Methadone is an essential step in the opioid addiction management program. It modifies the way one experiences withdrawal from opium based drugs. As part of a well-designed addiction program, it can reduce the feelings of “withdrawal” associated with stopping opioids. It helps curb the craving and fight the withdrawal. Methadone treatment is widely used across many countries and has a high rate of success in treating opioid addiction.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that German doctors created during World War II. It was used in pain management for people with chronic and severe pain. Since 1960s is has been studied for and used to treat opioid addiction. This approach is also referred to as Harm Reduction where a safer medication is used to replace illicit drugs. Methadone is a safe treatment when used under supervision and usually prescribed in conjunction with therapy. The ultimate goal of the patients choosing the Methadone treatment Program can be to either get off methadone or use it as a maintenance therapy.
Use of Methadone:
Addicts crave the sensations or “chase the high” produced by the consumption of opioids. This constant chase for opioids is irresistible for them because of the neurological effect of these on the brain. This increases the chances of many episodes of relapse after they have undergone a detoxification program. Methadone helps prevent these relapsed. Methadone is a long-acting opioid and produces similar effects in the brain thus reducing these cravings. When used in a controlled atmosphere as a part of the addiction treatment program, it helps patients successfully overcome their addictions and stay off drugs.
Benefits of the Methadone Treatment Program:
- Control the severe craving:
It helps control the severe craving for any type of opioid addiction that the patient is battling. Also, this makes the patient more willing to see himself through the program. The patient can focus on the therapy and work their way towards complete recovery and reduce the chances of a relapse.
- Withdrawal symptoms:
It significantly reduces the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, which reduces the discomfort of the patient. So, this makes the patient more stable and accepting of the treatment and therapy that is a part of the program.
- Emotional issues:
Since the patient is comfortable, it allows them to concentrate on therapy and solve deep-rooted emotional issues that have caused the opioid dependency in the first place.
- Replacement or maintenance Therapy:
Methadone is a long-acting opioid and is known to stay in the bloodstream for up to 50+ hours. This works well in Replacement or maintenance Therapy as the frequency of doses throughout the day is less.
- 24 hours active:
Orally administered Methadone is known to be active in the body for 24 hours, making it easier to administer one single dose under supervision.
- Reduces the spread of infectious:
It reduces the spread of infectious diseases as it helps curb opiate use and abuse, especially injections. Unfortunately, these injections are often shared among the abusers and cause the rise and spread of infectious diseases.
- Reduce illicit activity:
It helps reduce illicit activity as the final goal is to curb opioid dependency.
- No log-term side effects:
It has very common side-effects like mouth dry, sleepiness, extra sweating it will disappear when your course compete.
- Improves strength:
It improves the physical and mental strength of the patient giving the patient a choice to lead a better quality of life.
- Cost effective:
It is a cost-effective method of treatment.
Availability and Dosage of Methadone:
Methadone is available in three forms:
- Tablet: It has to be taken orally. (Not used for addiction treatment in Canada, reserved for cancer pain patients)
- Injection: This has to be administered intramuscular or intravenous and is usually done under the observation of trained medical personnel. (not used in Canada)
- Liquid form: It has to be measured out carefully using a syringe or a dose-measuring tool provided for the same. Mixed with juice prior to administration to patients for addiction treatment.
It requires a prescription for it to be dispensed by pharmacies. Only certain pharmacies carry this medication. It has to be carefully administered in the prescribed dosage.
Precautions to Be Taken During the Treatment:
Methadone Treatment program as a part of an Addiction program has to be undertaken only under supervision. The dosage and frequency of administering Methadone are decided by experts and followed stringently. Not following the prescribed dosage can cause serious health problems. Please do not stop the use of Methadone abruptly. This also has to be closely supervised and can have adverse health effects if not done.
Methadone treatment is an excellent tool for short-term addiction management programs. It also works well as a replacement or maintenance therapy program to help prevent relapse. What we do need to understand is that Methadone is only a part of the Addiction program. While not a cure for opioid addiction, it has shown excellent success in treating this condition. There are Medical Clinics in Toronto and across Canada that can help you overcome the addiction to opioids. Procuring medicines for the maintenance and home care part of the Addiction program can be done with the help of pharmacy apps. This has gained popularity due to increased awareness and the benefits that the treatment entails. Addiction treatment offers flexibility and focuses on the client’s needs.