Medication Assisted Treatment

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (aka MAT)?

Medication Assisted Treatment or ‘MAT’ is the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.” – SAMSHA

Breaking News! California will receive $90 Million for MAT! 

If you’re a Californian who can’t afford medication assisted treatment this could be the news that you need!  The Department of Health and Human Services webpage stated:  

“On April 21, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced funding through the 21st Century Cures Act to address the national opioid crisis. California will receive $90 million over a period of two years (May 2017 through May 2019) to implement the California Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion Project.”

What are the main Medication Assisted Treatments?

There are three basic types of medication assisted treatments that for substance use disorders. There are treatments for opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and even MAT treatments to help people quit smoking.  

Every person’s medication assisted treatment is completely customized.  That’s because each person suffering from substance use disorders will have different requirements.  And, these FDA-approved, medication assisted treatment prescriptions are just some of the “meds” that can be given to help addicts beat specific substance abuse disorders.  

There are medication assisted treatment therapies, which include emotional abuse and mental health, treatments.  For those who wish faith-based therapies are also provided.

 “…people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true.” -NIDA

Since so many people have a range of mood disorders, there is a great need for tailored medication assisted treatment therapies.  Some customized MAT therapies would include behavior therapy.

Finally, medication assisted treatment addiction treatments are adaptable to each person’s needs.  These specialized medication assisted treatment treatments could be especially useful to curb the opioid epidemic. Just because a drug is FDA-approved doesn’t mean that it’s perfectly safe to take.

In what ways are Medication Assisted Treatments helpful?

SAMHSA says that certain FDA-approved medications are for three main symptoms of substance abuse disorders.  Some medication assisted treatment medications to help reduce cravings. Other medication assisted treatment prescriptions block specific drug effects or cravings. Also, these drugs will make someone sick if they continue abusing opioid drugs or alcohol.

Can Medication Assisted Treatments help reduce cravings?

Some of the medication assisted treatments are meant to help reduce cravings for different substances. For example, there is the FDA-approved medication called. “Varenicline” (e.g., marketed as Chantix).  And, Chantix has been proven helpful to reduce cravings for tobacco.  

Yes, Chantix is helpful, but it also has been found to cause side effects.  It’s good to be aware that it has received a black-box label, warning of alcohol interaction and possible seizures.  However, tobacco and nicotine cause just as many or more side effects. If Chantix helps you stop abusing tobacco with then you and your doctor could decide if Chantix is the “better” option.

Can Medication Assisted Treatments block drug euphoria?

Yes.  There is a group of Medication Assisted Treatment drugs that can block euphoric effects of alcohol. These include Naltrexone pills for alcohol and Vivitrol shots for Opioids

Can Medication Assisted Treatments stop drug symptoms?

Yes.  There are medication assisted treatment prescriptions such as liquid Methadone and Naloxone. These medication assisted treatments are also used to counteract and reduce some people’s unwanted symptoms from the opioids they’re abusing.  Naxalone is now known as a real life-saving drug. Naloxone can counteract a dying person’s opioid withdrawal symptoms in their tracks.  Naloxone can keep people breathing long enough to get to the hospital.  Then they can get the proper life-saving, medical assisted treatment for their opioid withdrawals.  Yes, opiate withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to be seriously life-threatening.

Please call 911 or get to the hospital if you are having problems breathing!  It is also vital that you get emergency help if you feel faint, have a rapid pulse—or your heart is rapidly pounding.   

What are Opioid Medication Assisted Treatments?

There are three main types of medicines used in medication assisted treatment opioid programs.  Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone are used to treat those who have opioid use disorder.  People who have opioid use disorders may be opiate addicts or those who are dependent on opioids. Naltrexone is known as an alcohol antagonist. Vivitrol is known as an opioid antagonist, but it’s sometimes called an “opioid agonist.”  An antagonist medicine is used to block the effects of drugs or alcohol if someone uses them while on it.

