The overwhelming psychological and physical dependence on opioids is known as opioid use disorder (OUD), characterized by escalated opioid tolerance. Opioids are usually prescribed for their pain-relieving properties, however, opioids are also found in illegal drugs, including heroin. As with other drugs, addiction is observed in the long-term use of opioids, which has numerous adverse effects on the user’s mental and physical health. Not to mention the strain this causes on one’s finances and personal relationships.
In this article, we’ll see how to alleviate OUD using Cerebral’s new online platform. This isn’t just a write-up of reviews found online, but our personal user experience on the platform. We’ll let you know the pros and cons of the platform, the pricing, and the efficacy, and we’ll find out what other users are saying about their experience.
Cutting to the chase
If you’re short on time, let us give you the up-front details on Cerebral’s OUD platform.
Cerebral looks at opioid addiction from a broader perspective and treats it not only with medication, but also with care counselor sessions to work on coping skills, recovery goals, and other comorbidities, if necessary. This can include anxiety, insomnia, depression, ADHD, bipolar, and more.
With Cerebral’s online OUD plan, you’ll be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated for opioid use, potentially receiving a prescription for Suboxone. This is the only plan that Cerebral offers where clients will be able to get specific medications to treat opioid use.
However, there’s more to the story, which is why we’ll:
- Review Cerebral OUD in depth
- Explain the science behind suboxone for opioid addiction
- Help you decide if it’s effective and safe for craving reduction
- Compare it to direct competitors/alternative options
Cerebral OUD review: Online care for overcoming opioid use
Read on for a more in-depth review of Cerebral’s OUD platform.
What is Cerebral’s approach to opioid addiction treatment?
Cerebral OUD works under a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, defined as the convergence of prescription and counseling for a holistic treatment plan. The treatment involves the online prescription (where necessary) of medication known as Suboxone. Also known as buprenorphine/naloxone, Suboxone has become the industry standard in opioid use disorder treatment.
Under the Cerebral OUD treatment plan, you will receive not only online medical subscriptions of Suboxone but also personalized phone and video sessions with cognitive medical professionals. These professionals walk with you throughout your recovery journey and are made up of a dedicated prescriber or therapist, care counselor, and coordinator.
Initially, you’ll have online sessions with these professionals, which later become monthly sessions, all of which help them to assess your opioid use disorder recovery.
How does Suboxone work?
Suboxone is a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. It works to keep you stable as you go through withdrawal symptoms so that you can continue treatment to a full recovery. The medication blocks and partially activates the opioid receptor, easing cravings and withdrawal symptoms and improving function. When combined with therapy and counseling, Suboxone can help you manage your opioid use disorder or dependence.
Another plus: there are very few direct side effects when taking Suboxone. The goal is to stabilize withdrawal symptoms, but there can still be signs of these withdrawal effects. The most common are very mild and can include headaches, pain, increased sweating, low blood pressure, and vomiting.
Is medication Cerebral’s sole focus for opioid addiction recovery?
It’s important to first note that prescriptions are only given where deemed clinically appropriate. While medication is crucial in recovery, it is not the only focus in Cerebral OUD. Since OUD is primarily a mental condition, Cerebral also provides you with therapists, counselors, and coaches with whom you’ll walk the recovery journey.
Cerebral ensures you get the best mental professionals around as they undergo a rigorous onboarding process. One incredible feature is the platform’s technology integration by offering telemedicine for these therapy sessions.
How is Cerebral OUD different?
One thing that makes Cerebral unique is its relationship with major insurance companies. This is a big deal, since it makes the platform’s membership plans available for insured individuals, saving them a big chunk of money.
Fortunately, the platform is also accessible to people without insurance because of its affordability at $195 per month.
Cerebral Pros and Cons
Best online OUD recovery programs: Cerebral vs Bicycle Health vs Ophelia
Here is how the Cerebral OUD service compares to its peers in the industry. The table pits Cerebral against popular alternatives, Ophelia and Bicycle Health.
Best online OUD recovery program: Cerebral OUD vs Bicycle Health vs Ophelia
|OUD plan cost|
plus cost of prescriptions
plus cost of prescriptions
|Screening tests included in cost?||✅||✅||✅|
|Regular meetings with prescriber?||✅||✅||❌|
|Prescription shipped to?||Local pharmacy||Local pharmacy||Local pharmacy|
|Support system (providers, coaches, etc)|
|Areas available in?||California|
(more coming soon!)
|Accepts insurance?||✅||✅||🟡 only for prescriptions.|
|What else can they treat?||Anxiety|
Alcohol Use Disorder
Our experience with Cerebral OUD
Taking the free emotional assessment
Something we loved about the platform was its simplicity on the sign-up page. There are a few steps to follow on the Cerebral platform to receive a plan curated for your OUD condition.
The initial free emotional assessment doesn’t take you right to the MAT plan, but not to fret. After the assessment, you’ll have your selection of an initial care team that will set up your one-hour intake appointment with your prescriber. During this, you’ll be evaluated for opioid use, as well as any other conditions.
If the MAT plan is deemed an appropriate treatment, you will then meet with their prescriber on a weekly basis for the next 3-5 weeks and eventually monthly for 15 minutes.
