Medications Used in Opium Rehab

Opium and opiate derivatives have been used for centuries as a cure all for pain and moreover, the number of people seeking treatment for opium addictions continues to rise.

Opium rehab involves the use of pharmacological approaches as well as psychotherapy and counseling to help the addict detox, maintain abstinence, and prevent relapse.

Opium Withdrawals

Opium withdrawals can be excruciatingly painful and make the person feel like they are on both a physical and psychological rollercoaster. Underlying physical or mental health disorders can complicate these conditions and make them considerably more severe.

Common medications can be used to manage symptoms of pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, but, while it may not seem so at the time, this may be the easy part.

Controlling the intense cravings and psychological agonies becomes much more complex and other drugs may need to be used in order to stabilize the person.

Medications Used in Opium Rehab

rehab for opium

Methadone and Subutex are two options for medication replacement therapy in opium addiction rehab.

According to NIDA, “pharmacological treatments counter the effects of the drug on the brain and behavior, and can be used to relieve withdrawal symptoms, help overcome drug cravings, or treat an overdose.”


Clonidine is a blood pressure medication used in opium rehab to control hypertension (high blood pressure) and other symptoms of irritation, anxiety, panic, insomnia, restlessness, diarrhea, and pain.


Naloxone is an opioid antagonist drug that can reverse the effects of opiates quickly by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, replacing the opiates, and blocking their effects. It may be used in “rapid detox” programs to accelerate the process of withdrawals or to treat an overdose occurrence.

Naloxone is widely advocated in community based opioid overdose prevention programs and is made available for immediate use to opioid addicts, their friends and families, and emergency service providers.


Naltrexone, is another opioid antagonist also used in rapid detox programs. A long-acting form of naltrexone, Vivitrol, has recently been approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid addictions.


Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist drug that activates the same opioid receptors in the brain as opium and reduces cravings and withdrawals without producing euphoria.

Methadone can be used in opium rehab to stabilize the person as they gradually reduce their dependence on opium. It has a much longer half life than opiates and dosing can be provided on a daily basis to maintain abstinence and prevent relapse. Methadone has been the most effective medicine in opioid maintenance therapies since the 1970’s.


Buprenorphine (Subutex) is a partial opioid agonist used sublingually to reduce cravings and withdrawals much like methadone, but, to a lesser degree. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone in the form of a film that is used sublingually with the naloxone content added to discourage abuse. These medications can be used to reduce the dependence on opium in opium rehab and for ongoing opioid maintenance therapies.