If patients with opioid use disorders are detoxified successfully, why should they take medications rather than remaining “completely abstinent”?

As many as 90% of those detoxified from opioid use will relapse within first 1-2 months unless treated with medications. Alternatively, the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders (including methadone, buprenorphine, or naloxone) reduce the risk of relapse significantly and make the difficult process of recovery for opioid addiction less risky and more manageable. This is important because reductions in relapse risk also reduce the risk of further clinical deterioration or of lethal opioid overdoses.

Access “Detoxification followed by complete abstinence” at: https://pcssnow.org/resource/detoxification-followed-complete-abstinence/

More information can be found here: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/mat/mf_1_30/
Volkow, N. D., et al. (2014). “Medication-Assisted Therapies – Tackling the Opioid Overdose Epidemic.” N Engl J Med. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1402780

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