Which medications in the drug class Opioid analgesics are used in the treatment of Opioid Abuse?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: David W Dixon, DO; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Opioid analgesics

Two uses for opioid analgesics are as follows: (1) Oral substitution therapy or maintenance therapy or opioid agonist therapy (OAT) refers to substitution of an oral opioid for injected heroin, with the goal of reducing harmful behaviors associated with heroin use. (2) Detoxification, or controlled withdrawal with the goal of abstinence, is based on the principle of cross-tolerance in which one opioid is replaced with another and then slowly withdrawn.

Methadone (Dolophine)

Inhibits ascending pain pathways, diminishing the perception of and response to pain. There are inpatient facilities and a few, specialized, licensed, outpatient, drug treatment programs that provide opioid detoxification using methadone. Also a preferred agent for opioid agonist maintenance. Some experts feel that laboratory measures of plasma levels should be used to adjust the dose and that 400 ng/mL seems sufficient to stop craving and drug hunger.

Benefits include good treatment retention, psychosocial adjustment, and reduced criminal activity.

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