6 Powerful Long-Term Effects of Medication-assisted Treatment

What are the Benefits of Taking Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)? 

Long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment: In the medical realm, healthcare professionals often label substance dependence as a chronic disease, which can be a daunting term. However, the silver lining lies in the fact that enduring recovery treatments do exist. Embarking on the road to a substance-free life is a lifelong commitment, and the first step is finding the most effective treatment for you. One such powerful solution is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), a proven therapy for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

MAT employs medications like methadone and buprenorphine, which are designed to alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms, thereby reducing the risk of relapse. At this point, you might question, “What are the benefits of taking MOUD?” At MAT Care Clinics, we aim to shed light on this query.

In this blog post, we will delve into the long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment, presenting six compelling reasons why this approach could be the right choice for you or a loved one grappling with opioid dependence. By understanding these long-term benefits, you can make an informed decision about your journey towards sobriety.

What is the Success Rate of Medication Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an FDA-approved therapy that employs medications such as Suboxone to combat substance dependence disorders, typically with minimal side effects. MAT aids in achieving long-term recovery from opioid and alcohol dependency disorders, and physicians frequently recommend integrating it with other rehabilitative therapies.

To gain a deeper understanding of the success rate of medication-assisted treatment, we will examine six positive long-term effects that experts attribute to this approach.

6 Long-term Effects of Medication-assisted Treatment:

  1. Reduced Risk of Overdose Death: MAT has several long-term effects that contribute significantly to the recovery and overall well-being of individuals battling OUDs. One such effect is the reduced risk of overdose death. A study by the National Institutes of Health, which involved 17,568 adults from Massachusetts, clearly demonstrated this benefit. The results showed a remarkable decrease in overdose deaths over 12 months among those utilizing MAT – a 59% reduction for individuals on methadone and a 38% reduction for those on buprenorphine compared to those not receiving MAT. This significant reduction in overdose fatalities is a critical indicator of the long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment, especially considering that synthetic opioids account for a staggering 75.4% of all overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  2. Enhanced Retention in Treatment: The National Library of Medicine has shared research indicating that approximately 30% of patients drop out of outpatient substance abuse treatment programs within the first month if they omit MAT. Moreover, the dropout rate can escalate to 50% or more before three months, generally considered the minimum duration required to improve symptoms. Many individuals struggle with withdrawal symptoms and cravings during the detoxification process. However, those undergoing MAT treatments tend to stay in the program longer, as the prescribed medications effectively mitigate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Numerous studies conducted in high-income countries have documented this improved retention in MAT programs, using a mean retention rate of 50% at a 12-month follow-up as a benchmark for the success of a MAT program. This enhanced retention is another significant long-term effect of medication-assisted treatment.
  3. Enhanced Quality of Life: A primary objective in overcoming drug and alcohol dependence is to strengthen one’s quality of life, which is undeniably a critical long-term effect of medication-assisted treatment. The National Library of Medicine cites a study indicating that MAT not only augments the likelihood of recovery but also curtails the risk of death, bolsters social functioning, leads to less drug use, and ultimately results in improved holistic wellness. However, achieving these outcomes necessitates that patients receive adequate support in their living environments, considering factors like housing and employment that can significantly influence their recovery process. Administering MAT in conjunction with support for changes in the social context, such as providing stable housing and employment opportunities, can further diminish the risk of relapse and contribute to a more comprehensive recovery process.
  4. Reduced Criminal Activity: According to the book “Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives,” available in the National Library of Medicine, numerous studies examine the long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment. Findings suggest that MAT can significantly enhance an individual’s likelihood of returning to work, regaining health, avoiding involvement with the criminal justice system, and establishing support networks with non-drug users. A crucial component of these long-term effects is the reduction in illegal activity, considering a report from the U.S. Department of Justice indicating that between 42% and 79% of men arrested tested positive for any drug. For women, these percentages ranged from 38% to 85%. Hence, the long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment play a vital role in reducing drug-related criminal activity.
  5. Decreased Risk of Subsequent Substance Use Disorders: MAT proves to be a potent treatment for dependencies on substances like heroin, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and alcohol. Often, individuals who are dependent on one substance engage in polydrug use, which includes mixing drugs and alcohol. This practice is exceedingly hazardous and can escalate the risk of an overdose. Utilizing MAT to treat addiction to a wide range of substances, including alcohol, can diminish the potential for developing other substance use disorders in the future.
  6. Enhanced Physical Health: Numerous studies examining the long-term effects of medication-assisted treatment reveal substantial improvements in patients’ physical and mental health. For instance, a study conducted in Colorado and shared on PubMed demonstrated that patients undergoing treatment reported decreased use of heroin, opioids, and alcohol. Moreover, they experienced improved overall health, reduced disability, and fewer pain symptoms. Additionally, there was a noted decrease in worry, anxiety, and depression following six months of treatment.

MAT Care Clinics: Your Partner in Medication-Assisted Treatment

With extensive experience in treating substance dependence disorders, MAT Care Clinics strives daily to provide alternatives for those who’ve found other treatment methods ineffective or for those seeking to overcome dependency without therapy, group sessions, and challenging withdrawal symptoms. If this resonates with you, MAT Care Clinics is your ideal choice.

Our medication-assisted treatments employ Suboxone, an FDA-approved medication scientifically proven to yield numerous long-term benefits over other medicines and treatment methodologies.

If you’re prepared to embrace a life free from substance dependence, call us at (833) 622-0628 or visit our website to schedule an appointment at our clinic located in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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