This guidance covers the use of substitute medication, which can be an important element in the treatment of opioid dependent patients and their medically assisted recovery.
Opioid dependence is common in the UK and there are effective substitution medications, including methadone and buprenorphine, to support treatment.
Both Methadone and buprenorphine are effective support agents in detoxification. The primary function is to reduce (and eventually replace) illicit opioid use and in so doing reduce harm and improve the health and psychological well-being of the patient. Both are more effective as part of a package of care that includes psychosocial support.
There are other drugs, such as morphine sulphate, dihydrocodeine and diamorphine, which are also occasionally used and which have an increasing evidence base worldwide.