Medication-Assisted Treatment, also known as MAT, is considered the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment. Less known is that effective and safe medication is available for Alcohol Use Disorder. The research followed three medications for AUD: acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. All patients observed in the study were using these drugs, which showed it lowered their chances of alcohol-related liver disease.
Liver Disease Did Not Progress For MAT Patients
People on MAT saw impressive strides when it came to their physical health. 65% of the people on MAT had lower odds of liver failure. This was true even if they entered the study with significant liver disease. MAT helped them stay sober and gave their bodies a chance to heal. While there is no cure for scarred liver tissue, people who remain sober can often buy time and get healthy enough to get on the liver transplant list.
About the Liver Disease and MAT Study
The study followed patients taking MAT for alcohol use disorder from 2010 to 2021. People who could stick with the treatment did not develop liver disease. However, they could also keep the existing liver disease from progressing.
Among over 9,500 patients with AUD, this was true. 11.8% of the people in the research study lived with alcohol-related liver disease, and 40.5% received medical addiction therapy and Medication-Assisted Treatment.
MAT Is Tested Science
MAT is considered the gold standard for opioids, but 12-step programs sometimes dissuade alcohol users from medication. The stigma is accurate and based on a misunderstanding about addiction. The truth is that MAT works because it helps treat a disease of the brain, like Alcohol Use Disorder, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
“One of the most challenging aspects in treating patients with AUD is that many patients do not receive evidence-based treatments despite the availability of such treatments,” wrote Lorenzo Leggio, MD, Ph.D., and M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., both of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda, Maryland, wrote about the research. “This lack of treatment is alarming and is a reason that the results of this study are important, now more than ever.”
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