Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 449–458

Pharmacologically Assisted Treatment of Opioid-Dependent Youth

  • Anna Pecoraro
  • Marc Fishman
  • Michelle Ma
  • Gvantsa Piralishvili
  • George E. Woody
Therapy in Practice

DOI: 10.1007/s40272-013-0041-5

Cite this article as:
Pecoraro, A., Fishman, M., Ma, M. et al. Pediatr Drugs (2013) 15: 449. doi:10.1007/s40272-013-0041-5
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Abstract

Opioid misuse, abuse, and dependence are global problems whose patterns vary across cultures. In the USA, the non-medical use of prescription opioids has become particularly serious because of its association with addiction and overdose death. Agonist and antagonist medications have been shown to be effective for opioid-dependent adults, and there is a growing body of data that they are also effective for youth. Here, we summarize evidence that detoxification alone results in high rates of treatment dropout and relapse but that the limited but growing data on the extended use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid-dependent youth have been positive. The implementation of medication-assisted treatment as a standard practice is feasible, easily integrated with counseling or psychotherapy, and has potential to greatly improve outcomes. Although concerns about safety and efficacy with youth require more research, and we do not advocate indefinite maintenance, we suggest that opioid-dependent youth should be considered as candidates for medication-assisted treatment delivered in a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate context, beginning at the first episode of care, with the strength of the recommendation to use medication increasing with each care episode.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Pecoraro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marc Fishman
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Michelle Ma
    • 6
  • Gvantsa Piralishvili
    • 7
  • George E. Woody
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Delaware Valley Node, Clinical Trials NetworkPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Mountain Manor Treatment CenterBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Mid-Atlantic Node, Clinical Trials NetworkBaltimoreUSA
  6. 6.University of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA
  7. 7.International Relations and Projects Management UnitCenter for Mental Health and the Prevention of AddictionTbilisiGeorgia

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