If you or your loved one has begun the process to recovery then you know the importance of methadone treatment. You should understand why you are using the methadone and the benefits and risks associated with the usage. While we understand you may questions yourself as to why you are using a medication to treat your abuse, you will find this will ease you through the transition. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that provides relief as an anti-addictive, most commonly used under medical supervision in treatment for narcotic drug abusers. According to the Center for Disease Control the benefits outweigh the risks for addicts who use a methadone maintenance program.
- Discontinued or reduced drug use
- Possibility of overdose risk decreases
- Reckless behavior reduces or completely stops
- Family relationships become stable
- If pregnant, outcomes improve greatly
The use of a methadone maintenance program can be continued indefinitely, or, if needed, the dose can be reduced gradually as the user prepares for the withdrawal phase. It has been estimated that about 25% of users completely stop the opioid abuse completely, 25% continue the opiate abuse to some extent, and 50% repeatedly continue the methadone maintenance program indefinitely as needed. While there is really no drug available that has no side effects you should be aware of the side effects of methadone and understand what you can do to help relieve those side effects. Most of the side effects of this drug are minimal and relief can be much easier to deal with than the effects of drug abuse.
Common side effects:
- Anxiousness or restlessness
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Drowsiness or weakness
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Decrease or loss of appetite
- Lack of interest in sex
Serious side effects that would require immediate medical attention:
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or hallucinations
- Any sign of chest pain or heart palpitations
- Feeling dizzy or light headed
While we understand that some of the most common side effects may be unpleasant, it is so important to continue the treatment. It is equally important that you do not take any other drug, alcohol or even over the counter medications while taking the methadone as you could put yourself in a great deal of risk as they can interact. It does take some time for your body to adjust to this medication and you should feel very comfortable discussing your concerns and questions with your clinical care providers. They may even have some tips and tricks that will guide you through this stage of treatment such as diet or exercise which may help in combating the more common effects of the drug. You are on the right path- Congratulations!