How Long Does Methadone Detox Take?

How long it will take you to detox from methadone depends largely on your specific needs as a patient, the intensity of your dependence on methadone, and a number of other variables. Call 800-994-1867Who Answers? now to find a rehab program that can help you put an end to your opioid abuse and begin a life in recovery.

MMT and Methadone Detox

If you have been taking methadone as part of a maintenance treatment program (MMT), you may eventually want to detox from the drug by being slowly weaned off it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a patient must be on MMT for at least 12 months before they can begin detox, and “some patients may require treatment for years.” In addition, some individuals never detox and stay on methadone indefinitely.

However, if you do believe you are ready to end your MMT program, it is still necessary that your doctor agrees that this is the right time for you to do so. They will also need to stop your use of methadone gradually by weaning you off the drug in small amounts. This is detox, and it is the safest way to end MMT under a doctor’s care.

What Can Affect the Timeline of Methadone Detox?

Methadone Detox

Your doctor will help determine how long methadone detox will take.

Every individual needs their own detox program and timeline in order to safely withdraw from methadone and end their MMT. This program needs to be specifically created for the individual so they can be weaned off the drug slowly enough that they do not experience severe withdrawal symptoms but quickly enough so they are satisfied with the results. However, the MMT process takes a rather long time, so it is important not to get impatient in the final stages of recovery.

A number of variables can affect the length of time that your detox from this particular drug will take, including:

  • The severity of your dependence on methadone
  • The level of your methadone dosage (usually between 80 and 120 mg per day for those in MMT, according to the National Institute of Justice)
  • The amount of time you have been on methadone (at least a year, if not longer, in most cases)
  • The amount of the drug that will be tapered (and how quickly this tapering will be performed) as you go through withdrawal

In addition, the chemical makeup of the drug itself will also affect the amount of time it will take you to withdraw completely from it. According to Harvard Medical School, “Short-acting opiates tend to produce more intense but briefer symptoms. The effect of a single dose of heroin, a relatively short-acting drug, lasts 4-6 hours, and the withdrawal reaction lasts for about a week.”

Methadone, however, is a much longer-acting drug that needs to be able to block one’s opioid receptors for at least 24 to 36 hours for beneficial results in maintenance treatment. Therefore, one’s withdrawal symptoms are likely to last longer in methadone detox than in heroin detox.

How Long Does Detox from Methadone Take?

In general, it might take up to six weeks for you to completely withdraw from methadone after being on MMT, although it could take more or less time depending on the many variables that can affect your detox program.

It is important to discuss your needs with your doctor and to NEVER stop taking methadone suddenly or tapering your dosage of the drug yourself. These actions could create severe withdrawal symptoms and even put you in danger of relapse.

Methadone detox must take as long as it needs to for patients to safely navigate this process. For most, this is the last step in MMT, although it can be very helpful to follow the program with some sort of aftercare option.

In some cases, though, certain individuals do not detox at all and stay on maintenance instead. It is very important that you talk to your doctor before starting the detox process and that you consider your needs when working with them to create a detox program that will benefit you.

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