Mirtazapine (Remeron)

After checking into an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program, there are many different recovery services that you might receive to help you achieve a state of sobriety. These services include mutual support groups, psychological therapy, evidence based counseling, and even medication assisted treatment (MAT). Mirtazapine (Remeron) is one of the drugs that falls into the MAT aspect of ongoing recovery.

NIDA - the National Institute of Drug Abuse - reports that when you take medications like Mirtazapine (Remeron) and combine them with the other treatment services, you might be in a better position to overcome your substance use disorder.

Various research studies have also shown that Mirtazapine comes with many benefits for substance use and addiction recovery. In particular, this medication can help you maintain your abstinence after a period of abusing substances like opioids, cocaine, methamphetamines, and alcohol - among many others. Read on to find out more:

Understanding Mirtazapine

In the United States, Mirtazapine is known by a wide variety of brand names. These include Remeron SolTab and Remeron. This medication is classified as an antidepressant. As such, taking it will balance certain aspects of the chemical structure and functioning of your brain. In particular, Mirtazapine works on the serotonin and norepinephrine chemicals in the brain.

The drug is also effective in the treatment of panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety. However, we will be reviewing its role in addiction treatment within this article.

The FDA - the Food and Drug Administration - reports that Mirtazapine was first developed by Organon before it received FDA approval in 1996. Later on, Organon created a new version of this drug - Remeron SolTab - that the FDA approved in 2001.

Schering-Plough bought Organon in 2007 and continued marketing Mirtazapine (Remeron). Today, the drug is known by various brand names in different countries. Further, it no longer holds a patent meaning that it is now possible to find generic versions of it.

Mirtazapine is analogous to mianserin, a drug that is currently not locally available in the United States. Both of these medications work in similar ways. They are of particular note because they do not carry an overdose risk, unlike many other antidepressant medications.

When it was first created, Mirtazapine was originally designed for the treatment of depression. Since then, it has been tested and found to have many other uses. These include but are not limited to:

  • Appetite stimulation
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Social anxiety disorder

However, there are other off-label uses of the drug, including but not limited to the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. This is even though Mirtazapine (Remeron) is yet to receive FDA approval for this type of use.

Dosage and Effects

Mirtazapine is often available in doses of 45, 30, and 15 mg. however, it is possible to get higher doses of it. There is also a low dose version - the 7.5 mg tablet. When you start using the 15 to the 45 mg tablets, they will typically come in the form of pills that will dissolve orally. Usually, you would have to take your dose once every day - mostly close to bedtime. This is because the drug comes with relaxing effects. You can also take this medication with food or without.

According to the NIH - the National Institutes of Health - the half-life of Mirtazapine (Remeron) ranges from 20 to 40 hours. After taking the drug, it will start taking effect quite fast. This is one of the reasons why you only need to use a single daily dose of it.

NAMI - the National Alliance on Mental Illness - has also reported that there are some side effects associated with Mirtazapine. These effects include but are not limited to:

  • Dizziness
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Potential weight gain
  • Sedation
  • Sleepiness

There is also a risk that you could develop severe side effects as a result of using Mirtazapine. These additional side effects are typically linked to the withdrawal symptoms that arise after becoming dependent on the medication.

Even so, Mirtazapine is still considered to be much safer than most other antidepressant drugs. This is particularly true with respect to drug overdoses. However, it is also like any other antidepressant in the sense that mixing it with other substances - including alcohol and other drugs - could lead to adverse interactions. Examples of these substances include MAOIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, as well as other antidepressants like phenelzine and rasagiline.

Mirtazapine (Remeron) for Addiction Treatment

Due to its action in the human body, Mirtazapine is considered useful and effective in the treatment of certain types of addictions. In particular, it might prove helpful if you are dependent on any of the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiate substances

The drug works on the serotonin balance in the brain. Ongoing substance abuse will cause you to experience changes in the way your brain creates and uses the serotonin neurotransmitter. In turn, this could lead to the development of your addiction.

Taking Mirtazapine will also affect the production of another neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine. This stress hormone is typically produced within the adrenal glands of the brain.

If you are addicted to drugs like cocaine and opiates, you might experience an anxiety response that is linked to the changes in the function of norepinephrine. Using Mirtazapine, to this end, could help regulate these changes and responses.

Since Mirtazapine works in different aspects of the chemistry of the brain, it can also prove useful in calming and reducing your drug cravings and substance seeking behaviors. The drug might also be useful in dealing with any co-occurring mental health disorders that you have over and above your substance use disorder. It can, for instance, be used in the treatment of depression, as well as improve your feelings and mood - all of which could be affected by your drug addiction.

Getting Help

Although this drug is useful in the treatment of addiction, it is recommended that you only take it in combination with social and psychological support and counseling while enrolled in a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. By so doing, you will get the help that you need to ensure that your Mirtazapine (Remeron) prescriptions work well in managing your addiction while the therapy and counseling helps you work through all the other factors linked to your substance abuse and addiction.

CITATIONS

https://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0101/p159.html

https://www.medicinenet.com/mirtazapine/article.htm

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Mirtazapine-(Remeron)

https://www.rxlist.com/remeron-drug.htm

https://www.rxlist.com/remeron-side-effects-drug-center.htm

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-13706-4047/mirtazapine-oral/mirtazapine-oral/details

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