Psychiatric Mental Health, part 25: Therapies - Medications for Substance Use Disorders
by Cathy Parkes June 19, 2023 Updated: August 10, 2023 3 min read
- 00:00 What to expect - Medications for Substance Use Disorders
- 00:40 Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder
- 2:00 Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
- 2:54 Medications for Smoking Cessation
- 4:29 Quiz Time!
Hi, I'm Cathy with Level Up RN. In this video, we will be talking about medications that are used to treat substance use disorders such as alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. We will also be covering medications that help to support smoking cessation. And at the end of the video, I'm going to give you guys a little quiz to test your knowledge of some of the key points I'll be covering in the video, so definitely stay tuned for that. And if you are following along with our Level Up RN psychiatric mental health nursing flashcards, I'm on the last three flashcards in the therapy section of our flashcard deck.
Medications that are used to help an individual abstain from alcohol include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. So to be clear, these medications would not be used for alcohol withdrawal. During alcohol withdrawal, we would administer medications such as benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and anti-seizure medications. Each of these medications work a little differently. So disulfiram increases levels of acetaldehyde when the patient ingests alcohol. And this causes many unpleasant side effects, such as flushing, a throbbing headache, sweating, nausea and vomiting, hypotension, as well as palpitations. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that helps to decrease an individual's craving for alcohol and also decreases relapse rate. Acamprosate is a medication that decreases abstinence symptoms, such as anxiety or insomnia. Our cool chicken hint to help you remember this medication is I was sent to a camp to stop drinking, and they gave me acamprosate to decrease my abstinence symptoms.
Let's now talk about medications that are used for opioid use disorder. This includes buprenorphine as well as methadone. These medications work by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which help to decrease withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings. Side effects include sedation, confusion, respiratory depression, hypotension, constipation, and the potential for addiction and abuse. Naloxone is the antidote for these medications, and it's going to be important to monitor your patient's vital signs and their respiratory status throughout therapy. And then you should definitely give your patient a heads-up to increase their intake of fiber and fluids to prevent constipation.
And finally, let's talk about medications that help support smoking cessation. So there are many available options to help individuals stop smoking, including nicotine replacement therapy, such as a nicotine patch or nicotine gum, as well as medications such as varenicline and bupropion. Varenicline works by competitively binding to nicotinic receptors, which decreases cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms. Our cool chicken hint to help you remember this medication is varenicline keeps your veins clean of nicotine. Side effects include insomnia, anxiety, muscle pain, GI upset, as well as the potential for serious neuropsychiatric events. So as the nurse, you will definitely want to monitor your patient for depression and/or suicidal thoughts throughout therapy. Bupropion is an antidepressant that is also used to help individuals stop smoking. It works by decreasing reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. Our cool chicken hint to help you remember bupropion is be appropriate and don't smoke. Side effects include insomnia, agitation, headache, GI upset, weight loss, as well as an increased risk for seizures.
All right, it's quiz time. I've got three questions for you. Question number one, which medication causes the following symptoms when a patient ingests alcohol: flushing, nausea and vomiting, sweating, palpitations, and hypotension? The answer is disulfiram. Question number two, buprenorphine is a medication used for which substance use disorder? The answer is opioid use disorder. Question number three, which medication is an atypical antidepressant that is also used to support smoking cessation? The answer is bupropion. All right, that is it for this video. I hope you learned a lot. Thank you so much for watching and good luck with studying.
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