When it comes to combating the ongoing opioid crisis that continues to claim thousands of lives every year in the U.S., it’s of the utmost importance to understand effective and available treatment methods for opioid addiction—including methadone treatment.
One of the most well-known, but often misunderstood treatment options is methadone. The FDA-approved and highly-regulated methadone, which is distributed at outpatient clinics, manages withdrawal symptoms and side effects of opioid withdrawal and can help aid in the overall recovery process.
Recovery Centers of America provides medication assisted treatment (MAT) that includes methadone for patients who are hoping to achieve sobriety from opioid addiction, including addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers.
What is Methadone?
First approved for use in the United States in 1947 and made for widespread use in the 1970s, the long-acting synthetic drug methadone has since become the primary means of treating opiate addiction.
According to the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment, hundreds of thousands of people are treated with methadone each year.
Methadone can not only save lives, but it can also save taxpayers billions of dollars every year as the cost of the opioid epidemic continues to skyrocket.
An affordable and accessible option for those struggling with opioid addiction, methadone, and other medication assisted treatments (MAT) have proven to be helpful in the recovery and rehabilitation process.
Methadone dosages are personalized to each patient’s individual need, and treatment with methadone is accompanied by other behavioral treatment programs including counseling and 12-step programs.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Methadone is administered by medical staff once a day, in a liquid solution. Methadone is only to be provided at a licensed methadone clinic under the guidance of trained healthcare providers.
Methadone treatment is not a “quick fix” for treating opioid addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that when it comes to methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered to be the minimum length of treatment, and for some patients, treatment can go for many years in order to maintain sobriety.
Methadone maintenance, in coordination with the other medication assisted treatment programs (including individual, group and family counseling, 12-step programs, and community-based resources), can be effective in fighting addiction.
Methadone can become an abused substance, which is why it should only be administered once a day by a medically trained professional who can track usage and provide proper dosing instructions.
methadone maintenance treatment also staff to manage medication administration by allowing no opportunities to catch missed doses, which can sometimes be a sign of relapse. In outpatient care, patients with missed doses (whether intentional or accidental) will have their dosages evaluated and changed if needed by the medical staff at the methadone treatment facility.
Methadone Treatment Precautions
Methadone dosages need to be slowly built up over time to avoid the risk of overdosing. Since Methadone is an opiate, Addiction to methadone can be life-threatening as well , and if abused may lead to tremors, fatigue, coma, and even death.
Like any drug, methadone does have side effects, which can include nausea, constipation, itchy skin, forgetfulness, and dizziness.
Methadone and Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can receive methadone treatments. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that methadone maintenance programs combined with prenatal care is a safe and effective treatment option when under the supervision of medical professionals. Infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy typically require treatment for withdrawal symptoms.
When it comes to women who are breastfeeding while undergoing methadone treatment, studies have found that the exposure of infants to methadone through their mothers’ breast milk is minimal and the benefits outweigh the risks for mother and baby.
Recovery Centers of America: Safety Standards for Methadone Treatment
Recovery Centers of America adheres to all standards and regulations to ensure patients get the exact methadone dosage they need in the time they need it in order to achieve their goals of long-term sobriety.
Cost of Methadone Treatment
While methadone treatments are never free, they are an affordable option for those seeking care. The range of methadone treatment costs varies by clinic, and may be covered by private and public insurance, as well as Medicaid.
Recovery Centers of America offers methadone treatment that is covered by most insurance providers, and Medicaid.