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Waismann Method® Medical Director Calls For Universal Standard Of Care For Rapid Detox Safety

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to recent news, including a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report noting severe adverse effects associated with rapid detox programs in New York, Waismann Method ® Medical Director Dr. Michael Lowenstein is calling for the creation of universal standards of care for all rapid detoxification treatments to minimize potential risks to patients.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131003/LA91230)

"Unfortunately, rapid detox has become a catch-all term that encompasses a range of unregulated treatments for opiate dependency, leaving patients uneducated about important safety precautions that are vital to their health," said Dr. Lowenstein.  "It's frightening how many practitioners are not following proper safety protocol and performing rapid detox procedures under sedation or anesthesia as outpatient, leading to increased emergency hospital admissions and deaths. Rapid detox must be performed in an ICU setting, and under the strict supervision of trained medical doctors with appropriate post-treatment monitoring. When done correctly, rapid detox is safe and effective. The key is educating patients on what to look for, and restricting practitioners from cutting corners."

According to Dr. Lowenstein, the key factors that impact the safety of rapid detox procedures include:

  • Medical Screening – All rapid detox patients should undergo a detailed evaluation, including analysis of medical history and a physical examination, laboratory testing, EKG, chest x-ray, and urine toxicology screening. Additional cardiac testing may be required.  Admission to the hospital at least one day before a rapid detox procedure affords necessary time to conduct proper medical screening, hydration and pre-medication.
  • ICU Setting – Rapid opiate detoxification under sedation can significantly affect the heart, lungs, nervous system, and fluid balance in the body. For these reasons, treatment must take place in an intensive care unit, and patients should be monitored in a hospital or inpatient setting for approximately a day following the procedure so they can be appropriately treated for changes that may arise as a result of the procedure.   
  • Anesthesia –General anesthesia is unnecessary for rapid detox, and procedures that place people under for four to eight hours or more can pose great risks to patients. Waismann Method® achieves rapid detoxification using moderate sedation, avoiding general anesthesia and its associated risks.
  • Dosage – The procedures under scrutiny in New York used very large doses of Naloxone and Naltrexone to reverse opiate dependence.  Waismann Method® utilizes significantly lower doses to safely and effectively rid the body of opiates.
  • Post-Procedure Care – Patients who are sent home or to hotel rooms to recover are at much higher risk for serious injury, dehydration, pulmonary/cardiac events and even death, because they don't have qualified medical professionals to evaluate and treat potential medical emergencies.

Waismann Method®, which pioneered the procedure in 1999, has established a rigorous safety protocol for the treatment of opiate detoxification under sedation.  The protocol does not resemble other rapid detox programs performed in New York or other parts of the country that utilize general anesthesia and/or perform the procedure on an outpatient basis through clinics or surgery centers.

"Over the course of 15 years we've performed more than 3,000 rapid detox procedures with the Waismann Method®, and we've refined the process to maximize the safety and efficacy," said Dr. Lowenstein.  "It's alarming that patients are being placed in harm's way because other treatment programs are cutting corners to reduce the cost of the procedure at the expense of patient safety. Patients need to be armed with accurate information to ensure they are getting the highest level of medical attention.  It's time that experts and leaders in the medical community create a specific standard of care for rapid detox, removing the risks associated with unregulated facilities."

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