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 / Addiction Information / Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) with the help of medications, counseling, and behavioral therapy. It is beneficial for patients in sustaining recovery. The goal of the prescribed medication is to minimize the effects of certain drugs and opioids like euphoria, sedation, etc., and also reduce cravings. This helps normalize body functions without the adverse effects of the abused drugs.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the best and most widely used treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) patients. Buprenorphine and methadone are the most common drugs used in treating opioid use disorder.

Goals of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) aims to help the substance abuser manage and reduce cravings and deal with withdrawal symptoms to maintain sobriety and long-term abstinence. It also helps in the detoxification of substances that are being abused. It regulates the regular activity of the brain's chemicals providing the ability to maintain a healthy life and participate in daily activities.

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Effectiveness of Medication Assisted Treatment

A study was conducted in 2018, which concluded that about two million people had an opioid use disorder, including prescription medication for pain (opioids and heroin). MAT is a clinically proven beneficial model for inpatient facilities and provides a more comprehensive and focused behavioral therapy program according to the patient's needs.

Medicated assisted treatment (MAT) is designed for a patient's full recovery and allows a patient to maintain sobriety and lead an everyday life with self-awareness and care. The treatment protocols include the following approaches:

  • Improve the patient well being.

  • Increase treatment retention.

  • To minimize the use of opiates and other substances and eliminate the criminal activity associated with it.

  • Encourage and improve the patient to get to work and maintain sobriety.

  • It helps pregnant females improve and accept the birth outcomes and circumstances involved in substance use disorder.

Many researchers suggest that medicated assisted treatment lowers the chances of other serious diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C by reducing the chances of relapses.

Medically Reviewed:

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Medications

The FDA approves several medications for treating substance use disorders (drug or alcohol). These medications work by reducing psychological cravings and relieving the withdrawal symptoms. This medication has proven effects on the brain's disturbed chemicals from using any drug or alcohol.

Medications Used in Alcohol Disorder

The most common medications used to treat alcohol use disorder include Disulfiram, Acamprosate, and Naltrexone. They do not work directly by treating the alcohol use disorder but in combination with behavioral therapy. It is more effective for people to use medicated assisted treatment to manage their alcohol misuse.

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Medications Used in Opioid Dependency

Many medications are used to treat patients with opioid dependence, including Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naltrexone. These drugs effectively treat short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine and semi-sympathetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. These MAT medications are safe for usage and can be taken for a month, a year, and even a lifetime. Ask your doctor before discontinuation the drug.

 

  • METHADONE

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) certified that Methadone and Buprenorphine had been used since 1960 to reduce the psychological cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use disorder (OUD). This drug can be taken only under the supervision of a healthcare professional. It is a synthetic opioid that blocks the effects of opiates, reduces withdrawal symptoms, and relieves cravings. Methadone is a daily medication dispensed in outpatient clinics specializing in methadone treatment and is often used in conjunction with behavioral counseling approaches. 

 

  • BUPRENORPHINE

Buprenorphine can reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine is more readily available, unlike Methadone. Therefore, it is more accessible in clinics, community hospitals, health departments, or correctional facilities. To qualify for a waiver, the healthcare provider must receive certification and training on dispensing this medication to treat opioid use dependency.

  • NALTREXONE

Naltrexone works as an antagonist on the receptors of opioids and helps in preventing the euphoric effects. Naltrexone can be prescribed by any healthcare provider licensed to prescribe medications. It does not require special training like Buprenorphine and Methadone. It is often used after seven to ten days of withdrawal from opioids (detoxification) and manages the symptoms.

Medications Used for Opioid Overdose Prevention

Several toxic effects occur from an opioid overdose. Naloxone is the most effective drug to prevent an opioid overdose and reverses its poisonous effects. Naloxone is considered one of the most effective drugs in treating patients experiencing an opioid overdose, according to the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO).

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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is Affordable

MAT is highly accessible in terms of cost. MAT will help you get the best value for your money. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment are costly and unaffordable, and some people think they can’t receive treatment due to expense and give up.

The cost of MAT for alcohol addiction varies depending on the need, the area you live in, and the treatment duration. MAT is a highly affordable alternative considering the immense cost of sustaining an addiction. The inevitable addiction-related health problems will result in mounting medical bills and drug abuse costs. MAT helps prevent these unpredictable costs with a reliable weekly rate.

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Conclusion

Medication-assisted treatment is commonly used and deals with certain medications accompanied by behavioral therapies like counseling. It is a long-term option for people with opioid or alcohol use disorder and helps prevent relapse and maintain abstinence. 

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Goals of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Effectiveness of medication assisted treatment
MAT medications
Medications used in alcohol disorder
Medications used in opioid dependency
MAT is affordable
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