When you have a strong addiction to a drug, you need to attend detox and addiction treatment. If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms while in detox or addiction treatment, you’re also going to have to receive medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted therapy helps people manage their withdrawal symptoms.
While in medication-addiction treatment (MAT), you will take prescription medications to help you through recovery. Types of medications that are often used for medication-assisted treatment include methadone, naltrexone, naloxone, buprenorphine, Suboxone, and Subutex. The Subutex prescription is the brand name version of buprenorphine. Suboxone is part Naloxone and part buprenorphine.
To fully understand MAT therapy, you must understand the key components of it and how they all can contribute to a person’s addiction recovery.
Addiction to These Substances Require Medication-Assisted Treatment
Not all substances are created equal. Therefore, some substances are more addictive than others. When a substance is highly addictive, the chance of becoming addicted to that substance after use increases greatly. The chance of you experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you minimize or discontinue the use of such a substance also increases.
Therefore, if you have an addiction to certain highly addictive substances, you must attend medication-assisted treatment. Addiction to the following substances require medication-assisted treatment:
Prescriptions Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Acamprosate is a medication that specifically works to prevent people from drinking. While Acamprosate is great at preventing drinking, it does not prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring after a person drinks alcohol.
To feel the effects of Acamprosate, you must not drink or abuse substances at all. It usually takes 5 to 6 days for the full effects of Acamprosate to kick in. Acamprosate comes in the form of a tablet. You should take Acamprosate 3 times a day.
The Disulfiram medication that’s used during medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder is great for people that have already finished detox. Disulfiram comes in the form of a tablet. You’re supposed to take this tablet once a day. Do not take Disulfiram if you’ve recently been drinking alcohol at all. Taking Disulfiram while under the influence of even the smallest amount of alcohol can cause you to experience severe side effects.
When it comes to using Naltrexone for medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder, this medication blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol use while also blocking feelings of intoxication. That way, you can go through your addiction treatment program with a clear mind.
Opioids are very addictive. Thus, it’s no surprise that anyone with an addiction to them would need medication-assisted treatment to get clean and sober again. The medicines that medication-assisted treatment programs for opioid addiction use include buprenorphine, Methadone, Naltrexone, and Naloxone. You can also use Suboxone and a Subutex prescription to treat opioid addiction during medication-assisted treatment.
Prescriptions Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine connects with receptors in the brain to minimize pain. When used as a prescription drug for those in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, buprenorphine provides small doses of opioids to patients to gradually wean themselves off of the drug.
Methadone is a great prescription medication to use when treating opioid addiction symptoms. Methadone is a full agonist. This means that Methadone combines with receptors in the brain and nervous system. By combining with these brain receptors, Methadone reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms while simultaneously blocking the euphoric effects of opiates.
When you take Methadone during medication-assisted treatment, you will not even feel the withdrawal symptoms of your opioid addiction due to the strength of Methadone.
Also, because of the strength of Methadone, you only need to take it once a day via a liquid solution while in MAT therapy. You can later slowly build upon the dosage amount of Methadone that you take if you need to. It’s important to build on the dosage of Methadone slowly because, otherwise, the strength of this prescription medication can cause you to develop an addiction.
This prescription medication that’s used during medication-assisted treatment is a brand name version of Naltrexone. Naltrexone is an FDA-approved prescription medication to help those suffering from opioid addiction and alcohol addiction to manage their withdrawal symptoms. If you are taking Naltrexone to manage your withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, take it in the pill form.
If you’re taking Naltrexone to manage your withdrawal symptoms from opioids, take it in the extended-release injectable form. You can use the injectable form of Naltrexone for withdrawal symptoms from both alcohol and opioids.
Vivitrol is the brand name of the injectable version of Naltrexone. It can block the pain that comes with the withdrawal symptoms from no longer using alcohol and opioids. This medication can also help prevent you from relapsing by blocking your need to use substances.
Naloxone is a pure opioid agonist. Like the other medication-assisted treatment prescription drugs, Naloxone blocks and reverses the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. In fact, it can block and reverse the symptoms of any narcotic. The main difference between Naloxone and other medication-assisted prescription drugs is that you only use Naloxone during emergency overdoses.
Naloxone comes in the form of an injectable or nasal spray. Do not drink alcohol while using this medication as it will increase the side effects of this prescription drug.
Suboxone is a brand name prescription that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist and naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist.
Partial opioid agonists like buprenorphine deliver small doses of opioids to those addicted to opioids to wean them off of the substance. Buprenorphine also combines with receptors in the brain that reduces the feelings of pain.
Pure opioid antagonists like Naloxone, on the other hand, shut down opioid receptors. Naloxone by itself can trigger withdrawal symptoms in those that still use opioids. Therefore, taking Naloxone by itself when chronically addicted to full opioid agonists can cause you to have symptoms as severe as seizures and respiratory failure.
Due to the dangers of using Naloxone by itself, Suboxone combines Naloxone with the tampering ways of buprenorphine to make using Suboxone safe for all former opioid addicts to use.
Subutex prescription is an FDA approved brand name version of buprenorphine. Subutex comes in the form of a tablet that dissolves on your tongue. Like with Suboxone, Subutex was created to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms in people receiving medication-assisted treatment.
A Subutex program of medication-assisted treatment does not just include giving out Subutex medication to help people overcome their withdrawal symptoms. Like all medication-assisted treatment programs, a Subutex program also includes counseling and behavioral therapy.