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Physician Reviews Approaches to Treating Opioid-Use Disorders

Medically-supervised withdrawal is not usually sufficient to induce long-term recovery

TUESDAY, Aug. 2, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Different approaches to the treatment of opioid-use disorders are addressed in an article published in the July 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Marc A. Schuckit, M.D., from the University of California in San Diego, provides an overview of the current treatment of opioid-related conditions, including treatments offered by general practitioners and specialists in substance-use disorders.

Schuckit notes that treatment of acute withdrawal syndromes can improve a patient’s health and facilitate their participation in a rehabilitation program. Medication treatment with naltrexone can help maintain abstinence from opioids and should be used as part of a cognitive behavioral approach. Opioid maintenance approaches are recommended for persons who are reluctant or unable to discontinue opioids but want to improve their daily functioning. Approaches include oral opioids, α2-adrenergic agonists and other non-opioid agents, methadone maintenance, and buprenorphine maintenance, and programs should include psychological support.

“This review describes one person’s view of what the usual practicing clinician should know about the current state of treatments for opioid-use disorders,” Schuckit writes.

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