Why Would a Patient Take Methadone?

Why Would a Patient Take Methadone?

Methadone, a prescription opioid used in the treatment of opioid dependence, is primarily used for detoxification and maintenance treatment for people struggling to overcome opioid dependence.1 It helps to stabilize individuals by reducing withdrawal symptoms and blocking the high from other opioids, thereby also often helping them to better engage in addiction treatment Clinic near me.

Available in pill, liquid, and wafer forms, methadone changes how the brain and nervous system react to pain and is also prescribed for pain relief.Like other opioid medications, methadone carries some risk of unwanted side effects, but these are less likely when the medication is not misused and can be a highly effective treatment method for opioid dependency.

What is a Methadone Clinic?

Methadone must be given at an opioid treatment program (OTP) certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) under the supervision of an authorized medical provider. It is a mainstay of treatment for many opioid-dependent individuals to avoid relapse.

How Methadone Treatment Works

When methadone is used in the treatment of opioid-dependent individuals, it is often referred to as methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) or medication-assisted treatment (MAT).1

Medications for opioid addiction and/or dependence is a treatment approach that:1, 3

  • Includes the use of approved medication for detoxification from opioids, maintenance treatment, and/or the treatment of opioid addiction.
  • Can be implemented with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, all of which are FDA-approved for the management of opioid dependence or addiction (depending on the drug).
  • Involves different stages of treatment including:
    • Induction stage—focused on obtaining steady blood levels.
    • Stabilization stage—focused on ending drug-seeking behavior, other opioid use, and cravings.
    • Maintenance stage—focused on keeping a patient abstinent from substance misuse and away from people, things, and places connected to their addiction, as well as helping them maintain a productive lifestyle (without regular adjustments to the dose).

Benefits of Methadone Treatment

Methadone works as a form of addiction treatment by providing two beneficial effects:1

  • Minimizes the painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
  • Blocks euphoric feelings produced by other opioid substances like heroin and painkillers, reducing cravings, and discouraging abuse.

While there is some controversy among certain recovery groups about using medication in addiction recovery, methadone can be a safe and effective tool when used appropriately.

People who misuse opioids may find themselves in a dangerous cycle of seeking an intense rush, feeling the crash after the short-lived high, and experiencing strong cravings for more of the drug.4 Methadone eliminates the rush, crash, and craving pattern to help break the cycle of addiction.4 With a notably decreased compulsion to seek out and use opioids, the individual can commit more of their time and energy toward activities that contribute to their mental, physical, and social health.


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