There are three FDA-approved medications that can be used to treat an opioid addiction1:
- Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. It produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression at low to moderate doses. With buprenorphine, however, these effects are weaker than full opioid agonists such as methadone. As with all medications used in MAT, buprenorphine should be prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide patients with a whole-person approach.
- Naltrexone is not an opioid, is not addictive, and does not cause withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine.
- Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Methadone reduces opioid craving and withdrawal and blunts or blocks the effects of opioids. When taken as prescribed, methadone is safe and effective. Methadone helps individuals achieve and sustain recovery and to reclaim active and meaningful lives. Methadone is one component of a comprehensive treatment plan, which includes counseling and other behavioral health therapies to provide patients with a whole-person approach.
Counseling and behavioral therapies
Psychosocial services are personalized to every individual. This may include individual or group counseling, individual or group therapy or mutual help groups or case management.
Coordination of treatment with other medical needs
People with OUD are at higher risk for developing one or more primary conditions or chronic diseases. Because co-occurring disorders or chronic illnesses may require multiple medications, it is important to understand the serious adverse effects of combining medications used in MAT with other medications and to ensure coordination of care with other providers.