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What Is a Drug Ceiling Effect?

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The drug ceiling effect is a pharmacological phenomenon in which a drug’s effect on the body reaches a plateau. Higher dosages have no impact because they have reached their efficacy limit. Many drugs, including opioids and over-the-counter aspirin, reach this ceiling. 

The drug ceiling effect causes many cases of overdosing on substances for which they have a tolerance. However, with the aid of agonists, this effect can be used to treat opioid addiction

In a clinical environment, dosages are increased gradually until the pain is manageable. Side effects such as sleepiness, disorientation, diarrhea, or respiratory depression are commonly associated with dose increases. 

Tolerance to these side effects develops, but not as quickly or to the same extent as tolerance to analgesia. Preventing tolerance may decrease opiate doses, minimize side effects, and lessen the chances of relapse.

What Are Opioid Agonists?

Two kinds of opioid agonists are employed when treating drug opioid use disorder. One has a medication ceiling effect, whereas the other does not. The first is a full opioid agonist, called methadone. It is most similar to heroin and can stay in your system for up to 59 hours.

Methadone has no drug limit and is best suited for treating people who have been using drugs for a long time. These patients are more likely to develop an addiction to considerably larger dosages.

However modern addiction pharmacology utilizes Buprenorphine. Also known under the brand name Suboxone, partial opioid agonists produces a pharmacological ceiling effect that can last up to 60 hours. It is used to treat individuals who have not yet developed significant resistance to opioids because of the ceiling effect. 

Many opioid addiction patients who take buprenorphine products report feeling normal for the first time in years.

What is Suboxone

Partial Opioid Agonists Are Effective

The initial few days and weeks of withdrawal are among the most painful that a person will ever face on their journey to substance freedom. 

Some people have more severe symptoms than others. In general, the more dangerous the substance, the higher the dosages. The longer the duration of usage, the harsher the withdrawal symptoms.

To make the transition more pleasant, most rehabs nowadays use Suboxone and Buprenorphine products that mimic the effects of opioids. These medications aid in reducing the shock to the body when the chemical is progressively reduced. Partial opioid agonists are controlled FDA regulated medicines that are safer than recreational opioids.

Are Suboxone and Buprenorphine Safe?

These medications have been authorized by the FDA for the Medication Assisted Treatment to treat opioid use disorder. They are beneficial not just for treating heroin addiction, but also for treating prescription pain killer medication. 

Partial agonists can interact with other medications, so patients must adhere to the treatment program. This necessitates being honest with the professionals giving the medicine about any other drugs present in the system.

Buprenorphine is safer than methadone and reduces the risk of an overdose. It is also less likely to cause deadly respiratory depression than other options.

About Celadon Recovery

Celadon is comprehensive addiction and mental health treatment center located along the shores of the Caloosahatchee River in Fort MyersFlorida. With a full-continuum of care including detoxresidential, and outpatient programs, we are committed to quality substance use and co-occurring disorder care. Call us today at 239-266-2141.

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