What is an agonist?
An agonist is a substance that binds to and activates specific receptors in the brain, mimicking the effects of naturally occurring neurotransmitters. In the context of opioid addiction treatment, opioid agonists like methadone and buprenorphine help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings by activating the same receptors that opioids target.
Agonist medications have been used in opioid addiction treatment since the 1960s, with methadone being the first widely adopted agonist medication. The use of agonists has evolved over time, with buprenorphine gaining popularity due to its lower risk of abuse and overdose compared to methadone.