Prescription painkillers are one of the most abused substances in the U.S., wherein there are more than 92,000 individuals who died from substance abuse in 2020. This is 30 percent higher than the cases in 2019.
In terms of OUD, there are 2.5 million Americans diagnosed with it, and around 28,000 of them died. This is an alarming situation that requires more comprehensive action from the state and other medical institutions.
If you or any of your family members are having an OUD, the best recovery program for him is medication assisted treatment (MAT). Let’s find out more about it and the proven medications used for treating OUD.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
This treatment process entails the use of prescribed medicines accompanied by psychological therapies and counseling. Self-medication is one of the main reasons why people get an overdose on drugs like prescription narcotics. Also, this program is proven to decrease the cases of OUD, helping patients achieve a sustainable recovery status.
Despite its effectiveness, there is still a stigma when it comes to the medications and therapies involved in a rehab treatment program. Consequently, that means that the government and medical professionals must break that stigma so that more will be willing to avail of MAT.
Is MAT Effective in Treating OUD?
Combining medications with counseling and therapies greatly reduced OUD-related deaths by 37 percent. The two latter factors significantly helped motivate the patient to continue with their treatment and religiously take their medicines.
Also, MAT effectively improves the social function of a patient, so he can safely communicate and interact with others.
What are the FDA-approved drugs for OUD Treatment?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved three drugs for treating OUD: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. All these medicines are safe and effective in helping patients reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Also, these medications must be provided by a trained nurse, doctor, or medical personnel.
This medication is used as an antagonist for the addictive effects and withdrawal symptoms of OUD. At the same time, it helps reduce one’s craving for the drug.
Additionally, here are some of the FDA-approved buprenorphine drugs for OUD treatment:
This is another medicine for OUD treatment, and it helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The patient won’t feel any “high” sensation upon using this drug for treatment. Only a few rehab centers are using this medicine.
For methadone medicines, the available FDA-approved ones are Dolophine and Methadose.
It is a narcotic antagonist that prevents the patient from feeling any euphoric sensation upon abusing the substance or pain killer. It is available in either pill or injectable form. If the patient needs extended-release injectable naltrexone, then Vivitrol must be prescribed.
Most rehab centers provide access to these three medications for patients who want to avail of MAT for treating narcotic addiction. The doctor will carefully observe the patient’s recovery status in response to the medicine being taken. In doing so, doctors can find the best combination of drugs and therapies for the patient’s recovery.
Will these OUD Medications Make You High?
Fortunately, these prescribed medicines for MAT for OUD will never give you a euphoric feeling, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) can attest to that. The doctor or nurse will give you the right dose suitable for your condition in taking any of the three drugs.
Take note, each patient will have a varying dosage at different intervals since treatment is tailored-fit for every individual. Also, OUD treatment programs have different components, which will be looked into by the doctor for every patient to be treated.
- Giving FDA-approved drugs
- Holistic care for addiction and other co-occurring behavioral disorders
- Tailored-fit MAT
- Outpatient counseling and treatment
- Behavioral therapies
- Community and family support services
Is Naloxone Used for Treating OUD?
This is an antagonist to painkillers and narcotics, yet it is never medically recognized as a medicine for OUD treatment. Doctors will prescribe this one to counter the effects of narcotics, that is, depressing the respiratory system.
Naloxone is completely safe and does not provide an addictive “high” feeling during medication. Also, it is considered a good antagonist for narcotic overdose.
Are These Medications Effective for Treating OUD?
Buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone are medically recognized to help treat OUD without giving any addictive side effects. The use of buprenorphine and methadone for treating narcotic addiction has shown strong evidence of reducing overdose-related deaths by 50 percent. Also, naltrexone is effective in decreasing drug cravings since it blocks any euphoric sensation.
Why Is It Important To Stay on Treatment?
Relapse is inevitable and it can happen to any patient, yet when you stay on treatment, you will never die from a narcotic overdose. Also, the counseling and behavioral therapies will significantly straighten your unhealthy habits and thinking. This greatly contributes to the success of your OUD treatment.
MAT Is Not Offered To All Rehab Centers
Despite the effectiveness of a medication assisted treatment (MAT) for treating OUD, less than 50 percent of rehab centers in the US are offering it. Also, only one-third of patients with OUD receive MAT from clinics that can provide it. Overall, this is an alarming issue since it defeats the purpose of providing a safe and effective OUD treatment for people.
This concern can be due to financial constraints and the available resources necessary for conducting MAT to patients with opioid use disorder (OUD).
Consult a Professional in Getting Medications for OUD
Every dose of medication and therapy is specific for one patient, so professional help is necessary when you are undertaking a medication assisted treatment program for OUD. Your doctor will examine your conditions first before they will prescribe the three medications for narcotic abuse.
This is also a must to prevent self-medication and overdose with the medicines. Also, these medical professionals can provide coordinated care for your addiction and behavioral problems.
Therefore, always seek medical help in getting the right medicines and dose for your OUD medication.