Medication Assistant Treatment (MAT)
What is Medication Assistant Treatment (MAT)?
A common misconception associated with MAT is that it substitutes one drug for another for prolonged periods of time or indefinitely.
The reality is these medications that will be prescribed if necessary are meant to relieve withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.
Medication Assistant Treatment programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication to overcome the use of an abused substance, such as opioids/narcotics.
Research has shown that when provided at the proper dose, medications used in MAT have no adverse effects on a person’s intelligence, mental capability, physical functioning, or employability.
A more successful approach along with Medication Assistant Treatment is in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies and support groups to provide a “whole patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.
MAT is mainly used for the treatment of addiction to or physical dependence upon opioids such as heroin and prescription pain pills. Buprenorphine is a prescribed medication frequently used to “normalize” the brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the abused drug. This typically lasts longer than pain medication when taken as instructed.
Substance Use Disorders (SUD) occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home life.
MAT helps address these concerns in the proper setting with the proper medications and with appropriate recommendations for counseling and other existing treatment modalities.
Types of MAT Medication’s
- Buprenorphine is an FDA approved opioid addiction medicine. Buprenorphine is also known as Subutex it comes in the form of a tablet of 2mg and 8mg.
- Buprenorphine/Naloxone is also an FDA approved opioid addiction medicine.
- Buprenorphine/Naloxone is also known as Suboxone. Suboxone comes in the form of a tablet and film strips of 2mg and 8mg.
- Zubsolv is similar.
- Naltrexone is Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse. Naltrexone is used as part of a treatment program for drug or alcohol dependence. Naltrexone is used to prevent relapse in people who became dependent on opioid medicine and then stop using it.
- Naltrexone can help keep you from feeling a "need" to use the opioid or alcohol.
- Naltrexone is also used to treat alcoholism by reducing your urge to drink alcohol. This may help you drink less or stop drinking completely.
There are other medications used for other substances to help discontinue use or taper down.
Discussions regarding decreasing use of benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, stimulants, cannabis and others will take place to assist in determining what is the best approach with each person. Also reviewing basic questions for determining diagnostic criteria to see if an individual has problems that may require assistance in these areas.