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Medication for Opioid Dependency Treatment

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There are two forms of opiate addiction: addiction to illegal drugs, such as heroin, and addiction to prescription medicines that contain an opiate — a substance typically used to relieve chronic or acute pain. Heroin addiction accounts for around 1 million opiate addictions in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This figure does not encompass the number of people abusing prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and other analgesics.

Did You Know?

Opiate abuse generally increases more rapidly than abuse of other types of illicit drugs; however, only about 25 percent of opioid addicts seek treatment. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacogenetics and Genomics.

Commonly Abused Opioids

Other examples of commonly abused prescription opioid pain medications include:

If you are considering or actively seeking help for your opioid addiction, call us today on for reference to a luxury treatment facility. Our expert advisors on our helpline are available 24/7 to take your calls.

Did You Know?

Physicians prescribe opioid medications for pain control and, at times, to treat several other health conditions, such as excessive coughing. Many people get an addiction without intentionally abusing these drugs; rather, addiction develops after extended use and dosage increase when tolerance occurs.

Opioid Addiction Medication

Medications are used to prevent the occurrence of or reduce the discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms and as replacements to illegal drugs. Although some replacement medications have been found to be very effective for a long time, new medications offering promising results have emerged.


Methadone has been extensively used for opiate addiction treatment since the 1960s. It has helped a large number of opiate-dependent individuals quit using opiates entirely or replace their illegal drug use with a manageable medication. Although methadone is used to relieve withdrawal symptoms during the early stages of detoxification, it is widely known for its efficacy in long-term maintenance.

The most common treatment strategy is that patients make daily visits to a licensed health clinic to get a dose of methadone to fight off withdrawal symptoms and cravings. In theory, patients also receive psychosocial support, such as drug testing, to confirm abstinence from other pharmacologic drugs. Although this is the desired method, many programs do not practice it but instead only provide a regular supply of methadone for oral administration.

Levo-Alpha Acetyl Methadol (LAAM)

LAAM is used as an alternative to methadone. Quite a few people prefer LAAM to methadone because it entails relatively less frequent intake, reducing a patient’s daily visit to a clinic and thereby allowing for integration into rehabilitative activities. LAAM treatment results are similar to those of methadone when it comes to opioid use reduction. Better outcomes result when patients stay on LAAM treatments for longer periods of time.


Subutex and Suboxone are two relatively new forms of buprenorphine approved for clinic-based treatment of opioid addiction and abuse. These substances are used for both maintenance and detoxification. These drugs come in tablet form and are available for self-administration. Many patients report better compliance and results when they are treated with buprenorphine even if they faltered previously with methadone or other treatment methods.


Experts at Stanford University School of Medicine consider ondansetron as a new medicine to treat opiate dependency. They have found out that this drug is capable of addressing opioid withdrawal symptoms while showing little possibility for the occurrence of severe side effects. In addition, this drug is available everywhere and is not addictive. Ondansetron has been approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting.

If you are wondering which opioid addiction medication is right for you, call our hotline on for assistance. This helpline is staffed with professional advisors who can give expert advice and reference to a network of top-of-the-line treatment facilities.

Did You Know?

Using medications to treat substance abuse has been criticized despite the fact that this method has been proven effective in many studies.

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The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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