Home Topics Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Opioids Medication-Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

Medication-Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

An overview on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder from the PEW charitable trusts.

Opioid overdoses cause one death every 20 minutes.  Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—a combination of psychosocial therapy and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication—is the most effective intervention to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and is more effective than either behavioral interventions or medication alone.  MAT significantly reduces illicit opioid use compared with nondrug approaches, and increased access to these therapies can reduce overdose fatalities.

MAT pairs nondrug therapies, such as counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy, with an FDA-approved medication to treat OUD. These drugs—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone—are available in various product formulations and doses. Each medication differs in the way it works to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal and/or block the euphoric effects of the drugs. Consistent with the approach used for other chronic diseases such as diabetes, treatment plans for OUD are patient specific and created with input from the patient, the prescriber, and other members of the health care team.

Download the MAT outcomes PDF here for an overview, background, treatment, approved medications, how it works, and effectiveness of MAT.


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