Medications for Opiate Use Disorder

Vivitrol – A once monthly injection medication used to prevent relapse in individuals with opiod dependence, and sometimes alcohol dependence.  An individual must be physiologically free from opiods in order to receive the medication or immediate withdrawal symptoms will occur.  Vivitrol blocks craving for opiods and the pleasurable effects of using opiods.  This medication also known as naltrexone, binds to opiate receptors in the brain and is classified as opiod antagonist.  

Suboxone – A combination drug, comprised of two substances, delivered orally as a sublingual film.  This medication is a combination of buprehorphine, a relatively mild opiate analgesic used at low doses to manage mild to moderate levels of pain. The other ingredient is naloxone (Narcan), an opiate antagonist used to reverse or eliminate the effects of opiates in an individual’s system.  Since 2002, Suboxone has been used in the treatment of opiod addiction.  Suboxone limits withdrawal symptoms and decreases frequency and intensity of cravings in individuals experiencing opiod use disorder.

Methadone – a synthetic opiod medication taken once daily in either pill, liquid or wafer form.  It decreases the painful symptoms of opiod withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of using opiate-based medications and illicit drugs such as heroin.  Methadone is approved for use in detoxification as well as maintenance therapy when combined with a comprehensive treatment program.

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