Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications along with counseling and therapy to treat substance abuse. MAT is mainly used to treat opioid addictions (i.e. heroin and/or prescription drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin). Medications like buprenorphine are used in MAT to help normalize brain chemistry, block the effects of alcohol and/or opioids, relieve cravings, and stabilize body functions, making sobriety easier to maintain. All medications used are approved by the FDA, and every MAT program is tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
Buprenorphine (brand name Subutex, among others) is an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine can prevent or significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to get and stay off opioids. Sometimes used alongside naloxone, dosage depends on the severity of each case. Many people stay on buprenorphine long-term, although some gradually reduce the dosage to come off it.
Vivitrol is an injectable prescription medicine used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. Administered only with medical approval, VIVITROL blocks opioid receptors in the brain, which helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse. VIVITROL is non-addictive and extended-release, so it only needs to be taken once a month. Before starting VIVITROL, you must be opioid-free for at least 7-10 days in order to avoid sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication used to treat opioid and alcohol addiction. Naltrexone helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse, making recovery easier. It comes either in pill form (ReVia, Depade), taken once a day; or in an injectable form (Vivitrol), administered monthly. Patients must not have any illegal opioids or opioid medication in their system for at least 7-10 days before starting naltrexone (this includes methadone, so if you’re switching from methadone to naltrexone, you must wait until your system is clear).