Using Pharmacotherapy to Treat Opiate Addiction
Patients with opioid use disorder who achieve abstinence through medically supervised opioid withdrawal or other means benefit from long-term treatment to prevent relapse. Long-term treatment should include psychotherapy and can include supportive medications (ie buprenorphine).
Treating Addiction with Partial Opioid Agonists
While opioid dependence has more treatment agents available than other abused drugs, none are curative. They can, however, markedly diminish withdrawal symptoms and craving, and block opioid effects due to lapses.
The most effective withdrawal method is substituting and tapering with an agonist like buprenorphine, which can alleviate untreated symptoms or substitute for agonists if not available. Shortening withdrawal by precipitating it with narcotic antagonists has been studied, but the methods are plagued by safety issues or persisting symptoms. Neither the withdrawal agents nor the methods are associated with better long-term outcome, which appears mostly related to post-detoxification treatment.
Excluding those with short-term habits, the best outcome occurs with long-term maintenance on methadone or buprenorphine accompanied by appropriate psychosocial interventions. Those with strong external motivation may do well on the antagonist naltrexone. Currently, optimum duration of maintenance on either is unclear. Better agents are needed to impact the brain changes related to addiction.
MAT Gives OUD Patients the Best Chance to Recover and Go Forward with Healthy Lives
The opioid epidemic is growing steadily nationwide and along with growing numbers of people suffering from OUD, opioid overdoses are claiming more lives every day. We have a national emergency. Because of this, government health officials are working hard to ensure that MAT services are widely accessible in all regions.
If you or somebody you love suffers from OUD, there’s hope. Whatever situation you find yourself in, health care professionals like those here at Savers Medical Group are working hard to ensure that every single person who suffers from OUD can access MAT. Contact us at 714-760-4043 to speak with an intake counselor.
Recovery is Possible. Let Us Guide You
Addiction only gets worse as time goes by. That’s why you should contact us now if you suspect that you or a loved one has a problem. Savers Addiction Medical Group is a leading provider of prevention, education, and outpatient treatment services for alcoholism, addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders. We can help you or a loved one recover and help your family heal, right now.
Some Drugs that Provide Effective Managing of Cravings
Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, which means it expels existing opioids from the opioid receptors in the brain and blocks other opioids from attaching, but it only partially binds to the opioid receptors. Buprenorphine prevents withdrawal for up to 72 hours. Though it does have a limited euphoric effect, it does not have the full effect of an opioid such as heroin or painkillers. Also, there’s a ceiling on the euphoric effect so that, even with increased dosage it will not produce a stronger euphoric effect. While there is some risk of Buprenorphine abuse, it is limited to those who don’t already have OUD.
Naltrexone, commonly prescribed under the brand name Vivitrol, is an antagonist, which means it fully blocks the opioid receptors and produces no euphoric effect. Because of this, it’s mainly used as a relapse-prevention drug and cannot prevent withdrawal symptoms. Patients must be opioid-free for at least 7-10 days before taking Naltrexone. Naltrexone is used for alcohol dependence as well as OUD.
You must seek medical detox before beginning Naltrexone treatment if you’ve taken an opioid drug within the past 7-10 days.
Getting Help From Our Center
We can help you or your loved one obtain initial sobriety in comfort, and then move toward long-term recovery with a supportive treatment regimen. Call us today at 714-760-4043.