When treating opioid addiction, multidisciplinary treatment is highly recommended, but pharmacotherapy plays a key role. Although the ideal goal is to achieve complete abstinence, an elevated percentage of opioid addicts requires maintenance substitution therapy. In the first section of this chapter, we will focus on the current pharmacological interventions to treat opioid addiction, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Thanks to these medications, people are able to go back to their normal lives, by preventing withdrawal symptoms, reducing craving, and increasing their adherence to psychotherapy. In the second section, based on the evidence that addiction induces neuroadaptive changes in several neurotransmission systems, we focus on the wide range of possible pharmacological developments at the preclinical and clinical levels, which in recent years have increased considerably.
Part of the book: Opioids