Context: The American opioid epidemic has necessitated the search for safe and effective means of treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) encompasses select medications that are proven effective treatments for OUD. Understanding the mechanisms of action, indications, and implementation of MAT is paramount to increasing its availability to all individuals struggling with opioid addiction.
Objectives: This review is based on an educational series that aims to educate healthcare providers and ancillary healthcare members on the use of MAT for the treatment of OUD.
Methods: The database PubMed was utilized to retrieve articles discussing the implementation of MAT. Boolean operators and Medical Subject Headings (MeSHs) were applied including: MAT and primary care, MAT and telehealth, methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, MAT and osteopathic, MAT and group therapy, and MAT and COVID-19.
Results: Three medications have been approved for the treatment of OUD: methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. Identifying ways to better treat and manage OUD and to combat stigmatization are paramount to dismantling barriers that have made treatment less accessible. Studies suggest that primary care providers are well positioned to provide MAT to their patients, particularly in rural settings. However, no study has compared outcomes of different MAT models of care, and more research is required to guide future efforts in expanding the role of MAT in primary care settings.
Conclusions: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to changes in the way MAT care is managed. Patients require a novel point-of-care approach to obtain care. This review will define the components of MAT, consider the impact of MAT in the primary care setting, and identify barriers to effective MAT. Increasing the availability of MAT treatment will allow for greater access to comprehensive treatment and will set the standard for accessibility of novel OUD treatment in the future.