How It Works and Is It Safe?
Utilized within opiate recovery programs since the 1960s, methadone has decades of clinical research behind it to confirm its safety and effectiveness. Working with a patient’s central nervous system, methadone is prescribed in the form of a liquid solution or dissolvable tablet and is used to eliminate symptoms of withdrawal while keeping cravings for continued opioid use at bay.
When taken as directed under the supervision of a qualified medical provider, methadone is a safe and non-toxic treatment option for individuals who are struggling with an addiction to opioids. Medical experts have noted that the side effects of methadone are temporary and typically 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 women who are pregnant and struggling with an addiction to opioids. Utilizing methadone during pregnancy will not pose any detrimental health risks to the mother or her child.
As is the case with most medications, taking methadone in a way outside of its intended, prescribed use can be dangerous. Overdosing on methadone is a reality for individuals who abuse it or take it for recreational purposes. One-third of all prescription medication deaths that take place each year are due to methadone overdose. However, it is imperative to note that these deaths are linked to illegal use of methadone and not due to methadone use within a licensed medication management program.
When taken as prescribed and under the guidance of a trained medical professional, methadone is an extremely safe and effective treatment option for individuals struggling with an opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Decades of clinical research has confirmed the safety and effectiveness of methadone for the treatment of opioid addiction. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that utilizes methadone as a treatment option for opioid addiction is currently the most effective form of care available. The CDC also notes that numerous clinical studies have concluded that the following achievements are directly linked to methadone maintenance treatment:
- Ceased or reduced drug use
- Decreased risk of overdose
- Lowered risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
- Drastically increased life expectancy (The average death rate of those addicted to opioids who enroll in methadone treatment is 30% lower than those who do not receive this treatment.)
- Decreased chance of taking part in illegal activities
- Improved family stability and career potential
- Increased positive outcomes for pregnant women and their children
When taken as directed under the supervision of a trained medical professional, methadone is an extremely safe and effective treatment option for individuals who are struggling with an addiction to opioids.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
The use of methadone is just one portion of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program. While methadone works to eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal, as well as cravings for continued opioid use, patients must also obtain treatment for the emotional components of their addiction as well. By utilizing the therapeutic interventions available through Western North Carolina Comprehensive Treatment Centers, patients are able to address the underlying causes that led them to abuse opioids in the first place.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Although methadone is a safe and effective treatment option to aid individuals who are struggling with an addiction to opioids overcome their addiction, it is important to understand that it is not a “cure all.” In order for treatment to lead to recovery, patients must understand that it is a process that takes time, dedication, and patience. By working closely with the team of nurses, physicians, and counselors at Western North Carolina Comprehensive Treatment Centers, patients are able to obtain the treatment and support necessary to achieve their goals.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: In order to provide treatment for someone you love who is struggling with an addiction to opioids, you must first take care of your own needs. Addiction impacts everyone who is involved, not just the individual who is physically abusing a substance. By educating yourself about the disease of addiction, you will be able to understand the limitations of treatment and what your loved one will need from you throughout the course of his or her journey towards recovery. Individual counseling, family therapy, and support groups are excellent sources of information and encouragement. In order to provide care for your loved one, you must first take care of yourself.
The Side Effects of Methadone
The following side effects have been linked to the use of methadone:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed breathing
- Skin rashes
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
For more information about methadone, as well as the other treatment options that we offer, please contact Western North Carolina Comprehensive Treatment Centers today.