Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication used to treat addiction to heroin and certain prescription pills. Methadone helps to normalize the body’s neurological system which has been impaired by the use of heroin or the misuse of other opioids. While Methadone is not a cure for opioid/heroin addiction it does reduce withdrawal symptoms without causing the "high" associated with the drug addiction. Methadone reduces or eliminates cravings for opioid drugs and blocks the effects of other opioids. Methadone raises the overall quality of the patient’s life which then gives them the opportunity to focus on counseling and other aspects of recovery.
Common myths about methadone:
Myth #1: Methadone is a substitute for heroin or prescription opioids.
Reality: Methadone is a treatment for opioid addiction, not a substitute for heroin. Methadone is long-acting, requiring one daily dose. Heroin is short- acting, and generally takes at least three to four daily doses to prevent withdrawal symptoms from emerging.
Myth #2: Methadone rots teeth and bones.
Reality: After 50 years of use, methadone remains a safe medication. One side effect of Methadone is dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water can help relieve dry mouth. If you’re on methadone and feel your bones are rotting, it’s most likely due to not being at a therapeutic dose. Bone ache is a symptom of withdrawal.
Myth #3: Methadone is a cure for opioid addiction.
Reality: Methadone is NOT a cure: it is a tool that helps you repair damage caused by dependence.
Methadone is a long acting synthetic narcotic medication that is administered daily in constant dose after patients are stabilized.
It's use for this purpose was developed by Dr. Marie Nyswander and Dr. Vincent Dole working at Rockefeller University in New York City in the 1960's.
- It is legal medication made by licensed and approved pharmaceutical companies using high standards of quality control
- Methadone is typically very well tolerated by patients. When administered to the right patient, significant side effects are uncommon
- It is administered orally under doctor supervision and strict program conditions and guidelines
- It is safe for pregnant woman