Over the past several years, advances in addiction treatment products have been developed to assist patients in their recovery programs from drugs of abuse and dependence.
Presently, three buprenorphine-based products are available for the treatment of opioid dependence. These include Suboxone, Zubsolv, and Bunavail. All of these preparations work in a similar manner – that is, they partially occupy the opiate receptor sites in the body, thus reducing and minimizing acute withdrawal and post-acute cravings for prescription opioids and heroin. For many years clonidine has been included as part of the detoxification protocols for opioids. This medication has been primarily used for treatment of high blood pressure, however in new research clonidine maintenance treatment prolongs opioid abstinence and decouples stress from craving in everyday life.
Alcohol remains one of the most serious drugs for it’s multi-system effects on the body. Pharmacologic medications currently approved for long-term usage include naltrexone (Vivitrol, Revia) and acamprosate (Campral). Both of these medications have been effective for reduction of post-acute withdrawal and cravings, as well as decreasing the reinforcing effects of alcohol. Disulfiram (Antabuse) has been available for many years causing extremely noxious symptoms if an individual uses alcohol while taking this medication. These symptoms include flushing of the skin, nausea/vomiting, increased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure. Use of disulfiram requires close medical monitoring, as it may be toxic to the liver.
Cocaine abuse/dependence is being studied with the emergence of medications, such as modafinil and topiramate (Topamax) that may be effective for some patients. Interestingly disulfiram and clonidine have also been effective for cocaine-related problems, and topiramate in treatment of alcohol use disorders.
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These medications should be prescribed and managed by specialists in the field of Addiction Medicine. The Center for Addiction Medicine located in Las Vegas, NV is one such facility.