Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Which Drug Is Used To Treat Opiate Addiction

Drug Withdrawal And Detox

Drug used to treat opioid addiction not allowed in Tennessee

During the initial stages of recovery, the body must rid itself of drugs. This is called the detox period. Detox can last several days to several weeks depending on the drug. Coping with withdrawal symptoms is often the most challenging part of detox. During detox, former drug users experience many uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating

Different medications are used to treat different withdrawal symptoms. Some of the drugs that physicians prescribe in detox include:

  • Benzodiazepines

    These drugs reduce anxiety and irritability. Anxiety is a common symptom of withdrawal from many drugs, including Cocaine and Opiates like Heroin. Benzos have a sedative effect, which helps ease alcohol withdrawals. Doctors are cautious about prescribing Benzos because they are addictive.

  • Antidepressants

    Without drugs, an addicted person cannot produce natural amounts of happiness-inducing chemicals in their brain. Because theyve relied on drugs to keep them happy for so long, people in detox often experience depression. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Prozac can help relieve these feelings until the brain is able to produce happiness-inducing chemicals on its own again.

  • Clonidine

    Used to treat alcohol and Opiate withdrawals, Clonidine reduces sweating, cramps, muscle aches and anxiety. Clonidine can also stop tremors and seizures.

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Medication For Opioid Addiction

The symptoms of withdrawal are a major reason for relapse and further prescription drug abuse. But medications can help you through opioid withdrawal and prevent symptoms. After the initial detox, youâre at risk for relapse. Experts say psychological and social factors are the main drivers that could push you back to using. Stress and situations that remind your brain of the pleasure the drug can bring are common triggers. Successful, lifelong therapy to stay opioid-free usually involves long-term medication as well as counseling or talk therapy programs.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid that affects the same parts of your brain as the drug youâre having a problem with, but it doesnât get you high. You can take it every day, but you have to go to a special clinic to get it. The correct dose prevents withdrawal symptoms and eases drug cravings.

Buprenorphine is another medication that is approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. It hits the same receptors in your brain, but not as strongly. It has less risk of lethal overdose, so experts often favor it. It is also available in combination with naloxone.

It comes in several forms:

Lofexidine hydrochloride is not an opioid, but you can use it to ease symptoms for a rapid detoxification. It has been approved for use for up to 14 days.

Clonidine is similar to lofexadine and alsoused to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

What Are The Different Medications Used To Help Treat Addiction Treatment


When this drug is administered properly, it is included in counseling treatment and always is provided in a clinical setting when used to treat opioid use disorders. Methadone helps to address cravings and relieve withdrawal. The medication buprenorphine also assists in relieving opioid cravings without contributing the same high as various other opioid drugs.

Methadone is typically prescribed by many physicians from their office settings and is generally a daily dose that is placed underneath the tongue. Methadone can also be delivered as a once-a-month injection or even through thin tubes that are inserted underneath the skin. This lasts for six months. Both medications activate opioid receptors in the body that suppress cravings.

Methadone and buprenorphine are similar and effective in side effects and safety. These medications are generally used for maintenance treatment. They can also be utilized to taper an individual off of opioids. However, it is more common for patients to relapse, and physicians must try something different with the patients that relapse. Patients that are extremely motivated and have decent social support normally tend to perform better with such therapies.


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Living With Opioid Addiction

The first step toward recovery is recognizing that you have a problem with opioids. If you think you are addicted to them, know that there is help for you. The first step in breaking addiction is realizing that you control your own behavior.

The following steps will help you fight your addiction:

  • Commit to quitting. Take control of your behavior and commit to fighting your addictions.
  • Get help from your doctor. They can be your biggest ally, even if youre trying to quit a drug they prescribed. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medicine that will help ease your cravings for the addictive drug. Talking with your doctor or a counselor about your problems and your drug use can be helpful, too.
  • Get support. Certain organizations are dedicated to helping people who have addictions. They want you to succeed and will give you the tools and support you need to quit and move on with your life. Ask your family and friends for support, too.

What Causes Opioid Addiction

Medications Used To Treat Heroin Withdrawal

Opioid drugs alter your brain by creating artificial endorphins. Besides blocking pain, these endorphins make you feel good. Too much opioid use can cause your brain to rely on these artificial endorphins. Once your brain does this, it can even stop producing its own endorphins. The longer you use opioids, the more likely this is to happen. You also will need more opioids over time because of drug tolerance.

Drug tolerance is when your body, over time, gets used to the effects of a drug. As this happens, you may need to take a higher dose of the drug to get the same effect. When you take opioids over time, you need a higher dose to get the same pain relief.

If you stop using an opioid for a period of time, your tolerance will begin to fade. If you need to begin taking it again, you most likely will not need your former higher dose. That can be too much for the body to take. If you stop taking a medication, and then resume, talk to your doctor about dosage.

