Choosing Between Methadone and Naltrexone
So you’re considering treatment for an opiate addiction—now what?
A likely scenario that will play out as you decide between treatment options is the decision between whether you should use methadone maintenance therapy or Naltrexone to help ease off the opiates and remain drug free. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to decide which is best.
Methadone has a number of benefits. The medication is generally well tolerated by most patients and it can be highly effective in restoring balance into a user’s life when it is taken exactly as prescribed. The ability of methadone to block opioid receptors and minimize symptoms of withdrawal helps patients to feel at ease in their recovery and to shift their focus away from symptoms of withdrawal and toward the next step in the healing process.
Naltrexone is a safe medication that can be used to prevent people from taking opiates. The medication acts by inducing uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal if a patient takes an opiate while taking the Naltrexone. While this measure can be highly effective in preventing the use of opiates for some, the drug is not always well tolerated. Using Naltrexone as prescribed can induce great motivation to stay sober and keep working towards recovery.
Making the Choice
Each individual requires a different treatment program made up of different options that best suit their recovery. Those who need methadone should receive it, just as those who can more easily tolerate naltrexone may want to give it a try.
According to Harvard Medical School, “Physicians and other middle-class patients who are highly motivated to get free of the opiate” may fare well with Naltrexone. But certain individuals would likely see better results with methadone. These individuals can include:
- People who are still highly physically dependent on opioids, especially those who have struggled with withdrawal in the past or relapsed during or after their withdrawal syndrome
- People who require a strong, well-rounded treatment program, which methadone maintenance provides, along with the medication itself, and Naltrexone treatment normally does not
- People who require guidance through their treatment process as opposed to those who are stronger in their conviction to quit abusing opioids or those who do not need as much help quitting
- People who have been abusing opioids for many years, as opposed to those whose abuse is fairly recent
Methadone is not always the best treatment option for every individual, but Naltrexone is not the easiest medication to receive, nor is it easy for most patients to continue with the medication as they are meant to. Though some individuals can find help with Naltrexone, most would likely prefer methadone because it is much more manageable as a treatment and more easily tolerated.
If you have more questions about methadone maintenance or want to find a clinic near you, please call 800-891-9360 today.