BACKGROUND: In response to the growing incidence of opioid dependence, guidelines have been created, and new treatments are being developed to assist physicians in treating dependence and withdrawal of opioids.

OBJECTIVE: To review treatment modalities and guidelines utilized in opioid dependence.

SUMMARY: Guidelines for the treatment of opioid dependence have been developed by organizations such as the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Current guidelines recommend comprehensive treatment with pharmacological agents such as methadone, buprenorphine, or buprenorphine combined with naloxone as well as psychosocial therapy. These guidelines stress the need for an integrated approach to treatment. Office-based opioid treatment is currently being utilized to treat opioid dependent patients in a physician's office setting with buprenorphine/naloxone replacement therapy as an alternative to entering patients into a methadone clinic. These office-based programs offer a breakthrough in access to care for dependent patients.

CONCLUSION: Physicians need to be aware of and adhere to currently accepted guidelines and recommendations for treating opioid dependent patients, including integrating psychosocial treatments and behavior modification strategies for optimal results. Clinicians must be educated on the new treatment modalities and regulations surrounding the use of these therapies.


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