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NAD Therapy: A Solution To Long-Term MAT Addiction

For many people suffering from opioid use disorder, Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), such as Methadone and Suboxone, have provided a way to break addictions and save lives.  When paired with behavioral therapy, MAT can be the ideal treatment for some people, but for many it fails to deliver a thorough solution.

In this post, we will discuss both the pros and cons associated with MAT.


Abuse and Dependency with MAT Drugs

Drugs like Suboxone, now considered the gold standard of MAT, uses a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone to chemically address the addiction. While Suboxone and other MAT drugs are far more successful than behavioral therapy alone, they require chronic usage, which continues the cycle of dependence.

While many people are able to safely transition from MAT to sobriety, others develop a long-term attachment to MAT drugs.  Vinny Dabney, a recovering heroin addict who leads a Suboxone support group, sees the drug as a way to transition to sobriety, but notes the problems of long-term usage: “If you’re a regular opioid user, and you decide you want to stop, Suboxone can be a bridge that allows you to get where you want to be. But if you stop on the bridge and get stuck there, it’s not so good.” Once dependent on MAT drugs it can be extremely difficult to detox from them.  Dr. Milgram, the Medical Director at NAD Treatment Center in San Diego, states, “I believe [Suboxone is] an excellent tool for transitioning patients off of illicit opiates. However, Suboxone itself is very addicting and should not be used as an endpoint. Doctors refer to a ‘2mg wall,’ which means once the patient is at 2mg, it’s very hard to get them completely off of Suboxone.”

With long-term dependence on MAT drugs, many addicts fail to reach sobriety and turn to abuse.  A recent report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied pharmacy records for 38,000 buprenorphine patients in 11 states and found that 43% of patients filled for a full strength opioid like oxycodone during their three-month treatment.  Moreover, 67% of patients in this study filled for a full strength opioid a year after treatment ended. In addition to taking opioids during or shortly after MAT treatment, many addicts take higher and higher doses of MAT drugs to reach a suitable high and sell MAT drugs for conventional opioids on the black market. In a NYT article, Jaime Hurley, a recovering heroin addict, recounts how she found a way to separate the opiate active in Suboxone from the Naloxone inhibitor so that she could inject pure buprenorphine to reach a high.  Jaime, however, “decided it was more productive to sell it on the street for $25 and buy a cheaper bag of heroin instead.”

A major problem with MAT, which feeds this cycle of dependency and abuse is the plethora of unscrupulous clinics, which operate without proper monitoring procedures.  A police chief from Lebanon Virginia stated in a NYT article “I know people Suboxone has helped, but unfortunately a lot of the clinics are not forthright in trying to taper people off.”  Some clinics act as “pill mills” and keep patients addicted in order to maintain a steady flow of cash and not jeopardize profits.  With continued dependency, many patients fear that they will soon be priced out of the drug, especially in the 17 states that do not cover methadone and other MAT drugs through Medicaid. Liz Hock Clark, a 59-year-old woman from West Virginia who has been on Methadone for 34 years, has seen the price the clinic charges increase from $2 when she started to now $15.50 a day.  She states, “I’m not afraid of relapse.  I’m afraid of dying. For someone my age, going cold turkey off 118 milligrams, I don’t know if I’d survive.”

While Suboxone has been relatively successful for some people detoxing, for others it continues to pose challenges of abuse and dependency common in conventional opioids.


A Different Way to Detox

With significant perils of long-term usage of MAT drugs and the difficulty in detoxing from these drugs, many individuals feel they have limited options.  Most turn to traditional rehab centers or try a cold turkey method to achieve sobriety.  There is, however, another way.

NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) therapy uses an essential molecule found naturally in your body’s cells to promote a healthy detox.  Naturally, NAD contributes to the function of your brain, organs, and neurological system, but through prolonged addiction to opioids and other drugs your natural production of NAD can be diminished.  This dearth of NAD in addiction patients can be supplemented by NAD therapy, which uses IV infusions of NAD.  Through this NAD repairs cells in your body and brain to functional levels thereby helping reduce withdrawal symptoms common with detox, such as cravings, low energy, anxiety, depression, and stress.  For those seeking a natural way to achieve sustained full sobriety, NAD treatments offer the best chance at recovery.


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