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Today's Meds Offer Better Options

July 1, 2006
by root
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Regarding your magazine's recent comments on medications to treat addiction, the antimedication advocates in 12-Step programs go back a long way, but in the “old days” they had a better argument. At that time, the only available medications to address postdetox anxiety were, categorically, depressants of the central nervous system (Valium, Librium, and the rest), with their concomitant risk of relapse. And for depression, sometimes amphetamines were prescribed!

We've come a long way since that time—the new generations of pharmacologic adjunctive treatments have offered options with absolutely no mood-altering potential for abuse (naltrexone, acamprosate). Even the remarkable new opiate detox and maintenance drug Suboxone is chemically structured as both an agonist and an antagonist, rendering it virtually impossible to abuse.

Walter Scanlon, PhD, MAC, New York City