What is an Agonist?

An agonist is a drug that activates specific receptors in the brain to produce a similar effect to a natural neurotransmitter. In addiction treatment, an agonist drug is often used to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and help individuals overcome their addiction.

For example, methadone is an agonist that is commonly used in the treatment of opioid addiction. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as opioids but with a slower onset and longer duration of action, reducing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Another example is naltrexone, which is an antagonist for the opioid receptors used in the treatment of opioid and alcohol addiction. It blocks the effects of opioids, reducing cravings and preventing relapse.

Agonist-based treatment is a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that is often combined with other forms of therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes to support long-term recovery.

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