Is Methadone Maintenance Treatment Safe?

managing opiate addiction with methadone

When taken in the correct dosages and manner, MMT is considered safe.

People caught up in months or years of opiate drug use reach a point where quitting becomes difficult, if not impossible to do. Opiate drug effects have taken over, leaving addicts hopelessly dependent on the drug.

Methadone maintenance treatment offers a promising alternative with years of research and practical application to back it up. As with any medication treatment, safety concerns do exist under certain circumstances.

When first starting out on methadone maintenance treatment, some people may have a more difficult time than others. People receiving treatment for other existing conditions make also want to consider certain safety issues. In the case, of severe or chronic opiate addictions, the risk of becoming addicted to methadone may also warrant concern.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Methadone is a synthetic opiate medication. As a synthetic opiate, methadone can produce the same effects as other addictive opiate drugs without creating the “high” feelings associated with drug abuse. Because of its overall effects, methadone can be used as a replacement therapy to treat opiate addictions.

In essence, a replacement therapy substitutes one drug for another as a mean for helping addicts regain control over an out of control addiction. Methadone maintenance treatment enables recovering addicts to wean off opiate drug effects while working through their addiction issues.

Initial Dosing Safety Concerns

Methadone maintenance treatment effectiveness relies on doctors finding the right dosage level amount. The right dosage amount will reduce or eliminate drug cravings and withdrawal effects without producing a “high.” When first starting out in methadone maintenance treatment, finding the right initial dose can be difficult and may even place a person at risk of toxicity and overdose, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.

Compared to other opiate drugs, methadone has a slow-acting effect in terms of the length of time it takes to metabolize in the body. As body chemistry and addiction severity can vary from person to person, it’s essential program participants relay accurate information to doctors as to the drug’s effects at the start of treatment.

Drug Interactions

Like other opiate drugs, methadone interacts directly with the body’s central nervous system processes. In effect, methadone maintenance treatment supports damaged central nervous system functions until the body fully recovers from addiction’s effects.

Likewise, any drugs or medications that alter the rate at which methadone metabolizes can throw off the methadone’s overall effects. As a result, alcohol or any form of medication treatment can compromise methadone maintenance treatment effectiveness. Drug interactions can also place a person at increased risk for methadone toxicity and overdose.

Methadone Addiction Considerations

As with any other opiate drug, methadone carries a risk of abuse and addiction. Methadone addiction risks increase considerably when dosage level amounts aren’t calibrated correctly.

Incorrect dosage calibrations can leave recovering addicts feeling overly sedated or “high.” When this happens the body’s central nervous system becomes dependent on methadone’s effects, much like it becomes dependent on other addictive drug types.

The potential for methadone addiction also poses an increased risk of abuse for people struggling with severe opiate addictions. Under these conditions, abuse quickly turns into addiction as addicts start ingesting other opiates along with methadone in an attempt to get “high.”