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Methadone

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What You Should Know.

  • Methadone is a full opioid agonist3. This means that methadone blocks the effects of other opiates. It works by acting on the opiate receptors in your brain6.

  • Methadone is an important part of recovery from opiate addiction. Methadone works well in combination with counseling services2.

  • Methadone has a half-life of up to 36 hours. It provides effective relief from opiate withdrawal symptoms6.

  • Methadone does not cause you to feel ‘high’ at a therapeutic dose5.

  • A therapeutic dose of Methadone causes the cravings or withdrawals to stop. It helps you focus on other areas of life affected by your addiction5.

  • Therapeutic doses are different for each person. Methadone patients work with counselors and medical staff to achieve a therapeutic dose5.

  • Methadone works well with patients who have a higher tolerance to opiates. Unlike Buprenorphine, Methadone continues to work at high doses. Buprenorphine patients experience a 'ceiling effect'. They take their medication as prescribed, but still experience withdrawals3.

  • Methadone is generally considered safe when used as prescribed1.

  • While on Methadone, patients have a higher risk of overdose if they continue to use other opiates4.

  • Methadone has potential for negative interactions with some medications, especially benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium. Methadone patients should not drink alcohol4.

 

References

  1. Bryan, J. (2018). Methadone may not be the perfect drug but it has helped many drug addicts. Stroke, 13, 57.

  2. National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2018 January). Principles of drug addiction treatment: a research-based guide (third edition).

  3. Reuter, N. (2013 Feb 12). Buprenorphine vs. methadone. Addiction Treatment Forum. Retrieved from http://atforum.com/2013/02/buprenorphine-vs-methadone/

  4. Srivastava, A., Kahan, M., & Nader, M. (2017). Primary care management of opioid use disorders: Abstinence, methadone, or buprenorphine-naloxone?. Canadian family physician, 63(3), 200-205.

  5. Trafton, J. A., Minkel, J., & Humphreys, K. (2006). Determining Effective Methadone Doses for Individual Opioid-Dependent Patients. PLoS Medicine, 3(3), e80. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030080

  6. Whelan, P. J., & Remski, K. (2012). Buprenorphine vs methadone treatment: A review of evidence in both developed and developing worlds. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, 3(1), 45–50. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.4103/0976-3147.91934