Medications Used For Addiction

Knoxville, TN (PressExposure) June 24, 2009 -- Treatments for psychoactive substance addiction takes on many forms. One popular form is the use of therapies. Therapy sessions, may it be group therapy or client-centered, are there to assist a patient in overcoming his or her addiction. However, therapies are often not enough to help and stabilize a person from his/her addiction. This is because therapies are only used to treat the psychological effect of addiction, not its physical effects. Medications, as a form of adult and adolescent addiction treatment, are usually the ones used to address the physical dependence of a person from a substance and to avoid its withdrawal syndromes.

Nowadays, several medications are used to address drug and alcohol addiction. For drug addiction, medications such as methadone or buprenorphine are usually employed.

Medications for drug addiction

Other forms of treatment that are used as a substitute for illicit opiate drugs include replacement drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine. Although these drugs are themselves addictive, opioid dependency is so severe that a way to stabilize opioid use is required. Once stabilized, treatment enters maintenance or tapering phases.

* Methadone: Methadone is useful in the treatment of opioid dependence. It has cross-tolerance with other opioids including heroin and morphine and a long duration of effect: oral doses of methadone can stabilise patients by mitigating opioid withdrawal syndrome. Higher doses of methadone (60–80 mg+) can block the euphoric effects of heroin, morphine, and similar drugs. As a result, properly dosed methadone patients can reduce or stop altogether their use of these substances.

* Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine sublingual preparations as an adult and adolescent addiction treatment are often used in the management of opioid dependence. According to experts, buprenorphine is much more effective than methadone. Buprenorphine sublingual tablets have a long duration of action which may allow for dosing every two or three days, as tolerated by the patient, compared with the daily dosing required to prevent withdrawals with methadone.

The use of medication-assisted treatment in the management of opioid dependence is highly regulated, owing to the sometimes controversial nature of this aspect of harm reduction policy. In the United States, a special federal waiver is required to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction treatment on an outpatient basis. However, if the doctor meets none of the other clarifications, an eight-hour course is all that is required.

Medications for alcohol addiction or alcoholism

Other pharmacological treatments for alcohol addiction include drugs like naltrexone, disulfiram, acamprosate and topiramate. Rather than substituting for alcohol, these drugs are intended to reduce the desire to drink, either by directly reducing cravings as with acamprosate and topiramate, or by producing unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed, as with disulfiram. These drugs, as part of the many adult and adolescent addiction treatment, can be effective if treatment is maintained, but compliance can be an issue as alcoholic patients often forget to take their medication, or discontinue use because of excessive side effects. Additional drugs acting on glutamate neurotransmission such as modafinil, lamotrigine, gabapentin and memantine have also been proposed for use in treating addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

About Self Employed

Donna Sparks is a Professor and a Consultant Physician. Other than her clinical and local teaching commitments, she also continues to enjoy the privileges of research, writing and lecturing.

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Press Release Submitted On: June 24, 2009 at 4:16 am
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