New Device Approved to Aid in Opioid Withdrawals | AspenRidge

The Bridge (NSS-2 Bridge) appears small but has huge potential for helping fight the opioid crisis in America. The NSS-2 Bridge is an innovative device recently approved by the FDA to aid in opioid withdrawal pain. It is appears not much different than a hearing aid behind the ear with some extra wires that connect to brain nerves. The Bridge can significantly inhibit pain and therefore help addicts get through opioid withdrawal and detox. The new device was not originally designed to aid in opioid withdrawals. It was originally created to alleviate other pain, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and surgery soreness. It was Dr. Arturo Taca, a certified addictionologist based out of Missouri, who saw the huge need for the NSS-2 Bridge as an aid in opioid withdrawals. In November 2017, the FDA expanded its approval of the device “as an aid to reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.”   Continue reading to learn about:

  • Drug detox and how the NSS-2 Bridge can help
  • How the NSS-2 Bridge aids in opioid withdrawals
  • The Bridge’s creation and development
  • The Bridge in your recovery program

First Steps to Recovery: About the Bridge’s Role in Drug Detox

Opioids are addictive drugs that are extremely painful to get off of. This is one of the reasons why 91 people die every day in the US overdosing on these substances.

Detox is the removal of all drugs from one’s system before being able to take non-narcotic medications to treat addictions. It is one of the most crucial steps of the recovery process.

Detox is the important first step in fighting addiction. A patient must get through detox to begin taking non-narcotic medicines to treat addiction, such as vivitrol. It is also the most painful part because they experience withdrawal symptoms. Because it is so difficult, one should not do detox alone. For one reason, most will relapse and give in to taking drugs again. Second, serious medical complications could occur, such as dehydration and uncontrollable vomiting. Medical staff is highly recommended to monitor your safety during this process. The NSS-2 Bridge is a new device designed to help aid in opioid withdrawal symptoms during the first five days of detox. Learning about the Bridge can help make withdrawal easier.

First Step in Aiding in Opioid Withdrawals: Knowing the Symptoms

It is extremely difficult to undergo drug detox because the body experiences severe withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Increased tearing
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent fear of death

Symptoms start about 8 hours after stopping use of opioids and can last up to 4 weeks, depending on the type of drug. Addicts feel strong cravings to take drugs again to relieve the pain and fear of death. When they take opioids again, they break their detox. The cycle of pain, fear of death, and all-consuming craving continues. The Bridge is that it aids in this opioid withdrawal pain significantly.

What was used in the past to aid in opioid withdrawal?

When undergoing medical detox people often use medicine to treat these symptoms.  Common products are to aid in opioid withdrawal buprenorphine and methadone. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers target the psychological manifestations of withdrawal such as depression and anxiety. Behavioral treatments have also been encouraged in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Most people need long-term treatment for detox. Support groups and extensive therapy are recommended. Though withdrawal has been treated in these ways, the return rate to drugs is high.

Most deaths caused by overdose occur during or shortly after detox.

With the rise of overdose deaths, advocates are looking away from medicines and want to know more about the Bridge and other devices that can aid in opioid withdrawal.

Why the NSS-2 Bridge is a unique aid in Opioid Withdrawals

The NSS-2 Bridge may be instrumental to aid opioid withdrawal so individuals can get through the initial step of detox in addiction recovery. The president has declared the opioid crisis in the United States a public health emergency.  There are more deaths by overdose than by car accidents. It is an emergency, but there are currently only three FDA approved medicines to treat opioid addiction.

The radical fact about the Bridge is that it is not a new medicine, but a new device.

Manufacturers are focusing on creating alternative drugs to be prescribed to replace opioid prescriptions. New drugs take years to get FDA approved. This is a crisis now and cannot wait years for change. The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. emphasized that the FDA needs to look to alternative solutions, including devices, to aid in opioid withdrawals. The NSS-2 Bridge can start getting people through the important step of detox now.  Why wait another few years?

About the Bridge: A Unique Aid in Opioid Withdrawals

Dr. Taca named this new device the NSS-2 Bridge because he saw it as a way to conquer the most difficult part of withdrawal: the first five days. The device allows patients to make it to the stage in rehab where medicinal intervention is possible.

