Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a treatment program that uses medications with counseling to treat substance abuse and drug addiction and prevent opioid overdose. The use of therapy in combination with medication has been effective at treating opioid and other narcotic addictions as well as alcohol addiction.
For opioid addiction treatment, The Phoenix offers several different types of medication along with therapy and counseling. None of these drugs provide a cure for the disorder, but they are most effective for those who participate in a MAT drug recovery program. At The Phoenix MAT clinics, there are three main types of medications used in addiction recovery services:
Methadone — This medication is liquid dispensed only in specialty regulated clinics. It’s a clinic-based opioid agonist that does not block other narcotics. Methadone lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and is most effective when taken as a part of a MAT program.The drug can only be administered by a program certified by SAMHSA.
Naltrexone — This is an office-based non-addictive opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of other narcotics. It’s taken as a daily pill or a monthly injection. Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors to reduce opioid cravings and has no known potential for abuse. Patients cannot have taken opioids within the last 7–10 days for naltrexone to be effective.
Buprenorphine — Another office-based opioid agonist/antagonist that blocks other narcotics while reducing withdrawal risk. It’s offered as a daily dissolving tablet, cheek film, or 6-month implant under the skin. Buprenorphine can reduce the effects of physical dependence on opioids, including morphine. It can lower overdose risks as well. As with all MAT medications, buprenorphine must be prescribed in a MAT clinic and used with therapy.
In addition to opioid addiction treatment, there are other medications used with therapy to treat alcohol addiction. Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are the most common drugs used to treat alcohol use disorder. None of these drugs provide a cure for an alcohol addiction disorder, but they are most effective in people who participate in MAT services. Learn more about the impact of alcohol misuse from SAMHSA.
Disulfiram — This medication treats chronic alcoholism. It is most effective in people who have already gone through detoxification or are in the initial stage of abstinence. This drug is offered in a tablet form and is taken once a day. Disulfiram should never be taken while intoxicated, and it should not be taken for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol.
Acamprosate — This medication is best for people in recovery who have already stopped drinking alcohol and want to avoid drinking. It has not been shown to work in people who continue drinking alcohol, consume illicit drugs, and/or engage in prescription drug misuse and abuse. It works to prevent people from drinking alcohol, but it does not prevent withdrawal symptoms after people drink alcohol. It is offered in tablet form and taken three times a day, preferably at the same time every day.
Naltrexone — When used as a treatment for alcohol dependency, naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication. This allows people with alcohol addiction to reduce their drinking behaviors enough to remain motivated to stay in treatment, avoid relapses, and take medications. Learn more about how naltrexone is used to treat alcohol dependency.
People suffering from opioid and alcohol addiction can start their recovery with participation in a MAT program. These drugs used with counseling can treat substance abuse and prevent opioid overdose.
The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers are driven by this guiding mission statement: “Empowering individuals and families suffering from addiction and mental health disorders to celebrate life through lasting solutions.”
The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers carefully tailors our addiction treatment services, which are all based in a foundation of research. We make every effort to support the treatment outcomes that prepare patients and their families to manage addiction or other mental health disorders and reclaim a meaningful life with repaired relationships. Our purpose is to equip those we help to overcome drug abuse with knowledge and applied behaviors that they need to continue on to success, even after they’ve completed our MAT drug addiction treatment program.