Addiction Medicine

MAT Therapy

MAT Therapy

What is MAT therapy?

MAT therapy–or Medication Assisted Treatment–is a treatment combining medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone with behavioral therapy and counseling. Extensive research has shown that this combination of therapy and medication can successfully treat substance use disorders and prevent or reduce opioid overdose. MAT therapy allows patients relief of symptoms that can disturb their participation in behavioral health and medical therapies.

How is MAT therapy used?

The medicine used in MAT therapy normalizes the chemistry in the brain, blocking the euphoric effects of opioids which reduces the physiological cravings. This normalizes the body’s functions without the negative withdrawal symptoms.

MAT therapy is still possible with pregnant women and is even encouraged. Pregnancy is a life-changing experience and with a thorough treatment plan, full recovery is possible. Dr. Manriquez and her team have the tools to create an individualized plan to live a life free of addiction. These medications are evidence-based, and not mere substitutions of one drug to another. They are safe to use for months and years, and even a lifetime, making it a great treatment option.

MAT Therapy
postpartum anxiety

MAT Therapy is a treatment approach that could significantly help those with substance use disorder. Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, has been shown to be incredibly effective, especially for those struggling with opioid use disorders. The beauty of MAT is that it’s comprehensive, encompassing medication and behavioral therapies to address all your needs as a person. It’s not just about treating your physical symptoms but also looking at your psychological and emotional health.

Regarding medication, we often use buprenorphine and methadone, especially in the early stages of treatment. These are opioid agonists, which means they work by reducing the withdrawal symptoms you may experience as you wean off opioid use. In doing so, they can help you manage and gradually alleviate severe withdrawal symptoms. On top of these, we also employ naltrexone, an opioid antagonist. Naltrexone works differently—it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain, preventing the euphoria or pain relief that opioids usually cause. This property helps discourage the continued use of opioids.

We also often use Subutex or Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is beneficial because while buprenorphine works to relieve withdrawal symptoms, naloxone discourages misuse of the medication. It’s important to note that the dose of these medications, especially buprenorphine, is carefully administered and monitored by healthcare providers to avoid potential adverse reactions.

Research has shown that MAT therapy is able to:

Improve the quality of life for mother and child

Decrease use of opiates and other substances

Decrease the relapse to illicit substances

Improve the birth outcome among pregnant women who have substance use disorders

Decreases the risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C

More Medications?

However, it’s crucial to remember that MAT isn’t just about taking medications. We also take mental health support into account because substance use disorders often coexist with mental health conditions. By addressing both simultaneously, we can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. This approach is critical to your long-term recovery and maintenance therapy. You see, opioid addiction isn’t just a medical condition like chronic pain—it’s a complex psychosocial issue. So, while medication is a crucial component, it’s just one part of a broader, more comprehensive approach to treating addiction.
Opioid Use Disorder

Holistic Approach to Addiction

MAT is a clinically driven approach guided by scientific evidence and medical expertise. Its benefits are multiple—it can improve survival rates, increase retention in treatment, decrease illicit opioid use and related criminal activities, and boost patients’ ability to secure and maintain employment. These medications—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone—are managed and monitored to ensure they’re used safely and effectively within the broader context of comprehensive therapy. This monitoring includes regular assessments to ensure the correct dose is administered and that you’re making progress toward your recovery goals. After all, MAT isn’t merely about medication. It’s a holistic approach that combines medication with behavioral therapy and careful monitoring, all with the aim of effectively treating substance use disorders.

What is the FACOG and FASAM designation?

An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB/GYN, is a doctor who specializes in health in all stages of pregnancy, including post-pregnancy. Although OB/GYN is considered a singular specialty, it comprises two fields: obstetrics (pre-conception and prenatal care immediately after delivery), and gynecology (the care of all a woman’s health issues).

A doctor with FACOG after their title is certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and one with FASAM is certified in addiction medicine. Both indicate a provider is a fellow in their respective college or society, in the case of FACOG (Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist) and for FASAM (Fellow American Society of Addiction Medicine).

In addition to having graduated from medical school, completing their residency program, and passing all their exams, a doctor with the FACOG and FASAM initials indicate that they have met additional criteria to qualify as a Fellows of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Not many doctors in the country have both certifications, and Dr. Manriquez is board certified in both ObGyn and Addiction Medicine.

Addiction Medicine Physician
FASAM Dr. Maria Manriquez

Dr. Manriquez is a uniquely qualified leader

She graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine and did her postgraduate training in ObGyn at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix.  Dr. Manriquez is a current member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) FASD group.  This group is committed to educating fellow ObGyns to the risks associated with alcohol and other substances in pregnancy. 

Locally she is a member of the Maricopa County Safe Healthy Infants and Families Thrive (SHIFT) collaborative task force, the task force’s work focuses on optimizing the health of mothers and babies and keeping families together. She is co-medical director for the Halle Empower and Affirmation Legacy (HEAL) intensive outpatient program.  “Empowering women to care for themselves and their children is what we strive for and affirming their success is how we celebrate them.” 

Dr. Manriquez serves the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology as an oral examiner and content expert. She is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and her clinical practice is at Banner University Medicine Women’s Institute.

Medication Assisted Treatment

MAT is a clinically driven approach guided by scientific evidence and medical expertise. Its benefits are multiple—it can improve survival rates, increase retention in treatment, decrease illicit opioid use and related criminal activities, and boost patients’ ability to secure and maintain employment.

These medications—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone—are managed and monitored to ensure they’re used safely and effectively within the broader context of comprehensive therapy. This monitoring includes regular assessments to ensure the correct dose is administered and that you’re making progress toward your recovery goals. After all, MAT isn’t merely about medication. It’s a holistic approach that combines medication with behavioral therapy and careful monitoring, all with the aim of effectively treating substance use disorders.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has emerged as a vital intervention within the field of addiction treatment, addressing substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. The underpinning of MAT treatment involves the strategic use of FDA approved medication, synergistically combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, as part of a broader treatment program. This strategy recognizes that drug abuse is not simply a physical dependence but a complex interplay of psychological, social, and environmental elements.

The mainstay of MAT medication for opioid dependence involves agents like buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone that act on the opioid receptor in the brain, mitigating withdrawal symptoms and curtailing opioid cravings. For alcohol addiction, medications such as disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are employed to deter alcohol use and reduce the rewarding effects of alcohol consumption.

As a component of an opioid treatment program or alcohol use disorder treatment program, MAT has demonstrated success in several aspects. It not only improves patient survival and augments retention in treatment but also curtails illicit opiate use, thereby reducing the incidence of overdose deaths. Additionally, MAT enhances patients’ ability to secure and sustain employment, underscoring the public health implications of MAT beyond just disease control.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advocates for MAT as an essential tool to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. Equally, its role in managing alcohol addiction and mitigating alcohol use is integral to comprehensive MAT services. The ultimate objective, whether for opioid or alcohol use disorder treatment, is to lessen dependency and detrimental behavior linked to substance use, improve patient health and functionality, and boost their quality of life.

Maintenance treatment is a fundamental aspect of MAT services. Like managing other chronic diseases, sustained treatment helps prevent relapse and promotes long-term recovery. Hence, this comprehensive, patient-centered approach underscores that addiction treatment should transcend detoxification and incorporate strategies that foster sustained recovery.