4 Surprising Facts about Methadone Addiction

4 Surprising Facts about Methadone Addiction

Methadone does not cure addiction

Methadone is an opioid (narcotic) analgesic (pain medicine). It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Two common uses for methadone include the following:

  • To treat moderate to severe pain when around-the-clock pain relief is needed for a long period of time
  • To treat opioid addiction (e.g., heroin or other morphine-like drugs)

Methadone is available by prescription only. It comes in dosage forms that include the following:

  • Tablet for suspension
  • Liquid
  • Solution
  • Tablet

Alternative names for methadone include the following:

  • Symoron
  • Dolophine
  • Amidone
  • Methadose
  • Physeptone
  • Heptadon

As with other opioid medications, methadone tolerance and dependence usually develop over time with repeated doses. Some studies show clinical evidence that tolerance to analgesia is less with methadone compared to other opioids. Tolerance to analgesic properties of methadone may or may not develop quickly, but tolerance to euphoria usually develops rapidly. Tolerance to the negative side effects of methadone such as constipation, sedation, and respiratory depression develops slowly, if ever.

Withdrawal from methadone is similar to withdrawal from heroin except for the fact that it takes several days to set in. Although symptoms may not be as severe, they last longer. Common signs of methadone withdrawal include the following:

  • Sore muscles
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Fatigue

Going off methadone “cold turkey” can be dangerous. The best way to safely detox is to seek medical supervision in a facility that provides constant care, support and oversight during this often painful process.

Surprising Facts

Although methadone has been legally available in the United States since 1947, it has only recently become a drug of abuse. This trend may be driven in part by its increased availability and use in treatment of narcotic addiction and chronic pain.

Four surprising facts about methadone addiction include the following:

  • Methadone does not cure addiction – It is considered to be a “step down” drug that allows users to break addiction to stronger opioids such as heroin gradually. Individuals who become trapped in a secondary addiction as the result of taking methadone require professional treatment.
  • Methadone has three times the half-life of most opiates, including heroin – For some people, this makes it much more difficult to quit, especially without professional help.
  • Fear of withdrawal keeps addicts trapped – Surveys show that 97% of methadone addicted individuals want to quit but do not because they fear severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • In some states, methadone use is illegal

Methadone addiction is a serious condition that requires medical help. With treatment, it is possible to regain your health. Comprehensive rehabilitation centers also provide counseling to help individuals understand the root causes of their addictive behavior.

Help for Methadone Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction to methadone, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour support line to guide you to wellness. Please call today.