Long-Term MAT Treatment: Managing Maintenance

There are numerous benefits to long-term MAT. We will explore the advantages of long-term medication-assisted treatment and why it is a preferred option for many individuals on the road to recovery.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a safe and effective approach to managing opioid use disorder (OUD). It combines the use of medication, such as Suboxone or methadone, with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide comprehensive care for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. While short-term treatment can be beneficial, there are numerous benefits to long-term MAT. In this article, we will explore the advantages of long-term medication-assisted treatment and why it is a preferred option for many individuals on the road to recovery.

The Importance of Long-Term Maintenance Treatment

Extensive research supports the effectiveness of long-term medication-assisted treatment in treating OUD. Studies have shown that buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone and the monthly injections, Brixadi and Sublocade, significantly reduces the risk of relapse to opioid use and promotes a better overall quality of life. Compared to short-term treatment, long-term maintenance treatment with Suboxone, Brixadi, or Sublocade has been proven to improve outcomes and save lives.

One of the primary benefits of long-term medication-assisted treatment is stability. OUD can be a chronic condition, and long-term treatment ensures that individuals have access to the support and medication they need to maintain their recovery. By providing a consistent and reliable source of medication, long-term MAT helps prevent relapse and reduces the risk of overdose.

The Role of a Proper Suboxone Maintenance Plan

A proper Suboxone maintenance plan is essential for individuals undergoing long-term medication-assisted treatment. The goal of Suboxone treatment is to control withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. During the initial days of treatment, a healthcare provider will work with the individual to determine the appropriate dosage. The ideal dose should alleviate withdrawal symptoms and manage cravings without causing significant side effects.

It is important to note that all oral buprenorphine medications are often referred to as Suboxone. In reality, buprenorphine comes in multiple brands, doses, and formulations. For example, brand Suboxone comes in a sublingual film, while Zubsolv, another buprenorphine-naloxone medication, comes in a sublingual tablet form. There are generic versions of the oral medications as well. We’ll continue to refer to oral buprenorphine treatment as “Suboxone” for simplicity.

Typical Suboxone doses vary from person to person depending on their history of opioid use. Once placed on a starting dose, your doctor closely monitors the individual during the first few days of treatment to ensure that the medication is effectively managing their symptoms. If necessary, the dosage can be adjusted to better manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

In a long-term maintenance plan, the average dose of Suboxone is typically around 16 mg/4 mg per day. Again, this can vary from person to person based on prior use. Many treatment programs have a maximum dose that they recommend. This is often around 24 mg/6 mg per day, which is usually prescribed in the early days of treatment for individuals with a high tolerance to opioids. The goal is to find the optimal dose that provides effective symptom management without causing unwanted side effects.

The Benefits of Long-Term Suboxone Maintenance Treatment

Long-term Suboxone maintenance treatment offers a range of benefits for individuals with OUD. Here are some of the advantages of ongoing medication-assisted treatment:


Long-term medication-assisted treatment provides stability for individuals in recovery. By consistently taking their medication as prescribed, individuals can stabilize their lives and avoid the fluctuations that often come with active addiction. This stability allows them to focus on rebuilding their lives, maintaining healthy relationships, and pursuing career opportunities.


MAT maintenance treatment instills confidence in individuals by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. With the support of medication, individuals can regain control over their lives and feel more confident in their ability to overcome addiction. This increased confidence can have a positive impact on their overall well-being and motivation to stay on the path of recovery.

Healthier Relationships

OUD can strain relationships with family, friends, and partners. Long-term MAT maintenance treatment can help repair and rebuild these relationships by providing stability and reducing the negative behaviors associated with active addiction. With the support of medication, individuals can focus on healing and strengthening their connections with loved ones.

Better Overall Health

OUD can have a significant impact on an individual's physical and mental health. Long-term medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone helps improve overall health by reducing the negative effects of opioid use. It can lead to better physical well-being, improved mental health, and a decreased risk of opioid-related health complications.

Improved Mood

Opioid use disorder often leads to mood swings, depression, and anxiety. Long-term Suboxone maintenance treatment can help stabilize mood and improve overall emotional well-being. By reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, individuals can experience a more balanced and positive mood.

Reduced Mortality Risk

One of the most significant benefits of long-term medication-assisted treatment is the reduced risk of mortality. By providing a reliable source of medication, Suboxone maintenance treatment decreases the likelihood of overdose and other opioid-related fatalities. It is a life-saving intervention that gives individuals a second chance at recovery.

The Case for Long-Term Medication-Assisted Treatment

Numerous studies and research support the effectiveness of long-term medication-assisted treatment in managing OUD. Buprenorphine is as effective as methadone in preventing relapse and reducing cravings for opioids. Unlike methadone, Suboxone and other oral buprenorphine products can be prescribed by a doctor and picked up at a local pharmacy, providing individuals with more flexibility in their treatment.

Furthermore, Suboxone, which combines buprenorphine and naloxone, offers an abuse-deterrent aspect that helps reduce the potential for misuse. Compared to methadone, Suboxone also has a lower risk of overdose, making it a safer option for long-term maintenance treatment.

Another alternative to Suboxone is Vivitrol, which contains naltrexone and blocks opioid receptors in the brain. While Vivitrol can be effective in maintaining abstinence, it requires several days of abstinence from opioids before it can be administered safely. This requirement can make it challenging to initiate people on Vivitrol.

Given the flexibility, safety, and effectiveness of Suboxone, it is often the preferred medication for long-term medication-assisted treatment for individuals with OUD.

The Importance of Therapy in Medication-Assisted Treatment

While medication is a crucial component of medication-assisted treatment, therapy and counseling play a vital role in supporting individuals on their journey to recovery. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that Suboxone be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and psychosocial support.

Therapy helps individuals with OUD change their thoughts, behaviors, and coping mechanisms. It provides them with the tools and skills needed to manage their addiction, navigate triggers and cravings, and build a more fulfilling life in recovery. Counseling can address co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, and help individuals develop healthy habits and coping strategies.

MATClinics offers comprehensive medication-assisted treatment programs that include therapy and counseling services. Our team of healthcare professionals and therapists work together to provide individualized care and support to help individuals achieve long-term recovery.

Long-term Suboxone Treatment: A Lifeline for Opioid Recovery

Long-term medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone offers numerous benefits for individuals with opioid use disorder. By providing stability, reducing cravings, improving overall health, and increasing the likelihood of successful recovery, long-term MAT plays a vital role in managing addiction and preventing relapse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, consider the benefits of long-term medication-assisted treatment. Reach out to MATClinics to learn more about our programs and how we can support you on your path to recovery.

Speak to a member of our team to schedule a New Patient visit, or just to get more information.

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