Methadone has been used to facilitate opioid addiction (OUD) and drug addiction treatment for decades. According to Harvard Medical School/Harvard Health Publications, at least 100,000 people who previously struggled with heroin addictions regularly used methadone as a substitution therapy or replacement medication.
Methadone treatment helps to manage the patient’s withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings by replacing a drug of choice with another opiate. It’s considered a safe patient therapy when supervised by medical professionals and in addition with other therapies.
Methadone treatment is an opiate agonist, and it prevents the patient from getting the high they enjoy from other opiate types, including prescription pain medicines or heroin.
Methadone Treatment Goals
The ultimate recovery goal of the patient using methadone treatment is a normal, sober life. As they start taking methadone under a physician’s care, the patient may benefit from a range of substance abuse treatments, educational assistance, vocational counseling, and personal/group therapy. As their health approves, they may search for other supportive social services to benefit themselves and their families.
According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, one-fourth of methadone treatment users completely abstain from methadone use over time. Another one-fourth of people in methadone treatments use it as maintenance therapy. The remaining half of patients studied ceased using methadone in maintenance but returned to its use after they entered a subsequent drug abuse treatment program.
M-Eslon is type of slow-release opioid agonist. In 2020, a possible shortage of other slow-release oral morphine drugs, e.g. Kadian, prompted physicians and pharmacists to use other medicines like M-Eslon in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment.
In some cases, patients were unable to fill Kadian prescriptions for 50 mg and 100 mg capsules routinely used to support OUD patients. For that reason, physicians treating OUD patients switched to M-Eslon on a short-term basis.
M-Eslon is potentially dangerous or harmful for OUD patients in recovery. It contains another opioid, morphine, that’s considered highly addictive. Addiction may result even when patients reported using appropriately prescribed M-Eslon in physician-recommended dosages.
Kadian is a pain medicine that’s used to treat lasting or severe pain, primarily in cancer patients. It is considered an opioid analgesic narcotic. It is prescribed to patients with an existing tolerance for opioid drugs.
Kadian was originally manufactured as a long-lasting type of morphine. Scientists intended for Kadian to work as well as morphine with a longer-lasting action. While morphine is an effective painkiller drug, its effects quickly diminish. For this reason, Kadian is sometimes prescribed for patients struggling with an addiction who want to counteract tolerance of another drug.
Kadian isn’t frequently prescribed by physicians but it is distributed by drug dealers and often misused by patients with and without a prescription.
Suboxone is a medicine that is used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). It is frequently used in treating opioid use disorder (OUD). It’s useful in managing the patient’s withdrawal symptoms and lessens their cravings. If you or a loved one is struggling with OUD, Suboxone therapy may help you to recover.
Suboxone is the brand name for a medication comprised of two active components, naloxone and buprenorphine:
- Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, a medicine that produces milder opioid effects.
- Buprenorphine also eases opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduces the patient’s cravings to use without creating the opioid “boost” effect, e.g. hydrocodone, fentanyl, oxycodone, or heroin. It can help the patient to stop using the addictive substance.
- This drug combination also binds well to the brain’s opioid receptors. It prevents other forms of opioids from activating the brain’s pleasure centers. Taking more buprenorphine doesn’t help the patient to get high because it limits how much of the brain’s opioid receptors are activated. This factor lowers the potential for patient respiratory depression, or slowed respirations, a dangerous condition for OUD patients.
- Naloxone is another opioid agonist drug that, when combined with buprenorphine (Suboxone or generics) helps to manage the opioid abuser’s withdrawal from substance abuse.
- Naloxone is part of an effective treatment appropriate that uses medications, peer support groups, behavioral intervention, and treatment for mental health conditions, e.g. anxiety or depression.
Ketamine, once used by anesthesiologists, is used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Ketamine is administered as an IV infusion. More recently, Spravato (ketamine nasal spray) was cleared by the FDA to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Whether used in spray or via intravenous delivery, ketamine therapy stimulates the brain. Researchers report that ketamine treatment helps to improve the patient’s mood.