What Should I Expect at My First MAT Appointment?

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Your first Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) appointment is an opportunity for you and your doctor to set goals, share information, and build trust. You’ll develop a foundation for a safe and stable recovery from an opioid use disorder. 

What Will Your Doctor Ask You?

Doctors are encouraged to assess their patients carefully before they offer prescriptions for OUD.[1] Expect your doctor to ask several questions to ensure that this form of treatment is right for you.

You’ll be asked about the following:

  • Previous experiences with opioids and other drugs
  • Physical health and medical history 
  • Mental health and any past diagnoses 
  • Social and living situations

All this information will be used to help you and your provider develop a treatment plan.

What Will You Learn at Your First MAT Appointment?

Your doctor should educate you about your medications and how treatment works. Informed consent is an important part of your recovery, so expect your doctor to move slowly and ensure you understand everything that's shared with you.[2]

Your doctor will explain the following:

  • The program's requirements and expectations: You may discuss routine drug testing, which helps patients stay accountable to their goals. 
  • Your treatment specifics: In addition to medication, your treatment may include other services based on your needs and preferences.
  • Your medication: You can then expect to talk in detail with your provider about buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment, including information about risks and benefits and other available treatment options. 
  • The initiation process: Your doctor will tell you how to begin the medication at home. You will need to be experiencing withdrawal symptoms when starting it, and your doctor will explain how that works, how long to wait to take your first dose of Suboxone, and how frequently to take subsequent doses.

What Happens Next?

Your provider will schedule a follow-up visit, and you’ll continue to see the same provider for ongoing treatment. If you have questions before that appointment arrives, your doctor will tell you how to get in touch.

Sources

  1. Assessing Patients for Buprenorphine Treatment. Clinical Encounters. https://docs.clinicaltools.com/sites/clinicalencounter/buppractice/pdf/5-AssessingPts.pdf. September 2018. Accessed August 2022.
  2. Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/quick-start-guide.pdf. Accessed August 2022.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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