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What FDA-Approved Medications Treat Opioid Dependency?


One of the side effects of abusing opioids is addiction, and it’s become a serious problem within the United States. If you find yourself failing to quit using opioids, you should seek help as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are several medications that can be used to treat opioid addiction. The sooner you look for help, the sooner you can get access to these medications. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the three main active ingredients found in FDA-approved medications for treating opioid dependency are naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine. Let’s take a closer look at these three medications used to treat opioids.


Buprenorphine is the first medication used to treat opioid addiction we will discuss today. The only way to access this medication is to get a prescription from a doctor. In most instances, medications used for the treatment of opioids should only be accessed via special Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). However, you can get buprenorphine from medical professionals who have completed specialized training, which makes it more accessible. Technically, this medicine is a synthetic opioid. Unlike other opioid drugs, buprenorphine partially stimulates opioid receptors. While this doesn’t have the same effects as taking the drug you’re addicted to, it stops intense withdrawal signs, making it easier for you to wean yourself off of opioids.


The general principle of treating opioid addiction is to replace the drug you’ll be addicted to with another one that has fewer side effects and is less addictive. Once initial addiction wears off, you will need to wean yourself off the treatment drug too. This process is how methadone is used. Replacing an opioid with a different drug reduces withdrawal symptoms. Patients who use methadone display positive behavioral changes. For instance, there is a reduced incidence of crime and consumption of other related drugs. Treatment with methadone should be done under the close supervision of a medical professional.


Unlike the first two drugs, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It’s not addictive, and it won’t cause withdrawal symptoms. Being an opioid antagonist, naltrexone prevents opioid drugs from producing an intense high. Over time, this enables users to quit because the high becomes less pleasurable. Naltrexone can also be used for alcohol use disorders. It blocks mu-opioid receptors, which are responsible for the euphoria associated with opioid use. Like other drugs used to treat opioid disorders, this drug should be taken under the supervision of an OTP.

These are some of the drugs used to treat opioid addiction and the ways they can help you if you are struggling. Are you struggling with addiction? Get in touch with us today for a treatment option and get better.

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