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Addressing Myths About Medications

Methadone and buprenorphine DO NOT substitute one addiction for another. When someone is treated for an opioid addiction, the dosage of medication used does not get them highit helps reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal. These medications restore balance to the brain circuits affected by addiction, allowing the patients brain to heal while working toward recovery.

Diversion of buprenorphine is uncommon when it does occur it is primarily used for managing withdrawal.11,12 Diversion of prescription pain relievers, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, is far more common in 2014, buprenorphine made up less than 1 percent of all reported drugs diverted in the U.S.13

Conclusion And Future Directions

Opioid addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease, being a major medical and social problem. In the past 12 years, several countries are suffering a rise in opioid consumption, not only in its recreative use but also in opioid prescriptions and related misuse and abuse . The high rate of relapse observed in opioid addicts forces the use of maintenance therapy with substitution opiates to reduce damage and to avoid the consumption of illegal opioids, such as heroin. Although the currently approved pharmacotherapies for opioid addiction are effective and encourage patients to stay in treatment, there is still much room for improvement . Methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone are currently the most effective treatments to attenuate the illicit intake of opioids and, together with psychosocial therapy, constitute the best combination to succeed in the treatment . The number of new pharmacological targets is constantly increasing, but frequently, initially promising preclinical studies result in failure in the clinical trials. However, we should be optimistic, since great advances have been made in recent years, but much remains to be improved in a disease as important and complex as opiate addiction.

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About Medications For Addiction Treatment

I wish that all families would at least consider investigating medication-assisted treatment and reading about whats out there, says Alicia Murray, DO, Board-certified Addiction Psychiatrist. I think, unfortunately, there is still stigma about medications. But what we want people to see is that were actually changing the functioning of the patient.

Essentially, medications for addiction treatment can help get a patient back on track to meeting the demands of life getting into a healthy routine, showing up for work and being the sibling, spouse or parent that they once were. If we can change that with medication-assisted treatment and with counseling, says Murray, thats so valuable.

Part of the reason its so hard to overcome an opioid addiction is that it rewires your brain to focus almost exclusively on the drug over anything else, and, as a result, produces extreme cravings and withdrawal symptoms. By helping to reduce those feelings of cravings and withdrawal, medication-assisted treatment can help your son or daughters brain stop thinking constantly about the drug and focus on returning to a healthier life.

As a parent, you want to explore all opportunities to get your child help for opioid addiction, and get them closer and closer to functioning as a healthy adult holding down a job, keeping a regular schedule and tapering, and eventually, stopping their misuse of opioids. Medication-assisted treatment helps them do that.

  • Naltrexone

Mat And Opioid Addiction Treatment At Whitesands

Why the drug that can help treat opioid addiction is hard to prescribe

At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, the preferred drugs used to treat opiate addiction during MAT are Suboxone, utilized in combination with counseling and therapy. We prefer using Suboxone rather than methadone, as this newer medication is found to be more effective during the recovery process and is also less habit-forming. Please contact us today or visit one of our facilities to learn more.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at . Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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Mixing Methadone With Herbal Remedies And Supplements

There may be a problem taking St John’s wort with methadone. It can stop the methadone from reducing your withdrawal symptoms properly.

It’s not possible to say whether other herbal medicines and supplements are safe to take with methadone. They’re not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They’re generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.

Other Detoxification Agents And Methods


The antihypertensive, 2-adrenergic agonist drug clonidine has been used to facilitate opioid withdrawal in both inpatient and outpatient settings for over 25 years.- It works by binding to 2 autoreceptors in the locus coeruleus and suppressing its hyperactivity during withdrawal Doses of 0.4 to 1.2 mg/day or higher reduce many of the autonomic components of the opioid withdrawal syndrome, but symptoms such as insomnia, lethargy, muscle aches, and restlessness may not be adequately handled.

Compared with methadone-aided withdrawal, clonidine has more side effects, especially hypotension, but is less likely to lead to post-withdrawal rebound. Dropouts are more likely to occur early with clonidine and later with methadone. In a study of heroin detoxification, buprenorphine did better on retention, heroin use, and withdrawal severity than the clonidine group. Since clonidine has mild analgesic effects, added analgesia may not be needed during the withdrawal period for medical opioid addicts.


Hypotensive effects may limit the optimal dosing of clonidine for opioid withdrawal. Lofexidine, an analogue of clonidine, has been approved in the UK and may be as effective as clonidine for opioid withdrawal with less hypotension and sedation., Combining lofexidine with low-dose naloxone appears to improve retention symptoms and time to relapse.,-

Supportive measures

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Opiate Effects And Abuse

Opiates produce euphoric and tranquil effects when taken in amounts that are larger than prescribed. The pleasant, care-free feelings a person experiences when taking these drugs are often what leads to destructive patterns of abuse.

Opiate addiction is often characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. For example, in an attempt to obtain more of the drug, a person may visit multiple doctors in order to get new prescriptions, otherwise known as doctor shopping.

