Ohio Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs
- Types Of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- MAT For Opioid Use Disorder
- MAT For Alcohol Use Disorder
- MAT Treatment Options
Patients undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder may be prescribed medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and improve their health outlook.
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, involves the use of medication to assist patients during an addiction treatment program. MAT may be used in combination with other treatment options, such as behavioral therapy, to provide several different treatment services at once.
MAT programs use medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Patients undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder or alcohol use disorder may be prescribed medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and improve their health outlook.
Types Of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
There are currently six medications that are approved for substance use disorder treatment. Three of these medications can treat opioid use disorders, while three can treat alcohol use disorders.
Approved medications for treating opioid use disorders include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Approved medications for treating alcohol use disorders include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone.
These medications are evidence-based and can be prescribed based on the patient’s needs, and your treatment provider may help you determine which medications and treatment plans are right for you.
MAT For Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction, is a mental health condition defined by an inability to stop taking opioid drugs, despite a patient’s declining health. In 2019, 1.6 million people met the criteria for an opioid disorder, a result of the opioid epidemic that spanned the past two decades.
MAT programs were designed for the effective and safe treatment of opioid use disorders, especially when combined with other treatment services. When taken as directed, these medications likely have low health risks.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It can reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings by binding to the same receptors as opioid drugs such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. Buprenorphine can produce pain relief and euphoric effects in smaller amounts compared to other opioids.
Buprenorphine is currently available as several products, ranging from sublingual tablets (Subutex) to combination products with naloxone (Suboxone). Depending on your substance abuse treatment plan, your doctor may prescribe you a different form of the drug.
To start buprenorphine treatment, patients should have not taken opioids in the past 24 hours and present with withdrawal symptoms.
Buprenorphine may be given until the side effects of opioid use disorder wear off. Patients may continue to take the drug at their healthcare provider’s discretion.
Methadone is a full opioid agonist that can be more potent than buprenorphine. It can block the effects of opioids and provide pain management in their place.
For methadone to be an effective treatment for opioid dependence, patients must first take methadone under the supervision of a practitioner. If patients show progress and do not misuse the drug, patients may be allowed to take methadone at home.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends patients undergo methadone maintenance for a minimum of 12 months. Some patients may require longer or even indefinite treatment depending on the severity of their substance use disorder.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that can block the pain relief and euphoric effects of opioids. Compared to buprenorphine and methadone, naltrexone may not prevent or relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone may be given as a part of a comprehensive opioid treatment program, alongside treatment methods such as behavioral therapy and attending support groups. Naltrexone may be contraindicated (not recommended for use) in patients who are already taking methadone.
MAT For Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder may include severe withdrawal symptoms for patients attempting to quit. MAT medications for alcohol use disorders can reduce the severity of withdrawal and prevent patients from relapsing.
Acamprosate can reduce the desire to drink alcohol. It is thought to work by affecting glutamate levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is linked to alcohol withdrawal and cravings.
Acamprosate may not be recommended for patients who are still drinking alcohol. Patients with chronic kidney problems may receive reduced doses compared to patients without this condition.
Acamprosate has been approved to treat AUD since 2004. A standard dose schedule may involve thrice-daily doses taken orally.
Disulfiram is a medication that can cause nausea, vomiting, and palpitations when a person drinks alcohol. The negative side effects caused by disulfiram are designed to discourage patients from drinking alcohol entirely.
Disulfiram has been approved to treat alcohol use disorder since 1951. It can work by blocking the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which plays a crucial role in alcohol metabolism.
A standard dose schedule may involve 250 mg of disulfiram, taken orally once daily.
Naltrexone can treat alcohol use disorders as well as opioid use disorders. During AUD treatment, it may be given as a pill or injectable solution. Naltrexone can block the sedative effects of alcohol and reduce cravings.
Naltrexone can cause serious side effects if patients with an existing dependency start taking the drug. Practitioners may wait until patients are symptom-free before prescribing the drug.
Naltrexone treatment may last for about 3 to 4 months on average, although treatment plans may vary from patient to patient.
MAT Treatment Options
Alcohol and drug addiction can be detrimental to your health. However, patients struggling with a substance use disorder can find it difficult to quit, due to the habit-forming nature of these substances and fear of withdrawal symptoms.
Professional addiction treatment services can provide a wide variety of recovery options for every patient, from group therapy and behavioral therapy to peer support groups and MAT.
Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.