How Do I Tell My Doctor I Need a Higher Methadone Dose?
Whether you have been on methadone for a short or a long time, you may have realized that the dose your doctor gave you is not as effective as it should be, and you may feel that you require a higher dose. However, you must always speak to your doctor about these feelings, and you must never change your dosage on your own.
Why Can’t I Up My Dosage Myself?
Most methadone clinics do not allow their patients to even take the medication home until they have proven for several months or longer that they can take the treatment responsibly and not abuse it. Still, if you are in the situation where you have access to your dosage amount and believe it should be raised, you must never do so without the approval of your doctor.
This is because raising your methadone dosage on your own counts as abuse and, whether you meant to abuse the drug or not, you are taking it in a way that was not prescribed to you. Even if you do not feel euphoric or experience other symptoms associated with recreational use, you are doing a dangerous thing by taking your medication in higher doses without discussing it with your doctor. This could lead to further abuse, heavy dependency, addiction, relapse, and many of the other issues associated with opioid abuse. Therefore, you must always speak to your doctor about your dosage.
How Can I Tell My Doctor I Need a Higher Dose?
According to the National Institute of Justice, “For MMT, doses of 80-120 mg per day are generally sufficient to prevent opioid symptoms for 24 hours, reduce cravings, and block the euphoric effects of opioids.” If your dosage amount is below or within this area, your doctor will likely consider raising your dosage of methadone, but if it is at the highest amount, there may not be a way to raise your prescription without problems occurring.
Still, no matter what level your dosage is currently at, talk to your doctor about your needs and make sure they understand you.
- Explain the issues you are having with your current dosage and why you want to raise it (ex: you are still experiencing cravings for opioids, you are not certain that the effects are lasting as long as they are supposed to, etc.)
- Be detailed in your explanation and be frank with your issues.
- Ask your doctor to administer any necessary tests to see if your body is reacting normally to the methadone.
- List any other medications, herbal supplements, or other remedies you may be taking that could be minimizing the effects of your medication.
Also, before you decide to talk to your doctor, ask yourself why you really want to raise your prescription. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, “Careful monitoring and a close relationship between a doctor and the patient are essential to [methadone’s] proper use,” but you should also be aware of the reasons for your desire to increase your prescription. Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons, and you can discuss them freely with your doctor who should take them seriously. If you would like more advice on methadone maintenance, call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).