1. Register an account on the platform
The requirements to register are your email address, your phone number, and a secure password. After this, you’ll need to complete your details, including your full name, date of birth, and zip code.
2. Select the condition that describes you
Next, you’re provided with several conditions, from which you’re to select which one best describes your condition.
3. Take an online assessment.
Upon approval, you will have access to a free emotional assessment, where Cerebral will ask clinically tested questions to get an idea of your emotional well-being.
The questions are very similar to those that you’d find in a Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item depression scale (PHQ-9) or 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7).
4. Select a plan from the provided options.
After filling out all the questions, the platform will suggest five plans that would work best for your condition. These are; a Medication and Care Counseling plan where you meet once a month, a Medication and Therapy plan where you meet up to four times a month, a Medication and Coaching plan where you meet up to four times a month, and a therapy plan where you meet up to four times a month.
A glimpse at the Cerebral OUD treatment timeline
After you enroll, you’ll be able to select your personal care team comprised of a dedicated prescriber, care counselor, and coordinator. You’ll need to meet with your prescriber before you can see your care counselor.
You’ll then have your initial one-hour intake appointment with your prescriber. During this session, you’ll be evaluated and diagnosed for opioid use, as well as any other conditions. If the MAT plan is deemed an appropriate treatment, you’ll then meet with your prescriber on a weekly basis for the next 3-5 weeks and eventually monthly for 15 minutes.
During this time, your prescriber will monitor how you’re doing with the medication prescribed and adjust medication if and when needed. Each month, you can also sign up for monthly counseling sessions, during which you will work on things like coping skills and working towards recovery goals.
A dedicated support team will be available for 24/7 messaging to help you with any questions or concerns.
Remember, the service provided on the Cerebral OUD platform shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for emergency services. Always involve medical professionals when you experience a mental health emergency, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
How much does the Cerebral OUD plan cost?
While Cerebral offers other plans that do or do not include medication for anxiety, depression, and ADHD, the Cerebral OUD plan is $195 per month. This price includes the cost of at-home screening tests, which will be needed for some prescriber appointments.
Below is a breakdown of the other services that Cerebral can provide, should the MAT plan not be the right choice for you.
|Medication+Care Counselling Plan||Telemedicine appointments with your prescriber, plus telemedicine sessions with a Care Counselor||$99 per month|
|Medication+Therapy Plan||All that is provided in Medication+Care Counselling Plan, but instead of sessions with a Care Counselor, you’ll visit a licensed therapist||$325 per month|
|Therapy Plan||Weekly therapy sessions with a registered therapist||$259 per month|
|Nutrition-Only Plan||Monthly visits to a registered dietician||$69 per month|
|Medication-Assisted Treatment+ Counselling Plan||Monthly counselor sessions, plus regular visits with your prescriber||$195 per month|
How effective is Cerebral OUD?
Cerebral OUD works through a telehealth model, which has been studied extensively for over 20 years. Researchers attempting to establish how telehealth compares to the usual in-person care stated that the two have similar results. One study showed a decrease in negative cognitive symptoms in online cognitive behavior therapy cases.
However, with advances in technology and medicine growing by the day, it is expected that as cognitive telehealth continues its upward trajectory, more research will be required in this new way of handling opioid use disorders.
Despite being a relatively new actor in the cognitive telehealth industry, Cerebral OUD has been lauded by its users for its positive results. Unsurprisingly, over 90 percent of members who have enrolled for at least three weeks have been on time for their weekly prescriber sessions.
The verdict – Is Cerebral worth it for opioid dependence recovery?
Cerebral OUD stands as the better option for patients battling opioid dependence. Cerebral OUD’s working with major insurance companies is a plus for insurance holders, as this allows them only to pay copays and a $29 payment to access OUD management plans.
Even if you don’t have insurance, Cerebral’s OUD Medication-Based Plan is $195 a month, making it an affordable choice that you can access from the comfort of your home. The platform should be an obvious choice if you’re also battling insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
Cerebral OUD should NOT be used in the case of suicide ideation, pregnancy, or schizophrenia. Cerebral also cannot at this time treat patients who are not located in Colorado, Florida, or Washington. Their other plans, however, are offered in more states, should you be interested in a treatment plan that isn’t part of the MAT Plan.
Cerebral OUD FAQs: What to know before proceeding with the treatment
To commence telemedicine treatment, you will need to confirm your identity. This will involve uploading a recent portrait photo that clearly captures your face. Since the photo should represent yourself, it should be clear and without digital alterations. Sunglasses and similar obstructions should not feature in the photo. Then you’ll need to upload a photo ID that shows your full name, photo, and date of birth. Access to telemedicine will be available after these documents are approved.
Cerebral OUD is found in select states where the platform has licensed therapists, which are currently Colorado, Florida, and Washington. Continue to check in as there are more states coming soon that will be available for OUD treatment!
Cerebral OUD and insurance
Insurance comes into play in your prescriptions since your monthly subscription is charged separately from prescriptions. Of course, this may mean paying copays in some instances, and the amounts to be paid will depend on your insurance agreement.
If, for any reason, you want to opt out of your membership, you can cancel your membership plan details on the patient portal. This will be under the “My Account” page of the platform. Doing this will lead to the platform immediately suspending all medication and treatment plans. Your medical records will still be accessible on Cerebral’s patient portal even after the cancelation.