Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) involves the combination of addiction treatment medications and behavioral therapy and counseling. MAT is considered the gold standard of treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Healthcare providers and researchers overwhelmingly agree that MAT is more effective than other methods of stopping opioid use.
The three FDA-approved medications for OUD include buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone and naltrexone. Of these, buprenorphine has the best combination of safety and effectiveness.
Here at Bicycle Health, we offer buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and related medications over treatments like methadone, which unfortunately can only be dispensed by a licensed methadone clinic.
What are the Advantages of MAT?
Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) offer countless benefits for people looking to quit misusing opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers.
- MAT is an Evidence-Based Treatment Option for Opioid Dependence
The benefits of MAT over other types of treatment have been well demonstrated. There have been over 500 peer-reviewed research studies that show that MAT:,,,
- Reduces opioid cravings
- Reduces illicit opioid use
- Mitigates opioid withdrawal symptoms
- Decreases relapse rates
- Increases treatment retention
- Decreases opioid overdose fatalities
- Reduces criminal activity
- Reduces transmission of infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV
- Improves social functioning
- Help you stay employed
Again, MAT, whether you take methadone or Suboxone, is considered the gold standard of care for OUD.
- MAT is an Affordable Treatment Option
Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) are meant to be affordable options for people looking to recover from OUD. Generic buprenorphine/naloxone formulations make MAT even more affordable, with generic Suboxone prescriptions costing $36-$38 per month. You may even be able to get free Suboxone with coupons or discounts.
MAT options are covered by Medicaid in every state (though sometimes state Medicaid only covers some forms of MAT and not others).  Medicare also covers various MAT options under the Part D section of these plans.
Private insurance providers also typically cover MAT like methadone and Suboxone. If you want to know more about your insurance coverage, call the number on the back of your card to speak to an insurance representative. They’ll be able to tell you which medications are covered and to what extent.
Our team at Bicycle Health can also check your current insurance coverage – please schedule a call or view our online resources here.
- MAT Decreases the Likelihood of Relapse and Overdose
Substance use disorder is defined as a chronic but treatable condition. This means relapse is common and part of the natural course of this condition for many people.
MAT has been proven to help prevent return to drug misuse (i.e., relapse). MAT eases drug cravings and helps patients stabilize so they are able to focus on therapy and other lifestyle changes to help support their ongoing recovery.
In one study of patients not on MAT, up to 90% relapsed to drug use within a year.  More than 60% of people returning to treatment after a relapse wanted to use MAT during their next attempt at abstinence. MAT given for at least the first 12 months of abstinence reduces relapse risk and lowers medical costs.
- MAT is a Safe Treatment Option for Pregnant Patients
Treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) during pregnancy has better outcomes for both the mother and baby than untreated OUD.
Babies whose birthing parents use opioids are at risk of:
- Spontaneous abortion
- Pre-term birth
- Congenital disorders
- Long-term health and developmental problems
These babies are also at higher risk of needing to stay in the Intensive Care Unit after being born to treat Neonatal abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in which babies are born chemically dependent on opioids. 
On the other hand, while the long term outcomes data for babies whose mothers are treated with MAT is still understudied, most experts strongly support use of MAT during pregnancy as safer for mothers than untreated OUD. 
If you are pregnant and trying to stop using opioids, please reach out to us. Our healthcare providers have significant experience helping pregnant parents who use opioids and are available to answer any questions you might have about Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT).
Other Benefits of MAT for OUD
MAT’s impact on opioid cravings is clear, but MAT can also do the following:
- Keep you alive: Relapsing to drugs after treatment can be deadly. Doses that once got you high could kill you instead, especially once your body loses tolerance after a period of sobriety. Staying on MAT can mean avoiding that relapse risk.
- Keep you in treatment: The longer you work with your therapy team, the more you’ll learn about how to attain and maintain sobriety. MAT can boost your motivation to keep your appointments.
- Reduce criminal activity: Maintaining a drug habit is expensive, and many people resort to illegal activity to buy drugs. As you stay in MAT, you won’t need to buy any street drugs which can help provide financial stability and have been shown to reduce crime rates.
- Help you stay employed: Drug-related work absences are less likely when you’re using MAT. Maintaining employment provides financial stability and improved self-efficacy, all important for stable recovery.
Since MAT tends to keep you in treatment, the medications give you the best opportunity to work on the challenges that keep you from living a full life.
Here at Bicycle Health, we offer Medication for Addiction Treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and related medications to help patients stop or cut down on their opioid use. To learn more about the proven evidence behind Medication for Addiction Treatment, call us at (844) 943-2514, or schedule an appointment here.
Debunking Myths: MAT is Not Trading One Addiction for Another
It is important to note that MAT with Suboxone, methadone or naltrexone is not replacing one addiction with another.
Addiction is a pattern of uncontrollable substance misuse, despite negative consequences. Meanwhile, taking medication for OUD is like taking medication for any other condition, such as depression or anxiety. It enables you to quit compulsive opioid misuse so you can focus on therapy, counseling and positive behavioral change.
Opioid addiction dramatically alters brain reward and reinforcement pathways and MAT helps treat this condition. Like patients who take daily blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease medications, patients with OUD take MAT to lead their healthiest lives.
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD
Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More
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