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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medications are also increasingly being used to treat substance use disorders. This practice, often referred to as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Medications exist that can reduce the cravings and other symptoms associated with withdrawal from a substance, block the neurological pathways that produce the rewarding sensation caused by a substance, or induce negative feelings when a substance is taken.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) and can help some people to sustain recovery.

More must be done to facilitate treatment options and the development of therapies to address OUD as a chronic disease with long-lasting effects. This means helping more people secure MAT, which requires us to break the stigma often associated with some of the medications used to treat OUD. It also requires us to find new and more effective ways to advance the use of medical therapy for the treatment of OUD.

There are three drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. All three of these treatments have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in combination with counseling and psychosocial support. Everyone who seeks treatment for an OUD should be offered access to all three options as this allows providers to work with patients to select the treatment best suited to an individual’s needs. Due to the chronic nature of OUD, the need for continuing MAT should be re‐evaluated periodically. There is no maximum recommended duration of maintenance treatment, and for some patients, treatment may continue indefinitely.

FDA-approved buprenorphine products approved for the treatment of opioid dependence include:
Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film
Probuphine (buprenorphine) implant for subdermal administration
Sublocade (buprenorphine extended‐release) injection for subcutaneous use
Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual film for sublingual or buccal use
Subutex (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual film or tablet
Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets

FDA-approved methadone products approved for the treatment of opioid dependence include:
Dolophine (methadone hydrochloride) tablets
Methadose (methadone hydrochloride) oral concentrate

FDA-approved naltrexone products approved for the treatment of opioid dependence include:
Vivitrol (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension) intramuscular