FAQ METHADONE TREATMENT
Breaking the cycle of opiate abuse and/or opiate addiction is made easier with medication-assisted treatment. Advances in science have made this process much safer, less painful and more successful.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) is one of the longest studied and most regulated medications with over 40 years of research in treating opioid withdrawal symptoms in opioid dependent persons. Today, MMT is recognized as a key component of a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment program and has solid evidence of overall effectiveness for individuals across a variety of different environments.
Medication Assisted Treatment is a low cost option when compared to the high cost of continued illegal drug use, inpatient or residential treatment, or the high relapse rates associated with programs that do not work for the individual.
Methadone Treatment FAQ
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What is Methadone Maintenance Treatment? Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a comprehensive treatment program that involves the long-term prescribing of methadone as a replacement for the opioid which someone is addicted to, and includes counseling, case management and other medical and psychosocial services.
What are the Benefits of MMT? Methadone alleviates the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and is longer acting than most other opioids (24 to 36 hours). It is administered only once a day.
Am I just substituting one type of addiction for another? Methadone has very different physical effects than heroin, morphine and other opiate drugs. It is not a drug substitute, but rather a medication used in an approved course of treatment to overcome opiate addiction. Methadone also helps patients reduce typical drug-seeking behaviors associated with opiate abuse, such as unsuccessful efforts to stop using, forsaking obligations to get more drugs and using in spite of negative consequences.
Is methadone effective? Methadone has been used for more than 30 years as an effective treatment for opioid addiction. Decades of scientific research have demonstrated methadone’s effectiveness. For example, a 1994 study found that “rates of illegal drug use, criminal activity, and hospitalization were lower for [methadone maintenance] patients than for addicts in any other type of drug treatment program." The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that weekly heroin use decreased by 69 percent among outpatient methadone maintenance patients.
What side effects will I experience if I begin taking methadone? Studies show that there are no serious side effects associated with the medically supervised use of methadone. Some people have reported minor issues such as constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating and changes in libido. But in the majority of cases, these symptoms subside once the individual finds the proper dosage for their individual needs.
Some experts compare methadone treatment to the use of insulin for individuals with diabetes. The diabetic individual is “dependent” upon insulin, but they are effectively managing a chronic disease using a prescribed and carefully monitored medication.
Do People Develop a Tolerance for Methadone? Tolerance to methadone develops slowly, so people can be maintained in MMT indefinitely. If prescribed properly, methadone is considered medically safe as a treatment for opioid dependence.
Can Methadone hurt your health? The most important consequence of methadone therapy, in fact, is the marked improvement in general health and nutritional status.
Is Methadone Injected? No. It is taken orally in about 100 milliliters of liquid. Once the right dose is determined methadone will suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings for opioids and reduce the euphoric effects of other opioids, such as heroin.
Can methadone cause long-term liver damage? The liver easily metabolizes methadone. People with liver problems, including hepatitis can safely take methadone with appropriate medical supervision.
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Is methadone harder to “kick” than heroin or other form of opiates? Methadone is designed to be tapered off of. Due to the fact that methadone is long-lasting withdrawal symptoms may last longer, but are milder than “cold-turkey” withdrawal. Medically supervised withdrawal is the most safe and effective form of detoxification.
Will methadone show up on a drug test? Methadone will not result in a positive test for opiates such as morphine or heroin. The only way for a company or other organization to detect methadone is to test for it specifically, which is not a common practice.People who are participating in approved methadone maintenance programs are not abusing an illegal drug. In fact, methadone patients are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means that methadone use cannot be used to deny employment.
Will taking methadone affect my ability to drive a car? The law does not prohibit methadone patients from operating motor vehicles or other forms of machinery. When taken as prescribed, methadone does not produce sedation or intoxication.
How can I learn more about methadone maintenance and methadone treatment programs? For more information about methadone maintenance and methadone treatment centers, call 1-800-NEW START Click to Call: (1-800 639-7827) or complete the confidential online contact form above and a knowledgeable advisor will reach you.