When used in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), methadone and its effects can often last as long as 36 hours. However, a dosage’s effects can last more or less time depending on specific variables associated with the patient.
How Long Do the Effects of Methadone Last?
Methadone can be used to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings and other uncomfortable effects experienced by opioid addicts during recovery. If dosed correctly, the drug can also block the opioid receptors in the brain and allow patients to live their daily lives without fear of relapse.
According to National Institute of Justice, “Methadone can suppress narcotic withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 36 hours for patients.” However, in some situations, the drug’s effects can last as long as 48 hours. Still, because this timeline is highly variable, patients must come to a licensed methadone clinic daily in order to receive their medication. Most individuals are not permitted to take the drug home with them because of its potential for abuse.
Though effective for the treatment of opioid addiction, methadone can also cause certain side effects that are likely to occur with treatment. As listed by the National Library of Medicine, they include
- Appetite changes
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Sore tongue
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood changes
- Vision problems
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Most of these effects will subside with time as an individual takes methadone, but if they do not, the prescribing doctor may also prescribe another medication to treat them. For example, in the case of constipation, which is a common side effect of opioids, a second medication may be prescribed. If these effects worsen or do not go away with time, it is important for the patient to inform their doctor.
When Will Withdrawal Effects Begin to Occur?
If a person on methadone maintenance stops taking their medication, they could begin to experience withdrawal effects, such as
- Muscle, joint, and bone pain
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramps
These symptoms often feel similar to a bad case of the flu, and according to the NLM, are likely to occur “within 30 hours of [one’s] last methadone exposure.” A person who begins to experience these effects after skipping a methadone dose should go to their doctor or MMT clinic immediately.
What Can Affect the Amount of Time Methadone’s Effects Last?
Different aspects can affect the amount of time a single dose of methadone will last and continue to affect the user. For example, someone who takes the drug and has been doing so for a long time will be more accustomed to its effects. The dose may not last as long in this case.
The beneficial effects of a methadone dose may last a shorter or a longer amount of time depending on other aspects of a particular individual’s situation as well. These variables can include
- The severity of the patient’s dependence on opioids
- The speed of the patient’s metabolism
- The patient’s age, which can affect their metabolism
- The patient’s weight and body size
This is one reason why doctors need time to figure out the right dosage for methadone maintenance patients when they start out in their treatment. Patients often need their own specific dosages that are tailored to their bodies and situations. Over time, the dosage might change––especially if an individual has been on methadone for a year or longer. This is why it is so important for a methadone maintenance patient to have routine check-ups with their clinic doctors.
How Can I Find Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
MMT clinics exist all over the country and the world where people like you can find help for opioid addiction. You can put an end to your substance abuse and start living the life you want to live by beginning methadone maintenance. Call 800-530-0431 now to find rehab centers that will take your insurance plan, offer the care you need, and help you begin your journey of recovery.