Medication Assisted Treatment
Medication Assisted Treatment is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.
Clinical trials on buprenorphine, and naloxone show that twice as many patients have curbed their opioid use as compared to a placebo. In the first long-term follow-up of patients treated with buprenorphine for addiction to opioid pain relievers, half reported that they were abstinent from the drugs 18 months after starting medication assisted treatment.
MAT has been shown to improve patient survival, increase retention in treatment as well as increase patient’s ability to gain and maintain employment following a decrease in illicit opiate use. Outpatient treatment is individualized and created with input from the patient, the prescriber, and other members of the healthcare team.
How Buprenorphine Works
Buprenorphine works by knocking other opioids in the brain off their receptors and binding tightly to the same receptors, so that other opioids cannot occupy them. In effect, this prevents withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings.
Advantages of Buprenorphine
- Low toxicity and easier to manage
- Just as effective as methadone
- Pain-free recovery with minimal withdraw symptoms
- Less abuse potential
- Monthly supply offers flexibility for at-home treatment