Study that reveals continuous treatment is best for opioid addiction

Continuous opioid treatment using buprenorphine-naloxone combination medication in adolescents with opiod addiction problems resulted to lower raters of continued opioid use as compared to short term treatment programs with the same combination medicine. This was revealed by recent published study.

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According to the background information that came with the article, use of heroin, prescription painkillers, and other types of opioids is increasing among the younger generation. The usual treatment prescribed for this type of addiction is short-term detox programs, which are occasionally coupled with individual or group counseling. Opioid addiction treatment is offered both in residential and outpatient settings that can last from a few weeks to several months depending on the severity of the addiction.

The researcher pointed out that a major problem with short term detoxification is it's high relapse rate. Still, a lot of programs go by this method without the use of an antagonist drug. An antagonist medication is a drug which mimics the effect of a natural substance.

In the current study, a doctor of the University of Pennsylvania and his team pitted the results of short term detoxification against the outcome of extended opioid treatment that uses buprenorphine-naloxone. This combination drug is made from buprenorphine which relieves opiate withdrawal symptoms and naloxene which counteracts the effects of opioid.

Patients aged 15 to 21 we're divided into either a detox group or an extended treatment group. Those in the detox group received 14 milligrams of the drug per day before being tapered up to 14 days while the patients in the extended treatment group we're given 24 milligrams of the medication each day for 9 weeks before being tapered up to week 12. Both groups of patients received group and individual counseling every week while under study.

Four weeks into the study, all the patients underwent urine drug test, in while 61% of those in the detox groups tested positive while only 26% of those in extended buprenorphine-naloxene group had traces of opioid in their urine samples.

A urine test was again conducted, this time 54% of detox patients tested positive compared with 23% of the extended treatment patients. The final test was conducted 12 weeks into the treatment. In this last test, 51% of the detox group still tested positive while 43% of the extended treatment group we're found with opioid traces. During this time, the buprenorphine-naloxone patients we're already tapered from their medication.

For the whole length of the study, patients in the buprenorphine-naloxone group reported lesser use of opioids and other drugs, although high levels of use we're observed as the patients ceased treatment.

Taken together, these data show that stopping buprenorphine-naloxone had comparably negative effects in both groups, with effects occurring earlier and with somewhat greater severity in patients in the detox group, the authors explained.

They added that the medication should be made available in family practice, primary care, and adolescent programs. However, they admitted that further studies are needed to explore if buprenorphine is useful in long term treatment of adolescents with opioid dependence problems.

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 05/25/2019


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