What is Methadone?
Methadone is a legal medication produced by licensed pharmaceutical companies using quality control standards. Under a physician’s supervision, it is administered orally on a daily basis with strict program guidelines. When the methadone dosing level is properly adjusted and stable, it should not have adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, and employability; nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car. Patients are able to feel pain and experience emotional reactions. Most importantly, methadone relieves the craving associated with opiate addiction. For methadone patients, typical street doses of opioids are ineffective at producing euphoria, making the use of opioids less desirable.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid* medication that is used for pain relief and when combined with counseling and psychosocial services may be used to treat opioid addiction. Methadone is a rigorously well-tested medication that is safe and efficacious for the treatment of narcotic withdrawal and dependence. For more than 50 years this synthetic narcotic has been used to treat opioid addiction.
How Does Methadone Maintenance Work?
- Methadone helps normalize your body’s neurological and hormonal functions that have been impaired by the use of heroin or the abuse of other short-acting opioids.
- Methadone reduces or eliminates craving for opiate drugs.
- Prevents onset of withdrawal for 24 hours or more.
- Blocks the euphoric (rush or high) effects of other opioids
- Promotes improvement in physical and emotional health
- Improves overall quality of life.
Consequently, methadone patients do not experience the extreme highs and lows that result from the waxing and waning of opiates in blood levels. Ultimately, the patient remains physically dependent on the opioid, but is freed from the uncontrolled, compulsive, and disruptive behavior seen in opiates addicts.
Methadone produces no serious side effects, although some patients experience minor symptoms such as constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, and changes in libido. Once methadone dosage is stabilized, these symptoms usually subside.
*Opioids are a group of drugs that work on the central nervous system. They include: codeine, morphine, heroin as well as synthetic drugs such as oxycodone, oxycontin, hydrocodone and methadone.