How It Works and Is It Safe?
Used since the 1960s in opioid recovery programs, methadone has been proven to be a safe and effective method of treatment for individuals who are struggling with an opioid addiction. Methadone is given daily via dissolvable tablet or liquid solution and works on the central nervous system to lessen cravings for additional opioids, while also lowering the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.
In comparison to other medications used within medication assisted treatment programs, none have been researched as much as methadone. Numerous studies have proven that methadone, when taken as directed under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional, does not cause any short or long-term health risks to patients. Since side effects are short-term and typically only take place when methadone is first introduced into the system, patients are able to focus on recovery while taking this medically safe and non-toxic medication.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, methadone is safe for individuals to take during pregnancy as methadone treatment does not pose any harmful risks to the mother or baby when used within a medication assisted treatment program for opioid addiction.
As is the case with most medications, there are risks involved when taking methadone. Taking methadone in a manner other than prescribed can lead to fatal overdose. Methadone overdose is the cause of one-third of all prescription medication-related deaths every year. It is important to note that these deaths are directly linked to illegal use of methadone and not methadone use within a licensed medication management program. When taken as directed under the guidance of a qualified medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program, methadone is an extremely safe option for individuals who are struggling with opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that utilizes methadone is the safest and most effective form of treatment currently available. Decades of data confirm methadone’s safety when utilized under the guidance of a medically trained professional to aid in the recovery of opioid addiction. Additionally, the CDC notes that the following are documented successes associated with methadone treatment:
- Decreasing or ceasing drug use
- Lowering the risk of overdose
- Reducing the risk of developing hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS
- Greatly increasing the average life expectancy (the average death rate of individuals abusing opioids who enroll in methadone treatment is 30% lower in comparison to those who did not receive treatment)
- Less risk of engaging in criminal activities
- An improvement in family stability and employment potential
- Positive outcomes for pregnant women and their children
When taken as directed as part of a medication assisted treatment program, methadone is a safe and effective option for those struggling with opioid addiction.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
While methadone works to tackle the physical symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal, patients are able to gain support and guidance through the therapeutic interventions that are offered as a part of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program. Methadone provides patients with the mental clarity required to focus on recovery and actively take part in their treatment.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: It is important to understand that there is no singular cure for opioid addiction. By taking part in a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program that utilizes methadone, patients are able to gain support from both a physical and emotional perspective. Patients join together with physicians, nurses, and counselors to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery. The expertise and information that San Diego Comprehensive Treatment Centers’ medical team provides patients with lays the groundwork for long-term sobriety.
How to Support Your Loved One during Medication Assisted Treatment: In order to provide support and care to those struggling with opioid addiction, you must first provide support and care to yourself. Since addiction touches all who are involved, it is important to recognize that your life has been impacted as well. By educating yourself about the disease of addiction, as well as understanding the limitations of treatment, you will be able to support your loved one throughout all stages of treatment. By attending family therapy, support group sessions, and individual counseling, you will gain a better understanding of how to support your loved one while also caring for yourself during this time. By taking care of your needs, you will be able to care for your loved one throughout his or her recovery process.
The Side Effects of Methadone
The following are side effects commonly assisted with methadone use:
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Slowed breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes
For more information about methadone or the treatments available within our comprehensive medication assisted treatment program, please contact one of San Diego Comprehensive Treatment Center’s dedicated intake experts today.