Hepatitis and Methadone Abuse

Hepatitis and Methadone AbuseMedical professionals prescribe methadone for many reasons, including management of moderate to severe pain. However, it is also commonly used to help opioid addicts detox from drugs like heroin and other morphine-based drugs. After detox ends, users must enter methadone maintenance programs, which can last many years to help opioid addicts lead normal lives. If users enter these programs, they should also get involved with other social and medical services to establish productive and healthy lives.

Methadone can be provided only by hospital pharmacies and federally regulated treatment programs.  Unfortunately, some people acquire methadone outside of medical care, but this kind of practice can lead to methadone addiction. Because users can inject this drug, some addicts contract hepatitis C, also known as HCV. In fact, according to Current Drug Abuse Review, 60-90 percent of patients with intravenous drug abuse are chronically infected with HCV. Unfortunately, the symptoms of HCV do not manifest until the disease has developed and already damaged the liver.

Symptoms of HCV include the following problems:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

Users may confuse these symptoms with methadone withdrawal symptoms, which can encourage users to avoid hepatitis treatment until the symptoms become too severe to ignore.

How Methadone Abuse Interacts with Hepatitis

When people abuse methadone and develop hepatitis C, they must seek treatment for both problems at the same time. The medication for HCV can cause undesired effects, including depression, anxiety, fatigue and irritability. Treating these side effects are some of the reasons people become addicted to methadone in the first place. Rather than dealing with these problems, some people take methadone to numb their pain. Hence, the reason an addict injects methadone (to numb emotional pain) becomes a side effect of treating hepatitis, which encourages more methadone injections. This complicated relationship between methadone abuse and hepatitis underscores the importance of seeking professional help.

Treating these concurrent problems often involves antidepressants and inpatient or outpatient rehab. Over time, the side effects of hepatitis treatment wane, which allow people to scale back antidepressant use, but only under medical supervision. Again, this underscores the need for professional guidance in overcoming these problems.

Help for Methadone Addiction and Hepatitis

Addiction to methadone compromises your immune system and makes you more prone to chronic problems like hepatitis. Don’t allow methadone addiction to take years off your life. Get help today by calling our toll-free helpline right now. We are available 24 hours a day, so you can talk to an addiction recovery specialist right now to find the best treatment options for your problems. Don’t live with methadone abuse or hepatitis anymore. Take the first step to a healthy life and call us today.