Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Dependence

"Medication-based treatment for opioid dependence consists of 2 distinct approaches: detoxification and maintenance.4 Detoxification involves the use of medications to bring a patient from an opioid-dependent to an opioid-free state. The medications used are designed to decrease withdrawal-related discomfort and complications. Maintenance therapy involves the substitution of an abused opioid such as heroin or narcotic analgesics, which are often used intravenously or intranasally several times a day, by a medically prescribed opioid such as methadone or buprenorphine that can be taken orally and administered once a day in combination with counseling."


O'Connor, Patrick G., "Methods of Detoxification and Their Role in Treating Patients With Opioid Dependence," Journal of the American Medical Association (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, August 24, 2005), Vol. 294, No. 8, p. 961.