Quitting heroin or opioid pain medications like Oxycodone is nearly impossible without proper treatment. There are many approaches to combat these types of addiction including: family therapy, counseling, 12-step programs, meditation, holistic approaches, diet and exercise, counseling, massage and others. No two individuals are exactly alike and a multi-faceted approach is often the best way ensure success in any treatment program.
Clinical studies have shown that the most effective method for helping a person to kick heroin or opioids should include medication-assisted therapy. Medications like Buprenorphine, Methadone or Suboxone may be used to help wean an individual off opioids or heroin while easing the symptoms of withdrawal and helping with cravings. Unfortunately, these medications are actually opioids themselves and pose a high potential for abuse and theft. In fact, Methadone is one of the leading causes of fatal overdoses in the United States. Nearly 1/3 of fatal opioid overdoses in the US involve Methadone. Although these types of medications can be highly effective at treating addiction, doctors are often reluctant or unable to prescribe them because of tight government restrictions which limit their use.
Naltrexone is a different type of medication-assisted therapy. Naltrexone was first approved by the FDA in 1984 and later re-approved as an injection in 2010. Naltrexone is not an opioid and poses no risk for abuse and has no serious or common side effects. Naltrexone works by blocking the effects of heroin opioids and alcohol on the body. Clinical studies have shown that Naltrexone will reduce and often eliminate cravings. Even if the individual relapses, Naltrexone blocks specific receptors in the brain which prevents the user from getting high. Many users report that Naltrexone will reduce obsessive thoughts to use drugs or drink within just a few hours of starting the medication.
A recent study conducted by the Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that Naltrexone was more effective in preventing relapses than Methadone and several other common opioid medications. The study found that Naltrexone reduces the chance of having a fatal overdose. No one who received in Naltrexone in the Perleman study experienced an overdose, even 18 months after the experiment had ended.