Medication options

Multiple medications are used in the treatment of opioid use disorders. Each drug has its benefits, so your physician and clinical staff will help you decide which medication is best suited for your situation. Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone are all approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction. Each medication’s pros and cons vary by the type of opioid the client was addicted to, length of time they used, how much they used, and relevant medical history.

What is Methadone

Methadone is a medication use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. Studies have shown that medications used with behavioral therapies effectively treat substance use disorders. Methadone is given to clients daily, at their treatment facility or clinic. Clients can “earn” take-home doses if they follow program guidelines and abstain from drugs and alcohol.  

  • Taken once every 24 hours
  • No need for abstinence from opioids a specified amount of time before the initial dose as with other MAT medications
  • Prevents physical withdrawal symptoms in clients
  • Reduces cravings, and if clients use opioids, they may not feel the “high” effects of the drugs while on Methadone, which encourages abstinence.
  • Allows clients to gain stability and focus on recovery
  • Given each day at a clinic under supervision so less chance of diversion
  • Take-homes can be earned with sobriety and compliance

What is Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is a medication prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide clients with a whole-person approach in treating opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine can be prescribed in 1-2 week increments and taken at home daily. It helps to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and most cravings in clients allowing them to focus on recovery.

  • Reduces withdrawal symptoms in clients
  • Reduces most cravings, and if clients use opioids, it helps to combat the “high” effect of other opioids while on Buprenorphine.
  • Often prescribed in 1-2 week intervals to be taken at home daily
  • Allows clients to gain stability and focus on recovery

What is Naltrexone

Vivitrol is a non-narcotic medication used to block the effects of opioids that include pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse. Naltrexone is given to prevent relapse in adults who have become addicted to opioids. To take Naltrexone, you must detox off opiates at least 7-14 days before the first dose. While Naltrexone does effectively block the effects of opiates, it does not take away withdrawals.

  • Non-narcotic and non-addictive
  • Opioid blocker
  • Requires 7–14-day opiate withdrawal before taking 1st injection
  • Will not reduce withdrawal symptoms