Methadone and Alcohol: Can I Take Both at the Same Time?

It’s no secret that opioid addicts are also commonly addicted to alcohol.

Because addiction is a disease, it often results in dual addiction to multiple substances.

If you’ve found yourself in this boat and are ready to get help, you might have done a bit of preliminary research into possible treatments.

One of the best treatments available for opioid addiction is methadone maintenance treatment, which involves taking a dose of methadone once a day to stave off cravings and prevent other opioids from affecting you.

While this will help you in your fight against opioids, it won’t do anything to help with your alcoholism. In fact, it might even be harmful.

Risk of Liver Damage

Methadone and Alcohol

Taking methadone and alcohol together increases your risk for liver damage.

Unfortunately, both methadone and alcohol have the potential of liver damage.

However, in the case of methadone, this liver damage is only linked to patients that already have chronic liver issues, such as hepatitis B or C.

While this doesn’t affect most people, because drug users are more likely to contract hepatitis due to sharing needles, it can be a bigger concern for those going on methadone.

This can be especially problematic, as one study found that patients who drank alcohol before taking methadone tended to increase their intake after starting on the therapy.

The study, which looked at 68 patients starting MMT, found that 52 percent of people tested positive for alcohol indicators, with 32 percent of people qualifying for alcohol abuse.

After a follow-up exam later during treatment, the same amount of people were still using alcohol. In fact, after further testing, it was found that the people with alcohol indicators had a deterioration in liver function, suggesting that they had started to drink more heavily since taking methadone.

Luckily, the people that had no alcohol indicators to begin with actually had an improvement of liver function, showing that methadone on its own isn’t harmful.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Methadone

Alcohol can have a more direct effect on your health if used in combination with methadone.

For example, both methadone and alcohol suppress the nervous system. If you take too much of either at the same time, you are putting yourself at risk for coma or death.

This combination can also exacerbate the side effects of methadone, making it dangerous to drive or operate other machines. Be sure to alert your doctor if you feel any if these warning symptoms:

  • Experiencing slow or trouble breathing
  • Feeling overly faint or lightheaded
  • Having chest pain
  • Getting a rash or experiencing swelling in your throat or face
  • Feeling your heartbeat increase
  • Feeling confused or having hallucinations

Getting Treatment for Alcoholism While on Methadone

In the past, doctors waited until a person was finished with their methadone treatment before getting them started on treatment for alcoholism.

However, because research has revealed that the medications used to treat alcoholism do not interfere with the effects of methadone, it has been deemed safe to undergo both treatments at the same time.

In fact, by getting treatment for alcoholism while on methadone, it can prevent further damage to the liver and help you feel healthier and happier overall.

Taking the first step towards treatment isn’t easy, as it requires huge focus and determination. However, whenever you’re ready, we’ll be here to help.

Ready to begin your recovery journey? Call 800-678-5931(Who Answers?) to learn about available treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction.

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