Author: Alex Thompson

Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide

medication assisted treatment for alcohol

Official websites use .govA .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. Acamprosate is for people who have already stopped drinking and want to continue sobriety. Methadone should only be used under a doctor’s direct supervision.

Most states also cover suboxone treatment, but there are specific requirements regarding amounts and administration. The best way to determine the available financial support is to contact a specific state’s Medicaid office. Treatment coverage for SUDs became more widely available following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

However, although ample evidence supports the success and efficacy of MAT, there are still gaps in the scientific literature that need to be addressed. MAT isn’t approved or recommended for treating all types of addiction. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. Beta-blockers are primarily used to prevent heart attacks, angina, and migraines. They’re also used off-label for drug and alcohol rehab, including in cases of co-occurring disorders.

This manual provides clinical practice guidelines for using medications in the medication-assisted treatment of alcohol use disorder. It offers guidance on prescribing acamprosate, disulfiram, oral naltrexone, and extended-release injectable naltrexone. Before prescribing medication to help you manage your drinking, a healthcare provider first determines whether you have AUD. If you do, your healthcare provider will diagnose your AUD  as mild, moderate, or severe.

It’s prescribed five days after abstinence begins and is fully effective in another five to eight days. Anticonvulsants include topiramate and gabapentin, which have shown promising results in treating alcohol use disorder. “Believe it or not, physicians actually don’t get much training in medical school and residency on these medications,” says Coleman. More recently, numerous studies and reviews have found that MAT can be effective in treating alcohol use disorder. For example, most state Medicaid plans cover methadone treatment. Other possible side effects of drinking alcohol while taking it include headaches and nausea.

MAT for Alcoholism

This screening consists of questions about your alcohol use and how drinking affects your health and personal life. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes. It blocks chemicals in the brain that trigger sympathetic nervous system activity, reduce anxiety, and speed up detoxification. It can also treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine doesn’t cure addiction but does make relapse less likely.

  1. They also effectively manage alcohol and drug use linked to mental illness.
  2. Fighting cravings all day takes up a lot of energy and headspace.
  3. These strategies support recovery and the development of a trauma-informed care workforce.

Additionally, many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, isolation, trauma, or boredom. These underlying issues are challenging to address when you’re fighting against cravings all day. After getting started on one of the MAT medications, you’ll follow up with your provider regularly to ensure that it’s safe for you to continue with the medication and determine whether you need any changes to your prescription.

Benefits of medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder

The manual discusses patient assessment and treatment planning strategies. These strategies support recovery and the development of a trauma-informed care workforce. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach that’s effective in reducing relapse rates and helping people achieve sobriety.

medication assisted treatment for alcohol

It’s also cost-effective, with most insurance plans and Medicaid programs covering some costs. MAT’s treatment approaches are effective in helping people overcome substance use disorders. It’s an evidence-based form of treatment, which means there is research proving its effectiveness. People are unlikely to abuse it because of its “ceiling effect.” This means more doses don’t trigger additional side effects.

It’s the only MAT drug approved for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

How Effective is MAT?

“Many patients who take naltrexone will report that they ‘lose the taste’ for alcohol, and it reduces cravings. For long-term success, it’s important that you follow up with your provider periodically, even if you’re continuously meeting your goals. The duration of medically assisted treatment is different for everyone, but as long as a treatment program is working for you, it’s reasonable and recommended to stick with it. If you’re deemed medically stable to start MAT, you and your provider will decide which MAT medications will work the best for you based on your treatment goals and medical comorbidities. Your provider will explain to you the pros and cons of each medication to make an informed decision.

Medication-assisted treatment costs vary significantly from program to program. The clinician also determines whether a medication is safe and appropriate for you. Naloxone is used to treat someone who overdosed on heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and other types of opioids. If someone relapses while taking it, they won’t experience the euphoria they did in the past. Naltrexone works differently than Methadone and Buprenorphine because it’s an opioid antagonist. A multidimensional approach allows people to manage the multiple aspects of their substance use disorder simultaneously.

Fortunately, with Monument, physicians are prepared to discuss these options and empower members to begin a medication assisted treatment program if safe and appropriate for them. As an addiction medicine physician on the Monument platform, I’m reassured to see a growing interest in medication-assisted treatment. Often referred to as “MAT,” medication-assisted treatment is largely considered the gold standard in treatment for alcohol use disorder by the medical community. Not only is there increased awareness surrounding this life-changing approach, but now, with online alcohol treatment programs like Monument and other AA alternatives, it’s more accessible than ever. As noted above, naltrexone is also FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Does Insurance Cover MAT?

It covers screening, concomitant treatment, pharmacotherapy, and multiple misused substances. This pocket guide is designed as a quick reference for information about medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder. It offers a checklist for prescribing medications to patients and provides a list of approved medications for treatment. This manual provides guidance on the use of medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use misuse. It summarizes approved medications, screening and assessment, treatment planning, and patient monitoring. The first type of medication reduces alcohol cravings by decreasing the reinforcing effects of alcohol that make you want to keep drinking.

This guide helps substance use counselors treat clients with symptoms of depression and substance use conditions. Program administrators will learn how to integrate depression treatment into early drug treatment. The guidelines cover screening, assessment, treatment, counseling, cultural competence, and continuing care. It helps people reduce their drinking and increases their motivation to stay in treatment and avoid relapses. MAT is a recommended and evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.