Effects Of Methadone Treatment On Opioid Addiction

Knoxville, TN (PressExposure) July 17, 2009 -- Methadone is one of the many medications currently used today by rehabs and drug treatment centers. This is because methadone is known to be very useful drug in the treatment of opioid dependence. Though methadone itself is a synthetic opioid, it also has been known to have cross-tolerance with other opioids including heroin and morphine. It also has a long duration of effect: oral doses of methadone can stabilise patients by mitigating opioid withdrawal syndrome. According to professionals residing in different teen drug treatment centers, higher doses of methadone (60–80 mg+) can block the euphoric effects of heroin, morphine, and similar drugs. As a result, properly dosed methadone patients can reduce or stop altogether their use of these substances.

Effects of Methadone treatment on opioid addiction

At proper dosage, methadone usually reduces the appetite for and need to take heroin, and also provide cross-tolerance and block the euphoric effects of other opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and morphine or codeine, thus greatly reducing the motivation of patients to use them. According to teen drug treatment centers, a proper dose used in methadone maintenance therapy will block or greatly reduce cravings for illicit opioids, while not inducing any euphoric feelings or other subjective sense of being high, and if dose is high enough, will actively prevent the patient from experiencing any high if they do use other opioids. Methadone-based treatment is significantly more effective clinically and more cost effective than no-drug treatment modalities for opiate-dependent patients.

Duration of treatment

While there is much debate generally over treatment schedules and duration, patients can often obtain indefinite treatment at their methadone clinic (lasting as long as the patient requires it or can afford to pay for it). According to teen drug treatment specialists, many factors determine the treatment schedule, including specific clinic policies which sometimes require patients to taper regardless of their desire to do so. In general, methadone maintenance is seen as ongoing symptom management rather than a curative treatment. This has buttressed the arguments of those who view methadone as just another prescription drug taken for a long-term, chronic condition.

Contradictions on the treatment

Methadone has been the subject of much speculation as an effective drug treatment. It is addictive and especially dangerous in combination with benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed to recovering addicts. The assertion has been made that methadone is simply a legal opiate substitute, in which drug companies can profit off the addiction of individuals on 'treatment plans.' These treatment plans are not intended as a cure for drug abuse, but as a substitute for the illicit drugs they would be using instead. While, practically, this can lead to an overall increase in the quality of life of the individual, most of the conditions improved upon were a result of the illicit nature of the drugs the patient was taking, and not the drugs themselves.

About Donna Sparks

Donna Sparks is a Professor and a Consultant Physician. Other than her clinical and local teaching commitments, she also continues to enjoy the privileges of research, writing and lecturing.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 16, 2009 at 9:55 pm
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