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Frequently asked questions

MAT Questions

What is addiction?


ASAM: Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.




What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?


Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) also referred to as opioid addiction. MAT medications can help many people to acheive and sustain recovery. There are 3 medications approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Naltrexone is also an FDA approved MAT medication for alcohol use disorder (AUD).




What is Buprenorphine?


Buprenorphine is an opioid medication that is used to treat people who have been diagnosed with an OUD. Like all opioids, buprenorphine works by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain, which relieves withdrawal symptoms, opioid cravings and helps prevent overdose. Many studies have shown that taking buprenorphine reduces or stops opioid use in most patients, whether they have been using prescription opioids or illicit opioids like fentanyl and heroin.




How do medications to treat opioid use disorder work?


Opioid Agonists and Partial Agonists (Maintenance Medications)

Studies show that people with opioid use disorder who follow detoxification with complete abstinence are very likely to relapse or return to using the drug. While relapse is a normal step on the path to recovery, it can also be life-threatening, raising the risk for a fatal overdose. Thus, an important way to support recovery from heroin or prescription opioid use disorder is to maintain abstinence from those drugs. Someone in recovery can also use medications that reduce the negative effects of withdrawal and cravings without producing the euphoria that the original drug of abuse caused.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that eliminates withdrawal symptoms and relieves drug cravings by acting on opioid receptors in the brain—the same receptors that other opioids such as heroin, morphine, and opioid pain medications activate. Although it occupies and activates these opioid receptors, it does so more slowly than other opioids and, in an opioid-dependent person, treatment doses do not produce euphoria. It has been used successfully for more than 40 years to treat opioid use disorder and must be dispensed through specialized opioid treatment programs.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it binds to those same opioid receptors but activates them less strongly than full agonists do. Like methadone, it can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms in a person with an opioid use disorder without producing euphoria, and patients tend to tolerate it well. Research has found buprenorphine to be similarly effective as methadone for treating opioid use disorders, as long as it is given at a sufficient dose and for sufficient duration.13 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved buprenorphine in 2002, making it the first medication eligible to be prescribed by certified physicians through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act. This approval eliminates the need to visit specialized treatment clinics, thereby expanding access to treatment for many who need it. Additionally, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law in July 2016, temporarily expands eligibility to prescribe buprenorphine-based drugs for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to qualifying nurse practitioners and physician assistants through October 1, 2021. Buprenorphine has been available for opioid use disorders since 2002 as a tablet and since 2010 as a sublingual film. The FDA approved a 6-month subdermal buprenorphine implant in May 2016 and a once-monthly buprenorphine injection in November 2017. These formulations are available to patients stabilized on buprenorphine and will eliminate the treatment barrier of daily dosing for these patients

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means that it works by blocking the activation of opioid receptors. Instead of controlling withdrawal and cravings, it treats opioid use disorder by preventing any opioid drug from producing rewarding effects such as euphoria. Its use for ongoing opioid use disorder treatment has been somewhat limited because of poor adherence and tolerability by patients. However, in 2010, an injectable, long-acting form of naltrexone (Vivitrol®), originally approved for treating alcohol use disorder, was FDA-approved for treating opioid use disorder. Because its effects last for weeks, Vivitrol® is a good option for patients who do not have ready access to health care or who struggle with taking their medications regularly.

NIDA. 2021, April 13. How do medications to treat opioid use disorder work?. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction/how-do-medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction-work on 2021, December 11




Why is Medication- Assisted Treatment (MAT) better than abstinence?


MAT is evidence-based and is the recommended course of treatment for opioid addiction. The American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American Medical Association, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies all universally agree and emphasize MAT as first line treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.




Will buprenorphine cure my opioid addiction?


Opioid use disorder (aka addiction) is a chronic medical disease that can be effictively managed. Buprenorphine and buprenorphine compounds with naloxone, such as Suboxone®, can help people overcome their opioid addiction and lead more productive and full lives. Buprenorphine prevents withdrawal symptoms and helps eliminate cravings so that you can focus on addressing the causes and consequences of addiction.




Does buprenorphine replace one addiction with another?


No. Buprenorphine is an FDA approved medication that is proven to help manage opioid use disorder. This is no different than medications prescribed to treat and manage other chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure. Buprenorphine binds to the same opioid receptors that illicit and abused opioids do, but works differently at that receptor. Buprenorphine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings to encourage healthy behaviors and when taken as prescribed, does not cause euphoria or a "high". Patients can become physically dependant on buprenorphine and stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal, but this is not addiction. The myth that buprenorphine replace one opioid addiction with another incorrect and not supported by the medical or scientific community. Medications such as buprenorphine help patients control their drug-seeking urges so they can build recovery skills.




What is the difference between Suboxone, Subutex, and buprenorphine?


Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone, whereas Subutex is just Buprenorphine. Both of these medications are taken sublingally daily or twice daily.




Can you take Buprenorphine if you are pregnant?


