What are my options for treating opioid addiction?

There are currently three drugs being used to treat opioid addiction and dependence.  They are Buprenorphine, Methadone and Naltrexone.  In the last several years Buprenorphine has overtaken Methadone as the drug of choice for most patients.  It has several advantages over methadone including greater access and more flexibility in dosing.  Methadone also has potentially dangerous side effects and interactions.  Naltrexone (Vivitrol***) is an opioid blocker which helps patients who have gone through withdraw to avoid relapse.  The major downside with naltrexone is cost and the necessity of withdrawing from opioids for 7 days prior to treatment.


Pharmaceutical companies are developing additional options for administering buprenorphine.  Traditionally taken orally, Buprenorphine can now be injected once monthly (Sublocade*).  There is also an implant available which lasts for 6 months (Probuphine**).  These options greatly increase freedom from daily pill taking and improve quality of life while ensuring a more steady release of medication.


* Click on the following PDF for more information on Sublocade: SUBLOCADE-Fact-Sheet


** Click on the following link for more information on Probuphine: https://probuphine.com/about-probuphine/


***Click on the following link for more information on Vivitrol: https://www.vivitrol.com/

Layne K. Kamalu MD
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