Addiction Medicine Specialist Questions Drug addiction

How do patches work for treating drug addiction?

My cousin is addicted to opioids. In the hospital, they actually gave her a patch to help her. What are the patches used on patients suffering from drug addiction? How do they help?

1 Answer

While I'm not sure which medication is being given to your cousin in a patch, I can think of 2 possibilities. The first is a clonidine patch. Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine which helps to treat some of the symptoms of withdrawal. It reduces or relieves insomnia, anxiety, rapid heart rate, chills, goosebumps, racing thoughts and restless legs. The second would be a buprenorphine patch. Buprenorphine alleviates even more of the symptoms of withdrawal by working on the opiate receptors themselves. The beauty about this medication is the addict feels "normal", not high but doesn't feel withdrawal symptoms. I hope this helps!