A new study reveals three medications that can be effective in treating adolescents with severe opioid use disorder.
In the study, researchers studied data to investigate the effects of medication in the treatment of opioid use disorder in teenagers. They examined 14 studies that were published between 1973 and 2018.Their investigation led researchers to conclude that the danger of this type of addiction "far outweigh the risks" of treatment with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone.
"Adolescents with severe opioid use disorder may benefit from medication as part of a larger comprehensive treatment plan," study author Deepa R Camenga of the Yale School of Medicine told a news portal.
Close to two to five per cent of adolescents with an opioid use disorder reportedly receive treatment with these kinds of medications as compared to adults. Researchers note these medications do come with some hurdles. These medications need to be used carefully as high doses can come with side effects.
Difficulty breathing and heart rhythm problems are some of the issues patients can face when given high doses of methadone. Buprenorphine administered to teens needs to be given under adult supervision to ensure it is not misused. Patients have to go through detoxification before they can take naltrexone. It can also increase the risk of opioid overdose in some cases.
Despite the challenges, researchers believe these treatments could help. Another challenge is also that there are not many health care professionals who treat teens with this disorder. "There is a great need to improve adolescents' access to medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder and to increase workforce capacity to care for these adolescents," the authors of the study told a news portal.
The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
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