Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

What Drugs Are Used To Treat Addiction

Struggling with addiction? Overwhelmed? You don’t have to fight alone! Medications can assist in managing and treating addiction. Let’s discover which drugs are used in addiction treatment. In this blog, we’ll explore that!

Jump To Section

Key Takeaway:

  • Medications can be used to treat addiction: Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings for substances. These medications can be used alone or in combination with other therapies to help individuals recover from addiction.
  • Methadone is often used for heroin addiction: Methadone is a long-acting medication that can help to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for heroin. It is typically administered in a clinic setting and requires regular monitoring and dose adjustments.
  • Naltrexone can be used for alcohol and opioid addiction: Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol, making it a useful medication for individuals struggling with these addictions. It can be administered in a variety of forms, including injectable and oral medications.


When it comes to treating addiction, certain medications can help reduce physical symptoms of withdrawal and the risk of relapse. Examples include:

  1. Methadone: This synthetic opioid reduces withdrawal and cravings.
  2. Buprenorphine: Also a synthetic opioid, but with lower risk of abuse.
  3. Naltrexone: Blocks opioid effects, including the “high” and reduces cravings for alcohol and opioids.
  4. Disulfiram: Manages alcohol addiction. If drunk, makes people sick. Good for those highly motivated to quit drinking.
  5. Acamprosate: Treats alcohol dependence. Reduces symptoms of protracted withdrawal, like insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.

These meds should be combined with behavioral therapy, support groups, and other comprehensive care.

Medications for Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms happen when someone quits using drugs or alcohol after long-term use. Different drugs treat addiction, and how serious the withdrawal symptoms are, decides the best medicine.

Benzodiazepines and antipsychotics often treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Clonidine and methadone take care of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Bupropion and varenicline help people who want to quit smoking. Some medicines help to reduce cravings and stop relapse.

Medications for Detoxification and Medical Stabilization

Medications used to treat addiction can help individuals achieve and maintain their sobriety. These drugs reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making it easier to overcome addiction.

Methadone and Buprenorphine treat opioid addiction. Naltrexone and Suboxone work for both opioid and alcohol addiction.

  • Methadone and Buprenorphine attach to the same brain receptors as opioids, lessening withdrawal and cravings.
  • Naltrexone and Suboxone block the effects of opioids and alcohol, reducing the likelihood of using.

These meds are most effective when part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program, which includes counseling and behavioral therapy.


Drugs are used to treat addiction

Medications for Attenuating Substance Use

Medications can help with substance use and addiction. Commonly used drugs have their own uses and benefits.

  • Methadone: For opioid addiction. Reduces withdrawal symptoms.
  • Buprenorphine: For opioid addiction. Curbs cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naltrexone: For opioid and alcohol addiction. Blocks euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol cravings.
  • Acamprosate: For alcohol addiction. Eases withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings.
  • Disulfiram: For alcohol addiction. Creates an unpleasant reaction when alcohol is consumed, to stop drinking.

Medications are not enough. Behavioral therapies and counseling are important too. Before taking any medication, always consult a healthcare provider.

Medications for Reducing Relapse

Medications have an essential role in addiction treatment. The choice of meds depends on the substance abused and the individual’s needs. Commonly used medications are:

  1. Methadone: A synthetic opioid agonist used to treat opioid addiction. It reduces cravings and withdrawal by activating the same receptors in the brain as opioids.
  2. Buprenorphine: Also an opioid agonist, it has a lower overdose risk than methadone. It is prescribed by certified doctors in an office setting.
  3. Naltrexone: An opioid antagonist which can treat both alcohol and opioid addiction. It blocks the effects of opioids/alcohol in the brain, reducing their rewarding effects.
  4. Acamprosate: Used to treat alcohol addiction, it can reduce cravings and withdrawal by working on the brain’s glutamate system.
  5. Disulfiram: Another medication for alcohol addiction. It makes people feel sick if they drink alcohol, acting as a deterrent.

It’s important to note that meds should always be combined with therapy and other behavioral interventions for best results.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder:

In treating opioid use disorder, medications can be of great help. In this section, we’ll dive into the different medications available to patients suffering from this type of addiction. We’ll explore each sub-section in detail, starting with opioids, which are commonly used as a treatment for opioid addiction. Next, we’ll discuss Methadone and its role in managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. We’ll also cover Buprenorphine, a newer medication used to reduce opioid dependence, and Naltrexone, which blocks the effects of opioids and alcohol. Each sub-section will provide a comprehensive overview of the medication, including its uses, benefits, and potential drawbacks, in treating opioid use disorder.


Opioids can be very addictive, leading to serious health issues, even death. But medications to help with opioid use disorder have been proven to be effective in helping individuals beat addiction and get their lives back.

