Forms of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Forms of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Blair Sharp Freelance Writer at Recovery Unplugged

Written By

Blair Sharp

What is MAT?

Medication-assisted treatment uses FDA-approved medications in combination with behavior therapy to treat substance use disorder (SUD), mainly opioid use disorder (OUD), and sometimes alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Medications used to treat your OUD don’t get you high. Instead, they stabilize you so you can get better. At Recovery Unplugged, we tailor your treatment plan to your specific needs. You will work closely with your provider to determine which option is best for you.

Medications used for treatment

The three FDA-approved medications commonly used to treat OUD are buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone.

Each drug is proven safe and effective when taken as prescribed. At Recovery Unplugged, we have a variety of options for MAT, including:

  • Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naltrexone)
  • Vivitrol® (monthly injectable naltrexone)
  • Sublocade® (extended-release injectable buprenorphine)

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine works to reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms. It’s an “opioid agonist.” This means that it mimics opioid use by stimulating opioid receptors in your brain. It provides relief while blocking out the rewarding euphoric feeling you get from opioids.

The two most common forms of buprenorphine are Suboxone® and Sublocade®.

Suboxone® is a combination of buprenorphine and naltrexone delivered in small amounts to the brain. It has been one of the main medications used to treat OUD. However, it has been scrutinized for many years.

As with all medications used during MAT, it’s very important to use Suboxone® under the careful supervision of an approved medical provider.

Your health is our top priority at Recovery Unplugged. For this reason, a monthly injection of Sublocade® is our preferred MAT method.

Here’s how it works: Once you receive an injection of Sublocade®, the medication levels in your body remain consistent throughout the entire month. Using an extended-release medication for MAT can lower the chances of addiction over time. Plus, it allows you to focus on other parts of your treatment plan.

Due to the steady medication levels, you won’t experience really high highs or really low lows. It’s designed to maintain those feelings so that you can approach your recovery head-on.

Fast Facts: Buprenorphine

  • Suboxone® daily tablet or film or Sublocade® monthly injections
  • Reduces cravings and prevents withdrawal symptoms
  • Sublocade® is preferred at Recovery Unplugged

What is Naltrexone?

Naltrexone is commonly known as Vivitrol®. Unlike buprenorphine, naltrexone does not release dopamine to your brain. It blocks your brain’s opioid receptors and stops that feel-good feeling. For this reason, it’s considered an “opioid antagonist.”

Naltrexone is used with patients who are free of opioids before starting dosage.

Fast Facts: Naltrexone

  • Vivitrol® is administered as monthly injections
  • Suppresses long-term cravings after detox is complete
  • May cause reduced tolerance to opioids during relapse

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting medication used to treat heroin and prescription opioid addiction. It acts as a blocking agent for the feel-good effects that you get from taking opioids. Methadone helps to decrease cravings and withdrawal symptoms gradually. Dosing is person-specific and can be adjusted over time.

Fast Facts: Methadone

  • Daily tablet, liquid, or powder
  • Blocks feel-good effects from opioids
  • Minimum of one year of treatment

What medication is best for me?

It can be confusing to know which medication is best. Talk with your treatment provider or physician about which direction to go. You may also need to switch medications throughout your treatment for various reasons. As with most medications, there are side effects. It’s important to discuss the risks with your provider.

Using MAT alone isn’t enough to treat your addiction. But it gives you a good place to start. You’ll be more likely to succeed with a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and other positive lifestyle adjustments.

Are you ready to treat your addiction? Call Recover Unplugged today at 1-855-975-1757 to get started. Our experienced staff is ready to help. We have customized programs and specialized care to ensure your healing.

Blair Sharp Freelance Writer at Recovery Unplugged

Blair Sharp

Blair Sharp is a distinguished writer and advocate in the realms of sobriety, mental health, and parenting. Based in Rochester, Minnesota, Blair embarked on her alcohol-free journey in February 2018, a transformative decision that has since fueled her passion for writing and sharing her insights with a wider audience.

With a professional background as a Psychometrist since 2014, Blair possesses a deep understanding of cognitive functions and psychology. This expertise, combined with her personal experiences, lends depth and authenticity to her writings on addiction, recovery, and mental well-being.

Blair's writing prowess is evident across various platforms. She actively shares her insights on her personal blog at As a staff writer for Rochester Mom, she contributes valuable content, making it a trusted parenting resource in her community. Her voice further resonates with many on Instagram and through her role as a host for 1000 Hours Dry Parents, solidifying her position as a credible and influential figure in the sobriety community.

Dedicated to her craft, Blair's writings are a testament to her knowledge, experience, and commitment to helping others navigate the challenges of addiction and find solace in sobriety.


  • Alcohol-free since February 2018, providing firsthand experience with sobriety and recovery.
  • Worked as a Psychometrist, directly engaging with patients to test their cognitive functions.
  • Prominent writer and blogger, contributing insights on her personal blog and featured in esteemed publications such as, The, Parents, Psycom, and Daily Dot.


  • Bachelor's degree in Professional Studies with an emphasis in Psychology from Winona State University.
  • Specialized training in Psychometry, starting in 2014.
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