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Comprehensive Guide to Addiction Treatment Medications

Comprehensive Guide to Addiction Treatment Medications

When someone has a drug addiction, many changes occur within the body that interfere with its normal functioning. What many people do not know is that these changes affect the brain and other vital organs. Within the brain, drug addiction impacts the areas for pleasure, stress, and decision making. This causes the individual to only feel pleasure from the drug, become anxious and stressed without the drug, and have less impulse control. Drug addiction also affects the portion of the brain that controls heart rate, sleeping, and breathing, which are essential to sustaining life.

While drug addiction can present changes within the body, it is important to know that this can be treated with medication assisted treatment; the combination of medication and different emotional and behavioral therapies. There are different types of FDA-approved medications for drug addiction including Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone. All of these medications also have different brand variations.

Follow along to learn more about how each medication assisted treatment could help you or a loved one successfully recover from drug addiction.  

·       Methadone

This opioid agonist medication acts on the opioid receptors on the brain, but it does not give someone the same sensations as opioids. It must be closely monitored by a doctor.

o   Benefits:

§  Effectively decreases the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms

§  Reduces cravings

§  Taken orally

o   Common side effects: Itching, swelling, nausea, seizures, hives, drowsiness, issues with an erection, menstruation irregularities, diminished sexual desire, hallucination, fever, confusion, shivering, increased heart rate, muscle stiffness, diarrhea, and loss of coordination.

It is important to talk to your doctor immediately when these side effects are present, or if anything else occurs out of the ordinary.

o   Different brand names for Methadone:

§  Dolophine: Methadone oral tablet

§  Methadose: Methadone oral tablet

·       Buprenorphine

This is a partial opioid agonist and antagonist, meaning that it attaches to the opioid receptors on the brain, and prohibits opioid effects. Sometimes, to get more effective results, this medication is combined with Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of opioids.

o   Benefits:

§  Successfully blocks withdrawal symptoms

§  Reduces cravings

§  Prevents other opioid effect

§  Can be taken orally as either a sublingual film or tablet form

o   Common side effects: Cough, dizziness, sweating, headache, low back or side pain, swelling, weight gain/loss, tingling sensations, nausea, sleep disturbances, strength loss, issues with bowel movements, and diarrhea.

Other less common side effects can occur, so it is important to know your body. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these or other side effects.

o   Different brand names containing Buprenorphine:

§  Suboxone: Sublingual film or tablet that contains both Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

§  Subutex: Sublingual Buprenorphine tablet.

§  Probuphine: Buprenorphine implant.

§  Sublocade: Extended-release Buprenorphine once a month injection.

§  Bunavail: Buccal (inner portion of the cheek) film that contains both Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

§  Cassipa: Sublingual film that contains both Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

§  Zubsolv: Sublingual tablet that contains both Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

·       Naltrexone

This medication blocks opioids to eliminate the effects associated with its use.

o   Benefits:

§  Eliminates opioid effects to decrease the desire of wanting to use them

§  Does not cause withdrawal symptoms.

o   Common side effects: Issues with the injection site such as pain, hard feeling, swelling, blisters, lumps, or a dark scab. Other side effects include liver damage, drowsiness, vomiting, pain in the joints, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, toothache, and cold symptoms.

If these side effects or others occur, it is important to contact your doctor immediately.

o   Different brand name for Naltrexone:

§  Vivitrol: Once a month extended-release Naltrexone injection in the gluteal (buttock) muscle.


If you or a loved one are seeking addiction treatment, it is important to know your options when it comes to medication assisted treatment. Your Suboxone doctor will determine which medication is right for you depending on the level of your addiction, your overall health, and your unique situation. This addiction treatment in conjunction with therapy and counseling has the potential to result a in successful recovery.

To further explore these medications, find Suboxone doctors near you, and discover other helpful resources, visit www.buprenorphine-doctors.com.

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What is Buprenorphine?
 Buprenorphine is an FDA approved opioid addiction treatment. Currently Subutex® & Suboxone® are the only Buprenorphine medications approved by the FDA. Buprenorphine itself is opioid itself, but the maximal effects are less than other more dangerous opioid agonist like methadone and herion. By producing enough agonist, individuals taking Buprenophine that have become addicted to other opioids are able to discontinue abuse with minimized withdrawl side-effects. In 1965, K.W. Bentley discovered the class of compounds synthesized from an alkaloid of thebaine, the opium poppy plant, known as Papaver somniferum. Among these semi-synthetic compounds is Buprenorphine - the first in a series of opioid agonists. Many were more than 1000 times more effective than the analgesic, morphine. In the 1980s, Reckitt & Colman, today known as Reckitt Benckiser, introduced Buprenorphine hydrochloride for sale. Buprenorphine, an analgesic, was first made in sublingual tablets of 0.2 mg (Temgesic). It was also made as an injectable of 0.3 mg/ml (Buprenex). Read More...

What is Suboxone®?
 Suboxone® is the first narcotic drug available for prescription from a doctor's office for use in the treatment of opioid dependence under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 or DATA 2000. The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, which itself is a partial opioid agonist. This means the the opioid effects and withdrawal symptoms from Buprenorphine are less than other full opioid agonists such as heroin, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and others. Suboxone, taken as sublingual tablets or "under the tongue", has been shown to help in suppressing opioid withdrawal symptoms, decrease illicit opioid cravings and use, and under the correct supervision can help with overcoming an opioid dependence. Suboxone comes in 2mg and 8mg sizes of sublingual tablet form. Suboxone contains naloxone, which blocks the effects of medicines and drugs like methadone, morphine, and heroin. This is added to prevent people from injecting Suboxone and improper use of the medication. Injecting naloxone can cause withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is the most commonly prescribed medication and given to patients during the maintenance phase of treatment. Subutex is typically given during the first couple of treatment. Because Suboxone has a lower potential for overdose and abuse, unlike methadone, Certified Doctors are able to prescribe take home supplies of Suboxone in certain circumstances. Read More...

The Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
 Since 1949, the 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous has been the dominant way we think about facing and fighting addiction. Many people have successfully used this community- and willpower-based approach to escaping addiction. However, countless others have tried it, and relapsed. With the powerful hold that opioid addiction has on so many people in America, it’s time to face addiction with an equally powerful—and proven—method: medication-assisted treatment (or MAT). MAT is the practice of using drugs like suboxone and subutex to help people dependent on painkillers gradually ease themselves off their addiction. While these treatments have been available for many years, there is a stigma to relying on these medications to help fight addiction rather than the traditional willpower and community approach of a 12-step program. Here are five benefits to using an MAT approach to ending opioid dependency:
1. MAT is proven to have better results than conventional programs alone.
2. MAT stops withdrawal symptoms so patients can live a normal life.
3. MAT is flexible, allowing medication to be taken at home or in a clinic
4. MAT offers multiple drugs (like suboxone and buprenorphine) to find what works for you
5. It’s easy to find an MAT/suboxone provider near you Read More...