What is an Opiate Agonist?

An opiate agonist is a drug that mimics the effects of naturally-occurring endorphins in the body and produces an opiate effect by interacting with specific receptor sites. Opiate Agonist DrugsExamples of full opiate agonists include heroin, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, opium and a number of other drugs. An agonist is a chemical that binds and activates the receptor to produce a specific biological response, whereas an antagonist blocks the action of the agonist and has an inverse agonist effect. Additionally, opiate antagonists include naloxone and naltrexone.

Opiate Agonist


Methadone is the most widely known and most common of the opiate agonists used to treat opioid dependence. It decreases drug cravings and has helped many patients wean off opiates. Licensed methadone clinics dispense it where patients must go to receive their dose. Because it is a narcotic, methadone has its own potential to cause dependence.

Methadone is a synthetic opiate drug and pain reliever. It acts on the same receptors as heroin, morphine and other opiates. While the drug does not produce the same high a heroin, it is also highly addictive, and it also has a high risk of overdose. It was first developed in 1937 by German scientists searching for a surgical painkiller named “Dolophine.” Later, exported to the US and renamed Methadone, the drug for the treatment of heroin addiction. Unfortunately, it proved to be even more addictive than heroin.


Heroin was first manufactured in 1898 by Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Germany as a treatment for tuberculosis, as well as a remedy for morphine addiction. Its appearance can be powdery white, rose gray, brown or black in color. The different colors come from additives which can include sugar, caffeine or other sometimes lethal substances. People can cut Heroin with strychnine or other harmful substances. In effect, various additives can lead to the infection or destruction of vital organs. The buyer never knows the strength or the additives to the heroin. Therefore, with every use, there is a constant and high-risk of overdose. It can be injected, smoked or sniffed. Heroin is a highly addictive drug and the withdrawal can be extremely painful.


Oxycodone is a schedule II medication (a category of drugs that have a high potential for addiction but that have a legitimate medical use) often used to treat moderate to severe pain. As useful as it is to control pain, it carries a significant risk for addiction and dependence. The oxycodone in high doses, or when combined with other drugs or alcohol, can cause respiratory distress and even death. It is a semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from thebaine, an alkaloid found in the Persian poppy.

Oxycodone brand names are OxyContin, Roxicodone, Xtampza ER, OxyIR. It is marketed either alone or in combination with other nonnarcotic analgesics such as aspirin (Percodan®) or acetaminophen (Percocet®).

Partial Opiate Agonist

Buprenorphine, Suboxone, and Subutex are partial agonists drugs. These partial antagonist drugs bind to the opioid receptors in the brain but do not have a “full agonist” effect like heroin. These drugs are common for the treatment of heroin addiction. They can help prevent withdrawal and cravings. The downside to substitute treatment utilizing agonist drugs is that patients usually develop a dependence and tolerance to the medication.

Opioid Antagonists

The two most common opioid antagonists are naloxone and naltrexone. Naloxone is FDA-approved for the use in an opioid overdose and is sold in intravenous, intramuscular and intranasal formulations.

Naltrexone, on the other hand, is available in both oral and monthly injectable formulations (Vivitrol) and is a blocker that significantly reduces the physical cravings for opioid drugs.

Naloxone binds to opioid receptors, which rapidly reverse and block the effects of other opioids. In case of an overdose, that drug can quickly restore breathing, making it a life-saving medication. The drug is available in the prefilled auto-injectable device as Evizio® or as a nasal spray Narcan®.

Medical Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Pharmaceutical treatments for opioid dependence can be useful in the battle against addiction. However, many pose a risk for dependency and keep patients from ever being truly free of opiates. Total abstinence is possible, in a matter of days with the Waismann Method’s rapid opiate detox. We offer opioid detoxification in an accredited hospital under the guidance of our quadrupled board-certified medical director and other specialists.

Waismann Treatment™ for Opioid Use Disorder Exclusive Features:

  •  Quadruple board-certified physician, a leader in the field of medical opioid detoxification, and rapid detox. Our medical director, Michael H. Lowenstein M.D., has himself successfully medically detoxed thousands of patients.
  •  Patients receive a private room at a full-service accredited JCAHO hospital. Just in an accredited hospital, vast medical specialists and resources immediately available for patients
  • Admission on the day before anesthesia assisted rapid detox treatment for comprehensive medical evaluation and proper stabilization
  • Every rapid detox procedure is performed in a private ICU room. Patients are treated individually and privately.
  •  Additional opioid detox protocol options available with and without anesthesia based on patient needs and preferences
  • Hospital discharge is based on the doctors’ evaluation and not by a pre-established time or limits from the facility
  •  Inclusive recovery retreat for a few days with multiple services to ensure comfort and well-being throughout the regulation and adaptation period
  • Nearly 100% opioid detox success rate

Our exceptional team of medical professionals provides patients with superior physical and emotional support in a caring and supportive environment.

Call us today at 1-800-423-2482 to discuss how the Waismann Method® can free you from your opiate dependency and get you safely and comfortably, where you want to be.

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