A Quick Guide To Medications Used In Detox
By: Design for Change Recovery
Though medication-assisted treatment for detoxing from drugs and alcohol is controversial, it can be highly effective in helping patients navigate their detox period without relapsing on their drug of choice.
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist that blocks the effects of opiates. Used as a detox medication, naltrexone reduces the effect of opiates in the body while decreasing the desire to use more opiates. Naltrexone, compared to other opiate antagonists, is not considered to be addictive or dependency-forming. Unlike other detox medications, which contain trace amounts of active narcotic opiates, naltrexone is not a narcotic drug, meaning it won’t have the narcotic effects that other medications cause. For some, this is a benefit. For others, they need that small amount of opiate substance to get them through their detox.
Methadone is also an opiate antagonist that assists someone through detoxing from hard opiate drugs or can be used for detoxing from alcohol and stimulant drug addiction. Unlike naltrexone, methadone is an active narcotic opioid. Specifically, methadone is a synthetic opiate substance that produces minimal narcotic effects while blocking greater effects of opiates on the brain. Methadone is addictive and can become dependency-forming. Many criticize the use of methadone as a replacement for harder opiate drugs. Though methadone is significantly safer than heroin bought on the street, it can still present a challenge in withdrawal and addiction-like behavior.
Suboxone is often confused with Subutex, another detox medication. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Subutex, on the other hand, is purely buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a substance used in methadone, a narcotic opiate antagonist that can be highly addictive. Naloxone is an opioid agonist, meaning it reverses the effects of opioids. Combining buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone can provide an opiate antagonist’s effects, reducing cravings and symptoms while minimizing the narcotic effects.
Ativan is a benzodiazepine that is only prescribed for severe anxiety and symptoms of withdrawal. Most commonly prescribed for withdrawal from alcoholism, Ativan is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it creates a strong relief and relaxation effect.
Design For Change has a state license for social model detox and medication management for detox medications. Everyone approaches recovery differently. If you need help managing your detox medications and withdrawal symptoms, we have a treatment program to help you.