How It Works and Is It Safe?
Out of the numerous medications used for treating addiction, none have been more thoroughly studied than methadone. Given as dissolvable tablet or as a liquid solution, methadone is taken once daily and impacts an individual’s central nervous system to help prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Methadone has been used in opioid addiction treatment programs for over 50 years, as the clinical research behind it proves its safety and effectiveness.
Various studies have demonstrated that when methadone is taken as prescribed that it does not lead to serious short- or long-term risks. Experts who have studied methadone deem it both safe and non-toxic, and also note that the side effects associated with it are often temporary and occur when a patient is first getting adjusted to his or her appropriate dosage.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) released a statement saying that methadone is safe to use by pregnant women who are addicted to opioids. They have confirmed that these women can use this medication while pregnant without causing harm to themselves or their babies.
However, as with most medications, methadone can be dangerous if used outside of the prescriber’s guidelines. Methadone overdose is a very strong possibility for those who abuse it recreationally and/or with other substances. In fact, methadone overdoses are responsible for one-third of all prescription drug-related deaths yearly. However, when someone uses methadone within a medication assisted treatment program and is under the supervision of a professional, this risk of overdose is eliminated.
When taken as directed and under the watchful eye of a certified professional, methadone is safe to consume when being treated for an opioid addiction.
The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment
Because of decades of data, experts are happy to report that not only is methadone safe, but it is also highly effective in treating opioid addiction. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methadone is the most effective form of treatment available today.
The CDC also reports that methadone is a cost-effective way of treating opioid addiction, and it is capable of providing the following benefits when utilized within a medication assisted treatment program:
- Improved family stability and employment potential
- Reduced risk of overdose
- Improved outcomes for pregnant women and their babies
- Reduction or total cessation of opioid use
- Lesser likelihood of engaging in criminal activities
- Reduced risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
- Increased life expectancy
When methadone is used as prescribed and within the confines of a medication assisted treatment program, it is effective.
Benefits of Methadone Treatment Plus Counseling
Methadone is just one aspect of a complete medication assisted treatment program. This medication is capable of relieving cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which allows patients to have the mental wherewithal to remain active in the therapeutic aspects of their care. While methadone works to treat the physical symptoms of opioid addiction, counseling and therapy address the emotional and psychological issues that have added to an individual’s addiction.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: Methadone has a superb record of safety and effectiveness, however it is imperative to understand that it is not a medication that can cure every aspect of an individual’s addiction. A singular cure does not exist that can alleviate all of an individual’s addiction concerns, and full recovery requires time, patience, and dedication. When you take part in a medication assisted treatment program, you will begin working with nurses, counselors, and doctors who are experienced in treating individuals, such as yourself, who have endured the strife associated with addiction. By actively participating in your therapy, listening to your provider’s advice, and applying their recommendations, you can dramatically improve the likelihood that the time you spend in treatment will help you stay on a solid path towards recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: To be the most supportive family member or loved one of someone who is receiving medication assisted treatment, you must first take care of yourself. While your loved one has been impacted by his or her own substance abuse, you have likely been impacted as well. Speak with his or her treatment program or other professionals who can help link you to the necessary resources that you require at this time. Become educated about addiction as a disease, learn what the benefits and limitations of treatment are, and find out what your loved one is going to need from you at the start of his or her recovery, during, and after. Support groups, family therapy, and individual therapy can be incredibly beneficial in terms of providing encouragement and support. Never forget to take care of yourself.
The Side Effects of Methadone
Below are some of the side effects linked to methadone use:
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Skin rashes
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Slowed breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
For more detailed information about the side effects that methadone can produce, as well as to learn how it can affect you, reach out to Northeast Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers today.