TUESDAY, Sept. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Teens who misuse prescription or illicit opioids might benefit from the opioid treatment medications methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone, according to a review published online Sept. 10 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Deepa R. Camenga, M.D., from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues conducted a review of the literature to identify published evidence about the efficacy and potential risks associated with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) in adolescents.

The researchers found that methadone seems to be effective in promoting treatment retention among adolescents with heroin use disorder. Buprenorphine treatment appears to improve the likelihood of opioid abstinence and treatment retention, according to data from three randomized controlled trials. Evidence suggests the risk for overdose from misuse of these medications is much lower for buprenorphine than methadone. Naltrexone appears safe based on emerging data and may be a feasible option for adolescents. The evidence clearly shows the risks of untreated OUD far outweigh the risks associated with any of the previously mentioned medications.

“Adolescents with severe opioid use disorder may benefit from a medication as part of a larger comprehensive treatment plan,” Camenga said in a statement. “Parents should try to consult with an addiction psychiatry or medicine specialist to see if there are additional treatments that may benefit their child.”

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