Medication-Assisted Treatment FAQs

Which Medications Are Used in MAT?

The opioid overdose crisis is a national concern that has everyone on high alert. Opioid overdoses claimed an alarming 80,411 lives in 2021. Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT) has emerged as a potent strategy to aid individuals with substance dependence, significantly reducing fatal overdoses and the associated personal, social, and financial repercussions tied to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

In the quest for an effective and safe method to combat drug dependence, many individuals consider MAT as a viable option to reclaim their substance-free lives. When selecting a treatment, it’s normal for numerous questions to surface, such as: “Which medications are used in MAT?” To address these concerns, MAT Care Clinics has compiled a list of medication-assisted treatment FAQs, offering straightforward guidance about this treatment approach.

7 Medication-Assisted Treatment FAQs

1. What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Our guide to medication-assisted treatment FAQs begins by addressing the most fundamental question: what is MAT?

Medication-assisted Treatment, or MAT, refers to the use of specific, FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of substance use disorders involving substances such as opioids, alcohol, and nicotine. At MAT Care Clinics, our primary focus is on treating dependencies on substances like heroin, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and alcohol.

The medications used in MAT alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for opioids.

2. How Does MAT Work?

A common question in medication-assisted treatment FAQs is how this treatment method works. MAT promotes long-term recovery for individuals battling alcohol and opioid dependence. It’s important to note that MAT often incorporates therapeutic and emotional support strategies, providing a comprehensive recovery program that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of substance dependence.

During treatment, a licensed physician prescribes specific medication approved for treating substance dependence. MAT allows patients to benefit from a drug that effectively reduces cravings, manages withdrawal symptoms, and stabilizes both their mental and physical health.

Healthcare professionals specializing in substance use disorder treatment must design a treatment plan that approaches each patient’s needs and carefully supervises the administration of the drugs.

3. Duration and Feasibility of Medication-Assisted Treatment

The duration and feasibility of medication-assisted treatment often arise in FAQs. The length of MAT can vary greatly, tailored to each patient’s needs. No single term applies universally, as the effectiveness and length of treatment hinge on factors such as addiction severity, patient response, therapeutic goals, and history of chronic or recurrent addiction.

In some instances, MAT may be short-term, aiding the patient through the acute phase of dependency before gradually tapering off the medication. In others, long-term treatment may prove more beneficial. It’s important to underscore that the optimal treatment duration varies from person to person, and flexibility in MAT duration allows for individualized patient care.

The FDA states that healthcare providers should periodically reassess the necessity for ongoing medication-assisted treatment due to the chronic nature of OUD.

There isn’t a recommended maximum duration for maintenance treatment, and treatment may continue indefinitely for some patients.

Concerning MAT’s feasibility, studies indexed in the National Library of Medicine reinforce its efficacy, citing evidence that patients who underwent MAT exhibited significantly higher abstinence rates.

4. Which Medications Are Used in MAT?

Diving deeper into our medication-assisted treatment FAQs, let’s explore the medications utilized in this treatment approach.

The three primary medications used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence include:

  • Methadone: This substance is a complete opioid receptor antagonist that can assist in easing withdrawal symptoms and cravings without inducing the euphoric “high” associated with opioid use.
  • Buprenorphine: This partial opioid receptor agonist aids in reducing cravings and alleviating withdrawal symptoms. Its limiting effects also help mitigate the risk of abuse.
  • Naltrexone: Acting as an opioid receptor antagonist, Naltrexone blocks these receptors, aiding in relapse prevention. It can be administered either in pill form or via a monthly injection.

At MAT Care Clinics, we employ the following medications:

  • Suboxone: This oral medication combines buprenorphine and naloxone. The combination of these drugs can reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms while simultaneously blocking the intoxicating effects of opioids.
  • Sublocade: Physicians administer it as a monthly injection. Sublocade systematically releases buprenorphine, blocking the effects of opioids and reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naltrexone: This oral medication obstructs opioid receptors in the brain, diminishing cravings and toxic effects.
  • Vivitrol: Provided as a monthly injection, Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioids, and physicians typically use it after a patient has completed detoxification.

5. Does MAT Interfere with Other Medications?

A common query in MAT FAQs is whether this treatment interferes with other medications. According to the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, the doctors in charge of treatment must monitor the drugs employed in MAT due to their potential abuse and overdose risks. Overdose can occur when an individual combines opioids with other medications, alcohol, or over-the-counter products or even intentionally misuses a prescribed opioid.

For individuals suffering from mental disorders like anxiety, combining substance dependence treatment medications with anxiety medications could prove fatal. Anxiety medications often include those derived from benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. Certain medications can impact the absorption of the drugs used in MAT, thereby altering their effectiveness.

Therefore, it’s crucial that the prescribing physician comprehensively discusses the patient’s current medications, conducts a thorough medication review, and discusses potential interactions. This process minimizes risks and ensures the provision of safe and effective treatment.

6. How to Initiate Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Initiating medication-assisted treatment for substance dependence disorder requires all patients to undergo a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment conducted by a qualified, licensed physician. The healthcare provider performing the review aims to diagnose opioid use disorder accurately, determine the severity and duration of the treatment, identify any contraindicated medications, and pinpoint any other medical or mental health conditions that could affect the treatment. It also examines current or past personal, familial, and social issues that might interfere with the treatment process.

To start MAT, MAT Care Clinics extends its services to everyone in Nashua, New Hampshire, and the surrounding areas. You can call to book a free consultation and secure a same-day appointment.

7. Who is Eligible for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Finally, in our list of medication-assisted treatment FAQs, those with additional conditions may wonder, am I eligible for MAT treatment? MAT is an effective and safe method for all individuals diagnosed with opioid use disorder. However, specific demographics require further evaluation to ascertain if MAT is optimal.

  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women diagnosed with OUD can engage in MAT. However, initiating this treatment requires a comprehensive physical examination, laboratory testing, psychological screening, and a complete psychosocial evaluation. Specific programs might also mandate an ultrasound before commencing MAT.
  • Patients with Chronic Pain: Patients with pre-existing pain and OUD may undergo MAT. Their healthcare provider should assess their present condition and devise a treatment plan that safely and effectively manages their pain and dependence disorder. Furthermore, medical professionals may craft particular protocols for acute pain, surgeries, injuries, and other emergency medical conditions that may arise before or during MAT.
  • Adolescents: Adolescents diagnosed with OUD may participate in MAT using buprenorphine, approved for patients aged 16 and older. Providers contemplating MAT for adolescents should prioritize confidentiality, family collaboration, and psychosocial support, given the limited evidence on MAT for this age group. Experts advise adherence to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recommendations.
  • Patients with Mental Health Disorders: To ensure the effectiveness and safety of MAT, healthcare professionals should make special considerations and assessments to identify any current psychiatric medications or treatments that may affect the participation of patients with mental disorders and OUD. However, these patients can still participate in MAT.
  • Incarcerated Individuals: Incarcerated patients diagnosed with OUD may participate in MAT under the supervision of licensed and qualified medical providers. It’s important to avoid treatment interruption in the event of release.

MAT Care Clinics: Your Partner in Recovery from Substance Dependence

At MAT Care Clinics, our specialty is assisting individuals on their recovery journey from substance dependence. Through our medication-assisted treatment services for those battling opioid and alcohol dependence, we aim to assist you in attaining long-term recovery and a life free of substances with the aid of specialized and licensed doctors.

If you have additional medication-assisted treatment FAQs, please call us at (833) 622-0628 or contact us online by completing the form on our website. Remember, we are here with a single mission: to support you in reclaiming your life!

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