What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines the use of counseling and other forms of support for recovery with prescribed medication.
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Everyone’s treatment and recovery process is different, but research does support the combination of behavioral therapy along with medication for opioid use as an effective way of getting over opioid addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who include medication for opioid use in their recovery plan have a greater chance of success. There are many medications that people can use for opioid use disorder. Below are a few.
Available as daily liquid.
Can only be used in a certified opioid treatment program setting.
Available as a dissolving tablet, cheek film, or 6-month implant under the skin.
Can be prescribed by a doctor for use outside of a clinic.
Can be prescribed by any healthcare provider who can legally prescribe medication.
Only used for people who have not used opioids for at least 7–10 days.
How Medication Works to Reduce Opioid Use
The three medications approved for MAT are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications help to reduce opioid use in two major ways.
Reducing Cravings & Withdrawal Symptoms
Methadone and buprenorphine reduce craving and manage withdrawal symptoms by satisfying the areas of the brain affected by opioid use disorder, allowing those recovering to function normally.
Blocking Pain-Relieving Effects
Naltrexone blocks the pain-relieving effects of opioids, inhibiting their ability to create a sense of euphoria, stopping the rewarding aspects of opioid use in their tracks which decreases the desire for more.