How It Works and Is It Safe?
Since the 1960’s, methadone has be widely used and closely monitored in the treatment of addiction. This prescription medication is a dissolvable tablet or liquid solution that is given daily to lessen cravings and prevent the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. In comparison to all other medications used in treatment, methadone is the most widely studied and tested. Because of this, many treatment programs incorporate methadone as a part of their medication assisted treatment options.
Studies have shown that when methadone is taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider, this medication will not cause any short or long-term health risks. Since methadone is non-toxic and medically safe to take, any side effects will be short-term and typically take place during the beginning phase of treatment.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, methadone is safe for use by pregnant women who are addicted to opioids. It was confirmed that methadone treatment while pregnant does not cause any adverse issues to the mother or baby.
It is important to note that like any medication, if methadone is used in a way that is not recommended there are risks involved. Because the risk of overdose is a real possibility for individuals using methadone in a recreational fashion, it is imperative that individuals follow dosing instructions closely to avoid any adverse effects. Illegal methadone use is to blame for one-third of all prescription medication related deaths every year. These deaths are not linked to methadone use inside of a medication assisted treatment program, but rather due to illicit use.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that treatment programs that include the use of methadone to treat an addiction to opioids are the most effective form of treatment available. Decades of research have proven that the use of methadone is safe and effective when used within a licensed treatment center.
According to the CDC, various studies have proven the following successes directly linked to methadone use within a treatment program:
- Decreasing or ceasing the addiction to drugs
- Decreasing the chance of overdosing
- Lessening the possibility of developing HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B
- Considerably increasing the lifespan of users (the average death rate of those addicted to opioids who enroll in treatment is 30% lower than those who do not get treatment)
- Lower chance of taking part in illegal actives
- Increase in family stability and employment opportunities
- Enhanced outcome for both pregnant women and their babies
Methadone is extremely effective when used as directed within a medication assisted treatment program.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
While methadone works to lower the physical cravings and painful symptoms associated with withdrawal, patients must also obtain treatment for the emotional side of addiction as well. By alleviating the physical pains that accompany withdrawal, individuals are able to achieve clear minds to focus on the therapeutic interventions available to them.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: It is important to realize that while no singular medication can “cure” an individual from chemical dependency, methadone can be a powerful tool to use during treatment. Commitment, patience, and determination are also required in order to achieve sobriety. By working with the committed team of physicians, nurses, and counselors at Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Center, patients build an individualized plan of treatment. By following the advice and instructions of our highly qualified team, as well as actively being involved with treatment, patients drastically increase the likelihood of long-term recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: In order to help those struggling with addiction you must first help yourself. Addiction not only affects the individual using, but also those that love and care about him or her. Before you are able to provide the correct treatment and support to someone struggling with an addiction, you must first educate yourself about the disease of addiction, as well as understand both the advantages and boundaries of treatment. Support groups, as well as family therapy, are wonderful resources available to provide you with the education and support required to assist your loved one during his or her journey towards sobriety.
The Side Effects of Methadone
The following potential side effects have been associated with the use of methadone:
- Slowed breathing
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Skin rashes
- Abdominal pain
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Please contact a Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Center today to learn more about methadone use and if it is the right path for you or someone you love to take. We look forward to speaking with you.