Methadone is a long-acting, synthetic drug that was first used in the maintenance treatment of drug addiction in the United States in the 1960s. It is an opioid "agonist," which means that it acts in a way that is similar to morphine and other narcotic medications.
When used in proper doses in maintenance treatment, methadone does not create euphoria, sedation, or an analgesic effect. Doses must be individually determined based on age, weight, height, sex, metabolism, and other biological factors. The proper maintenance dose is the one at which the cravings stop, without creating the effects of euphoria or sedation.
Although methadone is not a single product from a single manufacturer, the active ingredient is always the same: methadone hydrochloride.
All manufacturers add inactive ingredients, such as fillers, preservatives, and flavorings. Methadone is dispensed orally in different forms, which include tablets, powders, and liquids.
Here at Anchor of Hope, we dispense liquid methadone in cherry flavor.
Liquid methadone can be dispensed with an automated measuring pump. Dosages can be adjusted to as small as a single milligram.
For most people, a single dose of methadone lasts 24 to 36 hours.
Methadone lasts longer. The body metabolizes methadone differently than it does heroin or morphine. When a person takes methadone regularly, it builds up and is stored in the body, so it lasts even longer when used for maintenance. Most people find that once they're stabilized on a dose of methadone that's right for them, a single oral dose will "hold" them for at least a full 24-hour day. For some, the effects last longer; for others it lasts a shorter time.
Stability is easier on oral methadone. Most people who are on a stable, appropriate dose of methadone for several weeks will not feel any significant sense of being "high" or "dopesick." Some patients may feel a "transition" -- or a temporary, mild glow -- for a short time or several hours after being medicated, however. Others may feel slightly "dopesick" prior to taking the day's dose, but most will feel very little or no effect from the proper dose of methadone once they have stabilized.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist, while Suboxone is both an agonist and antagonist.
Treatment is based on the individual, so length of time in Methadone Maintenance Treatment will vary from person to person.
Methadone has been known to cause constipation, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, itchy skin, heavy sweating, and more. Find out more about Methadone on the official SAMHSA website here.
Yes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely take methadone. Feel free to contact us about our prenatal care procedures if you have any questions or concerns.