According to the U.S. Library of Medicine (NIH), methadone is used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications. It also is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.
Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It works to treat people who were addicted to opiate drugs by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs.
A Little History on Methadone
Methadone is an opioid, just like heroin and opium, that was created in Germany around World War II to treat pain. It didn’t make its way to the United States till after the war but was not widely used due to the painkillers misunderstood side effects it caused. Like most painkillers, patients started becoming addicted to the drug and it wasn’t until the early ‘90s that it was used regularly in the treatment of other opioid addiction called Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT).
Methadone comes as a white powder that is usually dissolved in a fruit-flavored drink for the treatment of addiction a taken once a day. If for the treatment of severe pain, it can come as a tablet or oral solution as well.
To receive MMT, you must be enrolled in a treatment program that is approved by the state and federal governments and must treat patients according to specific federal laws. Methadone must be taken under the care of professional staff unless otherwise directed.
There have been many studies about the pros and cons. It even has been included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines for treatment for heroin dependence. Research on MMT has found some pros to be:
- MMT significantly reduces drug injecting;
- because it reduces drug injecting, MMT reduces HIV transmission;
- MMT significantly reduces the death rate associated with opioid dependence;
- MMT reduces criminal activity by opioid users
The Effects of Methadone
Even though Methadone does not create the “high” or euphoric effect that opioid addicts chase, it does have a sedative effect. However, if you don’t have a tolerance, it will get you high. You grow a tolerance to it which means you have to take more for the drug to work which in turn grows into a dependence which turns into an addiction. And where there is an addiction, there is a chance for overdose.
Per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2017, about 261,000 people age 12 and older reported using methadone for a non-prescribed purpose at least once in their life. Methadone was responsible for 3,194 overdose deaths in 2017, or about 1 per 100,000 people.4 In 2014, it accounted for 1% of all opioids prescribed for pain but was responsible for 23% of all prescription opioid deaths.
While there are some positives and success from Methadone Maintenance Treatment like quitting illegal street drugs such as heroin and putting yourself in less risk of criminal acts to gain access to drugs, it is still a drug. It might not be as bad in some ways, but you are replacing one addiction for another. You once could not stop using heroin, now you are unable to stop using methadone. You still depend on it to function. The prescribed minimum does for methadone is said to be once every day for a year and that’s just the minimum. This is no way to live.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Just like any other opioid, there are fears of withdrawal and the physical dangers are high. The withdrawal symptoms for methadone are the same as any other opioid including:
- Agitation, restlessness, and anxiety.
- Increased tearing or watery eyes.
- Runny nose.
- Shivering, trembling, or goosebumps.
- Muscle aches or joint pain.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Abdominal cramps.
Allure Detox is Here to Help
We at Allure Detox understand the struggles of trying to quit methadone and can help you safely detox off this narcotic. To detox from methadone safely, it is crucial that addicted individuals receive medical supervision. Our medically assisted West Palm Beach methadone detox center relies on comfort medication and around the clock care to safely detox our patients from Methadone. We know that methadone has an extremely long half-life that’s why men and women addicted to it must be tapered off slowly. By placing our patients on a supervised taper schedule, the likelihood of successfully completing the detox process and treatment program is much higher.
Each member of our West Palm Beach drug detox team specializes in methadone addiction recovery. Our center is modern and comfortable. We allow our clients to rest during their detox and attend counseling and group therapy sessions. Our counselor’s first work to help each patient understand that their addiction can be overcome with help and support. We focus on relapse prevention techniques so that once you’re off methadone; you’ll have the proper tools and knowledge in-place to avoid using it again. Contact our methadone detox specialists around the clock for a confidential assessment.