Can someone explain how the actions of opioid antagonists and maintenance substances, such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are utilized as effective approaches in the treatment of opioid dependence.
Opioid antagonists include medication that include methadone, LAAM and Buprenorphine. These medications can bind to the mu opiate receptors on the surfaces of brain cells and that leads to the various pleasurable sensations associated with the use of drugs. In the case of medication though the effect is milder, can be controlled and the medication itself is less risky to use. This makes it easier for patients to come off their addiction as there are less of the painful withdrawal symptoms that usually leads to failed attempts to giving up the drugs.
From my understanding of this topic, substances such as methadone basically offer a toned down version of various opioids such as heroine that allow the patient to gradually reduce the impacts of drugs on their body. It is basicaly a slower and safer way of going cold turkey as it gives the body more time to adjust to a slow decrease in the quantity of drugs in the body's system.