If you or someone you care about is struggling with a substance use disorder, you may have already heard about medication-assisted treatment programs. But what’s involved in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), exactly? You may be wondering which prescription drugs are used in MAT or why this method of care is recommended for the treatment of certain substance use disorders.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a few prescription drugs to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders. These MAT medications relieve the physiological cravings and other withdrawal symptoms that occur because the body is adjusting to no longer having addictive substances in its system after detox. Their usage is also evidence-based, and it’s not just a case of substituting one drug for another.
MAT provides a more comprehensive medication and behavioral therapy program that addresses the needs of most clients seeking addiction recovery. Contact Baltimore Detox Center today if you’re looking for medication-assisted treatment near Baltimore. Call 833.714.1575 or reach out to our team online.
What Is MAT or Medication-Assisted Treatment?
A MAT or medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program is usually part of a more comprehensive addiction treatment plan. However, some clients may not need MAT as part of their treatment plan. Research shows that combining MAT and behavioral therapy can successfully treat substance use disorders, especially alcohol and opioid use disorders. MAT can help sustain the addiction recovery for some clients struggling with addiction.
The prescribed drugs used in MAT operate to block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids. It can also normalize brain chemistry and relieve physiological cravings without causing the adverse effects of using addictive substances.
Why Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder Recommended?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol use disorder is recommended because this type of addiction is challenging to overcome. After all, alcohol is legally and conveniently available almost everywhere, such as at bars, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Alcohol consumption is frequently depicted in advertisements, films, and TV shows. Furthermore, alcohol seems to be part of most American celebratory experiences.
The acceptability and availability of consuming alcohol in the U.S. make it especially difficult to recognize and recover from an alcohol use disorder. Many people can maintain a casual relationship with alcohol, even while bombarded with this combination. However, some are prone to binge or heavy drinking. This type of relationship with drinking often leads to physical dependence and maybe even the development of an alcohol use disorder.
Clients who struggle with an alcohol use disorder may require a comprehensive and customized plan for treatment that includes both MAT and behavioral therapy. The drugs typically used in MAT for alcohol use disorder treatment are the following:
This drug is most effective for clients who have completed the detoxification process and are transitioning into the early stages of addiction recovery. This prescribed medication is administered once a day, in tablet form, to a client. It works as a deterrent by producing unpleasant side effects when or if the client consumes even the smallest amount of alcohol. These side effects include chest pains, difficulty breathing, nausea, and vomiting.
This drug blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol intoxication. The goal of naltrexone is to help clients disassociate alcohol from pleasurable feelings. Administered in tablet and injectable forms, naltrexone is most effective in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
This drug is most beneficial for clients who have gone through the initial phase of detoxification and have been stabilized after they experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Acamprosate reduces alcohol cravings and is typically first administered on the fifth day of abstinence — it’s usually given to a client in tablet form three times a day.
Why Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Recommended?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder can be clinically effective in significantly reducing the need for inpatient services for affected clients. This may cut down on the costs of addiction recovery and may even shorten the time required in formal treatment. Furthermore, many clients seek professional help to overcome opioid use disorder.
The FDA has approved three prescription medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder:
- Methadone: This drug has been used since the 1960s for the treatment of opioid use disorders. Methadone works by reducing cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms. However, demand for methadone treatment often exceeds availability, leading to extensive waitlists.
- Buprenorphine: This drug reduces or eliminates withdrawal symptoms that can accompany the detoxing from opioids. Unlike methadone treatment, buprenorphine treatment is more accessible. It can be prescribed or dispensed by certified healthcare providers in clinics, community hospitals, health departments, or correction facilities. Buprenorphine can be administered as sublingual tablets, injections, transdermal patches, or a combination formulation with naloxone.
- Naltrexone: While naltrexone can help treat alcohol use disorder, it’s as effective in similarly treating opioid use disorder. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. This means that naltrexone works by blocking opioid receptors and preventing their euphoric effects. While it can help reduce cravings, this prescription drug should only be used seven to ten days after medically managed detoxification from opioids has been completed. Naltrexone can be delivered as a daily oral dose or as a long-acting injection.
Learn More About Baltimore Detox Center Today
Are you searching for medication-assisted treatment near Baltimore? Contact Baltimore Detox Center today by calling 833.714.1575 or reaching out to our team online.