HHS chief bats for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

HHS chief bats for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

Looking at the worsening opioid epidemic ravaging the United States, the federal government has been formulating various policies and plans to combat the situation. With over 64,000 Americans succumbing to drug overdose deaths in 2016, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is time to expand effective treatment options for addiction. One such option promoted by the Donald Trump administration is medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

According to Alex Azar, Secretary, Health & Human Services (HHS), U.S., medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a key measure against the problem of opioid crisis plaguing the nation. This treatment method combines both behavioral therapy and medicines like methadone and buprenorphine to decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. It has been considered as a gold standard for addiction treatment by many specialists.

Azar further added that MAT is presently offered by one-third of specialty addiction treatment programs in the U.S. However, there is a need to increase these numbers. For increasing the accessibility of MAT, he announced that the FDA would issue a couple of new draft guidance to boost the current therapies. Since the FDA aims to make the entire process of adherence to medications easier, it had earlier approved the first monthly injection of buprenorphine.

While the first guidance will clarify the kind of evidence required by the new manufacturers trying to seek approval for monthly injectable forms of buprenorphine, the other guidance will focus on making more flexible and creative designs of the MAT studies. The FDA has approved medications like buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

However, as per addiction treatment specialists, one area of concern for effective treatment is that these drugs require assurance of consistent administration. He further said that drugs in the form of “injections” make adherence easier, as only a shot is required once a month rather than on a daily basis. This will be more beneficial in rural settings hit hard by opioid crisis and sparse treatment options.

According to a study examining the efficacy of buprenorphine maintenance treatment (BMT) and methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) on different age populations, both BMT and MMT are some of the pharmacological treatment programs of MAT for individuals with OUD. It was found that BMT has a positive effect on treatment retention and illicit opioid use. The researchers found that compared to placebo, BMT ensures better outcomes in people and pregnant women grappling with OUD. Thus, this study showed that the outcomes are much better when a person is on MAT.

Need of the hour is MAT

MAT is an effective therapy to treat OUD. It reduces opioid use more effectively compared to nondrug approaches. The increased access to these treatment therapies can decrease overdose fatalities immensely. However, people are often unable to access MAT due to inadequate funding for treatment programs. In order to overcome this problem, Azar has announced a package of $13 billion for funding states and local governments.

Opioid addiction must be treated with specialized and professional support at the right time. The first step toward recovery from opioid dependence is detoxification which helps expel harmful toxins from the body and makes it ready for further treatment via medicines and therapies. The successful completion of detoxification enables patients to achieve early recovery.

If you or your loved one is afflicted with any kind of substance abuse, contact the California Detox Helpline to know about the best detox centers in California that offer a safe and secure environment for complete healing. Call at our 24/7 detox helpline 855-780-2495 or chat online with our specialists to get information about our state-of-the-art rapid detoxification centers.