Medication Assisted Treatment With the Use of Suboxone, Subutex and Buprenorphine


Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Offering this combination of medication and behavioral therapies is proven to be effective in helping some people sustain recovery.

Addressing substance abuse is critical to providing quality care in an integrated treatment setting. Many individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder also suffer from other chronic health conditions. Integrated treatment planning that includes substance use screening and treatment is key to providing better health outcomes in integrated care.

How MAT Works

Step 1: Evaluation
When we evaluate someone, we take into consideration many different variables. We don’t focus on the dependency alone; we also consider the social circumstances, support systems, and motivations for change.
Step 2: Create a Plan
After an evaluation, we take our medical expertise and provide our patients with an individualized plan that combines these factors. We work with each individual in a judgement-free environment and treat them with compassion.
Step 3: Start Treatment
The combination of medication and behavioral therapy is what treats addiction. The medication staves off the physical symptoms, withdrawal and cravings.  The counseling helps patients address their emotional and behavioral issues associated with addiction. Evidence-based research shows that neither one is as effective on their own as they are together.

Medication & Counseling


How Does Medication Help?

In a Medication Assisted Treatment program, the patient is prescribed Buprenorphine (Suboxone/Subutex) medication that reduces their withdrawal symptoms and euphoria from abusing substances.

This combination of benefits helps them stay committed to treatment. The medication part of Medication Assisted Treatment works by relieving the physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.  It does so by replacing the abused opioids with a medication that fills the same receptors in the brain that drive addictive behavior.  When properly dosed, there are no adverse effects on patients’ mental, intellectual, or physical functioning

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How Does Counseling Help?

MAT also involves one-on-one counseling that helps the patient understand their thoughts and feelings about abusing substances.

The therapy part of MAT works by allowing patients to address the mental health and behavioral issues that surround their addiction. Patients can:

  • Improve insights into behaviors that led to addiction and the problems that addiction caused
  • Learn to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones
  • Work to repair relationships
  • Provide encouragement and motivation to stick to recovery plan
  • Learn to recognize and avoid craving triggers
  • Learn how to better manage stress
  • Learn how to avoid relapse—strategies
  • Find a community that is struggling with similar issues
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Recovery With Us

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Suboxone Medication

Suboxone is a prescription medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s used to treat opioid addiction from illicit drugs like heroin as well as narcotic painkillers not prescribed by a doctor. Used in combination as part of a treatment program that typically includes counseling, lifestyle changes, and other interventions, suboxone medication combines buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine helps relieve symptoms of withdrawal while naloxone reverses the effects of narcotics.


Buprenorphine Medication

What Is buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine has been used to treat opioid dependency and addiction since the Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone and Subutex in 2002. Despite their potential for misuse, products containing buprenorphine are generally considered safer than other opioid-based medications, such as methadone, because buprenorphine offers a “ceiling effect.” A ceiling effect is the point where the medication reaches its limit to be used to achieve a “high” or euphoric effect.

Using buprenorphine can help control physical symptoms of withdrawal and help prevent relapse early in recovery, offering the ability for patients to stabilize and begin to work on the underlying causes of substance dependency.


3 Stages of Buprenorphine Treatment

Induction Phase

Patients should be in the early stages of withdrawal during the induction phase. If they aren’t in withdrawal, buprenorphine may kick other opioids off the receptors in the brain. When an opioid antagonist, such as buprenorphine or naloxone, kicks another opioid off of a receptor, a person experiences precipitated withdrawal. Compared to regular withdrawal, precipitated withdrawal occurs more rapidly and causes more intense symptoms.

If the person is already in withdrawal before treatment, buprenorphine will attach to the open receptors. Experiencing mild or moderate withdrawal before treatment may be unpleasant, but it’s more comfortable than experiencing precipitated withdrawal. If illicit drug use is discontinued, most people begin to feel normal after about a week of buprenorphine treatment.

Stabilization Phase

Most people enter the stabilization phase after a week of treatment. At this point, buprenorphine prevents withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Doctors may adjust the dosage of buprenorphine, and patients may begin taking the drug every other day.

Some people feel so comfortable during stabilization that they think they have recovered from opioid addiction. However, you should never discontinue buprenorphine without talking to your doctor. Stopping buprenorphine too soon can lead to severe withdrawal and relapse.

Maintenance Phase

Once patients are stabilized and doing relatively well on buprenorphine, they enter the maintenance phase. If they’re attending inpatient or outpatient opioid rehab, they may begin intensive counseling and therapy.

Some people stay in the maintenance phase indefinitely. Others taper off of buprenorphine and overcome physical dependency on opioids. The length of buprenorphine maintenance treatment depends on each patient’s medical history.

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