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Narcotic Abuse (cont.)

Narcotic Abuse Treatment

  • Overdose: An unconscious person suspected of overdosing on narcotics is given naloxone, a narcotic antagonist. When given intravenously, it is effective in one to two minutes in reversing the coma and respiratory depression caused by a narcotic.
    • Withdrawal: Treating people who are addicted to narcotics is difficult. The most common long-term treatment of the narcotic withdrawal syndrome is substituting methadone for the illicit drug, followed by a slow process of then weaning the abuser off the methadone. Buprenorphine (Buprenex) is another medicine that can be used in the process of detoxification, with the concept being to replace one opioid (for example, heroin) with another and then taper the second opioid slowly.
    • The drug clonidine (Catapres) has been shown to relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal, especially salivation, runny nose, sweating, abdominal cramping, and muscle aches. Clonidine, when used in combination with naltrexone (ReVia), a long-acting narcotic antagonist, produces a more rapid detoxification.
    • Buprenorphine is also used in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms
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