Medications Used in Treatment
Our primary goal in delivering patient care is to help our patients eliminate their reliance on alcohol and other addictive substances, including powerful and highly addictive prescription medications. While PaRC promotes and utilizes an abstinence-based treatment philosophy as the cornerstone of its addiction treatment services, our physicians have always incorporated the best and most effective medications in providing optimal care and treatment to our patients.
All medications, including addictive medications, have their place in the appropriate provision of medical care. The challenge is in understanding which medicines to use when dependence and addiction have entered the picture. Safe detoxification from alcohol and various classes of drugs requires the efficacious use of medications, including some that have addictive qualities. At PaRC, some of these medications are used temporarily to move the patient through the withdrawal process as quickly as possible.
Medications that treat co-occurring psychiatric problems and disorders may be prescribed when the condition warrants it. Many people have a history that indicates the need for medicinal interventions to supplement the other therapeutic work and recovery efforts they are putting forth to manage their symptoms or regulate their emotions. There are a number of non-addictive medications and supplements that appropriately help people lead normal lives and conduct daily activities without altering their mood or state of mind.
Medication Options for Treatment
Some of the more common and well-known recovery support medications used in addiction treatment include:
Naltrexone (Revia): This medication helps people who have stopped using alcohol and opiates to remain substance free. It blocks the effect of opiates and may lessen the “high” feeling associated with alcohol use. It tends to help reduce cravings for alcohol and opiates and, thus, enhance the likelihood of staying clean and sober.
Long-acting Naltrexone (Vivitrol): This is a once monthly injection of naltrexone which factors out the problem of daily compliance in taking a pill. Many patients find a once monthly dose easier to use consistently.
Acamprosate (Campral): Acamprosate helps to combat cravings for alcohol after a patient stops drinking. Unlike Antabuse, Acamprosate and Naltrexone do not make you sick if you drink alcohol, rather, it diminishes cravings and urges to drink.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex): Buprenorphine is used in the withdrawal process from opioid drugs to lessen the severe symptoms associated with its detoxification. Opiate withdrawal can be miserable and this medication helps dramatically.
For many people with addictions, medication-assisted treatment can be helpful. Medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse is the short-term use of medications to help them reduce cravings or manage other symptoms that interfere with their recovery during and after primary treatment. While there is a common thread with addiction that binds the patient community together for support and encouragement, each patient’s situation is unique and therefore the treatment recommendations are individualized.
Many different factors are considered when medications are recommended and ultimately, the decision to use them is between the treating physician and the patient. The combination of physical and medical issues associated with the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of that individual are taken into account when using medications for the treatment of alcohol, drugs and painkiller addiction.