To date, three medications are approved by the FDA for long-term treatment of opiate dependence.
Two of these, methadone and buprenorphine, are “opioid agonists” that mimic the effects of the body’s endorphins. They substitute for the abused opiate and are effective because they suppress craving and prevent opiate withdrawal.
The third medication, naltrexone, is an opioid antagonist (as opposed to an agonist).
Naltrexone works by blocking the effects of opiates.
In people who do not take opiates regularly, naltrexone is safe and generally well-tolerated.
Because many addicts can’t go a week without opiates, getting patients started on naltrexone is difficult.
Read the whole article on Open4Recovery here.