Introduction to Methadone
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Mixing Methadone With Other Drugs slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms, you may ex- perience some aching, insomnia, and lack of appetite Can Be Dangerous for a few weeks. You also may feel a sense of loss, Methadone interacts with many medications. This sadness, and sleeplessness for months. However, can change the safety of the methadone you are tak- over time this should dissipate. ing and potentially can cause withdrawal. It is impor- tant to tell your doctor about all of the drugs you take. Long-term withdrawal can take from 6 months up to a year before you can completely taper off of methadone treatment. You should never set time Combinations With Methadone That limitations on yourself—taper off at your own pace in Can Result in Withdrawal Syndrome cooperation with your treatment provider. What Every Individual Needs To Know About Methadone Maintenance Treatment Introduction to Methadone Throughout treatment and after treatment ends, be Opiate analogs such as: sure to maintain and extend your support network. • Nubain You can request to come back to the program ev- • Talwin ery few weeks for the first year and expect to have • Stadol the same privileges that you did before tapering off. Opiate antagonists such as: Should you feel that you may relapse, return to your program immediately for re-dosing. You always can What Is Methadone? Have you been using opioids such as heroin, co- deine, or oxycodone but can’t seem to stop? MMT • Naloxone return to treatment. Returning to treatment is not a Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that is can help you quit using those drugs and focus your • Naltrexone failure—it’s a choice about what is best for you. used as a pain reliever and, together with counsel- life. ing and other psychosocial services, is used to treat Are you pregnant and using heroin? Seek MMT right Partial agonists such as: Important Resources individuals addicted to heroin and certain prescription away to prevent miscarriage and protect your baby • Buprenorphine Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services drugs. from life-threatening withdrawal. • Alcohol Administration (SAMHSA) www.samhsa.gov Have you tested positive for HIV or Hepatitis C? If What Is Methadone Maintenance you have tested positive, MMT can allow you to re- SAMHSA’s National Helpline Treatment (MMT)? gain your quality of life and begin essential treatment How Long Will I Be on Methadone? 1-800-662-HELP (4357) of your viral infection. If you have not tested positive, MMT can help you stop using needles, which is the SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse MMT helps normalize your body’s neurological and The longer you’ve been dependent on opioids, the primary route of infection for drug users. Treatment (CSAT) hormonal functions that have been impaired by the more likely it is that you would benefit from being on www.csat.samhsa.gov use of heroin or misuse of other short-acting opioids. Beginning MMT can help stabilize and improve your methadone. Those who withdraw from methadone Opioids are a group of drugs that act on the cen- health and can move you toward getting the care you after short-term treatment are more likely to return to SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol tral nervous system. They include opiates such as need. drug use than those who stay in treatment until they and Drug Information codeine, morphine, and heroin as well as synthetic have obtained the optimal benefits. 1-800-SAY-NOTO (729-6686) drugs such as oxycodone, oxycontin, hydrocodone, Remember the risks that come with drug use: high www.ncadi.samhsa.gov and methadone. Starting Methadone Maintenance rates of HIV and Hepatitis C infection among people SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Appropriate MMT provides several benefits: Treatment who inject drugs, greater odds of committing crimes Locator • Reduces or eliminates craving for opioid drugs Depending on where you live, you may have a and going to prison, and possible death from over- www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov • Prevents the onset of withdrawal for 24 hours or choice of methadone providers, or you may live in an dose. more area where methadone treatment is not available. If Recovery to a normal life is possible. You should Patient Support and Community Education • Blocks the effects of other opioids you have not already made contact with a doctor or stay in treatment as long as you are benefiting from Project (PSCEP) www.dpt.samhsa.gov/patient/index.htm • Promotes increased physical and emotional health clinic that treats opioid addiction, find out whether it. The length of time you stay in MMT is an issue treatment is available nearby. • Raises the overall quality of life of the patient. that should be decided solely by you and your physi- cian. Some people are in MMT only for a few weeks, • Talk with your family doctor. Generally, your while others choose to stay in MMT indefinitely. Is Methadone Maintenance doctor is not authorized to prescribe methadone Treatment Right for You? for addiction treatment or withdrawal manage- ment purposes. Ask to be referred to an authorized Ending Treatment Have you been through detoxification and found you If you are thinking about ending MMT, talk with the couldn’t feel normal? MMT can allow you to regain a doctor at the program. It can be a slow process to DHHS Publication No. [SMA] 06-4123 sense of normalcy. NCADI Publication No. PHD1124 taper off of methadone. Though doses are tapered Printed 2006 doctor or a methadone clinic, or ask whether other you have been using other illicit or inappropriate whether you are experiencing side effects, in which Methadone and Employment treatment options such as buprenorphine are avail- drugs and whether you have been taking your meth- case an adjustment may be necessary. After a few Once you’re on a stable dose of methadone, it able. adone. You may have to give supervised samples months, your provider may let you take home or shouldn’t affect the work you do or how well you do • Contact a referral service. To find the treatment to ensure they are yours. With continual negative “carry” doses for unsupervised use. Ask to find out your job. For most jobs, there’s no need to mention provider closest to you, call SAMHSA’s National results, you’ll be asked to take drug tests less often. when and under what conditions you will be given that you take methadone. Your employer has no Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP at any time of the day carry doses. right to know. If you test positive for other drugs, it may hold up or night, or search online for a treatment facility at your schedule for taking home doses, and your pro- It is likely that you will be asked to sign an agree- www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov. vider may ask that you take drug tests more often. ment claiming responsibility for using and storing HIV, Hepatitis, and Methadone the doses safely. Your provider may take away your Methadone can be a great benefit if you are HIV/ Assessment Some providers expect zero drug use while others take-home privileges if you do not comply with the AIDS or Hepatitis B (HBV) or C (HCV) positive. Assessment includes determining your history with are more tolerant.