Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid use disorders and addiction to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. People may safely take medications used in medication-assisted treatment for months, years, several years, or even a lifetime. Plans to stop a medication must always be discussed with a doctor.
Methadone tricks the brain into thinking it’s still getting the abused drug. In fact, the person is not getting high from it and feels normal, so withdrawal doesn’t occur.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women must inform their treatment provider before taking methadone. It is the only drug used in medication-assisted treatment approved for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Like methadone, buprenorphine suppresses and reduces cravings for the abused drug. It can come in a pill form or sublingual tablet that is placed under the tongue.
Naltrexone works differently than methadone and buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid dependency. If a person using naltrexone relapses and uses the abused drug, naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of the abused drug and prevents feelings of euphoria.
Opioid Overdose Prevention Medication
FDA approved naloxone, an injectable drug used to prevent an opioid overdose. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), naloxone is one of a number of medications considered essential to a functioning health care system.