Various forms of pharmacotherapy have evolved to assist in the treatment of opiate addiction. According to The Development of Medications for the Treatment of Opiate and Cocaine Addictions, and in recognition of the need to improve availability of medications that can be used in the treatment of drug addiction, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 in conjunction with NIDA authorized funds to help improve the availability of medications to be used in the treatment of opiate addiction, including those now used in Codeine addiction treatment.
Today, the following medications are often used in Codeine addiction treatment:
According to NIDA, Buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in 2002 and is regularly used in medically assisted opiate detox today. This medication has been found to help patients taper off their use of Codeine and successfully and safely withdraw with reduced risk of relapse.
A blood pressure medication that is commonly used in codeine addiction treatment on a short-term basis, Clonidine is sometimes used to shorten withdrawal times. According to Harvard Health, this medication can help to relieve physical symptoms of Codeine addiction but should only be used short-term; this medication is not safe for prolonged use.
Codeine addiction treatment often involves the use of maintenance medications such as Methadone which reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. According to the CDC, methadone:
- Blocks the sedating effects of opiates such as Codeine
- Stops cravings for Codeine
- Relieves the symptoms of Codeine withdrawal
- Restores balance into the user’s life
- Stops drug seeking behavior
A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone reduces opiate use, improves recovery times and can help to restore balance into the patient’s life. This medication is often used as a stepping stone in Codeine addiction treatment to help the user get back on track. According to the University of Nevada, Suboxone provides patients with little to no euphoria but can greatly reduce symptoms of withdrawal.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of drugs such as Codeine. This medication can be used to treat opiate overdose but its ability to reduce the euphoric effects of Codeine and other opiates has made it widely used in addiction treatment. Patients are given Naloxone to reduce their desire to use because the drug prevents any excitement or euphoria from occurring when the drug is used thus rendering the drug use no longer “fun” or “enjoyable.”