Get Started Today
Which Medications Are Used in MAT?
The FDA has approved three medications to treat opioid use disorder and prevent opioid overdose:: naltrexone, buprenorphine and methadone. These medications may appear under brand names like Vivitrol (naltrexone) or Methadose (methadone), among others. They’re considered opioid agonists, which means they interact with the opioid receptors in a person’s brain. Naltrexone and buprenorphine block the effects of opioids, essentially defeating the purpose of ingesting them. Methadone, on the other hand, activates the brain’s opioid receptors to reduce psychological cravings and dependence on the drug of choice itself.
One of the most common misconceptions about MAT and the medications used in opioid treatment programs is that patients are replacing one addiction with another or that the addiction medicine is simply a way for those in recovery to get high again.
In reality, though they’re also classified as opioids, there’s no high from any of the three approved treatment medications. They help regulate a person’s bodily functions and physiological well-being after their body has become dependent on their drug of choice.
Relapses can happen when someone tries to stop taking a drug alone with no assisted treatment medication. They then endure the uncomfortable experience of opioid withdrawal, which causes unpleasant side effects like nausea, vomiting, chills and sweats, shaking, convulsions and, in some cases, even death.
Opioid withdrawal occurs because the person’s body and brain have adjusted to a substance and depend on it to function normally. When that’s taken away, withdrawal symptoms set in as the body struggles to function without the chemical it thinks it needs, and the person enduring the withdrawal often goes back to the drug of choice to ease the symptoms.
It’s important to understand that this is an actual physical opioid dependence and not a sign of weakness or unwillingness to recover. MAT helps regulate body and brain chemistry so people can sustain recovery from opioid use disorder and function without the drug they’ve quit
Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Evidence from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) continues to point toward MAT being an effective method to treat opioid addiction; the addiction medicine used in MAT has been found to significantly reduce the risk of death due to opioid use disorder.
Due to the way opioids affect the body and the way physiological opioid dependence is formed, stopping usage “cold turkey” can be dangerous. Depending on the duration and extremity of the substance use disorder of a person, they could become dehydrated and experience an increase of sodium in their blood, which can lead to heart failure.
In addition to battling the opioid epidemic and reducing the death rate among people recovering from opioid addiction, MAT focuses on the person in recovery and their life. A person’s medication during treatment is just part of their general substance abuse treatment plan, which often includes counseling and behavioral therapies to address the root of the addiction and other stressors.
Opioid treatment program is different for every individual, and many people who attend detox treatment but don’t continue into a program afterward report feeling unsure of what direction to go after their initial detox. They may return to a home or environment with a host of triggers, such as family instability or being around other people using drugs, while they’re trying to stay sober. These triggers and feelings of uncertainty can lead to relapses. The whole-patient treatment approach associated with MAT aims to support the body’s needs with medication while supporting the individual in developing healthy coping strategies and creating a new life past addiction through therapy and mental health services
Side Effects of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Potential Side Effects of Buprenorphine
- Flushing or sweating
Potential Side Effects of Naltrexone
- Body pain, such as muscle cramps and/or joint pain
- Lack of appetite
What to Expect at Anchor Addiction and Wellness Center
Call or Reach out to Learn More
Are you struggling with opioid use disorder? You’re not alone. Recovery is possible, and you’re worth it. Contact Anchor Addiction and Wellness Center at (740) 779-6612 or book an appointment to learn more about how we can help.