Methadone started out as a medication created during World War II as a strong pain reliever. Now, it is commonly known as a medication that is used in addiction treatment programs to treat opioid use disorder. Methadone is an opioid itself and for some people, an addiction to this medication can develop.
How is Medical Methadone Used
Methadone as a treatment for opioid use disorder works by changing how the brain and nervous system’s response to pain. Methadone works to induce relief for pain in these ways. The drug also has the capabilities to inhibit the effects and highs of opioids such as heroin, codeine and oxycodone.
Methadone is often prescribed for long periods to help a person stop using other opioids and prevent acute detox symptoms. Since Methadone is an opioid it binds to the same receptors as all other opioid based substances. This means that an individual is still physically dependent on methadone. That means that the detox process when a person decides to stop using methadone is as hard or harder than any other opioid detox. Additionally some people over use methadone for other reasons and can also become dependent.
Overcome Methadone Addiction & Withdrawal Symptoms
There are many reasons as to why an individual may become addicted to methadone. Besides the difficulty in tapering down the medication, diversion can also play a large factor in addiction to methadone. In diversion, an individual will take more than the prescribed amount or get access to more than the prescribed amount.
Providers may also play a role in a methadone addiction. Through a lack of being properly tapered by the provider, an individual may find it difficult to come off the medication. Providers that consistently increase the dosage when it’s not necessary may also negatively impact the patient’s experience with methadone. It’s important to ensure that the supervising prescriber is well-experienced and capable of monitoring an individual’s use and dosage of methadone.
It’s important to note that taking methadone is not a complete solution to any substance use disorder. Prescriptions are only one part of the detox and treatment program. Continued therapy and programming through inpatient treatment will result in higher success. Medication alone does not address the root causes of an addiction. In order to move towards a life-long recovery, it’s important to seek out, understand and deal with the thinking and motivation behind one’s addiction.
Here at Pathways Recovery, we limit our use of methadone to our detox protocols and ensure that each individual is properly monitored and supervised. Unlike some MAT programs, we do not prescribe methadone afterwards.
The Side Effects of Detox From the Drug Methadone
As with any opioid medication, you cannot take methadone without the risk of a few side effects, some minor and some life-threatening. Some health experts maintain that methadone is at least as addictive as heroin, and the Food and Drug Administration, known as the FDA, says it stays in a person’s system longer.
To put the dangers in perspective, the number of drug overdose or poisoning deaths involving methadone reached as high as 5,518 in 2007, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). This explains why many physicians and detox providers have shied away from prescribing methadone to break a different form of opioid addiction. However, even as recently as 2011, methadone was involved in more than a quarter of all opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths, although that was down from 38 percent in 2007.
Detox Side Effects:
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sex drive
- Overall weakness in the body
In addition to the common side effects, methadone can also cause more severe side effects and conditions. Health experts recommend calling your primary care physician if you experience one of the following:
Severe Side Effects - Detox From Methadone
- Shallow breathing
- Chest pain
- Breathing trouble
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling lightheaded
If you have an allergic reaction to taking methadone–such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips or throat–you should seek emergency medical help.
Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms hit the hardest in the first week, but they can last for a few more weeks.
Cravings for the drug will be the most intense during withdrawal and will typically lessen in intensity over the course of several weeks, although it will take longer to completely disappear.
Many of the withdrawal symptoms have to do with aches and pains. Other common symptoms at the very start of methadone withdrawal are:
- Profuse sweating
As withdrawal progresses, the sufferer will feel increasingly nauseous. Other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and cramps may rear their ugly heads too.
Pathways Recovery’s Medical Methadone Detox Centers
As we have explored, the side effects and withdrawal symptoms associated with methadone can be serious, highly uncomfortable and unpleasant to experience. That is why we’re here in Northern California to get methadone users into methadone detox and help them come off of methadone as comfortably as possible.
Pathways Recovery’s residential methadone detox program at our methadone detox Sacramento location, generally lasts from 10 days to 2 weeks–or even longer, depending on the client’s symptoms. We have a staff-to-client ratio of 3-to-1, in addition to 24-hour supervision and care while the client is staying at our cozy residential methadone detox facility.
In between treatments, clients can participate in group counseling, workout in the gym or relax in the sun in the backyard of our property. All residential clients are treated to hearty and delicious meals, freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices, protein smoothies, and vitamin and amino acid supplements, all of which help our clients feel recharged and ready to conquer the difficulty of withdrawal.
We believe in the importance of good nutrition during detox and will ensure each individual gets healthy meals and superfood snacks to replenish healthy nutrients in the body.
Methadone Detox with a Suboxone Option
Many detox experts nationwide now often recommend Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) rather than methadone to treat opiate withdrawal, and we at Pathways Recovery have embraced this philosophy.
Like methadone, Suboxone is also an opioid, but it has shown to be much less addictive and have much less severe side effects. We have found Suboxone to be very effective with lessening the withdrawal symptoms of methadone, and we also make sure to titrate each client off this milder opioid substance before they leave our detox program.
We understand if a client has reservations about switching to another opioid or being responsible for the costs associated with the medication. Therefore, we also offer non-Suboxone options for helping the individual work through methadone withdrawal. This could mean different, more affordable medications, or simply closer attention and counseling from our detox staff. Whichever path the client chooses, we’re prepared to help them overcome methadone withdrawal and get on the right path to long-term recovery.
Does methadone remove pain?
Yes. Methadone is a painkiller and can be used to treat pain. However, methadone is sometimes viewed as a less favorable option because of its addictive nature.
How is methadone absorbed?
According to American Family Physician, methadone is absorbed in the stomach. After it is absorbed, the drug “is distributed to the brain, liver, kidneys, muscles, and lungs.”
Does methadone rot your teeth out?
Methadone can cause dry mouth. Without as much saliva to protect against decay, there may be an increased risk of developing cavities or gum disease. However, rotting isn’t necessarily something that will happen due to these side effects. You can still maintain your teeth through regular brushing and flossing.
Does methadone come out in drug tests?
Some drug tests are specifically optimized to screen for methadone. However, in the standard, widely used urine test, methadone usually does not show up.
Do You or a Loved One Need Help To Break a Methadone Abuse?
We are a Sacramento based drug and alcohol detox center, drug and alcohol treatment center, and outpatient rehab center. We have program locations in Northern California serving areas in Sacramento, Roseville, Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Loomis, Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, Grass Valley, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Davis.
To find out more how we can help call our drug and alcohol addiction center any time at 916-235-9253 for a confidential consultation. We can verify insurance coverage and benefit information in about an hour and can get the process of admission to our addiction treatment center started quickly. When you need an addiction treatment center who provides high-quality care quickly give us a call. It would be our pleasure to assist you.