The move toward a “whole-patient” approach to substance use disorder treatment> involves a variety of modalities. This typically includes a combination of counseling, behavioral therapy, and a medication-assisted treatment program. Each part of a person’s treatment plan plays an important role in their overall care, and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is a vital part of the process. What are some benefits of medication-assisted treatment?
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment>involves the use of medications to treat opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. Quitting opioids can cause significant physical and psychological distress, and medications can help relieve some of the more troubling symptoms.1 When used in combination with psychotherapy> and under a doctor’s guidance, medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is an effective and often life-saving form of treatment.
Types of Medications Used for Treatment
There are three medications most commonly prescribed as part of an opioid medication-assisted treatment program: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Each type serves an important purpose and doctors determine the type of medication needed on an individual basis.
- Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist used to diminish the effects of physical dependency, including cravings and withdrawal symptoms; decrease the likelihood of overdose; and lower the potential for opioid misuse. It is available in sublingual tablet or film form, as well as an implant or extended-release injection.
- Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist that reduces opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms and also reduces or blocks the effects of opioids. It is taken in liquid, powder, or diskette form.
- Naltrexone is a non-opioid medication that blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids, as well as reduces and suppresses cravings, by binding to and blocking opioid receptors. Naltrexone is available as an intramuscular injection.
Advantages of Medication-Assisted Treatment in Addressing Opioid Use Disorder
There are many benefits of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved likelihood of patient survival
- Increased treatment retention rates
- Reduced opiate use
- Increased psychological resilience
- Improved birth outcomes among pregnant women with opioid use disorder
The benefits of a medication-assisted treatment program rely on the patient’s willingness to adhere to the treatment protocol, though. When medications for opioid use disorder are used outside of their prescribed doses, effects can be similar to traditional opioids. Medication-assisted treatment should be used by those ready to quit using substances and begin walking the path to recovery.
Looking For a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program?
Medication-assisted treatment is available at most substance abuse treatment facilities including, Silver Pines. Our detox and residential treatment programs provide a continuum of care that helps you establish a solid foundation for a life of recovery.
If you’ve struggled with your opioid use and are ready to take back control of your life, call us today at 267-719-8689 or submit an online contact form today. We’re here for you each step of the way, from the moment you reach out until the final day of your program. You never need to handle your difficulties alone again – we’re here to help.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2022). Information about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2023). Buprenorphine.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2023). Methadone.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2023). Naltrexone.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2023). Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Can Improve Health Outcomes.