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Heroin Treatment

by James Heller 18. September 2009 10:48
In general, the choice of medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction is based on safety and efficacy, patient preferences, and treatment goals.  These goals can either be harm reduction through a maintenance program or to achieve abstinence through medical detoxification.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has provided detailed information about various heroin treatments.  Some excerpts are below, followed by the link to the page.

-- Begin external content --

A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction.  Treatment tends to be more effective when heroin abuse is identified early.  The treatments that follow vary depending of the individual, but methadone, a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms, has a proven record of success for people addicted to heroin.

The primary objective of detoxification is to relieve withdrawal symptoms while patients adjust to a drug-free state. Not in itself a treatment for addiction, detoxification is a useful step only when it leads into long-term treatment that is either drug-free (residential or outpatient) or uses medications as part of the treatment.

Methadone treatment has been used for more than 30 years to effectively and safely to treat opioid addiction.  Properly prescribed methadone is not intoxicating or sedating, and its effects do not interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car.  The medication is taken orally and it suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours.

Buprenorphine is a particularly attractive treatment because, compared to other medications, such as methadone, it causes weaker opiate effects and is less likely to cause overdose problems. Buprenorphine also produces a lower level of physical dependence, so patients who discontinue the medication generally have fewer withdrawal symptoms than do those who stop taking methadone.

Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when employed alone, science has taught us that integrating both types of treatments will ultimately be the most effective approach.

-- Source: http://www.nida.nih.gov/researchreports/heroin/heroin5.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides heroin detox using methadone and buprenorphine as well as outpatient methadone treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with heroin addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Heroin Treatment Options

by James Heller 13. May 2009 07:17
Heroin addiction is a serious disease that requires treatment.  The sad fact, though, is that many people, including heroin addicts, are unaware of the different heroin addiction treatment options that are available to them.

A section of an article from the National Institute on Drug abuse website is posted below that details most of the options available to heroin addicts.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers these treatment options and more.  In our heroin detox program, methadone and buprenorphine can be used for medical detoxification from heroin and prescription opiates.

Feel free to contact us here for more information, or call us at 888-777-8565.

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What Treatment Options Exist?

A range of treatments exist for heroin addiction, including medications and behavioral therapies. Science has taught us that when medication treatment is integrated with other supportive services, patients are often able to stop using heroin (or other opiates) and return to stable and productive lives.

Treatment often begins with medically assisted detoxification, to help patients withdraw from the drug safely. Medications such as clonidine and, now, buprenorphine can be used to help minimize symptoms of withdrawal. However, detoxification alone is not treatment and has not been shown to be effective in preventing relapse—it is merely the first step.

Medications to help prevent relapse include:

  • Methadone, which has been used for more than 30 years to treat heroin addiction. It is a synthetic opiate medication that binds to the same receptors as heroin; but when taken orally, as dispensed, it has a gradual onset of action and sustained effects, reducing the desire for other opioid drugs while preventing withdrawal symptoms. Properly prescribed methadone is not intoxicating or sedating, and its effects do not interfere with ordinary daily activities. At the present time, methadone is only available through specialized opiate treatment programs.
  • Buprenorphine is a more recently approved treatment for heroin addiction (and other opiates). It differs from methadone in having less risk for overdose and withdrawal effects, and importantly, it can be prescribed in the privacy of a doctor’s office.
  • Naltrexone is approved for treating heroin addiction but has not been widely utilized because of compliance issues. It is an opioid receptor blocker, which has been shown to be effective in highly motivated patients. It should only be used in patients who have already been detoxified in order to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone is a shorter acting opioid receptor blocker, used to treat cases of overdose.

For pregnant heroin abusers, methadone maintenance combined with prenatal care and a comprehensive drug treatment program can improve many of the detrimental maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with untreated heroin abuse. Preliminary evidence suggests that buprenorphine also is a safe and effective treatment during pregnancy, although infants exposed to either methadone or buprenorphine prenatally may require treatment for withdrawal symptoms. For women who do not want or are not able to receive pharmacotherapy for their heroin addiction, detoxification from opiates during pregnancy can be accomplished with medical supervision, although potential risks to the fetus and the likelihood of relapse to heroin use should be considered.

-- Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/heroin.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.