What does medication assisted treatment treat in these opioid programs?  Opioid medication assisted treatment programs mainly concentrate on treating people who are addicted to opioids.  The opioids these medication assisted treatment programs treat those addicted to morphine, codeine, heroin and pain pills.  Antagonist and other MAT “meds” such as Methadone and Buprenorphine are the drugs commonly used in opioid medication assisted treatment programs.  Sometimes, people use Methadone and Buprenorphine medications to help them “maintain” their sobriety for years. Also, there is a medication that has proven helpful treating opiate addiction called Suboxone.  Suboxone contains two active ingredients: Buprenorphine and Naloxone.  The Naloxone is only mixed in, to keep people from abusing the Buprenorphine.

Is Methadone Helpful for Medication Assisted Treatments?

Yes, maintenance drugs like Methadone help former addicts so they can feel well enough to hold down jobs and manage their daily lives.  That’s why some o medications such as Methadone are called “maintenance” drugs.  Most people may safely take medications that are used in medication assisted treatment for months, years, several years, or even a lifetime.  However, if you are taking any of these FDA-approved medications, it can be dangerous to abuse them.  You shouldn’t stop using them without discussing your plans with a doctor.

Medication Assisted Treatment –How does Methadone help?

Methadone blocks the euphoria that you get from opioids such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone.  It is a slow acting medication. However, it can give you a comparable feeling like other opioids with milder effects.  Methadone can also thwart opioid withdrawal symptoms. Since opioids are usually swapped for Methadone, it is called ‘replacement therapy”.  

If you’re in a lot of pain, your doctor may advise you to take Methadone instead of Vivitrol.  That’s because Vivitrol blocks opioids’ effects—including opioids’ painkilling abilities. If you choose Vivitrol, then be prepared to experience pain and possibly painful withdrawal symptoms.   

Can I mix Medication Assisted Treatment drugs with others?

If you are given any of medication assisted treatment prescriptions, please make sure that you don’t mix them. It can be fatal to combine anti-anxiety medicines with any products made with Benzodiazepine, including Valium and Xanax.

Methadone is a helpful drug when used according to your medication assisted treatment plan.  Although Methadone is challenging to get high on, it can be deadly when abused or mixed with other medications.  Many steps have to be taken to break through the Methadone barrier to get high. However, as meek and mild as Methadone seems, it’s hazardous to mix it with other drugs.  Check out more about Methadone, by clicking here.  

Coffee may raise your blood pressure, which may also be higher than usual during alcohol detox. It may stress you out even more which is something you don’t want during alcohol detox! Cutting back on coffee may help you not to stress out so much during your medical assisted treatments—which are usually stressful enough.

What are Medication Assisted Treatments for Alcohol?

Disulfiram, Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Topiramate are U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved medications. 

Benzodiazepines are part of medication assisted treatments. Benzodiazepines are given to help you control some of the central nervous system’s activity—so you won’t stress out as much during this stage of “active” alcohol detox.  

Then, some FDA-approved, medication assisted treatment prescriptions such as Naltrexone may be given after the patients’ detox phases, to help keep them clean and sober.  Naltrexone comes in after the most-intensely active alcohol detox procedures, and withdrawal symptoms have occurred:  to prevent people from craving alcohol.

There are many FDA-approved medications such as Disulfiram typically given after the clinical weaning process of alcohol detox phase is complete.  Disulfiram (aka Antabuse®) can make you very sick and vomit if you drink alcohol.  Some of the medication assisted treatments like Acamprosate (aka Campral®) can help to reduce long-term pain or alcohol-related withdrawal symptoms.


Then there are other FDA-medications, including Naltrexone and Topiramate that block the desirable effects of using Alcohol. Topiramate (aka Topamax), is an anti-convulsant for when a person develops Delirium Tremens, commonly known as “the shakes.”  Sometimes doctors write a prescription for Topiramate for managing seizures from alcohol withdrawal. DT’s are the most dangerous side effects of alcohol abuse. During your active detox portion of medication assisted treatments. See more about these medications, including Topiramate at SAMHSA’s webpage.

