New Studies Show Medication Assisted Treatment Effective for Alcohol, Opiate Addiction

Healthday reported that taking a regimen of prescribed medications is the most effective way to reduce withdrawal symptoms and urges to drink alcohol in those being treated for alcohol dependence. The conclusion came from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Combine study, a large-scale, multi-site, combined medication and behavioral treatment study.

Data was analyzed from 846 males and 380 females. Each participant was randomly assigned one of eight different treatment combinations involving two medications (naltrexone and acamprosate) used with two behavioral treatments — low-intensity medical management (MM) and moderately intensive combined behavioral intervention (CBI). The patients’ outcomes were compared after 16 weeks of treatment.

Results showed that those who consistently adhered to their medication regimen had better outcomes than those who were not as consistent, no matter what treatment combination they were assigned. The study also showed that the specialty alcohol treatment CBI was especially beneficial to those nonadherents that received a placebo, but CBI did not perform better than the more primary-care MM. Researchers concluded that that combing MM and naltrexone could benefit a large percentage of alcohol-dependent patients.

In other research news, an international study shows that the drug buprenorphine is twice as effective as naltrexone for treatment for heroin dependence. The two medications were tested on 126 Malaysian patients who had recently undergone a detoxification and counseling program. A placebo was also tested. Buprenorphine, also known as suboxone, was shown to be twice as effective than naltrexone and the placebo in terms of days of abstinence from heroin and a complete relapse to the narcotic.

The study suggested that buprenorphine should be placed alongside methadone as pharmacological treatments for helping addicts stay off heroin, but it did not favor naltrexone usage in treatment. Results of the study were published in The Lancet.

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From HealthDay: Prescribed Meds Still Best Treatment for Alcoholism
From All Health News: Study Shows Buprenorphine Works More Effectively In Heroin De-Addiction

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