cough syrup. Several cough syrups contain diphenhydramine or other sedating antihistamines. One brand name of diphenhydramine is Benadryl, and it's also sold as an over-the-counter sleeping aid. This can definitely help sleep and is not habit forming or addicting, but it can cause drowsiness and impaired function the following day.

Other cough syrups contain opioids like codeine or hydrocodone (the same drug as Norco). A common hydrocodone-containing cough syrup has the brand name Hycodan. These are commonly abused by opiate addicts. You may want to investigate the ingredients and discuss what's in the cough syrup with a pharmacist.

My brother has an habit of eating ice cubes. Is it normal?

You should probably have your brother see a physician. A sudden craving for eating ice cubes is often a symptom of iron deficiency. He may be anemic.

What side effects should I expect from medications for my addictions?

Depends on the medication. Three are commonly used to help people quit cigarettes: Revia (bupropion), Chantix, and nicotine replacement with a patch, gum, or lozenges. You would READ MORE
Depends on the medication. Three are commonly used to help people quit cigarettes: Revia (bupropion), Chantix, and nicotine replacement with a patch, gum, or lozenges. You would need to take any of these medications for several months or more until the craving for tobacco is fully out of your system.

Chantix probably works best. It is a nicotine receptor blocker, which means that when you take a drag on a cigarette, the nicotine goes to your brain as usual, but the Chantix blocks your brain from receiving it, and you don't get they typical cigarette buzz. Chantix rarely has any side effects. So, when you take it, nothing happens, and when you smoke, nothing happens. Rarely, it can cause changes in mood or especially vivid dreams.

Revia is an antidepressant medication that helps you quit smoking two ways. First, sometimes people become depressed when they quit, and Revia blocks this depression. Second, often people gain weight after quitting, and Revia prevents that, too.

You can get most nicotine replacement products over-the-counter, i.e., without a prescription; nicotine patches, Commit lozenges, and Nicorette gum. All are available as generics at a lower cost. They are worth a try and do work well with the other medications, but in my experience, they often don't work as well as the other choices.

How do patches work for treating drug addiction?

To answer this correctly, I have to make an assumption. You can put LOTS of drugs into a patch so they may be absorbed through the skin. The only patch commonly used in drug addiction READ MORE
To answer this correctly, I have to make an assumption. You can put LOTS of drugs into a patch so they may be absorbed through the skin. The only patch commonly used in drug addiction is clonidine (brand name Catapres), which helps with alcohol and opiate withdrawal. I assume that's what they gave your cousin. Clonidine is sedating, cuts down on nausea and body aches, and lowers the risk for seizure. I reserve clonidine for use during the first few days of detox, because it can cause problems if continued for more than a week or so.

Are there any medicines to treat addictive tendencies?

The FDA has approved two medications to treat alcoholism. I like naltrexone, available either in a pill you take every day or in a shot (Vivitrol) that a doctor gives you once READ MORE
The FDA has approved two medications to treat alcoholism. I like naltrexone, available either in a pill you take every day or in a shot (Vivitrol) that a doctor gives you once a month. Naltrexone blocks the euphoria caused by alcohol, so it's ideal for occasional drinkers who really like the high from drinking. Nothing happens when you take naltrexone. When you drink, nothing happens either. No buzz, no high, nothing. It doesn't make you sick, it just blocks all of alcohol's effects.

Vivitrol works well for people who more or less want to get sober but aren't likely to take a pill every day. The only downsides are that it must be given by a doctor or a nurse, and without insurance, it costs over $1000 a shot. By contrast, naltrexone pills are extremely inexpensive.

The other FDA-approved drug is Campral, or acamprosate. Some physicians find it helpful, but many addiction specialists in the Untied States aren't convinced it's all that effective. See your doctor for more information about the pros, cons, and potential side effects of each medication.

Do NOT get a prescription for Antabuse, which is a decades-old drug touted to help people stop drinking. If you've taken Atabuse and have any contact with alcohol whatsoever (even applying aftershave lotion), you become violently ill. The problem is that most alcoholics stop taking Antabuse a day or so before they want a drink, and it doesn't work unless you take it regularly.

Went from pill addiction to suboxone addiction- what can I do?

The WHOLE POINT of Suboxone and similar products with buprenorphine is that you take them for years. Difficulty stopping treatment with buprenorphine is the whole point. Addiction READ MORE
The WHOLE POINT of Suboxone and similar products with buprenorphine is that you take them for years. Difficulty stopping treatment with buprenorphine is the whole point. Addiction is the three "C"s: Craving/compulsive use, loss of Control, and ongoing use despite bad Consequences. YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF THE THREE "C"s WITH SUBOXONE. You're not addicted, you're receiving treatment. Unless your life is 100% stable and you've taken it for years , stopping Suboxone inevitably leads to relapse. Stopping will MAKE you an addict.

Can I get addicted to drugs that are intended to heal drug addiction?

The WHOLE POINT of Suboxone and similar products with buprenorphine is that you take them for years. Difficulty stopping treatment with buprenorphine is the whole point. Addiction READ MORE
The WHOLE POINT of Suboxone and similar products with buprenorphine is that you take them for years. Difficulty stopping treatment with buprenorphine is the whole point. Addiction is the three "C"s: Craving/compulsive use, loss of Control, and ongoing use despite bad Consequences. YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF THE THREE "C"s WITH SUBOXONE. You're not addicted, you're receiving treatment. Unless your life is 100% stable and you've taken it for years , stopping Suboxone inevitably leads to relapse. Stopping will MAKE you an addict.

That said, do NOT accept treatment with other addicting drugs like benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, etc.). Most of the other medications used in rehab are not addicting.

How long should I be on nicotine patches to quit smoking?

As long as you need them. Might be months or years, DO NOT STOP PREMATURELY out of the idea you SHOULDN'T need them.