Let’s look at three of the most popular medications to treat opioid addiction:

  • Methadone: This drug is strictly regulated and only given at clinics under medical watch. It helps reduce withdrawal and cravings for opioids.
  • Buprenorphine: This medication can be taken at home in the form of a dissolvable tablet or film strip. It also reduces withdrawal and cravings.
  • Naltrexone: This drug can block the effects of opioids and help avoid relapse. It can be given as a monthly injection or taken orally after detoxing.

It is important to get medical help to select the best medication for your situation. Meds, therapy, and counseling can all help someone escape opioid addiction and start anew. Studies show that when used correctly, medication-assisted treatment can raise the chances of recovery, lower the risk of overdose, and improve overall health.


Methadone is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. It is an opioid agonist, activating the same brain receptors as heroin or painkillers. However, because it is given in controlled doses and its effects come on gradually and wear off gradually, it can help manage withdrawal symptoms without the same “high” or “rush.”

It is usually dispensed in a clinic or treatment center and taken daily in liquid or dissolvable tablet form. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone maintenance treatment can reduce opioid use, overdoses, criminal activity, and HIV/hepatitis C transmission.

It is carefully titrated for individual needs and can be a safe, effective choice for many with opioid addiction.


Buprenorphine is great for treating opioid use disorder. It has a lower risk of misuse and being dependent than other medications. It works by connecting to the same brain receptors as opioids, but with a lesser effect.

Buprenorphine cuts down withdrawal symptoms and desires for opioids, helping with the recovery process. Plus, it stops the effects of other opioids, decreasing the chances of relapse and overdose.

This medication can be given orally, as a film, or through injections. It should be used with counseling and behavioral therapy for the best results. Millions of people around the world have been helped by this medication for their recovery.


Naltrexone is a medication that specifically treats opioid use disorder. It helps by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain. This reduces cravings for illicit drugs and lowers the chances of relapse. It can be taken in pill form or as a monthly injection. It only works if the individual has detoxed from opioids safely and no longer has withdrawal symptoms. Studies have shown it can be used with other medications and therapies to support recovery from opioid addiction.

Naltrexone has limited side effects. It is not addictive or habit-forming. It is a safe and effective treatment that has helped many people stay sober.

Combination Therapy for Addiction Treatment:

Combating addiction is an intricate process that often requires a combination of treatments to achieve success. In this section, we will examine the effectiveness of combination therapy for addiction treatment. This approach combines pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions to address the physical and psychological components of addiction.

The following sub-section will focus on the integration of pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions. We will explore how this integration can produce a synergistic effect that enhances the overall outcomes of treatment.

Integration of Pharmacotherapy and Behavioral Interventions

Addiction is tricky to treat. Yet, a mix of pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions have been seen to be an effective way to battle addiction. Pharmacotherapy uses medication to manage withdrawal, and cravings too. Behavioral interventions teach individuals how to manage triggers that may lead to substance use.

Studies show that combination therapy for addiction treatment is more effective than either pharmacotherapy or behavioral interventions. Drugs used in combination therapy include: Buprenorphine, Methadone, Naltrexone, and Acamprosate.

  • Buprenorphine is a medication that helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in opioid addiction. It has fewer overdose risks than drugs like methadone.
  • Methadone is used to take care of withdrawal symptoms in opioid addiction. It’s a drug that works for longer and helps reduce cravings.
  • Naltrexone is another medication that prevents relapse in alcohol and opioid addiction. It stops the enjoyable effects of these substances on the brain, which reduces the chance of overdose.
  • Acamprosate is used to lessen alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Combination therapy gives individuals a chance to stay sober and tackle addiction from both physical and psychological angles. It is a powerful treatment option that offers help and hope to those who are struggling to overcome addiction.


what drugs are used to treat addiction

Drug Concepts Related to Treating Addiction

In this section, we will address some frequently asked questions about drugs used for addiction treatment. We will delve into the typical medications used for addiction treatment, their mechanisms of action and how they work to treat addiction. Additionally, we will examine the safety of medications used for addiction treatment, including potential side effects and risks associated with their use. Finally, we will discuss the importance of professional administration of medications for addiction treatment, and the role of healthcare professionals in ensuring the safe and effective use of these drugs.

How Medications for Addiction Treatment Work

Medications for addiction treatment have different ways of addressing physical and psychological aspects. Here are some common questions about how they work:

  1. How do medications treat opioid addiction?Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These can lead to relapse. Studies prove medication-assisted treatment is more successful than other types of treatment.
  2. How do medications treat alcohol addiction? Acamprosate, Naltrexone, and Disulfiram lower cravings, stop the enjoyable effects of alcohol, and create an unpleasant reaction when drinking. These medications can help people remain sober.
  3. How do medications treat nicotine addiction? Bupropion and Varenicline lessen nicotine cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and the effects of nicotine on the brain. Studies show these medications can double or triple quitting smoking chances.

