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3 Most Common Medications Used in Heroin Rehab

treating heroin addiction with medications

Methadone is the oldest medication used in heroin addiction treatment.

Heroin addiction is a complex illness that often requires a combination of medical care, support and medication in treatment. Patients in heroin rehab often receive medications to help curb cravings, stop withdrawal symptoms or treat other medical issues while they are in recovery. Some of the most common medications in heroin rehab include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

Each of these medications acts upon various elements of the brain and the body to help the user feel more comfortable during heroin addiction treatment.

Methadone

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Methadone suppresses withdrawal symptoms while reducing cravings so that the user can be at ease during the early stages of heroin addiction recovery. The CDC states that, “Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) can help injection drug users reduce or stop injecting and return to productive lives.”

Methadone works by blocking the effects of opiates to produce a calming effect for the user. This medication can help to reduce the risk of relapse for those in heroin rehab while restoring a sense of stability so that the user can work or participate in normal activities.

Buprenorphine

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Buprenorphine is a “long acting partial agonist that acts on the same receptors as heroin and morphine, relieving drug cravings without producing the same intense high or dangerous side effects.” This medication is commonly prescribed in heroin rehab to help the user adjust to life without heroin without having to feel the serious cravings to use.

Buprenorphine has been credited with helping users to seek treatment earlier on because they know that they can have access to medications in heroin rehab that will not force them to feel the terrible effects of withdrawal. This affordable and innovative medication makes addiction treatment possible for a wide range of users who otherwise may not have been able to afford help or care.

Naltrexone

This medication is an opioid blocker that prevents the user from feeling any of the euphoric elements of using opiates such as heroin. Naltrexone can be highly effective in the promotion of abstinence as it works to prevent the user from feeling the joyful or exciting effects of the drug and essentially makes heroin use no longer pleasant.

Naltrexone is credited with helping to manage opiate addiction by taking away the reward that comes with getting high. The medication is most commonly either combined with buprenorphine or used as an after effect to help in the prevention of relapse. Naltrexone is provided orally every 1 to 3 days or via an injection once a month.

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