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG): The best treatment for opioid use disorder during pregnancy is opioid replacement medication, behavioral therapy, and counseling. The medications that are given are long-acting opioids. This means that they stay active in the body for a long time. These opioids, called methadone and buprenorphine, reduce cravings but do not cause the pleasant feelings that other opioids cause. Treatment with either methadone or buprenorphine makes it more likely that the fetus will grow normally and not be born too early. Based on many years of research, neither medicine has been found to cause birth defects.




How can I detox at home?


We will support and walk you through the process to safely start buprenorphine at home and alleviate withdrawal. We will also help you to reach the proper dose which will help eliminate cravings.




Do I need to be in withdrawal before I take my first dose of Suboxone or other buprenorphine medication?


Yes, we walk you through taking the first dose of buprenorphine.




Will buprenorphine help me feel better right away?


Buprenorphine can significantly reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms almost immediately.




Does buprenorphine have side effects?


Common side effects of Buprenorphine can be nausea, vomiting, and constipation.




How long do I need to stay on MAT?


Research shows that patients on MAT for at least 1-2 years have the greatest rates of long-term success. There is currently no evidence to support benefits from stopping MAT.




Does MAT increase my risk of overdosing ?


MAT helps to prevent overdoses from occurring. Even a single use of opioids can result in a life-threatening or fatal overdose. Following detoxification, tolerance to the euphoria brought on by opioid use remains higher than tolerance to respiratory depression.




Can I carry my medication with me?


It is illegal to carry controlled substances unless you have the printed prescription with you.




How do I store my Buprenorphine?


Keep out of the reach of children. This medicine can be abused and can cause harm to opioid naive people--especially children. Keep your medicine in a safe place to protect it from theft. Do not share this medicine with anyone. Take the medication only as prescribed. Selling or giving away this medicine is dangerous and against the law.




What is Sublocade ?


Sublocade is an injection of extended-release (XR) buprenorphine that is administered once a month. As an extended-release medication, the injection slowly absorbs into the body over the course of a month providing stable blood levels of buprenorphine. Many people prefer Sublocade over Suboxone because they don’t have to worry about taking a sublingual film each day and do not experience daily fluctuations in buprenorphine blood levels.




How is Sublocade different from other opioids?


Buprenorphine works differently from other opioids because it binds to the brain's opioid receptors, but only partially activates them. The partial activation is enough to alleviate withdrawal and prevent cravings, but not enough to provide euphoria or a "high". It also prevents illicit opioids from binding to the same receptors, blocking their rewarding effects and preventing overdose.




Is Sublocade better than Buprenorphine?


Sublocade has many advantages over sublingual buprenorphine. It provides a stable blood concentration so there are no peaks and valleys between doses. Not having to think about or rememeber to take your daily or twice daily dose is another major benefit. There is no chance of losing the medication, having it stolen, or having someone take it by accident. Tapering off of injectable buprenprphine is much easier than sublingual because it leaves your body very slowly over many months.




How long until I feel the effects of the Sublocade?


Sublocade starts working immediately, with therapeutic levels reached within a few hours. Studies show that it takes on average 24 hours for buprenorphine (the medication in Sublocade) to reach maximum (peak) levels after a Sublocade injection.




How long does it take for me to get Sublocade?


It could take anywhere from 5-15 days depending on your insurance.




How long will the "bump" be fely on my abdomen?


Sublocade turns into a solid mass in your body after it’s injected and slowly releases buprenorphine over the course of several weeks. This bump slowly releases medication into your body keeping the buprenorphine at a steady state. The bump will get smaller or go away within 1-2 months.




What treatment do you have for Alcohol cravings ?


We have two options for alcohol cravings. Naltrexone which is oral medication and an injectable extended-release (XR) form of naltrexone called Vivitrol, which is given once monthly.





Office Questions

What do I need to make an appointment?


Reliable internet connection / wifi.. Laptop / Computer / Cell Phone with camera. One hour of uninterrupted time. Credit card or debit card and internet access to make payments.




How much does MYMATCLNIC cost?


Office visits are $300.00 monthly,




What are your hours? How long will it take for me to get an appointment?


Our office is usually open Monday- Friday from 9:00-5:00, and appointments are strongly encouraged. We offer after hour and weekend telemedicine visit.




Does MYMATCLINIC accept insurance?


We do not accept insurance. We will utilize your insurance to cover any prescribed medications and will provide a super-bill upon request for you to submit to your insurance company.




Do you provide counseling ?


We provide case management, recovery resources, referrals to counselors, and IOP programs. We prescribe a Cognitive Behavioral App called ReSet-O and ReSet that can be done anywhere & anytime.




Is my visit confidential and private?


Yes. Our platform is encrypted and fully HIPAA-compliant and we never sell your information to third parties for profit. Just like an in-person doctor visit, what you share with our medical staff and physicians is protected by law and private.




How many times does I need to see a provider?


Once a month.




What should I do if I need help between visits?


You can text us on our Hippa compliant Office texting line: 949-844-3440