Will I Need to Take Other Medications During Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

Usually, other medications are not necessary during methadone maintenance treatment. However, every patient’s situation is different, and while certain medications are not permitted for use with methadone treatment at all, there are some situations where another pharmacological treatment may be put to use.

Why are Other Drugs Usually Unnecessary During MMT?

According to the National Library of Medicine, sometimes, opioid withdrawal is treated with the drug clonidine, which minimizes many of the symptoms of the syndrome but does not reduce some of the gastrointestinal issues. Instead, “other medications can [be used to] treat vomiting and diarrhea.” This is what is usually done when a medication is fit to treat a certain disorder or problem but cannot minimize all of these symptoms by itself.

Methadone, however, can minimize all the withdrawal symptoms, including those associated with gastrointestinal issues, as well as the cravings that clonidine cannot treat. Because methadone is an opioid, it can reduce all the symptoms of withdrawal and still be taken in low enough doses that it does not cause euphoria. This is why the drug is so effective for the long-term treatment of individuals dependent on opioids. Still, in some situations a person may be prescribed another medication to treat issues they are struggling with. It depends on a case-by-case basis but usually isn’t necessary.

What Drugs Can I Not Take With Methadone?

medications and methadone

You shouldn’t take other medications while on methadone unless advised by a doctor.

There are certain medications that you should avoid altogether when taking methadone, as they can cause dangerous or problematic interactions with the drug. Some drugs may be acceptable to take with methadone, but it is still important to tell the doctor at the clinic you are taking them before you go on methadone. The NLM lists these as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol
  • Calcium channel blocking agents
  • Certain HIV medications
  • Medications for glaucoma
  • Medications for irritable bowel disease
  • Medications for Parkinson’s disease
  • Medication for ulcers
  • Medication for urinary problems
  • Nalbuphine
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Pentazocine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytonin
  • Rafampin
  • MAO inhibitors

Naltrexone, naloxone, and buprenorphine are all medications that are meant to help treat opioid addiction, opioid overdose, or other similar issues, so it is important that you are not taking them in addition to methadone. Also, if you are currently taking any herbal supplements, especially St. John’s wort, you should tell your doctor before starting methadone, as these could interact poorly with the drug as well. Make sure to always talk to your doctor about the drugs, supplements, and other remedies you may be using, as they will be able to then decide if you can keep taking them while on methadone or not.

Methadone and Behavioral Therapy

In general, you will not need to take other medications during your methadone maintenance treatment for the management of your opioid dependence/addiction, but it is very important to attend behavioral therapy. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Medications can be used to help with different aspects of the treatment process,” but counseling is the most beneficial treatment option for the largest amount of individuals. It is usually always a part of any methadone treatment program and will likely make your recovery more well rounded and stronger. Call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today to find out more about methadone centers in your area.

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