The terms opiate, opioid and narcotic are often used in what would seem the same way. With prescription pain medications reaching their highest point in years, it’s wise to know the difference between each of these terms and how they work.
Opioids are a powerful and very addictive class of drugs that are impacting millions of people in the U.S. right now. Opioids work by attaching to certain receptors in the central nervous system, and when this happens, they can create a euphoric high for the user, but they also trigger a flood of dopamine. When your brain is unnaturally flooded with dopamine, and a reward response is triggered, it can lead you to an addiction.
Classically, the term opiate refers to natural substances that come from opium. Opium itself can be extracted from the opium poppy and contains chemical compounds, including morphine and codeine. Thus, examples of opiates are morphine and codeine.
There are also products that work by binding to the same receptors as opiates, but do not occur naturally, known as semi-synthetic or synthetic opioids. While synthetic opioids are manufactured chemically, semi-synthetic opioids are a hybrid resulting from chemical modifications to natural opiates.
Examples of synthetic opioids include fentanyl and methadone, while oxycodone and hydrocodone are examples of semi-synthetic opioids.
Opioid vs Opiate
Most people have now moved away from differentiating between opiate and opioid and use the term opioid for both natural or synthetic (or semi-synthetic) substances that act at one of the three main opioid receptor systems (mu, kappa, delta). If the term opiate is used it is thought of as the naturally occurring substances within the opioid class.
Though opioids are prescribed mainly to relieve pain symptoms, they can have negative effects including drowsiness and physical dependence. Because opioids have the potential for abuse and addiction, prescription opioid use is regulated by the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. However, not all opioids are available to be prescribed for pain treatment. Non-prescription opioids include heroin, which is a derivative of morphine, and is an illegal opioid commonly abused by injection.
There are a couple of different reasons people might wonder will Fioricet help with opiate withdrawal.
The first is because this drug as mentioned can help treat headaches, which is commonly a side effect of opiate withdrawal.
Another reason people might wonder whether or not Fioricet will help with opiate withdrawal is because the butalbital is a barbiturate, which can help relieve muscle tension and calm anxiety. Muscle aches, tension, and anxiety, are all symptoms of withdrawal from opioids.
Despite the reasons people might think Fioricet would be helpful for the treatment of opiate withdrawal, it’s probably not something a doctor would recommend.
First, Fioricet itself has the potential to become habit forming. The butalbital in this drug can create a type of high when people use it, and it is also addictive.
It may be that someone turns to Fioricet for opiate withdrawal and then ultimately finds themselves trading out one addiction for another. Also, it’s unlikely that Fioricet would really do much to help with the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
There are other drugs that would do a better job. Fioricet may be part of someone trying to treat themselves at home for opioid addiction, and it’s not a wise move. The best thing to do if you’re wondering will Foriciet help with opiate withdrawal or what you can do to make withdrawal more bearable is to speak with your physician and find a medically supervised program that can give you the interventions you need without putting your life at risk.