About the Bridge’s Creation – A Mission to Aid Withdrawal

The NSS-2 Bridge was recently approved to be marketed as a device to aid in opioid withdrawals in November 2017. Prior to this new approval, the FDA approved it in 2014 to assist with acupuncture. Doctors had known about the Bridge and its benefits prior to FDA approval. They have been recommending it to patients for years. Now, with a prescription, people who have tried to detox but have relapsed during the hardest part will have a chance to make it. This is often the biggest hurdle for people undergoing detox. One person who had struggled with drug addiction for years and had tried several times to get off his addiction states learned about the Bridge:

“Withdrawal is a painful, intimidating process… That period of time that the Bridge helps with, it’s probably the most crucial and vulnerable period of your recovery when you’re starting out.”

The device is named the NSS-2 Bridge because it serves as a link for recovering addicts’ initial and hardest days of detox and their first injection of non-narcotic medicinal treatment for withdrawal pain. 

How does the NSS-2 Bridge Aid in Opioid withdrawals?

Unlike medicines that treat withdrawal pain for a couple hours at a time, the unique part about the Bridge is that it stays connected to your brain for the five hardest days of detox. It emits continuous stimulation to the brain nerves that are linked to other parts of the body. It has been reported to reduce withdrawal symptoms by 85% and give those receiving treatment a higher chance at recovery. Currently, the NSS-2 Bridge is still a new device. Taca and his team are already in the testing phase of developing a “super Bridge.” This super Bridge sends pulses to the brain that are 10x stronger than the original Bridge product. He has already seen success with this device, but official studies have yet to be completed.

Does the Bridge successfully aid in opioid withdrawals?

Dr. Tace first started using the NSS-2 Bridge for aid in opioid withdrawals in 2015. He saw patients’ pain go from overbearing to manageable within 20 minutes. To expand its usage, the FDA did a study on 73 people going through drug detox. This study about the Bridge showed the huge benefits of the product. Of those tested, all patients had a significant drop in withdrawal symptoms within 30 minutes.  The majority also completed their detox for five days so that they could begin medicated assisted therapy. One professional who has administered the NSS-2 Bridge to patients stated, “It’s not a matter of if it will work. It’s a matter of will I ever see a case where it doesn’t work.” One recovering addict who claimed that he had tried three different in-patient treatments before said he could never make it past the initial pain of withdrawal. He claimed, “you know instantly how to relieve those symptoms by returning to your substance of abuse. It’s hard to endure that for a period of time, even if it is a few short days.” Even though this patient had tried numerous times to get off his addiction, he could never make it past the detox stage. When he heard about the Bridge, he gave it a shot. And what were the results?

For the first time, he finally made it through the initial five days and got his first shot of Vivitrol.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am with the results,” he reported. “It is going so well, it’s feeling like it’s happening to someone else.” Now he finally is getting his life back in order.  He is now maintaining a job and has a place to call home. He is progressing in his twelve-step program to secure his recovery.

Understanding the Safety & Risks of The Bridge

Unlike other medicines, the amazing part about the Bridge is that it is a safe device with few minor side effects. Skin irritation and a small amount of bleeding where the device rests behind the ear are the only found negative effects. But you should be careful. The NSS-2 Bridge is an electrical device.  It is water resistant but must be kept dry while showering. The fix is simple: cover the device with washcloths or something plastic. This is the only precaution one must take when using the Bridge. Sometimes withdrawal pain can return after some time of relief. Usually, this means that the device has loosened. Your provider can help you get new adhesives and fix the implant by “pinching” it. If this issue continues, call your provider who knows about the Bridge. Keep in mind that the Bridge is only administered with a prescription. This device is not advised for those with hemophilia, cardiac pacemakers, or psoriasis vulgaris.

Ready to try the Bridge and move on in your recovery process?

The Bridge does not solve drug addiction. It gets you through the hardest part of the recovery process. Even though this new device is a great aid in opioid withdrawal, it is unlikely it will be covered by insurance companies soon. Right now, the average cost of the NSS-2 Bridge hovers around $600. After one has used the Bridge for the five days, they can proceed to other steps in the recovery process. Consult with professional to assess what services and medication can help you further reduce your need for opioids. To continue on your path of recovery, you should consult with a professional to learn more about the Bridge and develop a treatment plan. We can help you accomplish your goals. For more information contact us today.

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