Explanation of Medication-Assisted Treatment
This explanation of Medication-Assisted Treatment is intended to provide a general framework for addiction treatment. Ultimately, all medical decisions pertaining to a patient’s course of addiction treatment will be at the Ideal Option, PLLC practitioner’s sole discretion and, by signing below, you acknowledge and agree that your course of addiction treatment may vary from the explanation below.
Intake: You will be given a comprehensive substance dependence assessment, as well as an evaluation of mental status and physical exam. The pros and cons of the treatment medications recommended will be presented to you. Treatment expectations, as well as issues involved with maintenance and medically supervised tapering off the medication will be discussed.
Induction: Treatment begins here. You will be switched from your current substance of misuse (alcohol, heroin, methadone, prescription painkillers, etc.) to your treatment medication. Your provider will explain the induction process to you.
If you are prescribed buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, you must be in a state of moderate withdrawal for the medication to work well. If you are not in moderate withdrawal, the medication might make you feel worse rather than better (intensifying withdrawal symptom). This is called precipitated withdrawal.
It is really important to be truthful with your practitioner about the last time you used, how much you took, which other drugs or medications you used and when you last used them, and how much you took. Your practitioner needs this information to determine the timing of your dose of treatment medication.
When you leave the office, the practitioner will likely give you a prescription that will last until your next appointment.
Since an individual’s tolerance and reactions to the medicine vary, daily appointments may be scheduled, and medications will be adjusted until you no longer experience withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
Stabilization & Maintenance: This is the second phase of treatment. During this phase, your practitioner may continue to adjust your dose of medication until you find the dose that works for you. It is important to take your medicine as directed. During this phase is when you may also begin working on your treatment goals. At times when you feel stressed, or experience triggers or cravings, your practitioner may suggest a dose adjustment, or there may be a need to change the frequency of visits.
As you achieve your treatment goals and feel confident in your progress, your practitioner may suggest a dose decrease. The maintenance phase is different for every patient. It may last a few weeks for some patients and a few years for others. The most important parts of this phase are your functionality and safety. Some examples of good functionality are active employment, active school, lack of legal trouble, caring for your family, stable finances and just a general improvement in your overall life circumstances.
Tapering off: There are no time limits for treatment. Length of therapy is determined by you and your practitioner. If you and your practitioner agree that the time is right for a medical taper, he or she will slowly lower your dose (known as a taper), taking care to minimize withdrawal symptoms. If you feel at risk for relapse during a taper, let your practitioner know. You can be re-stabilized and continue maintenance if needed.
Please note: The treatment medicine prescribed may be a narcotic medication indicated for the maintenance treatment of substance use disorder, available only by prescription and must be taken as prescribed. It is illegal to sell or give away your medicine.
If at any time you have questions or concerns about your treatment, please call 877-522-1275. We have an on-call line that will connect you to a nurse 24 hours a day.