Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment helps treat opioid addiction.

The combination of medication and therapy can prevent or reduce opioid overdose and help individuals in their recovery journey towards long-term abstinence.

The use of medication to treat substance use disorders is just like using medication to treat other chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease – it must occur under the supervision of a prescribing physician and involve FDA-regulated prescription medications.

How does it work? 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the substance used.

Evidence shows MAT:

  • Decreases opioid-related deaths
  • Decreases illegal drug use and criminal activity
  • Improves overall health and productivity when people are adequately treated and monitored
  • Enables compliance and retention in treatment
  • Is effective as part of a holistic addiction treatment program by bridging the behavioral and biological components of addiction

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way to find out if you’re eligible for medication-assisted treatment is to complete a comprehensive assessment. Your provider will evaluate your needs and recommend the appropriate treatment for you.

To schedule, please call 218-281-3940. 

The medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and include buprenorphine-naloxone and naltrexone.

Buprenorphine-naloxone is a safe and effective medication that can help individuals grappling with opioid addiction. If you have become dependent on one or more opioids, incorporating buprenorphine-naloxone into a comprehensive plan in a medication-assisted treatment program can help you stop using heroin and other opioids without struggling with cravings or painful withdrawal symptoms. The best way to determine if buprenorphine/naloxone is the right medication for you is to speak to your provider to evaluate your needs and recommend the appropriate treatment for you.

Suboxone, the current brand name for the medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone, comes in film form, similar to Listerine strips. The films/strips are administered underneath the tongue where they rapidly dissolve.

The buprenorphine-naloxone strips do have some side effects.  One of the most common side effects is constipation. It is also possible to experience headaches and nausea. Most patients do not complain of significant side effects.

If you are having constipation or other side effects from buprenorphine-naloxone, please talk to your provider.

Many people are under the impression that buprenorphine does not cause breathing problems with overuse. However, combining buprenorphine with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, can lead to breathing problems and overdose due to respiratory depression. Respiratory depression occurs with opioid overdose and can lead to death. While it is possible for a patient to take buprenorphine and a benzodiazepine prescribed together safely, your healthcare provider should explain this risk.

We respect our client’s right to choose the course of their treatment, with guidance from our caring providers. We will help our clients explore why they wish to make a change and identify goals. We do not consider any individual’s efforts to result in failure, only steps taken towards recovery. We understand this process is different for every person we treat. We embrace the idea that medication-assisted treatment services represent one of many support options available to clients in their journey throughout the healing and recovery process.

Yes, naloxone is the active drug in Narcan. Naloxone is a potent opioid receptor blocker. When administered as Narcan or Evzio, either by nasal spray or injection, naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose and save a person’s life.

So, why is it combined with buprenorphine? In this role, naloxone acts as an abuse-deterrent. If a client attempts to inject the buprenorphine-naloxone combination to get high, the naloxone will quickly block the opioid receptors and cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.