How to address patient resistance to taking medications for the treatment of their addictions?

Patients with substance use disorders, particularly opioid use disorders often do not seek treatment. While access to treatment services is the most frequently cited reason for not being in treatment, other patient factors are also important. Indeed, patients often do not think that they require treatment, and misinformation about substance use disorder treatments are major barriers. Frequently cited barriers to the use of agonist and antagonist medication include patients and families who request drug-free treatment, persistent expectations of abstinence as the only appropriate treatment outcome, staff resistance to the use of medications, and the cost of the medications; many addiction treatment centers, moreover, do not have prescribers on staff. Using a motivational interviewing approach can help address the patients’ ambivalence.

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