The latest data shows that only 10% of the people fighting addiction will receive treatment. The cost of drug addiction is more than $600 billion in the U.S. each year in the U.S. alone. What can be done to overcome these statistics?

Evidence-based treatment may hold the answer, but what is evidence-based treatment for addiction?

What Is Evidence-Based Medicine?

Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction - pile of pills on counter.Evidence-based treatment in medicine isn’t one method of care. Instead, it is a category of treatment modalities based on concrete approaches proven to work in the past. An early article on the topic says, “Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.”

Since the 1980s, when the term originated, the goal in evidence-based medicine generally is to move away from the “each one teach one” early models of medicine and instead base treatments on clinically proven evidentiary care.

Before evidence-based care, clinicians relied on training from colleagues and what they were taught. In evidence-based medicine, new and evolving systematic science and research replaces outdated (but accepted) treatments with newer therapies that are more powerful and effective.

The generally accepted best practice is to select level one evidence-based treatments but if they are not available, to continue down the levels. Not all research is appropriate for every case; clinicians must ask themselves:

  • Is the research valid? Can it be trusted?
  • What is the impact of the research? Are the results clinically important?
  • How can you apply the research to your individual patients?

The idea behind evidence-based medicine is to seek to continually improve our processes for treating illness. The generally accepted best practice is to learn from prior treatment efficacies and build upon them to achieve a better health outcome. How does this apply to addiction treatment?

What Are the Evidence-Based Treatments for Addiction Available Today?

There are currently several well-researched and validated evidence-based addiction treatments being used today in most treatment facilities around the U.S. There is plenty of evidence that these therapeutic approaches that encompass behavioral, pharmacological, and mental health, not only work—but make a huge impact in the lives of patients. 

Additionally, there are numerous medications on the market, supplied by specialty pharmacists like Banks Apothecary, that have proven to be effective in treating addiction. For example:

  • For alcohol addiction
    • Acamprosate to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness
    • Disulfiram interferes with how alcohol breaks down to create an unpleasant reaction if alcohol is consumed
    • Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors that create pleasure from the act of drinking (Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone)
    • Topiramate seems to work by increasing neurotransmissions that create the desire to drink 
  • For opioid addiction
    • Buprenorphine slowly weans the opioid addicted patient away from their drug of choice by eliminating the cravings that keep them coming back for more (Sublocade is an injectable form of buprenorphine) 
    • Methadone prevents withdrawal and eases the patient away from their craving for the opioid
    • Naltrexone blocks opioids from creating their euphoric effect and also reverses opioid overdoses (Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone)
  • For tobacco addiction
    • Bupropion produces a stimulant effect and reduces tobacco craving
    • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in several forms, from patches to sprays, gums and lozenges
    • Varenicline blocks the brain from being rewarded by a nicotine hit, thus reducing the reinforcing effects of taking that next hit

All of these therapies are often coupled with behavioral and psychological counseling to overcome the addiction.

Does Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction Work?

Evidence-based medicine is particularly effective in the field of addiction, which is evolving at a rapid pace as we understand more about the complicated interaction between our brain and bodies during the addiction and recovery process. 

For instance, Sublocade is an FDA-approved medication designed to treat opioid addiction, and Vivitrol is proven to block the release of endorphins in the brain that can lead to addiction.

Contact us today at Banks Apothecary to discover further evidence-based methods for addiction treatment.

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