Methadone Treatment for Opioid Addiction: What You Need to Know
Many people with opioid use disorder are addicted to prescription painkillers while others are self-medicating with drugs like heroin. Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT is a popular treatment for those opioid use disorder. Methadone is a synthetic opiate and the most common form of treatment for opiate addiction in the U.S.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication; it helps to normalize the body’s neurological system which has been impaired by the use of heroin or the misuse of other opioids. While Methadone is not a cure for opioid/heroin addiction it does reduce withdrawal symptoms without causing the “high” associated with the drug addiction. Methadone reduces or eliminates cravings for opioid drugs and blocks the effects of other opioids; it can be used to treat chronic pain as well as addiction.
Methadone raises the overall quality of life which gives the patient the opportunity to focus on counseling and other aspects of recovery. The length of time in treatment varies from person to person, typically it is well tolerated, and significant side effects are uncommon.
Most people with opioid use disorder are candidates for MMT. Methadone is administered orally under doctor supervision with strict program conditions and guidelines.
Common myths about methadone:
- Myth #1: Methadone is a substitute for heroin or prescription opioids.
Reality: Methadone is a treatment for opioid addiction, not a substitute for heroin. Methadone is long-acting, requiring one daily dose. Heroin is short- acting, and generally takes at least three to four daily doses to prevent withdrawal symptoms from emerging.
- Myth #2: Methadone rots teeth and bones.
Reality: With 50+ years of use, methadone remains a safe medication. One side effect of Methadone is dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water can help relieve dry mouth. If you’re on methadone and feel your bones are rotting, it’s most likely due to not being at a therapeutic dose. Bone ache is a symptom of withdrawal.
- Myth #3: Methadone is a cure for opioid addiction.
Reality: Methadone is NOT a cure: it is a tool that helps you repair damage caused by dependence.
- Myth #4: Methadone cannot be taken when Pregnant.
Reality: Methadone is safe for pregnant woman, women can conceive, have normal pregnancies and give birth to healthy children while receiving MMT.
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