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Clin Psychol Rev. 2010 Mar;30(2):155-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

A review of opioid dependence treatment: pharmacological and psychosocial interventions to treat opioid addiction.

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  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, 1007 W Harrison Street, M/C 285, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


Opioid dependence is a problem of national concern, especially with dramatically increased rates of abuse and dependence of prescription opioids. The current article provides an up-to-date review of the literature on opioid dependence treatment, with a focus on conclusions drawn by experts in the field (e.g., Cochrane reviews and meta-analyses) and methodologically rigorous studies (e.g., randomized controlled trials). We describe the major classes of drug treatments available, including opioid agonist (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine, LAAM), antagonist (e.g., naltrexone) and non-opioid pharmacotherapies (e.g., alpha2 adrenergic agonists). These treatments are discussed in the context of detoxification and long term treatment options such as abstinence-based and maintenance strategies. We review the state of the literature as to prevention of opioid overdose and discuss the widespread problem of comorbidity among opioid-dependent populations. We also focus prominently on evidence for inclusion of psychosocial approaches in treatment regimens, either as stand-alone or in conjunction with psychopharmacological options.

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