Medication Assisted Treatment Program

Getting help for a substance use disorder can prevent overdoses and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 100,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2021. There are several different treatment options for those seeking help to recover from substance use disorder, which includes Medically Assisted Treatment.

What is A Medication Assisted Treatment Program?

A Medication Assisted Treatment Program (MAT) is highly effective for opioid addiction. Medically Assisted Treatment uses FDA-approved medications to reduce withdrawal and cravings or to block the effects of opioids. These medications must be prescribed and administered by a qualified healthcare professional. Medically Assisted Treatment is used in combination with traditional therapy so that underlying issues that drive substance use can be addressed.

Medically Assisted Treatment can be beneficial when one decides to enter into a drug detox or alcohol detox to help minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings. There are several Medically Assisted Treatment programs to help serve those in need.

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    Types of Medications Used in A Medication Assisted Treatment Program

    There are several FDA-approved medications for MAT, they include:

    1.  Methadone: this is administered in either an inpatient or outpatient program. Methadone can be taken in pill, liquid, or wafer form and it is a drug agonist, which means it stimulates the same brain receptors that opioids do.

    2.  Buprenorphine: this is administered on a weekly or monthly basis at home but it must be prescribed by a certified clinician. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist drug, meaning that it works similar to an agonist but has significantly weaker effects on the brain.

    3.  Naltrexone:  this is administered as either a daily pill or a monthly injection and can be prescribed by any doctor or clinician. Naltrexone works as an antagonist so it blocks all opioid effects on the brain.

    Is Medication Assisted Treatment Effective?

    Medically Assisted Treatment is incredibly effective in treating opioid addiction and alcoholism. MAT is most effective in treating substance abuse of opioids, such as morphine, oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone, and non-prescription opiates like heroin, as well as helping to treat alcohol use disorder. 


    A MedicationAssisted Treatment program is effective because it lessens withdrawals and cravings in the first half of detox and continues to lessen cravings throughout recovery. Since MAT is so effective in removing cravings, it makes it easier to begin diving into the underlying issues of a substance use disorder, and/or opioid use disorder. MAT also lowers instances of risky behavior, such as using dirty needles to inject drugs, which leads to a decrease in HIV and Hepatitis C infection rates.

    Types of Medications Used

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    MAT for Alcohol

    There are several options within Medically Assisted Treatment programs for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. The medications will help to cut cravings and can also help to block the effects of alcohol on the system. Some common medications include:


    1. Disulfiram: Disulfiram is administered by medical professionals in tablet form and when someone uses alcohol after taking this drug, causes uncomfortable side effects including headache, nausea, vomiting, and chest pains. 


    2. Naltrexone: Naltrexone is administered through a pill or an injectable form (Vivitrol), and blocks the euphoric effects that happen when one consumes alcohol.


    3. Acamprosate: Acamprosate is given once the initial phase of withdrawal has been completed and is administered in tablet form, at least three times per day. It is used to decrease cravings and is typically combined with behavioral therapy.

    MAT for Opioids

    There are several options within Medically Assisted Treatment programs for those struggling with opioid use disorder. The medications will help to cut cravings and can also help to block the effects of opioids on the system, which will lessen the risk of overdoses and deaths. MAT for Opioids includes methadone, Buprenorephine, and Naltrexone (as discussed above).

    How Long Does Someone Stay on Medication Assisted Treatment?


    The duration of Medication Assisted Treatment programs varies based on the type of medication used and the individual patient’s needs. There are several different guidelines for the different medications. Methadone is advised to undergo therapy for at least a year–after the first 90 days of methadone the dose will continue to gradually decrease. The timeline for buprenorphine may only be a few months but can last up to several years. 
    The dose will change based on need and length of time from the last use. The standard timeline for naltrexone is about 12 weeks, which helps to eliminate the need for opioids. For each of the medications prescribed, one must work with their prescriber to determine the best timeline of use based on need.


    Where Can I Find A Medication Assisted Treatment Program?


    There are several treatment centers that offer MAT programs as part of outpatient treatment following detox. It is imperative for each patient to completely detox off of the drugs before they begin on Medically Assisted Treatment medications. Some MAT medications can be prescribed by a certified clinician and/or a doctor. At Detox ATL, all of our preferred detox facilities offer Medication Assisted Treatment programs as an option to help mitigate the risk of relapse.


    Find a Medication Assisted Treatment Program Today!


    If you or someone you know is wanting to pursue a Medically Assisted Treatment program, call Detox ATL to see if MAT is the right fit for you and your journey of recovery. We will work with each patient individually based on individual experience, use, and prior history. We offer a safe and supportive environment to begin your journey of recovery. Get a free verification of benefits today!