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Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has helped
countless numbers of people with the difficult addiction to opioid
drugs. Treatment continues to improve as new medications are developed
and older ones are improved.
The outlook is especially positive when money is no object and rigid
rules and guidelines set forth by insurance companies don’t stand in the
way of the latest cutting-edge treatment.
Here is some of the latest news about medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is an opioid-based medication that produces much weaker
euphoric effects than heroin or morphine. Although it isn’t new to the
treatment world, it is worth a mention for its ability to markedly
diminish extreme cycles of cravings and withdrawal symptoms, thus
substantially decreasing the risk of relapse.
The good news is that buprenorphine is now available in a monthly
injection, which means users are no longer required to take a pill every
Also relatively new is Probuphine, a matchstick-like insert that
slips under the skin and releases a constant, low dose of buprenorphine
into the body for several months.
Although research is limited, it appears that clonadine and other
Alpha-2 adrenergic agonists are useful for minimizing the severity of
opioid withdrawal, as well as the duration of detoxification.
Lofexidine hydrochloride is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist approved in
the U.K. People who use lofexidine are able to detox much faster than
those who use buprenorphine. Withdrawal symptoms are minimized but not
completely eliminated; however, psychological cravings aren’t
Unlike buprenorphine, clonidine and lofexidine contain no narcotics.
Naltrexone is a commonly used drug that blocks the effects of opioid
drugs and alcohol. It has helped many opioid addicts and alcoholics
Newer research indicates that benefits are increased and the duration
of withdrawal symptoms is shortened when naltrexone is combined with
Cassipa, which contains naloxone and buprenophine, is a sublingual
film applied under the tongue. Regular use reduces cravings and
withdrawal symptoms without the unpleasant cycle of highs and lows
generally associated with opioid addiction.
Although kratom has been used in Asia for centuries, some addiction
specialists think the herbal pain reliever is an important weapon in the
fight against opioid addiction. It has a large following among people
who believe it has helped them manage the pain and discomfort of opioid
Others are concerned, however, that kratom may be addictive, and that
it can induce respiratory depression, including slow, shallow
breathing, and may potentially stop breathing completely.
The bottom line is that more research is needed and the herb, which
is illegal in some countries, should be used great care. A qualified
treatment center can advise you on its use.