Mirtazapine, also known by the brand name Remeron, is an antidepressant medication that balances the level of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine and serotonin.
Although Remeron is primarily used to treat other psychological disorders, evidence suggests it may be able to be used to treat substance abuse effectively.
What Is Remeron?
Remeron is a tetracyclic antidepressant medication that is approved to treat major depressive disorder (MDD).
Studies suggest that Remeron may be able to be used to treat addiction; however, this is an off-label use of the drug.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an approach that combines psychosocial therapy and FDA-approved medication.
MAT is more effective than behavioral health interventions or medications alone. MAT significantly reduces drug use and may reduce overdose deaths.
MAT is statistically proven to save lives while increasing the chances an individual will remain in treatment and learn the skills necessary for long-term recovery.
How Does Remeron Support Addiction Recovery?
Remeron is an antidepressant that works on the central nervous system (CNS) as an inverse agonist to inhibit alpha-two adrenergic receptors.
Remeron’s action on these receptors increases the release of serotonin and norepinephrine to restore the balance of chemicals in the brain, which treats major depression.
Due to the way that mirtazapine acts in the body, it is used in treating various kinds of drug addiction, including alcohol, benzodiazepine, and amphetamine dependence.
Substance abuse changes the way serotonin is created and used in the body, which results in addictive behaviors.
The use of mirtazapine can help calm cravings and reduce drug-seeking behaviors. Also, in cases involving addiction and comorbid depression, mirtazapine was also able to reduce psychological issues.
Remeron Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Remeron treatment is offered at Bedrock Recovery Center to treat addiction and co-occurring conditions such as depressive disorders.
What Substance Use Disorders Is Remeron Used For?
Clinical trials have found that mirtazapine may be useful to treat various substance use disorders.
A placebo-based clinical trial found that mirtazapine was effective at reducing the use of methamphetamine.
Due to the serotonergic effect Remeron has on the brain, which is similar to SSRIs, it has also been used to treat alcohol, opioid, cocaine, and marijuana addictions.
When Is Remeron Prescribed At Bedrock?
Remeron is primarily prescribed at Bedrock Recovery Center to help aid the treatment of complex mental health disorders, but it may also be used off-label for clients who are struggling with intense cravings.
Due to the drug’s ability to increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters that often drop in response to sobriety, Remeron can decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
How Long Does Remeron Treatment Last?
Martazapine requires four to six weeks to take full effect.
Remeron treatment can last for years, depending on the individual. However, if you have been feeling better for six months or more, a healthcare professional may suggest stopping the medication.
Mirtazapine has a half-life of around 20 to 40 hours, so it needs to be taken on a regular basis to be effective.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Remeron Treatment?
There are a variety of side effects associated with Remeron treatment. Most side effects are mild and last a few days or weeks.
Common side effects may include:
- dry mouth
- weight gain
- increased appetite
Less common, more severe side effects may also occur. These effects may be life-threatening.
Severe side effects of mirtazapine may include:
- pain in your stomach or back
- suicidal ideation
- long-lasting confusion or weakness
- frequent muscle cramps
- the whites of the eyes or skin turning yellow
- having a high temperature
- mouth ulcers
- abnormal thinking
- skin rash
- trouble breathing
- mood swings
- sore throat
- low blood pressure
If you are experiencing any of these rare symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Supportive Therapies For Remeron Treatment At Bedrock
There are a variety of supportive therapies used with Remeron treatment at Bedrock Recovery Center. All of these therapies have a different role in the client’s path to recovery.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing is an effective technique used to help individuals resolve ambivalence toward changing negative behaviors to positive ones.
Motivational interviewing focuses on the individual’s reasons for and commitment to changing their unhealthy behaviors.
Bedrock uses individual empowerment, active listening, and guided discussion to create a sense of self for the individual in early recovery.
Family Psychoeducation Therapy
Family psychoeducation therapy uses sessions with family members, either with or without the patient, to help them understand their loved one’s experience in treatment.
Including family members in this process can improve treatment outcomes for individuals, reduce relapse, and enhance the family’s functioning.
Family psychoeducation therapy is a useful treatment for those with serious co-occurring substance use disorders and mental disorders.
This therapy also helps the individual to communicate with their support system and practice healthy boundaries while in recovery.
Group therapy is a therapy where individuals learn and practice recovery strategies with others, build upon interpersonal skills, and develop social support networks.
Group therapy also reduces the isolation and stigma associated with addiction.
At Bedrock, our goal for group therapy is that every individual feels validated and supported by others with similar life experiences.
Begin MAT For Addiction Recovery In Massachusetts
If you or a loved one are interested in MAT for addiction recovery in Massachusetts, we can help.
Contact our team at Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about MAT and other available treatment options.
- Journal Of The American Medical Association (JAMA) https://doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3655/
- Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/mirtazapine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067334?p=1/
- National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Mirtazapine-(Remeron)/
- National Library Of Medicine: Bookshelf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519059/
- National Library Of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2666333/
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- National Health Service (NHS) United Kingdom https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/mirtazapine/common-questions-about-mirtazapine/
- Science Direct https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2012.08.013/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/SAMHSA_Digital_Download/PEP20-02-02-012-508%20PDF.pdf/
- The Pew Charitable Trusts https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2016/11/medication-assisted-treatment-improves-outcomes-for-patients-with-opioid-use-disorder/
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