What is Medically Assisted Treatment? - Suburban Wellness
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What is Medically Assisted Treatment?

What is Medically Assisted Treatment?

As somebody considering rehab, perhaps you can have wondered, What’s MAT treatment? To put it easily, medication-assisted treatment MAT provides government-approved drugs along with behavioral therapy approaches during rehabilitation. MAT treatment frequently involves using antagonist or agonist drugs during the detox phase. An antagonist drug helps flush out the effects of the addictive substance in the body. For instance, the drug naloxone is an antagonist drug used to reverse the impacts of heroin and other opioid drugs. An agonist drug activates opioid receptors in the brain. However, drugs used in MAT medication-assisted treatment are partial agonists. This means that they do not provide the full effects of opioids, which may help lessen dependence on addictive substances. An example of an agonist drug for opioids is buprenorphine. Buprenorphine lessens the effects of withdrawal from full-effect opioids while providing its own analgesic properties.

Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment


Methadone is maybe the most well-known and high regulated medication used during treatment for opioid addiction, Methadone is a complete agonist. This means it combines with receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce the desired effect. This combination lessens the painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal and blocks the euphoric impacts of an opiate drug. When Methadone is administered appropriately during medication-assisted treatment, the patient feels normal, doesn’t physically crave opiates, and doesn’t become lethargic. Methadone is administered once per day through a liquid solution. Methadone dosages require to be slowly built up over time for avoiding the risk of overdosing. Methadone may be dangerous when abused.

Suboxone (Buprenorphine)

While Methadone is a complete agonist, the FDA-approved Suboxone is a partial agonist that’s used during medication-assisted treatment. This means it doesn’t bind fully to opioid receptors such as Methadone. Comprised of buprenorphine & naloxone, Suboxone is effective to treat opioid withdrawal as it alleviates the physical symptoms and decreases cravings for continued opioid use. If an individual attempts to abuse opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers. While taking Suboxone, that person will experience adverse results because naloxone counteracts the effects that opioids have on the brain.

Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

This FDA-approved injectable is an antagonist used to prevent cravings for a longer time. Administered once every month during a medication-assisted treatment program, this naltrexone-based medication wards off opioid cravings alleviate physical symptoms of withdrawal, and prevents overdose from occurring. Vivitrol needs the user to abstain from any opiate for 14 days before the 1st injection.


Naltrexone, which can come in an injectable or pill form, is used to treat patients who suffer from an addiction to alcohol & opioids. The injectable version is known as Vivitrol. It can be administered intramuscularly, and therefore only needs monthly dosing. Oral dosing happens once a day. Unlike buprenorphine and methadone, naltrexone lacks the potential for diversion and abuse. Naltrexone works by blocking the opioid receptors. What this means is that if you take the drug and then take alcohol & opioids, you would not experience the usual euphoria and high associated with those substances. It can decrease the general urge to use opioids & alcohol. It is essential to note that naltrexone decreases your tolerance to opioids, so relapse can potentially be dangerous if you return to taking the amount you once did. Overdose as well as fatal respiratory depression can result. Conversely, there are not any risks associated with drinking while taking the proper amount of naltrexone. When taken in excess, it may lead to severe liver damage, which is why patients should follow their instructions carefully of the doctor. Within prescribed parameters, there are not any precise contraindications to using naltrexone concurrently with alcohol. Despite any overt impacts to serve as a deterrent to drinking however, it will yet help in decreasing drinking behaviors because of the lack of euphoria experienced. While naltrexone blocks the individual from experiencing fully the rewarding effects of alcohol, it doesn’t decrease the other intoxicating effects like impaired judgment and coordination.

How Medication-Assisted Treatment is Effective for Opioid Addiction?

While addiction affects everybody differently, medication-assisted treatment has proven to be an efficient method in combating the disease through the recovery procedure. Actually, research shows that medication-assisted treatment helps a patient adhere to the recovery procedure and decreases opioid abuse compared with other non-medicated approaches.  is due, in part, to how the medications used in medication-assisted treatment affect the opioid receptors in the brain. These medications do not lessen opioid cravings, but they help patients with the mental, physical, and emotional symptoms that happen during withdrawal.

MAT helps lessen opioid withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain

Is it Safe?

Combining medications used in MAT with anxiety treatment medications may be fatal. Kinds of anxiety treatment medications include derivatives of Benzodiazepines like Xanax & valium. Rest assured, if you’re under the care of a board-certified psychiatrist, he/she can understand these and prescribe the proper medications. While the addictive, as well as abusive properties of MAT, are less than other opioids, they yet carry slight addictive traits. MAT drugs are precisely designed to limit the abuse, and various don’t contribute a euphoric high. These drugs can yet create physical dependence, and therefore a medically administered taper should be administered to safely and efficiently wean off of the medication.  For this reason, the government has created systems to keep the availability constrained to those in need. For example, federal law needs patients who receive treatment in an opioid treatment program to undergo medical, educational, counseling, vocational, and other assessment and treatment services, furthermore, to the prescribed medication. This limits the amount of abuse and gives individuals a good chance towards long term success.

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