Medication assisted treatment for opiate addiction is a method for treating an opiate addiction that incorporates the use of prescription medication along with counseling and other assistance.
A treatment program that includes the use of medication is often the best choice for opiate addiction treatment.
If a person is addicted to opioid drugs, medicine may allow the addict to regain a healthy state of mind, free of drug-induced highs and lows. It can rid the person from thinking about the drug all the time. It may reduce problems associated with craving and withdrawal. These changes could give the person the opportunity to concentrate on the changes in lifestyle that lead back to healthy living.
Taking medication for opiate addiction is similar to taking medication to control heart disease or diabetes. It is NOT the same as replacing one habit forming drug for another. If used correctly, the medication does NOT create a new addiction. It helps people control their dependency so that the positive aspects of recovery can be maintained.
The 3 primary options for medication used in treatment of opiate addiction are methadone and buprenorphine. Occasionally another medication, called naltrexone, may be used. The cost for the different types of medications can vary, this need to be considered when choosing a treatment option.
Methadone and buprenorphine work by fooling the brain into thinking that it is still receiving the problem opioid. The person taking the medicine does not feel high and withdrawal does not occur. Methadone and buprenorphine may also lessen cravings.
Naltrexone will help to overcome addiction in a completely different way. It prevents the effect of opioid drugs. This removes the sensation of getting high if the particular drug that has caused problems is used. This feature makes naltrexone a good choice in the prevention of relapse.
All 3 of these medications have a similar beneficial impact in that they reduce problematic opiate addiction behavior.
All come in pill form. Methadone also comes as a liquid and a wafer. Methadone must be taken daily. The other 2 medications are taken daily at first then after a period of time, buprenorphine is taken every other day, and doses of naltrexone are taken every 2-3 days.
Methadone used to treat opiate addiction may only be dispensed at specially registered addiction treatment centers. Buprenorphine and naltrexone are dispensed at addiction treatment centers or may be prescribed by specially approved doctors. Some patients need to go to a treatment center or doctor’s office every time they have to take their medication. People who are consistent in recovery may be prescribed a quantity of medicine for them to take at their home.