What is Opioid Addictions?
Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that can be difficult to treat. However, there are effective treatments available, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is a combination of medication and counseling that can help people overcome their addiction and live a healthy and productive life.
There are three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid addiction: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. These medications work in different ways, but they all have the same goal: to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, so that people can focus on their recovery.
- Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, but it does not produce the same euphoric effects as other opioids. Buprenorphine is available in two forms: Suboxone and Subutex. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which blocks the effects of other opioids. Subutex is only buprenorphine.
- Methadone is a full opioid agonist, which means that it produces the same euphoric effects as other opioids. However, methadone is also a long-acting medication, which means that it provides sustained relief from withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Methadone is typically taken once a day in a clinic setting.
- Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of opioids. Naltrexone is available in two forms: oral tablets and injectable implants. The oral tablets are taken once a day, while the injectable implants last for up to three months.
MAT is most effective when it is combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies. Counseling can help people understand their addiction and develop coping skills to stay sober. Other behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can also be helpful.
There is a growing body of evidence that MAT is an effective treatment for opioid addiction. A 2018 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that MAT was associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of death from overdose. Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017, found that MAT was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of relapse.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, there is help available. MAT can be a life-saving treatment, and it can help people overcome their addiction and live a healthy and productive life.
Here are some links to studies that support the effectiveness of MAT for opioid addiction:
- Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder: https://www.samhsa.gov/medications-substance-use-disorders
- Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Review of the Evidence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5621124/
- Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5506226/
If you are interested in learning more about MAT, or if you are looking for a treatment provider, please visit the following websites:
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/
You can also call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for more information.