Experts Recommend New Medications for Treating Opiate Addiction

By Staff Writer

For years, the medical community has used methadone as the main treatment for opiate addiction. However, with the emergence of several new medications, experts are increasingly saying that these other options may be more effective.

Dr. Kevin Hill, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe that buprenorphine is the latest drug available to help addiction rehab facilities treat opiate dependency, and it may offer several advantages over methadone.

Methadone prevents withdrawal symptoms, which are among the leading causes of relapse, by providing a similar high to heroin and other opiates. However, this may simply replace heroin addiction with methadone addiction. Buprenorphine, on the other hand, prevents withdrawal symptoms without providing any high, reducing the risk of dependency.

Additionally, it blocks the stimulating effects of other opiates, Hill told the news source. This means users are less likely to return to drug abuse, as they are denied any of the positive feelings associated with heroin.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that buprenorphine has been formulated to provide just enough medication to stave off withdrawal and cannot produce a high like heroin or methadone, even in extremely high doses.