Antagonists in the medical management of opioid use disorders: Historical and existing treatment strategies.


Journal Article (Review)

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a chronic condition with potentially severe health and social consequences. Many who develop moderate to severe OUD will repeatedly seek treatment or interact with medical care via emergency department visits or hospitalizations. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop feasible and effective approaches to help persons with OUD achieve and maintain abstinence from opioids. Treatment that includes one of the three FDA-approved medications is an evidence-based strategy to manage OUD. The purpose of this review is to address practices for managing persons with moderate to severe OUD with a focus on opioid withdrawal and naltrexone-based relapse-prevention treatment. METHODS: Literature available on PubMed was used to review the evolution of treatment strategies from the 1960s onward to manage opioid withdrawal and initiate treatment with naltrexone. RESULTS: Emerging practices for extended-release naltrexone induction include the use of agonist tapers and adjuvant medications. Clinical challenges frequently encountered when initiating this therapy include managing withdrawal and ongoing opioid use during treatment. Clinical factors may inform decisions regarding patient selection and length of naltrexone treatment, such as recent opioid use and patient preferences. CONCLUSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: Treatment strategies to manage opioid withdrawal have evolved, but many patients with OUD do not receive medication for the prevention of relapse. Clinical strategies for induction onto extended-release naltrexone are now available and can be safely and effectively implemented in specialty and select primary care settings. (© 2018 The Authors. The American Journal on Addictions Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP);27:177-187).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bisaga, A; Mannelli, P; Sullivan, MA; Vosburg, SK; Compton, P; Woody, GE; Kosten, TR

Published Date

  • April 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 177 - 187

PubMed ID

  • 29596725

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29596725

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1521-0391

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/ajad.12711


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England