There are differing opinions about medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Some people believe that MAT is simply replacing one drug addiction with another. Others have credited MAT with saving their lives. But what do the experts say? Let’s discuss MAT, and how Recovery in Motion can capitalize on its benefits to help you achieve long-term recovery.
Medication-Assisted Treatment – What is it?
Research has shown that addiction treatment is effective if it includes key components. These key components include individual counseling, group counseling, behavioral therapy, and an aftercare plan. That’s not to say every treatment plan is the same. In fact, each treatment plan is different.
Some addiction patients may also need anger management, life skills classes, expressive therapies and more. Research has shown favorable results in the use of medication for certain addictions, as well. Doctors call this medication-assisted treatment.
Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Safe?
Among a few misunderstandings about MAT, the most persistent is that patients are trading one addiction for another. If the patient uses the medication appropriately, that isn’t true. MAT must be closely supervised by a doctor. A doctor controls the dosage to ensure that one addiction doesn’t replace another. MAT has been imperative in the long-term recovery of countless of people.
According to the Pew Research Center, “This dual approach to [opioid use disorder] is supported by medical and behavioral health groups, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the National Council for Behavioral Health, patient advocate groups, and federal entities including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. surgeon general.”
Our previous U.S. surgeon general, Vivek Murthy issued a statement about MAT. He said, “The research clearly demonstrates that MAT leads to better treatment outcomes compared to behavioral treatments alone. Moreover, withholding medications greatly increases the risk of relapse to illicit opioid use and overdose death. Decades of research have shown that the benefits of MAT greatly outweigh the risks associated with diversion.”
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Help?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration explains how medications affect treatment. “The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.” Regrettably, addiction treatment facilities often underuse MAT programs.
MAT at Recovery in Motion
The Food and Drug Administration has approved three medications for addiction treatment. All three are undeniably beneficial. But one may have an advantage over the others for your specific treatment plan. Your addiction doctor will choose the right medication for you.
Recovery in Motion utilizes the following three medications in our addiction treatment programs.
This medicine interacts with a few of the receptors in the brain that are responsible for addiction. The interaction between these receptors and the medication occurs slowly when compared to the substance of addiction.
As a result, the patient doesn’t experience the appealing euphoric effects of addictive substances. Doctors have used methadone in MAT successfully for decades. They use methadone over a period of time during treatment.
Whether you come to our facility on a methadone regimen or you haven’t started one yet, we can help. We meet you where you are and then guide you to a happy, healthy lifestyle in recovery.
This medication is a multi-tasker. It contains two medicines, buprenorphine and naloxone, that work together to ease the agony of withdrawal and cravings.
Buprenorphine suppresses symptoms of withdrawal, including cravings. In addition, it blocks the effects of other opioids that the patient may be misusing. At the same time, this medicine produces less euphoria and a lower potential for misuse.
Naloxone reverses the effects of Suboxone if the patient does try to misuse it. For example, let’s say the doctor prescribes a tablet or a film of Suboxone. If patients routinely inject opioids, they may be inclined to break down and inject Suboxone in these forms. If they misuse Suboxone by injecting it, the naloxone reverses the effects of the buprenorphine. When doctors use naloxone in MAT, it intensifies withdrawal symptoms if the patient misuses it.
The overall function of Vivitrol in an addiction treatment program is to prevent relapse. Relapsing while in treatment is especially dangerous. After a period of abstinence, the patient’s tolerance for their drug of choice decreases. However, patients tend to relapse with the same dose they were taking before the period of abstinence. This often leads to overdose, as well as death.
Recovery in Motion is dedicated to your recovery. For that reason, we often use medication assisted treatment. We understand how it works to support our patients through their treatment. Not only does it make detox more comfortable, but it also reduces powerful cravings for the drug that can lead to relapse. Contact us today if you’re ready to take the first step to a healthy lifestyle in recovery.
 Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Information about Medication-Assisted Treatment.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 14 Feb. 2019, www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/information-about-medication-assisted-treatment-mat.
 “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” SAMHSA, 1 Sept. 2020, www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment.
 “Medication-Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients with Opioid Use Disorder.” Medication Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients with Opioid Use Disorder | The Pew Charitable Trusts, 22 Nov. 2016, www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2016/11/medication-assisted-treatment-improves-outcomes-for-patients-with-opioid-use-disorder.
 Murthy, Vivek. Twitter, 11 May 2017, twitter.com/vivek_murthy/status/862776718632857601.
 “The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment.” What Exactly Is Buprenorphine?, www.naabt.org/faq_answers.cfm?ID=2.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “How Do Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Work?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 29 May 2020, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction/how-do-medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction-work.
 Stewart, Judith. “Vivitrol: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings.” Drugs.com, 2 Apr. 2020, www.drugs.com/vivitrol.html.
 Tyler, Oesterle S, and Nuria J Thusius. “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid-Use Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 1 Oct. 2019, doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.03.029.