Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based treatment option for individuals recovering from substance use disorders including opioid addiction. MAT combines medications with behavioral therapy to treat the whole person. This type of therapy helps keep individuals in treatment and reduces the chances of relapse.
MAT at Pyramid Healthcare
Clients enrolled in our MAT program meet with a nurse and/or physician at the facility briefly every day to take a prescribed dose of medication and participate in random, mandatory urine screens under supervision to verify their drug-free status. Once a client is stabilized, daily attendance may no longer be mandatory.
Clients must also meet with a counselor, nurse, or physician to address their individualized addiction, recovery, and medical challenges.
What You Should Know About MAT
Even though MAT is an evidence-based treatment approach, there are still misconceptions or concerns about this therapy.
MAT does not replace one addiction for another.
While MAT sometimes involves the use of medications that are classified as opioids, proper prescribing and use of MAT does not produce the same “high” or likelihood for misuse, or addiction.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that is used to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Methadone slowly activates the opioid receptors. This is unlike other opioids like heroin or morphine, which quickly activate the opioid receptors. Buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone) is a partial opioid agonist that does not activate receptors as strongly as full opioid agonists do.
Vivitrol® (brand name for Naltrexone) is an opioid antagonist that blocks opioid receptors. Vivitrol® is an injection that releases Naltrexone over several weeks (about a month). Therefore, it’s an effective medication for preventing relapse. Patients must have a prescription for Vivitrol®.
It’s also important to note that these medications are administered by a medical professional in a specialized treatment program.
Medications are safe.
Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone are drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder. These drugs are also commonly by their brand names, Suboxone and Vivitrol®. When administered by a medical professional or treatment provider, these medications have proven to be safe and effective.
In fact, medications are recommended for opioid withdrawal management instead of abrupt cessation.
MAT uses medications and other therapies.
Counseling or behavioral therapy are equally important components of MAT. In fact, most programs require that clients participate in therapy; they cannot receive medications without therapy.
Is MAT Right for You?
While medications used in MAT are safe, some individuals may prefer to abstain. Everyone’s recovery journey is unique. Talk with a counselor or medical professional who can help you determine your treatment needs.
If you’ve tried treatment before and have been unsuccessful, MAT may be appropriate for you. Again, MAT often leads to better outcomes than other types of addiction treatment.
We provide Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT), Suboxone, and Vivitrol® to help individuals overcome opioid addiction. Medication-Assisted Treatment is available at several of our treatment centers throughout Pennsylvania and Newport News, Virginia.