* If you test positive for a drug Methadone allows you to lead a “normal” life so it’s agreement or if your drug tests are positive for drug drug use as well as a physical examination by a doc- when you know you haven’t used, you can request to easier to take care of yourself, to use. tor. You should be asked about medical problems be retested. eat better, and to take your medi- that are commonly associated with opioid addictions, Confidentiality Safety and Storage Tips on Taking cation at the right times. However, and you may be asked to consent to a blood test to Your maintenance dose of metha- prescription drugs for your HIV/ check for HIV, Hepatitis, and other infectious or sexu- Drug treatment patients are protected by special done could seriously harm or kill Methadone AIDS or HBV/HCV may interfere ally transmitted diseases. Federal confidentiality regulations. with methadone, and your dose someone who has no tolerance for • Methadone usually works best No one will be told you are in treat- may need to be changed. Talk the drug. Take precautions: Expect questions. You may be asked about your drug use, your Methadone Facts ment or what you talk about in when it’s taken once a day at with the program doctor about treatment, except for certain situa- • Never transfer your medication the same time every day. other drugs you have been pre- physical and mental health, your When methadone is taken as tions: to a container that might make it • You drink your dose of metha- scribed. home and family, and your employ- directed: easier to mistake what’s inside. done, usually in a mixture with ment. • Information about a client often is orange juice. • MMT can improve your health. shared within a treatment team in • Keep your doses in a locked Patient Rights and Ask questions. What are you be- • Methadone will not cause box, such as one sold for fishing • It takes a few days to feel the ing tested for? What other services the clinic. full effects of a dose adjust- Responsibilities euphoria. tackle or cash. are available? Remember, knowl- • You may consent in writing that ment. If you are unhappy with your treat- • Methadone will not make you your information be shared under ment—for example, you feel your edge is power. sick. Hospital Stays • Taking other drugs may inter- certain specified conditions—for fere with the adjustment of dose has not been adjusted cor- You may be assessed again during • Methadone will not affect your If you are admitted to the hospital, example, to forward your records your dose. rectly—talk it over with your doctor treatment to review your progress. immune system. let the staff there know that you to another doctor or clinic. • Taking more opioids won’t get or counselor. If a treatment prob- are a methadone patient. This is • Methadone does not damage • If your doctor or counselor has you high, but you could over- lem hasn’t been fixed to your satis- Dosing vital so that you can receive your your teeth and bones. reason to think you might hurt dose. faction by talking with your doctor dose and because other drugs can For safety, your first dose of metha- • Methadone does not make yourself or others, he or she must • Hang in there—give it 2 to 6 or counselor, you may consider be dangerous if combined with done will be low or moderate. New you gain weight. inform others. weeks to find the right dose. changing your provider. methadone. Urge the hospital patients usually start at a dose not • If you are facing trial, the court staff to talk with your MMT doctor You also can anonymously report to exceed 30 to 40 mgs. A larger may subpoena your treatment about your medication and care. problems with your treatment dose of 60 to 120 mgs a day may be required for records. provider to his/her accrediting agency. To learn more long-term maintenance. You and your physician should determine what dose works best for you. • If you test positive for HIV and other communicable Dealing With Side Effects about grievance procedures, you can visit the Patient diseases, these facts will be shared with public Methadone maintenance carries some side effects: Support and Community Education Project online at Your dose is right when withdrawal symptoms, drug health officials. In certain States, your intimate • Constipation. Eat foods that are high in fiber and www.dpt.samhsa.gov/patient/index.htm. cravings, drowsiness, and side effects fade. With a partners at risk for these diseases may be told that drink plenty of water. You also should avoid foods As a patient in treatment, you are protected by a set correct dose, you should feel more energetic, clear- they have been exposed. that are high in fat; they are harder to digest and of Medication-Assisted Treatment Patient Rights and headed, and able to do the things that matter in your tend to make your system sluggish. Responsibilities. You can see the SAMHSA Guide- life. Until you have adjusted, make sure not to drive a car or operate heavy machinery. Living With Methadone • Excessive sweating. Adjusting the dose may stop the sweating, and there are other medications lines for the Accreditation of Opioid Treatment Pro- grams online at www.dpt.samhsa.gov/guidelines.pdf. You should discuss a dose adjustment with your doc- available to help control this. tor if you still are experiencing drug cravings. The Take Home Doses • Changes in sex drive. Some people on metha- Methadone and Pain Relief majority of properly dosed patients have no physical At the start of treatment, you will have to go to the done have little sex drive and are unable to have Methadone can provide effective pain relief. Yet, desire to use other drugs. clinic daily to take your dose under observation. This an orgasm. You may be taking a medication that once you are on a stable dose of methadone, you daily contact confirms to the staff that you are taking affects your sex drive. Talk with your doctor about may be tolerant to its pain-relieving effects and may Drug Testing the dose ordered by the physician. It also helps the possible treatments that will improve this side require additional pain medication. Some MMT pa- Routine tests of urine or oral fluids will show whether staff to see if your dose is enough or too much and effect. tients need more pain medication than patients who *No one should be discharged solely on the basis of drug test results. are not a part of MMT.