The Washington Post notes that long-term methadone and buprenorphine maintenance are stables to heroin addiction. These medications bind to the opioid receptors in the brain and suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings for drugs. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Norwegian Center for Addiction Research found that a substitute for heroin in the brain may be highly effective by blocking the drug’s effects on the brain’s opioid receptors. The study randomly assigned 159 opioid-addicted individuals to drug counseling, along with either daily injections of buprenorphine or monthly injections of an extended release medication called naltrexone.
Medlineplus, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, states that naltrexone is prescribed to individuals who have already stopped drinking or using drugs; it is not to be used for people who are still consuming alcohol or drugs. The study analyzed results three months after treatment began, and found that neither group had used drugs within the past month. However, the group that utilized the long-lasting naltrexone experienced a higher rate of abstinence than the other group. Reports from the study found that patients who took the naltrexone felt “protected against relapse and overdose, even if they should be tempted to try opioids. They also appreciated not having to meet daily or every second day to receive supervised maintenance medication.”
Naltrexone has now taken its place alongside methadone and buprenorphine for opioid use disorders, and naltrexone produces no opioid-like effects and is said to be non-abusable. Individuals who may best benefit from this medication may be ones who have been successfully treated with methadone or buprenorphine and who wish to discontinue their use but still take preventative relapse measures, individuals who have competed detox and/or rehabilitation programs and want to avoid relapse, and youth or young adults with opioid dependence.
If you are addicted to opioids and are ready to begin your journey to recovery, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment centers. We believe in holistic, integrative health, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. Make the decision to seek help today. Call us for a consultation.