Which Medication Should I Use to Detox From Methadone?

Methadone detox (especially after methadone maintenance treatment, or MMT) can be difficult, and it can be hard to decide which type of medication will be safest and most effective for your detox program. However, for your detox, methadone itself might be the best option. Let us help you find the most effective treatment program for your needs by calling 800-530-0431Who Answers? now.

Why Should I Use Methadone to Detox Methadone?

Not every individual will want to use this method to detox after MMT, but sometimes, it is better to go through detox with the help of the drug you were already taking in maintenance. This can be especially true in the case of methadone. According to the National Library of Medicine, your medication options for detox include:

Detox From Methadone

Clonidine can help reduce anxiety and agitation during detox.

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine

The latter of these choices can help reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle pain, and flu-like symptoms. However, “it does not help reduce cravings,” nor can it minimize issues with nausea and vomiting (another medication will likely need to be taken in this case).

And buprenorphine, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, can sometimes be less effective than methadone for certain individuals. “Buprenorphine is unlikely to be as effective as more optimal-dose methadone;” therefore, “it may not be the treatment of choice for patients with high levels of physical dependency.” As many individuals in MMT are still highly physically dependent on the drug when they are ready to withdraw, this may not be the best option either.

Patients who are taking large doses of methadone in MMT and are already used to the drug itself can often benefit from being tapered off it slowly instead of being switched suddenly to buprenorphine or clonidine.

However, it is very important that an individual in MMT who believes they are ready to begin detox ensures that their doctor believes it is a good time for them to do so as well and that both individuals are in agreement as to the best way to move forward in treatment.

Could Buprenorphine or Clonidine Help Me Detox Methadone?

Every patient is different, so of course there is a possibility that buprenorphine or clonidine could be a better option for your detox from methadone. You may also start out your detox program on methadone and then switch to one of these other medications.

However, it is always extremely important that you discuss any decisions to change the course of your treatment with your doctor before you actually make any changes. This can ensure that you are able to start and continue the best detox program for your needs, whether you will be weaned off your methadone slowly or be placed on another drug entirely.

Do I Need to Be on a Medication?

Yes. It is very important not to stop taking your methadone medication suddenly, as this could cause severe side effects. According to the NLM, patients are urged never to stop taking methadone suddenly “without talking to [their] doctor.” This is extremely important because a doctor will always want to decrease the dose gradually if you were taking any opioid drug for any reason; just because you were not abusing methadone during MMT doesn’t mean you are not dependent on it. If you suddenly stop taking your methadone medication while dependent, you will experience severe withdrawal symptoms, which could possibly lead to relapse.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Methadone?

Every Patient is Different

Since every individual has different needs, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor about the best possible option for your detox from methadone and that you are able to find a medication regimen that works for you and you alone. Your doctor will want to ensure that you do not experience any severe withdrawal symptoms, especially because these could possibly lead to relapse, and they will want to monitor your progress as you slowly detox with the help of whichever medication best fits your needs. Detox from methadone is one of the final stages of MMT, and it is important that this is done as safely and effectively as possible.

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