How It Works and Is It Safe?
Out of all the medications that are utilized for the treatment of opioid addiction, none have been more widely researched than methadone. This medication is administered either via a dissolvable tablet or a liquid solution that is consumed once a day, and is effective in decreasing the presence of withdrawal symptoms and cravings for further opioid use. Methadone has been utilized in opioid addiction treatment programs for over 50 years, and years of research have proven that it is both safe and effective in treating this type of addiction.
Countless studies have shown that when methadone is used as prescribed by a healthcare professional, it does not lead to serious short-term or long-term health concerns. Those who have reviewed methadone research support the findings that this medication is both medically safe and non-toxic. Experts have determined that the majority of side effects are only temporary, and typically only develop during the induction phase of treatment, when a patient and his or her provider are determining his or her appropriate dosage.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) released a statement confirming that methadone can be safely consumed by pregnant women who are battling opioid addiction. The DHSS also confirmed that taking methadone while pregnant will not cause any harm to the mother or her baby.
However, as with most medications, methadone can be dangerous if consumed in a way that does not follow the recommendations of one’s doctor. Methadone overdose is a possibility for those who abuse it recreationally, especially for those who are also abusing other medications or drugs at the same time. One-third of all prescription medication deaths are caused by methadone overdoses each year. However, it is imperative to understand that each of these deaths was caused by the abuse of methadone, not through the supervised use of it in a certified medication assisted treatment program.
When taken as prescribed and under the watchful eye of a medical professional working within a medication assisted treatment program, methadone is safe for consumption.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Experts are confident in saying that methadone is both safe and highly effective in treating opioid addiction. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treatment that involves the use of methadone is the most effective form of opioid addiction treatment available.
Additionally, not only is methadone cost-effective, but the CDC also states that numerous studies have proven the below listed benefits of treatment that includes methadone:
- Improved outcomes for pregnant women and their babies
- Reduction in drug use
- Improved family stability and employment potential
- Reduced risk of overdose
- Decreased likelihood of participating in criminal activities
- Reduced risk of contracting hepatitis C, hepatitis B, or HIV/AIDS
- Improved life expectancy
When used within a medication assisted treatment program, methadone use is safe and poses many advantages to patients.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
Methadone is just one aspect of a comprehensive medication assisted treatment program. Since methadone works to decrease cravings and the pain associated with withdrawal, patients are able to obtain the clearness of mind necessary to engage in therapies that will advance their recovery. In other words, methadone helps alleviate the physical aspects of addiction, while therapeutic services are able to help patients address the hidden issues behind opioid addiction.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: While methadone is proven to be a safe and effective method for treating opioid addiction, it is critical to understand that this medication is not a cure-all medication. There is no substance that can serve as the antidote for all of an individual’s issues or make the changes needed to develop a healthy lifestyle. Instead, this requires time, dedication, and effort. When you partake in a medication assisted treatment program, you will work with doctors, counselors, and nurses who are experienced in helping individuals, such as yourself, defeat issues similar to those that you are going through. By following their direction, listening to their advice, and actively engaging in your treatment, you can dramatically improve the likelihood that your time in treatment will set you up for long-lasting recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Above all else, if you want to be an effective source of support for your loved one while he or she is obtaining medication assisted treatment, you must care for yourself. Your loved one’s addiction has not only caused his or her life to suffer, but has also negatively impacted yours as well. Therefore, to support him or her to the best of your ability, speak with his or her treatment providers or other experts who can guide you towards the appropriate resources and support for yourself. Learn about the disease of addiction, understand the pros of treatment as well as the limitations of it, and learn what your loved one will need from you during his or her recovery. Support groups, family therapy, and individual counseling can also be highly effective in providing you with education, encouragement, and you own support. Do not forget that by caring for yourself, you will ultimately be better able to care for your loved one.
The Side Effects of Methadone
Below are some of the possible side effects of methadone:
- Dry mouth
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Sleep problems
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed breathing
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Skin rashes
For more detailed information about the side effects of methadone, or to learn more about how this medication can help you defeat your opioid addiction, reach out to Baton Rouge Comprehensive Treatment Centers right now. We are here to help you reclaim your life.