In conclusion, medication for addiction treatment reduces cravings, withdrawal, and the pleasure of drugs. This evidence-based treatment is part of a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment, providing better chances of lasting recovery.

The Safety of Medications for Addiction Treatment

It’s natural to worry about the safety of medications used to treat addiction. Here are some FAQs to help you out:

  • Are they safe? Generally yes, when taken as prescribed. But like any medication, they may cause side effects or interact with other medications. It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to find the right dose for you.
  • Can you become addicted? When misused, yes. But when taken as prescribed and under supervision, the risk is low.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, seek help from a medical professional. They can help create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

The Importance of Professional Administration of Medications for Addiction Treatment

Administering meds for addiction therapy needs skill and info on the patient’s medical past, substance abuse disorder, and individual situation. Professional med administration is key for safe and successful treatment, patient agreement, and overall med management. Professional Administration of Medications for Addiction Treatment is about offering complete care and guidance to patients who need it.

Meds used in addiction therapy are: methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These drugs help cut down withdrawal symptoms, desires, and the possibility of relapse. Seeking professional advice from an addiction expert about med-assisted therapy is essential to understanding what’s best for the patient’s long-term recovery.

Questions about addiction therapy meds include: how they work, dosage needs, possible side effects, and their potency in treating addiction. Patients getting MAT from a professional addiction treatment center have higher chances of long-term recovery than those who self-administer meds. Adding professional admin to the therapy plan makes sure the patient gets the highest quality of care, leading to better outcomes.

In conclusion, the professional administration of meds is critical in addiction treatment, and patients can benefit greatly. By offering complete care and access to addiction specialists, individuals in need can achieve long-term recovery and go back to a healthy, fulfilling life.

Five Facts About Drugs Used To Treat Addiction:

  • ✅ Methadone is a common medication used to treat opioid addiction. (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • ✅ Buprenorphine is another medication used to treat opioid addiction, and it can be prescribed by qualified clinicians in office-based settings. (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • ✅ Naltrexone is a medication used to treat both opioid and alcohol addiction. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Acamprosate and disulfiram are medications used to treat alcohol addiction. (Source: American Addiction Centers)
  • ✅ Medications alone are not enough to treat addiction and should be used in combination with behavioral therapy. (Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)

FAQs about What Drugs Are Used To Treat Addiction

What drugs are commonly used to treat addiction?

There are several drugs that are commonly used to treat addiction, including:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

How does methadone help with addiction?

Methadone is a medication used to help manage opioid addiction. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids bind to, but in a less intense way. This helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making it easier for people to stop using opioids.

What is the difference between methadone and buprenorphine?

The difference between methadone and buprenorphine is that both medications are commonly used to treat opioid addiction, but they work in slightly different ways. Methadone is a full opioid agonist, meaning it activates opioid receptors in the brain. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it has a weaker effect on the opioid receptors. As a result, buprenorphine is less likely to cause dependence and withdrawal when stopped.

How does naltrexone work to treat addiction?

Naltrexone works to treat addiction by helping manage addiction to opioids and alcohol. It works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, preventing them from being activated. This reduces the euphoric effects of opioid drugs and alcohol, making it less rewarding to use them. Naltrexone does not produce any euphoria or other rewarding effects of its own.

Can disulfiram be used to treat addiction to any drug?

No, disulfiram cannot be used to treat addiction because it is only used to treat alcohol addiction. It works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, causing a buildup of toxic byproducts when alcohol is consumed. This leads to unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, which can help deter people from drinking.

How does acamprosate help with alcohol addiction?

Acamprosate helps with alcohol addiction by helping manage the addiction to alcohol. It works by restoring the balance of chemicals in the brain that are disrupted by long-term alcohol use. This reduces the unpleasant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and can help reduce cravings for alcohol.

Comprehensive Care At Magnified Health Systems

Magnified Health Systems is a trusted drug and alcohol treatment center that offers personalized care and evidence-based treatment options for those struggling with addiction. Our experienced team of medical professionals and therapists are dedicated to helping individuals achieve lasting recovery through a variety of therapeutic approaches, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT has been proven to be an effective approach for individuals struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction, as it combines medication with behavioral therapy to address the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. At Magnified Health Systems, we believe in providing comprehensive care that addresses the whole person, not just their addiction, and we are committed to supporting our clients on their journey towards a healthier, happier life.

Questions About Treatment?

Get confidential help 24/7. Call now for:

  • Access to our licensed treatment centers
  • Information on treatment plans
  • Financial assistance options

Related Articles

Get Help Now


Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

Related Articles
Magnified Health Systems