Medication-assisted treatment is one of the safest options for helping people recover from opioid addiction. With the opioid epidemic at an all-time high, having an accessible and affordable treatment option continues to be an urgent, lifesaving, and necessary part of the communities throughout the United States. Medication-assisted treatment is a multi-faceted approach that uses medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings while also incorporating counseling and other behavioral therapies to address the root causes of addiction and help patients develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Many medication-assisted treatment programs are available, but all use FDA-approved medication to help treat opioid addiction. To learn more about Evoke Waltham’s medication-assisted treatment and our other addiction treatment programs in the Massachusetts area, call 866.276.1920.
What Is a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a medical approach to treating substance use disorders using FDA-approved medication with a combination of behavioral therapies and counseling. The medication prescribed during this treatment is meant to normalize a person’s brain chemistry, block any euphoric effects of opioids, relieve symptoms of psychological cravings, and normalize the body’s function.
MAT is an effective strategy that can increase retention in treatment, improve a patient’s survival, reduce opioid usage and any criminal behavior linked with addiction, and provide a life free of drug dependence. In addition to using an MAT program, patients are encouraged to participate in individual, family, and group therapy, attend 12-step meetings, and other therapies that serve as a way to get themselves back on their feet and focus on their life in sobriety.
Drugs Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment
When selecting the best type of medication for you during your medication-assisted treatment program, there are a few alternatives to consider.
Methadone is perhaps the most highly regulated and well-known medication to treat opioid use and addiction. It is known as a long-acting, full agonist, which means it will combine with the receptors in the brain and the nervous system to produce the desired effect. In simpler terms, it triggers the same part of the brain that opioids start without the harmful effects and euphoric high.
Methadone can be taken orally in a liquid or tablet form. It comes in different strengths, so the dose will be based on your individual needs as determined by your physician. People taking methadone must visit a medication-dispensing clinic daily to get their dose because it is a controlled substance.
Unlike Methadone, Suboxone (buprenorphine) is a partial agonist meaning it does not entirely bind to the opioid receptors as Methadone does but still blocks urges. The two drugs in Suboxone, buprenorphine, and naloxone, help limit the effects of opioids, reduce cravings, and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Since it is a partial agonist, it is less likely to cause fatigue and is easier to taper.
Suboxone is available as a sublingual film that dissolves under the tongue or as a sublingual tablet that dissolves in the mouth. The medication should be taken as prescribed by your physician and can be tapered down in dosage as you progress in treatment.
This injectable or tablet medication can stop cravings for an extended period. Unlike Suboxone or Methadone, Vivitrol is extended-release and can be taken monthly. Rather than stimulating the opioid receptors in the brain, Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioid drugs to decrease and prevent the feeling of euphoria that they produce.
A typical treatment process includes a medical examination, suitability evaluation, drug prescription, and medicine maintenance. Treatment length ranges from a few months to a year, depending on the patient’s progress.
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MAT Programs at Evoke Waltham
If opioid addiction is left untreated, the chances of fatality continuously increase. If you or someone you love is struggling with the disease of addiction, know that you can be treated, recover from your addiction and lead a happy, fulfilled life. It is time to put the pain and misery of addiction in your past. Now is the time to make the change. Discover Evoke Waltham’s medication-assisted treatment program in Waltham, Massachusetts, to find out if it could be an addiction treatment option for you or a loved one.