MAT and Wellness: What Drugs Are Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and wellness share a close relationship in the context of addiction care. When integrated alongside behavioral rehab and counseling, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be a game-changing resource if you or your loved one are suffering from opioid or alcohol addiction. Medication-assisted treatment involves the use of specific Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications to help you fight cravings and withdrawal symptoms during detox and as part of your long-term recovery. Use of these medications as part of a tailored opioid treatment program (OTP) must be offered by an approved member organization of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

As National Wellness Month rolls on, Recovery Unplugged wants to offer more insight into the relationship between MAT and wellness. Let’s talk about how this element of care can give you or your loved one a sort of physiological foothold and provide you enough relief to overcome your fiercest cravings and withdrawal symptoms and reduce your pain and sickness.

What Types of Drugs Are Used in MAT?

The FDA has approved three medications for integration into opioid treatment programs:

Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, which means it activates opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without causing the intense euphoria associated with other opioids. It activates receptors enough to provide relief from symptoms, but there is still a risk of diversion and abuse. The common brand-name forms of buprenorphine include Suboxone® (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Sublocade® (pure buprenorphine). Suboxone is either administered in a tablet or film formulation and Sublocade is administered via monthly injections under the skin.

Naltrexone – Commonly known as Vivitrol®, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks opioid receptors in the brain, preventing them from being activated by opioids and thereby reducing the pleasurable feelings associated with opioid use. Vivitrol is administered in monthly injections, and since it doesn’t release any dopamine, it has a very low risk of tolerance, dependency, or addiction. Patients must be opioid-free before starting Vivitrol, and it’s generally used for long-term maintenance therapy following detox.

Methadone – Methadone is often used for severe pain in ways similar to other opioids. In the context of opioid addiction treatment, however, methadone, a long-acting opioid agonist, provides a controlled and stable opioid effect, reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It also blocks the euphoric effects of other opioids like heroin and prescription opioids.

MAT is not meant to replace any other element of opioid treatment, such as behavioral rehab or counseling.

How Does MAT Help in Everyday Wellness during Recovery?

If you or someone you care about is going through opioid addiction, you know how easily withdrawal can lead to relapse. The ever-present and all-consuming pain and sickness make it very difficult to walk away from opioids for good. Medication-assisted treatment can, simply put, “take the edge off”, so you can pursue the lifestyle and behavioral aspects of your recovery-where the real work begins-unencumbered by debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Recovery Unplugged is a trusted, reputable, and established provider of medication-assisted treatment. If you or your loved one are struggling with opioid withdrawal, you don’t have to be afraid of losing to cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Contact us now to find out about our MAT options.



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