How It Works and Is It Safe?
Approved for use in opiate recovery programs since the 1960s, methadone carries decades of clinical research along with its use. In comparison to the other medications that are prescribed to treat addiction, methadone has been the most studied. Typically prescribed in a liquid solution or dissolvable tablet, methadone is given daily and works with the central nervous system to prevent patients from experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal while also providing them with relief from cravings for continued opioid use.
Numerous studies have concluded that when taken as directed under the supervision of a medical professional, methadone will not cause any short- or long-term health risks to patients due to its safety and non-toxic makeup. Experts advise that most of the side effects that take place due to methadone use are temporary and typically only take place during the induction phase of treatment.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, methadone is a safe treatment option for pregnant women who are addicted to opioids as methadone will not pose any detrimental health risks to the mother or her child.
As is the case with any medication, the use of methadone can be dangerous if it is taken outside of its prescribed guidelines. Overdosing on methadone is a reality for individuals who consume this medication for recreational purposes. One-third of all prescription medication deaths that take place each year are due to methadone overdose. It is, however, imperative to note that these deaths were directly due to individuals taking methadone in an illegal manner and were not due to methadone use within a licensed medication assisted treatment program. When methadone is taken as directed under the supervision of a trained medical professional, the use of this medication is extremely safe.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Due to decades of clinical research, the use of methadone is a safe and effective treatment method for individuals who are struggling with an addiction to opioids. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that utilizes methadone to treat opioid addiction is currently the most effective form of treatment available today.
In addition, the CDC also advises that numerous studies have confirmed the following successes directly linked to treatment that utilizes methadone:
- Reducing or ceasing drug use
- Lowering the risk of overdose
- Decreasing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
- Drastically increasing life expectancy (the average death rate of opiate addicts who take part in methadone treatment is 30 percent lower than those who do not receive treatment)
- Reduced chances of taking part in criminal activities
- Increased family stability and employment potential
- Improved outcomes for pregnant women and their babies
When it is used as directed as part of a licensed medication assisted treatment program, methadone is effective.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
While methadone works to provide relief from the physical symptoms of withdrawal, patients must also obtain treatment for the emotional part of their addiction as well. By utilizing therapeutic services, such as individual and group therapy sessions, patients are able to address and treat the underlying factors that may have contributed to their addictive behaviors in the first place.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although methadone is a safe and effective treatment option, it is important for patients to understand that it is not to be viewed as a cure-all for their addiction. True recovery takes time, effort, and patience. By working closely with the team of physicians, nurses, and counselors at Southeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers, patients are able to receive the compassionate treatment required in order to achieve lasting recovery. When patients play an active role in their treatment, as well as follow the guidelines and advice from our team of medical experts, overcoming an addiction to opioids becomes a reality.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Before you are able to provide support to someone who is struggling with an addiction, you must first obtain support for yourself. Addiction impacts all who it touches, which include those closest to the individual who is abusing opioids. Learning more about the disease of addiction, as well as understanding the limitations of treatment, will help you gauge what is required of you throughout the course of your loved one’s treatment.
The Side Effects of Methadone
The following are the potential side effects that can take place during methadone treatment:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed breathing
- Skin rashes
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
To learn more about methadone, as well as the other treatment options available, please contact Southeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers today. Our teams of knowledgeable experts are here to assist you throughout the entire process of recovery.