How is Methadone Maintenance Treatment Administered?
Slated for your first methadone maintenance treatment and not sure what to expect?
There’s no need to be afraid. The entire process is easy and smooth from start to finish.
There’ll be a medical professional there with you every step of the way to ensure you won’t have any serious side effects, such as respiratory depression, cardiac arrest, or convulsions.
While it might take some getting used to the daily doses, it will eventually become a normal part of your everyday routine.
Before you are eligible for methadone maintenance treatment, a physician will conduct a thorough examination to make sure you are in good enough health to take methadone.
For example, some people with liver issues might not be eligible for methadone treatment, as it can sometimes put too much stress on the organ.
If they determine that methadone is not the right drug for you, they can recommend alternatives that might work better.
When you first arrive at the clinic, you will be checked to make sure you aren’t trying to save your dose and abuse it later. Some things that the healthcare professionals will check include:
- That the sleeves of your shirt are rolled up
- You don’t have any hidden containers in your pockets
- You aren’t holding anything
- You don’t have a sponge or absorbent material in your mouth
The professional will also verify your ID and make sure you aren’t showing any signs of intoxication, such as constricted pupils, unsteady gait, or problems speaking.
The First Dose
Your first dose of methadone will be smaller than a normal methadone maintenance dose. This is to give your body time to build up to methadone so you don’t get sick.
Many patients start off at a dose of 30 to 40 mgs and eventually build up to maintenance doses of 60 to 120 mgs a day.
During your dose, the medical professional will dispense the correct amount into a methadone cup and watch to make sure you consume the tablets as instructed.
Disposing of Dose Cup
Before you are allowed to leave the room, you will be instructed to throw away the cup that once contained the methadone. This is just another safeguard to make sure that you properly took the dose and aren’t trying to hide away any for later.
After you take the pill, you will be moved to what’s known as a post-dosing supervision room. In this room, you will be closely monitored by a healthcare professional to make sure you are properly tolerating the dose.
This also prevents you from trying to divert the dose by throwing it up and using it later.
You will have to wait for 15 to 20 minutes, after which you will be free to leave and continue on your day.
As you can see, a visit to a methadone clinic is really as simple as following instructions and taking a pill.
After your first few visits, you’ll get used to the routine and find it’s actually a comforting way to start the day.