What is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic opioid commonly used to treat addiction disorders to more dangerous opioids such as heroin or fentanyl. Methadone was created during World War II by a group of German doctors. When it was originally released it served as a treatment for severe and chronic pain. In modern times it is more commonly seen to treat opioid use disorders. The drug is considered a vital part of combating the addictions caused by the nation’s current opioid epidemic.
Methadone is chemically quite similar to morphine and works in much the same way. The drug changes how the human brain interprets pain, causing a sensation of relief. Using methadone also blocks the highs of other opioids, such as heroin or codeine.
When prescribed in the treatment of an opioid addiction disorder, methadone usually only represents one piece of the plan. The use of methadone is not a cure for other addictions but rather a way to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal often felt during recovery. Even in recovery programs that the drug’s use as a treatment, it is important to also use therapy to work past your addiction disorder.
How is Methadone Used
While it is possible to get a prescription for methadone when dealing with chronic pain, it is not as accessible when part of an addiction treatment plan. Only certified opioid treatment centers are legally allowed to dispense methadone as opioid treatment.
While it is possible to be able to methadone home for treatment after medical professionals feel it is safe, most people who take methadone as part of an addiction treatment plan must take their dosage at a certified clinic under doctor supervision. This is done to prevent users from taking more than necessary or smuggling it out to sell on the street.
If being used as part of a medication-assisted treatment plan, it is recommended that a person should use methadone for at least 12 months. After the first year, it is up to the person in recovery and medical professionals if the best course is to extend that treatment plan or if they should begin tapering off the use of methadone. It is important to not suddenly quit using methadone, even if using it properly, to avoid withdrawal symptoms.