Medicine-assisted treatment (MAT) has proven to be an effective way to help people recover from opioid use disorder. For example, methadone is a well-studied and frequently used MAT. In most cases, however, you need to travel daily to a medical clinic to get the dose of your medication.
As an alternative, some people may be candidates to get monthly injections instead of others. Could this be an option for you? Here’s what you need to know about the different forms of MAT treatment.
-The benefits and challenges of drug-assisted treatment
Opioids, such as hydrocodone / acetaminophen (Vicodin) or oxycontin, can be legally prescribed and used to treat pain. However, when it is time to stop these drugs, withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that many people cannot tolerate them. When stopping opioids, you may experience pain, gastrointestinal pain, restlessness, sweating, insomnia, shivering, and mood swings – for days, weeks, or even months. These severe symptoms can cause many people to continue taking opioids and take extra time to protect themselves when their prescription runs out. Also, when legal opioids are abused, or illegal opioids, such as heroin are taken, they can create an intense pleasure or “high”. Some people become addicted to this height, and their greed, as well as their inability to tolerate the symptoms of withdrawal, lead to ongoing abuse. Over time, these drugs can cause changes in your brain, leading to hunger and the need for more doses of the drug to achieve the same effect.
This is where medication can help with medication. There are several medications available, and they help to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal as well as greed so that people can successfully give up opioids. The two primary drugs used to treat opioid use are methadone and buprenorphine. Since they themselves are the type of opioid, these medications activate the same receptors in your brain as other opioids. But when they are taken in the right doses, they can eliminate or reduce withdrawal symptoms without a “high” cause. These MAT treatments can also reduce your physical appetite but keep you dependent on medications (albeit in carefully controlled doses). Some people may have this treatment indefinitely, although this is not the case for everyone.
Naltrexone is the third type of drug to treat opioid addiction. It works differently than methadone and buprenorphine because it is not an opioid. It is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. This prevents any opioid medication from being an effect or a pleasurable experience. It was first made as a pill.
Methadone, most forms of buprenorphine, and the oral form of naltrexone need to be taken daily to function properly. Adherence to the ad can be a challenge, and those who struggle to remember to take the ad every day can have bad consequences. Leaving treatment can lead to relapse and overdose. Fortunately, once a monthly injectable drug for opioid use disorders can make it easier for patients to adhere to their treatment, as they do not need to promise daily medication.
-Difference between injections for antidepressant treatment
Menstrual injections can help improve compliance with adjuvant therapy. Two types of injections are currently available to treat opioid use disorders:
- Sublocade: This is an injectable form of buprenorphine. To be eligible, you already need to take a stable dose of oral buprenorphine for at least seven days. It is usually given as a shot in your abdomen and you need to go to your doctor’s office to get it. Once it is injected, the drug forms a solid mass (called a depot) that gradually releases a steady dose throughout the month.
- Vivitrol: This is an injectable form of naltrexone. To be eligible, you must be completely detoxified from all opioids, which can take up to 7 to 10 days from your last use, to avoid symptoms of severe withdrawal. It is given once a month as an injection into your muscle.
If you are recovering from an opioid use disorder and want to know more about menstrual injections, talk to your doctor. Some people may prefer Vivitrol as it is not an opioid, for others, Sublocade may be a better option, as it does not require a few days to abstain from opioids. Your personal situation and preferences will help your doctor choose the best MAT for you.