Medications for Substance Use and Relapse Prevention
Adolescent substance use disorders (SUDs) are difficult to treat and associated with negative functional and health outcomes. Even with the use of evidence-based psychosocial interventions, many youth drop out of treatment or relapse within 6 months of treatment engagement. Medications for addiction treatment (MAT, formerly known as medication-assisted treatments), or the use of other adjunctive pharmacotherapy in conjunction with psychosocial interventions, have demonstrated effectiveness in improving adult SUD treatment outcomes. Only a few controlled pharmacotherapy trials have been completed in adolescents to date. Results have been mixed, with some medications showing promise and others showing no benefit over psychosocial treatment alone. Nicotine replacement therapy and bupropion for tobacco, N-acetylcysteine for cannabis, and buprenorphine-naloxone for opioid use disorders have shown early promise in improving youth SUD treatment outcomes when combined with psychosocial interventions. Providers may consider trialing addiction pharmacotherapies in youth who fail to improve with psychosocial treatments or who have additional negative prognostic factors.
KeywordsBuprenorphine Naltrexone Methadone Acamprosate Disulfiram Bupropion Varenicline Nicotine replacement products
Source of Funding
AACAP and NIH research funding K12DA000357 (Hammond).
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