How It Works and Is It Safe?
Out of the many medications that are used in the treatment of opioid addiction, none have been more deeply studied than methadone. This medication is administered via a dissolvable tablet or a liquid solution and is taken once daily by those who are prescribed it. Methadone works by impacting the central nervous system in ways that prevent the onset of withdrawal and decrease cravings for use. Since the 1960s, methadone has been used in opioid addiction treatment programs, as extensive research has proven its safety and effectiveness.
Numerous studies have shown that when methadone is used under the supervision of a medical professional, it does not pose any serious short- or long-term risks for users. Professionals who have researched methadone note that it is safe and non-toxic, and that the side effects that come with it are generally temporary and typically only occur during induction, when a patient is getting accustomed to his or her dosage.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a statement saying that pregnant women can safely consume methadone if they are battling opioid addictions. The HHS also stated that using this medication during pregnancy does not cause harm to the mother or the baby.
However, as with most medications, methadone can cause dangerous effects if it is misused. The risk of a methadone overdose is very real, especially for those who abuse it recreationally and with other substances. Currently, one-third of all yearly prescription medication overdoses are due to the misuse of methadone. However, it is important to know that these methadone overdoses are related to those who abuse this substance, not those who are using it within a medication assisted treatment program.
When taken as prescribed and under the watchful eye of a medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program, the use of methadone is safe.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Due to decades of data, experts can say with all confidence that methadone is not only safe, but also effective in treating opioid addiction. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that includes methadone is the most effective form of opioid addiction treatment available today.
Additionally, methadone is a cost-effective form of addiction treatment. The CDC also states that a number of studies have shown the below listed successes to be likely when methadone is included into an individual’s treatment plan:
- Improved outcomes for pregnant women and their babies
- Stopping or reducing drug use
- Improved family stability and employment potential
- Reducing risk of overdose
- Lesser likelihood of engaging in criminal activities
- Reducing risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C
- Increasing life expectancy (those who obtain this form of treatment have a 30% higher life expectancy rate than those who do not obtain this treatment)
When methadone is used as prescribed within a medication assisted treatment program, it is effective.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
Methadone is only one aspect of a complete medication assisted treatment plan. This medication is effective in controlling drug cravings and lessening withdrawal symptoms, which allows patients to have the ability to stay focused on the therapeutic aspects of their treatment. In other words, methadone helps address the physical setbacks that come from opioid addiction so an individual is free to focus on the psychological aspects of it.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: While methadone is known for its safety and effectiveness, it is imperative that you understand that this medication is not a cure-all. There is no medication capable of solving all of your problems related to your addiction. Instead, it will take effort, time, and dedication on your part to achieve those successes. When you begin a medication assisted treatment program, you will begin working with nurses, doctors, and counselors who are experienced in helping individuals just like you defeat problems just like the ones you are facing. By following their directions, listening to and applying their advice, and actively partaking in your treatment, you can dramatically increase your odds of achieving long-lasting recovery through your treatment.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: When your loved one is obtaining medication assisted treatment, you must ensure that you care for yourself. You cannot be supportive of your loved one if you do not do this. Yes, your loved one has suffered serious destruction to his or her life, but your life has been impacted as well. Therefore, to be the most supportive, not only do you need to care for yourself, but you should also speak with those who can help connect you to the appropriate resources. Learn as much as you can about addiction as a disease, find out what your loved one’s limits and benefits of treatment will be, and find out what he or she will need during and after his or her treatment. Reach out for family therapy, support groups, or individual therapy so you can obtain information and encouragement for yourself. Never forget to practice good self care at this time.
Is it important to find a “methadone clinic near me?” It is important that you or your loved one have a strong support system to be successful in treatment.
The Side Effects of Methadone
Below are some of the possible side effects linked to methadone use:
- Sleep problems
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Slowed breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Skin rashes
For more detailed information about methadone’s side effects, and to obtain more information about how this medication can impact you, please reach out to us. Remember, North Florida Comprehensive Treatment Center is your choice for treatment when you or your loved one asks the question: what is the best methadone clinic near me?