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Methadone Addiction – Signs, Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Treatment

Methadone Addiction

Methadone, also known as Dolophine among other brand names, is a synthetic opioid. Mainly used for the treatment of severe chronic pain medication, due to its long duration of action and substantial analgesic effect. In some cases it’s also prescribed as a maintenance drug for those suffering from opioid dependence  Though it is considered to be useful as a maintenance program for “addicts,” it is not curative and has a high potential for misuse and abuse. Developed in Germany in 1937 by Gustav Ehrhart and Max Bockmühl, the synthetic opioid is also used as an analgesic for pain and an anti-tussive for persistent coughing. It was introduced in the U.S. in 1947. Maintenance therapy came about in response to the drastic increase in heroin abuse following World War II.

Like morphine and heroin, this drug works on the opioid receptors in the brain and produces many of the same effects. Also, it’s long lasting and helps prevent and stop withdrawal symptoms. Lastly, it helps block the euphoric rush from other narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin, and OxyContinIt is available in pill and liquid form as well as sublingual tablets that dissolve under the tongue. The tablets, marketed as Dolophine, are available in 5 mg and 10 mg doses, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Is Methadone an Addictive Drug?

Though many in the drug treatment industry feel that Methadone Maintenance is the answer in treating addiction to heroin and other opiates, it has been controversial and politically polarizing. In 2006, the FDA issued a public health alert about the dangers of this drug. It urged users to follow doctors’ advice and not take more than prescribed. And it called on doctors to be cautious when dolling out prescriptions. Some argue that Methadone clinics, just prolong the addiction issue, while others call this type of therapy, ” a liquid handcuff.”

Methadone supporters claim that the drug gives people a chance to become productive members of society again. One thing we can all agree is that if there is compliance in the part of the patient, Methadone can help control the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis, which are often results of intravenous use.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

In the last decade, more and more people found themselves suffering from opioid dependence. Mostly due to the overprescribing of strong painkillers for chronic pain. Medications such as oxycodone or hydrocodone-based drugs, such as Vicodin, Percocet, or OxyContin were widely written with no regards to its adverse consequences. Furthermore, the increasing opioid crisis also had a reflection on methadone prescriptions, specifically for use as a painkiller. Methadone is an inexpensive option, especially when compared to hydrocodone and oxycodone. Insurance companies are usually seeking the less costly drug, and for that reason, many people have switched their painkiller prescriptions to methadone.

The issue is that Methadone is a potent opioid with a long half-life and unless a medical professional carefully controlling the risks of addiction and overdose could be very high. According to the reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), methadone contributed to 1 in 3 prescription painkiller deaths in 2009. Regardless of the reasons one uses methadone, continues intake can lead to abuse as tolerance develops. Once the abuse starts, addiction can quickly follow.

Side Effects:

You should consult a specialist and consider choosing another drug if you have severe asthma, lung issues, chronic constipation or bowel obstruction (paralytic ileus).

This drug can affect your pulmonary function by slowing or even stopping your breathing, especially when you start using it or whenever your dose is increased. Never use this medicine in more significant amounts than prescribed by your physician. In particular, this medication is habit-forming, even at regular doses.

For example, other side effects to watch for include:

  • Constipation
  • Tolerance, dependence, withdrawal
  • Meiotic pupils
  • Nausea
  • Hypertension
  • Hallucinations
  • A headache
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Anorexia
  • Weight gain
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating, itching, swelling
  • Mood changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Impotence
  • Rash
  • Seizure
  • Death

Methadone Withdrawal

Weaning, reducing or stopping a methadone regimen, should only occur under the supervision of a medical professional. A doctor can not only help the individual regulate doses, but also manage vital signs. Quitting cold turkey can be intense, and it withdrawals can last weeks or months. Symptoms may vary from substantial to severe, depending on the individual emotional state, physical condition and dependence history. Some of the most common symptoms include a runny nose, shaking, anxiety, depression, and cravings.
Whether someone decides to taper their use off or completely stop taking Methadone, the most critical point is that he or she seeks support from a medical professional. Medical detoxification in an accredited hospital can make the detoxification phase much more comfortable and safer. There are several medications a doctor may use while managing a withdrawal that keeps vitals at a safe range, ease some of the physical symptoms and even eliminate cravings. Additionally, specific emotional symptoms such as anxiety can also be managed with certain medications.

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Does Rapid Detox Work for People that want to get Off Methadone?

Most people on Methadone maintenance, believe that they will always be on the drug; they have lost hope of ever being free of this drug in their lifetime. Under those circumstances, that is an unfair, unnecessary and unfortunate way to live life. However, in the last 20 years, we have successfully treated hundreds of patients with very high doses on Methadone.

Our medical detoxification takes place in a full service accredited hospital in So. California.  Therefore, patients travel from all over the world to receive our specialized treatment. First, the staff admits patients to their private rooms for a thorough pre-examination and assessment. Then the medical team provides an individualized detox plan designed to meet each individual’s specific needs.


Indeed, detoxing from opiates can be very painful.  Anesthesia Assisted Medically Supervised process, can safely and more comfortably help you through your Methadone detox program.
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