Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is similar for both opioid and heroin addiction to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. It also helps relieve the urge to use it as well. Methadone was the only medication able to be used in the past to help with heroin addiction. Methadone in itself is a highly addictive substance, whereas now fortunately there are more medications available to help treat heroin addiction. Though, it is dependent on an individual’s drug experience, patterns of behavior, and overall health history. All these factors are taken into consideration in choosing the appropriate drugs in helping to assist.
Achieving Lighter Symptoms with Heroin Detox
When choosing a treatment center in helping you treat your heroin addiction there are important things to be certain of. It is important to make sure they have a certified opioid treatment program, they have a medical doctor on staff, and they allow medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
It is highly medically recommended to participate in an inpatient medically supervised detox. This way you will be medically supervised 24/7 for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be beneficial through the detox process and throughout treatment because it can help minimize the harsh effects of withdrawal symptoms,
These are the symptoms you may experience in withdrawing from heroin:
- Bone pain
- Cold flashes
- Muscle cramping
In addition to general weakness overall, nausea, sneezing, and restlessness, are also common withdrawal symptoms. You also are more than likely to experience depression and insomnia as well.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Heroin Addiction
Each drug that is designed to treat heroin addiction can target specific elements within addiction. They are FDA-approved, and they help lessen withdrawal symptoms as a person goes through detox. However, some medications can be used long-term as well, even for years to come.
- Methadone – Used for well more than fifty years, for heroin addiction treatment. It blocks a person from experiencing the high from heroin. It also works very well for those who do not respond to other medications. Yet it is highly addictive and it is very monitored in daily doses to prevent abuse and overdose.
- Buprenorphine (commonly known as Subutex) – Does not produce a high and reduces the craving for heroin. Less risk of becoming addicted to it, although it still can become habit-forming and abused through injection.
- Naltrexone – Also blocks the ability to experience the heroin’s high. This medication is non-addictive. The long-acting forms of this drug are more effective for compliance among patients.
- Suboxone – A medication mixture of buprenorphine and naloxone, it helps reverse an opioid overdose. Although, it is not as potent as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone.
For those who are pregnant, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is approved. Heroin use during pregnancy is catastrophic. It leads to neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which is a condition where the baby is born with a full-blown heroin addiction. Receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in pregnancy can usually help the baby have milder symptoms and recover after birth.