The pathological urges to use these drugs can also drive people to borrow, buy, or steal the drugs from friends and family. As an act of desperation, some individuals may resort to seeking out Heroin, an illegal Opioid that is commonly purchased on the streets. Despite the well-known dangers of Heroin, it is often easier and cheaper to obtain than Opioid pills.

In one survey, 94% of respondents said they chose to use Heroin over prescription Painkillers because it was cheaper and easier to get.

What Are The Treatments For Opioid Misuse And Addiction

Which Drug Is Used To Treat Opiate Addiction?

Treatments for opioid misuse and addiction include:

  • Medicines
  • Counseling and behavioral therapies
  • Medication-assisted therapy , which includes medicines, counseling, and behavioral therapies. This offers a “whole patient” approach to treatment, which can increase your chance of a successful recovery.
  • Residential and hospital-based treatment

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Opioid Support And Aftercare

Support and aftercare following treatment for opioid use disorder are important. This often includes long-term maintenance medications to support sobriety, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone.24 Each of these medications works differently, but they all achieve the same goal of treating OUD by helping a person to maintain sobriety by increasing the likelihood of a person staying in treatment and improving recovery outcomes.24

Methadone can be used long-term to reduce opioid cravings and block the effects of any opioids that are taken. It activates the same areas of the brain as other opioids but does not cause euphoria or a high.24 Since methadone is long-acting, it needs to be taken only once a day, allowing people to function normally while on this medication.16

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine, a weak opioid, and naloxone, an opioid blocker.16 When Suboxone is taken as prescribed, only the buprenorphine has an effect. If taken differently than prescribed, such as injected, the naloxone will dominate, and it will induce severe withdrawal symptoms.16 Suboxone functions similarly to methadone in that it lessens cravings and works effectively when taken properly.24

Many people find that attending mutual-help groups is a great way to develop a sober support group and maintain sobriety after completing treatment.

Medical Detox And Rehab

Some people choose to detox on their own. This is not only harder but also more dangerous than detoxing with a doctor. Medical detox is the best way to get sober in a safe, comfortable environment. For those addicted to alcohol or Benzos, medical detox is a must.

A supervised detox is the first step in treating any type of addiction.

A supervised detox can alleviate health issues. Physicians track the patients heart rate, temperature, breathing rate, and fluid levels. Physicians help relieve any discomfort the patient may be feeling. They also adjust any medication doses according to the patients needs and make long-term plans for medication. Those with separate health issues should also seek medical detox. Withdrawals can complicate problems like high blood pressure. A physician can prevent any issues that may arise from attempting to detox alone.

Break free from addiction.

Detox is often a part of inpatient rehabs. In most cases, inpatient rehab takes 30 to 90 days. The first week consists of closely observed detox. Rehab includes other treatments, such as behavioral therapy, to make recovery more successful. If you or a loved one wants to explore rehab options, contact a treatment provider now.

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Clinically Reviewed:

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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Discontinuation Of Buprenorphine Maintenance

While there is no legal limit to the length of buprenorphine maintenance, many patients ask to be withdrawn a few months after being maintained. The usual reasons are desire to be off all narcotics or the cost. Patients often have an unrealistic expectation of how easy it will be to remain abstinent, and many will relapse within a short period.

Patients should be encouraged to remain on maintenance and, when possible, alternative solutions sought for issues like cost, eg, reducing frequency of visits, or exploring insurance options. There is no adequate data on the optimal length of time each patient must be judged individually using issues such as previous relapses, addiction history, and lifestyle stability. It is not uncommon to need a number of episodes of opioid maintenance or even long-term maintenance.

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Do You Need Help For Opiate Withdrawal

What Is The Best Opiate Addiction Treatment?

If you need opiate withdrawal treatmentor if you would like to learn more about the medications provided at inpatient rehab centers for this particular conditioncall today and speak with a trained addiction treatment counselor. We can help you learn more about your treatment needs and find a facility where you can receive opiate addiction and dependence help.

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What Treatments Are Available For Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, and many people continue taking these drugs to avoid unpleasant symptoms, or they try to manage these symptoms on their own. However, medical treatment in a controlled environment can make you more comfortable and lead to a greater chance of success.

Mild withdrawal can be treated with acetaminophen , aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Plenty of fluids and rest are important. Medications such as loperamide can help with diarrhea and hydroxyzine may ease nausea.

More intense withdrawal symptoms may require hospitalization and other medications. One medication used primarily in the inpatient setting is clonidine. Clonidine can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms by . Clonidine is especially effective at reducing:

  • anxiety
  • tears
  • runny nose

Suboxone is a combination of a milder opioid and an opioid blocker that does not produce many of the addictive effects of other opioids. The opioid blocker works mostly in the stomach to prevent constipation. If injected it will cause immediate withdrawal, so the combination is less likely to be abused than other formulations. When taken by mouth, this combination can be used to treat symptoms of withdrawal and can shorten the intensity and length of detoxification from other, more dangerous, opioids.

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