However, it is a terrible idea to drink any alcohol, while you are undergoing these medication assisted treatments—it’s a deadly mix.   

What are Medication Assisted Treatments for Tobacco?

There are three different types of medicated assisted treatments along with “meds” that are used to treat cigarette smokers who want to quit (for tobacco use disorders).  Mostly, these nicotine replacement medicines are given to patients to help them reduce anxiety, anger, or lack of focus.  

Then, to help people manage two different types of disorders (e.g., depression and tobacco use disorders), there is Bupropion.  Bupropion is a prescription medication (aka Wellbutrin and Zyban). Bupropion has many possible side effects, but some have a small chance of happening.  However, Bupropion has so many potential side effects, which one should carefully check them out.

One significant side-effect of taking Bupropion is having seizures. Four out of 1000 people who have less than 450 milligrams per day of Bupropion have seizures.  If the dose is any higher than 450 milligrams per day, the added risk of having seizures is ten-fold. So, you might want to weigh the chance of stopping smoking vs. taking Bupropion, before jumping on the bandwagon and taking it.  

Varenicline (aka Chantix) is another prescription medication assisted treatment prescriptions that reduces craving for cigarettes.  Chantix has been proven helpful for smoking cessation. There are the nicotine patches, lozenges, and chewing gums (all available over the counter).  These patches, gums, etc. deliver nicotine slowly, which usually means that the patients will keep on craving cigarettes.  


Then there are also nasal sprays and inhalers that work more quickly to get nicotine into one’s system.  These may work well, but people may stay dependent on them for long periods of time. Also, many cigarette smokers have bought into the “vaping” craze as a way to stop smoking tobacco.  Plus, one should note that many kids are “into vaping” because of all of the candy-like flavors.  Vaping may prove as dangerous (or more dangerous) than smoking—it’s too soon to tell.  

Please realize that there are no long-term studies on the dangers of “vaping” or inhaling candy-flavored “juice”.  In the meantime, the amount of vaping that one can see wherever people congregate, it seems that people have traded one form of nicotine addiction for another.  

Will Medication Assisted Treatments affect my bottom-line?

Yes, medication assisted treatments can not only help you “kick” illegal drugs—and some legal drugs—whether for health or financial reasons.  Tobacco smoking (including vaping) drinking may cost you more than your health—it may profoundly affect your cash flow.  

Life insurance companies have found that drinkers or smokers typically die sooner.  That’s why they usually ask for twice (or double) the payments, from nicotine or alcohol abusers.  And, in some cases, your life insurance payments can increase, for two reasons:  if you smoke or take nicotine products (e.g., including nicotine gums, patches lozenges, etc.).  

For example, many life-insurance (and car insurance) companies quote their payments, based on mortality stats (or actuarial tables).  These mortality stats show predicted-life span and accident-rate tables, which predict that tobacco and drinking alcohol could dramatically lower your life expectancy (sometimes twice as much)!  So, if you use medication assisted treatments to kick your substance abuse disorders, you may increase your savings—whether it’s your health or bank account.

So, just because alcohol and tobacco products are legal or prescribed, that does not mean it is safe for the long-term—or even short-term use.

What’s the bottom line?  If you don’t kick your substance abuse disorder, you may have to pay out, double the money, for your health, auto, and life insurance policies.  It could radically affect your bottom line!

Will Insurance cover my Medication Assisted Treatments?

Yes, many times, your insurance will cover your medication assisted treatments. If you’re a Californian, you have a good chance of getting receiving payment for medication assisted treatment therapy for Opiate addiction.  Please call our hotline number: 877-743-5067 to find out more info!

Whatever medication assisted treatment options you choose, we are here for you!  

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