Methadone Overdose: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Methadone Maintenance Treatment
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over two million people are currently addicted to opiates. Opiate addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to get over. For decades researchers have been trying to come up with a viable treatment for opiate addiction. One of the best treatments is methadone maintenance.
Methadone maintenance treatment is a viable drug treatment that doctors have used since the 1960s for opiate addiction. As with any addiction treatment, there are pros and cons to using it.
What is Methadone Maintenance Treatment?
Methadone maintenance treatment is a part of opiate addiction treatment. Doctors give an addict a daily dose of methadone, which keeps them from going into withdrawal. Since it stops the opiate withdrawal symptoms, an addict can go about their lives while in treatment for their addiction.
A doctor starts methadone treatment with a standard dose. Then that dose is adjusted to an amount where no withdrawal symptoms are present. Once they find the point where the withdrawal symptoms are at a minimum, they maintain that dose until both the doctor and addict decide to taper off the dosage.
Who is a good Candidate for Methadone Maintenance?
Many people are good candidates for methadone maintenance. Most of these addicts are:
- those that tried other methods and failed,
- those with chronic pain who need a pain killer that treats the addiction as well,
- those with particularly severe addictions, and
- people who tolerate methadone better than other maintenance treatments.
Methadone is a very powerful drug and only those who absolutely need it should take it. Methadone should never be taken recreationally.
What are the Pros?
There are many good points to using methadone maintenance as an opiate addiction treatment. Some of these pros are:
- helps addicts with cravings,
- treats chronic pain,
- can remain on it indefinitely,
- stops withdrawal symptoms, and
- stops opiate use.
These are only a few of the benefits of methadone maintenance treatment. There are of course negatives to methadone maintenance.
What are the Cons?
Methadone maintenance is not for everyone. Some negatives need to be considered before engaging in this type of treatment. Some of these negatives are:
- methadone has many side effects such as:
o sexual dysfunction, and
o frequent urination.
- you cannot use any opiate medications while on methadone or you risk overdose,
- methadone itself is addictive, and
- it has to be a long term treatment due to the possibility of relapse when stopping methadone.
The worst of the cons of methadone use is the possibility of overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone overdose is very likely when it is used recreationally or with other opiates. It is extremely dangerous to use methadone recreationally or if you are on methadone to use other opiates.
Methadone is a viable treatment for opiate addiction but with the possibility of overdose so high, it is one that needs to be used with caution. For more information on methadone overdose or the pros and cons of methadone use, call use at 1-800-530-0431.