What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?There have been several gaps in the studies on determining the ideal medically assisted treatment dose for patients. The essential takeaway is that each medication-assisted treatment drug has its unique dangers and benefits. Regardless of the drug you are administered, medication-assisted treatment pros and cons still exist. Methadone overdoses, for example, can result in death, whereas buprenorphine or naltrexone overdoses cannot.
Regardless, the effectiveness of MAT for addiction cannot be denied. The medication-assisted treatment statistics show that MAT treatment is the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. 12 steppers, however, have placed stigmatization on the use of MAT for drug addiction. You should note that while 12-step groups are helpful, MAT is effective in preventing relapse and continued misuse. 12 steps with medication-assisted treatment can be a win-win as you can benefit immensely from both. 3
The takeaway is that despite some seemingly hurdles in MAT treatment, the success rate has been encouraging thus far, indicating that MAT does work.
What Medications Are Included in MAT?
MethadoneMethadone is a long-acting opioid agonist approved by FDA to be used in MAT for addiction to opioids. Methadone is also used for pain management. 4
As an opioid agonist, it binds to opioid receptors to block the effects of opioids, reduce craving, and help ease withdrawal symptoms. When taken following your doctor’s prescription, methadone is safe and effective.
BuprenorphineBuprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it does the same work as methadone but is less potent.
The medication-assisted treatment benefits of Buprenorphine use include reduced effects of physical dependence on opioids, reduced chances of misuse, and increased safety in overdose cases. 5
People suffering from opioid, or alcohol use disorder can benefit from MAT. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains how Naltrexone works by binding and blocking opioid receptors to reduce cravings and block the euphoric effects of opioids. Naltrexone, however, is not an opioid. It is not addictive, and it poses no risk of withdrawal symptoms. 6
What Does MAT Therapy Work for?
If your body is dependent on alcohol, cleansing your body from the harmful substance (detoxifying) to begin treatment can cause some serious withdrawal symptoms. Although there aren’t many drugs that can stop withdrawal symptoms, some drugs like Acamprosate and Naltrexone can be given after detox to halt or reduce cravings for alcohol.
Stimulant DetoxMAT medications are used in the detox process to help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. This helps patients stay in the treatment plan longer. When combined with behavioral therapy, the chances of maintaining sobriety are greatly increased.
Opiates are highly addictive. When your body becomes dependent on them, they can cause severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them. This makes detox a problem. Opioid medically assisted treatment is relevant in the detox process of treating opioid addiction to help manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine and Naloxone
Buprenorphine and Naloxone are popular medications for safe opioid detox. These two drugs are active components of Suboxone tablets, commonly used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
Common Buprenorphine and Naloxone side effects include:
- Back pain
- Fast heartbeats
This drug combination should only be used as directed by a medical professional. Methadone and Naltrexone are also used to aid opioid detox.
MAT BenefitsThe goal of medication-assisted therapy is full recovery, which includes the ability to lead a healthy, drug-free life. Some medication-assisted treatment benefits include:
- Improve patient survival
- Increase retention in treatment
- Decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
- Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
How Do Medication-Assisted Treatment Drugs Work?The way medication-assisted therapy medications work depends on the medication. However, the medications used in MAT recovery generally restore brain chemistry, prevent the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, ease physiological cravings, and normalize bodily functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance consumed.
Do the MAT Medications Cure Me?MAT medications are just one-half of MAT treatment. The other half, which is just as important, is the psychotherapy and counseling part.
Medications can help you recover from addiction, but therapy will help you maintain the recovery because factors that contribute to the addiction are addressed with therapy.
Common Misconceptions of MAT Treatment
MAT Is Trading One Addiction for AnotherThe medications used in MAT recovery are to aid treatment and minimize relapses. It is not in any way trading one addiction for another. All the MAT treatment medications are FDA-approved and are safe and effective when taken as prescribed by the doctor.
MAT Will Make You HighMAT medications reduce drug cravings and help avoid relapse without giving the user a high when correctly prescribed. When you follow the prescription, MAT provides stability in different areas of your life.
MAT Is a Short-Term TreatmentMAT treatment works best as a long-term treatment. People typically stay on MAT treatment for a year or more.
MAT Increases the Risk Of OverdoseMAT aims to get people to stop taking harmful substances; in most cases, it has been proven effective. In other words, MAT treatment does not increase the risk of overdose.
MAT Is Not “True Recovery” and Is a Crutch
The fact remains that MAT treatment aims to help people gain and maintain sobriety. Different studies attest to this.
Insurance Doesn’t Cover MAT
Most insurances cover treatment for substance abuse and mental illnesses, including MAT. You can check with your insurance to know your options.
MAT Is ExpensiveWhen compared to the cost of getting the substance of abuse, the cost of MAT is relatively cheaper.
MAT Only Delays and Disrupts True RecoveryWhen properly followed through, MAT is an essential part of the recovery process.
Pregnant Women Can’t Receive MATCurrently, there is evidence against medication-assisted treatment and pregnancy. It has been proven safe for pregnant women. Also, going cold turkey while pregnant is not recommended as it can cause complications. The only other safe option is MAT treatment. You should erase the myths of medication-assisted treatment and pregnancy not going well together.
How Long Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Last?
Does Insurance Cover Medication-Assisted Treatment?According to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), all long-term insurance plans must provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as substance use disorder, when medically necessary. If the ACA applies to your plan and your doctor can certify that MAT is medically required for your condition, your insurance company will cover it.
Get Medication-Assisted Treatment at Soledad House
Now more than ever, with the ongoing opioid epidemic in the US, medication-assisted treatment centers are needed to help individuals suffering from opioid use disorder or alcoholism.
Soledad House is one of the accredited and leading medication-assisted treatment centers in the US. With our qualified staff and personalized treatment approach, we can help you walk out of addiction until you achieve sobriety. Contact us today to discuss a unique treatment plan for you.