For 70 years, Malvern Institute has helped those struggling with the disease of addiction using only evidence based treatment methods. Medication Assisted Treatment is one approach that has proven successful for many individuals when added to a 12-step recovery program and other aftercare treatments. Recovery is best served through a complete understanding of addiction so the choice to include MAT is a shared decision between the clinician and patient, as well as the patient’s family if possible and appropriate.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication Assisted Treatment combines FDA-approved medications with psychosocial therapy and support meetings to treat addiction to opiates and alcohol. Multiple studies have clearly demonstrated that individuals with an opioid-use disorder and often alcohol-use disorders have superior outcomes when certain medications are utilized along with standard treatment protocols.
Some examples of medications used in treating addiction include:
- Vivitrol is a once a month injection of a long-acting medication called Naltrexone, which is an opiate blocker. This means that for 30 days, a person cannot feel the effects of opiates. Vivitrol is also effective in reducing cravings for both opiates and alcohol
- Suboxone (Buprenorphine) is in class of opiates, but acts differently than the drugs of abuse. Suboxone tapers patients off opiates over the course of approximately 8 days. When used on a maintenance program, Suboxone has a “ceiling effect”, meaning that taken alone, an overdose is virtually impossible. In addition, this medication blocks the effects of other opiates. Patients report reduced cravings and feeling “normal.” The research is indisputable. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) endorses this program, and according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the following results compare a Suboxone taper (detox) to a Suboxone Maintenance program:
Generally, insurance plans cover both treatment options. The duration and recommended length of treatment is based on individual patient needs, personal preferences, and prior experience with treatment and recovery.
Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Multiple recent stidues have documented the success of Medication Assisted Treatment programs, which is why the Malvern Institute offers this treatment. Individuals treated with Vivitrol and/or Suboxone are more likely to remain in treatment programs.
According to a 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that compared Suboxone (Buprenorphine) taper with maintenance treatment, a greater number of patients remained in treatment when on a taper.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) at Malvern Institute
Malvern’s MAT program is highly structured, and the medication offered is only one aspect of the treatment protocol. Currently, MAT programs are available at both inpatient campuses in Malvern and Willow Grove, as well as outpatient locations in Berwyn, Cherry Hill, Pottstown and Trevose.
Our clinicians consider the preference of the patient and their loved ones, past treatment history, severity of the addictions (e.g. overdoses), treating setting and other factors when deciding on whether MAT is an appropriate option.
Patients in MAT treatment must meet the following criteria:
- You must live with family who is supportive of this treatment approach, and be willing to allow Malvern staff to remain in contact with them. If you live alone, this is not a requirement.
- We are currently looking into developing relationships with recovery house owners who are willing to accept patients who are on Suboxone Maintenance, but for the time being, patients must be living in a supportive environment with family or alone.
- Must be able to meet the financial requirements of Suboxone Maintenance (our financial counselor will work with you to determine any co-pays required).
- Agree to continue with outpatient treatment within the Malvern system for as long as you are on Suboxone Maintenance (you must be able to travel to one of MAT sites, or live within the geographical area that our transportation department will be able to accommodate you).
- Must be willing to submit to random urine drug screens.
- Be open to actively participate in a 12 step program.
- If a patient fails to abide to the above requirements, or tests positive for other substances, they may be discharged from the program.