Medication-Assisted Treatment

For some who are in recovery from addictions, medications can be a useful tool. When you look at addiction as a brain disease, like any other illness or disease, sometimes medications are needed to get well and stay well. Just like any physical illness, you need to treat the whole person.

This is why Medication Assisted treatment means that although medication can play an important role in recovery for those who need it, it is essential that the recovering person's care includes treating the whole person-this includes therapy, psychiatric care, medical care, recovery environment, and support including family, social, and community support systems.  The links below explain some of the medication assisted treatments available in more detail. 

This site is not meant to give medical advise, rather to assist individuals in education about what is available for treatment options. As with any other medical issue, consult with a professional if you are interested in any of these treatments.

 Treatments for Alcohol


Long acting form of Naltrexone, injected once per month for treatment of Alcohol Dependence. To benefit from the medication, the patient needs to stop drinking before starting the medication.
  Naltrexone has two effects on alcohol consumption.[7] The first is to reduce craving while naltrexone is being taken. The second, referred to as the Sinclair Method, occurs when naltrexone is taken in conjunction with normal drinking, and this reduces craving over time. The first effect only persists while the naltrexone is being taken, but the second persists as long as the person does not drink without first taking naltrexone.
It is important that the person does not have opiates in their system before starting Vivitrol or naltrexone.


How Does Campral Work?

It is not completely understood exactly how Campral works in the brain to help people maintain alcohol abstinence, but it is believed to restore a chemical balance in the brain that is disrupted by long-term or chronic alcohol abuse. In other words, it helps the brain begin working normally again.

While Antabuse works by making someone sick if they drink alcohol and Naltrexone blocks the "high" people get when drinking, Campral reduces the physical distress and emotional discomfort people usually experience when they quit drinking. According to Forest Laboratories, the distributor the drug in the U.S., Campral reduces sweating, anxiety and sleep disturbances that many experience during the early stages of alcohol abstinence


 Treatment for Opiate dependence


Methadone Treatment

Methadone treatment is one of 2 available medication assisted therapies available in the United States for opiate dependence. Medication Assisted treatment means that although the medication plays an important role in recovery, it is essential that the recovering person's care includes treating the whole person-this includes therapy, psychiatric care, medical care, recovery environment, and support including family, social, and community support systems.

Methadone is a long acting opiate. When prescribed at an adequate dose, it prevents withdrawal as well as prevents the person from getting high. It also blocks other opiates when the dose is at a therapeutic level. Methadone is prescribed in a clinic setting that includes physician, nursing, and counseling staff.  Some individuals stay on methadone for 2 years and taper off the medication, while others may need to stay on methadone for 5 years or longer. It all depends on the individual.  Some may also taper off methadone and start Suboxone treatment after they have been in treatment long enough.

Methadone can be dangerous and even deadly when taken on the street due to its potential overdose risk, so it is important that if you need this treatment, that you are under a doctors care through a clinic. It can also be deadly when mixed with benzodiazepines and alcohol, so it is important to let your clinic know what you are taking for medications or on the street while you are in methadone treatment.

For more information on Medication Assisted Treatment, check out Addiction Treatment Forum at




About Suboxone:
Suboxone is the first and only opioid medication approved under DATA 2000 for the treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting. Suboxone also can be dispensed for take-home use, just as any other medicine for other medical conditions. This allows patients to have more access to treatment, and feel less of the stigma around their disease of addiction.

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine. Because buprenorphine is a partial agonist its opioid effects(sedation, euphoria) are limited compared with those produced by full opioid agonists, such as oxycodone or heroin. Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

The naloxone in Suboxone is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When Suboxone is placed under the tongue, as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so what the patient feels are the effects of the buprenorphine. However, if naloxone is injected, it can cause a person dependent on a full opioid agonist to quickly go into withdrawal. At appropriate doses Suboxone can be used to help patients stay in treatment, reduce illicit opioid use, and suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal and decrease cravings for opiates. Studies have shown that patient outcomes are more successful with an integrated recovery system. It is highly recommended that individual and or group therapy be included in this treatment. When patients see Suboxone as a tool for their recovery, not the basis of, they can regain control and begin to transform their lives.

About Here to Help:

In April, 2009 Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals launched a FREE patient support program designed to help Suboxone patients stay in treatment and enjoy better outcomes. Here to Help is a three pronged approach to help patients become more successful in their recovery. It involves the three following aspects:

Care Coordinator : This person helps a potential patient in need to find available providers to care for them in their opioid dependence treatment and prescribe Suboxone if appropriate. A Care Coordinator will also help this person find a counselor in their area to start working on the recovery aspects and support they need to carry their recovery forward.

Care Coach: Once the "dots" are connected with the Care Coordinator, the patient will be given a Care Coach. The Care Coach will

always be the same person to lend more support in conjunction to the quality care they are receiving. In those first, tough 90 days in early recovery the Care Coach will reach out to the patient with 8 phone calls, scheduled between the patient and the Care Coach. They will discuss supportive aspects of each stage of recovery, and really just be there to act as a supportive cheerleader or non affiliated phone "sponsor". This is in no means to take place of counseling or to give medical advice. Reminder calls and emails can be sent for upcoming counseling and doctors appointments.

On line tools: Please check out the website to find out more about the tools RB offers to help patients move forward in their recovery. Toll free # is 1(866-973-4373).


 Treatment for Mental Health issues

Psychotropic Medication