, CA (PressExposure) May 03, 2009 -- Aside from therapy and group therapy as a form of heroin addiction treatment, there are also medications used for this reason. One of the most popular heroin addiction treatment used today is the use of Naltrexone. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used primarily in the management of alcohol dependence and opioid dependence. As heroin being one of the known drugs associated with opioid substances, naltrexone can also work as its treatment.
Naltrexone as heroin addiction treatment
Naltrexone as heroin addiction treatment helps patients overcome urges to abuse opiates by blocking the drugsâ euphoric effects. Some patients do well with it, but the oral formulation, the only one available to date, has a drawback. It must be taken daily, and a patient whose craving becomes overwhelming can obtain opiate euphoria simply by skipping a dose before resuming abuse.
Naltrexone for Rapid Detoxification
Naltrexone is sometimes used for rapid detoxification ("rapid detox") regimens for opioid or heroin dependence. The principle of rapid detoxification is to induce opioid-receptor blockade while the patient is in a state of impaired consciousness so as to attenuate the withdrawal symptoms experienced by the patient.
Rapid detoxification under general anesthesia involves an unconscious patient, requires intubation, and external ventilation. Rapid detoxification is also possible under sedation. The rapid detoxification procedure is followed by oral naltrexone daily for up to 12 months for opioid dependence management.
Naltrexone Implants for Rapid Detoxification
There is a number of practitioners who will use a naltrexone implant placed in the lower abdomen, and more rarely, in the posterior to replace the oral naltrexone. This implant procedure has not been shown scientifically to be successful in "curing" the subject of their addiction, though it does provide a better solution than oral naltrexone for medication compliance reasons.There is currently scientific disagreement as to whether this procedure should be performed under local or general anesthesia, due to the rapid, and sometimes severe, withdrawal that occurs from the naltrexone displacing the opiates from the receptor sites.
Criticism of Naltrexone for Rapid Detoxification Rapid detoxification has been criticized by some for its questionable efficacy in long-term opioid dependence management. Rapid detoxification has often been misrepresented as a one-off "cure" for opioid dependence, when it is only intended as the initial step in an overall drug rehabilitation regimen. Rapid detoxification is effective for short-term opioid detoxification, but is approximately 10 times more expensive than conventional detoxification procedures.