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  Methadone

Methadone is an opioid medication sometimes referred as a narcotic. The drug is used to reduce withdrawal symptoms for people undergoing detoxification for heroin and other narcotic drugs. Methadone does not produce “high” sensation which often associated with drug addiction.

Also, methadone is commonly used as a pain reliever. It serves as an important medication in the detoxification process. Methadone is only available in selected certified pharmacies.

 

Quick Facts about Methadone:

  • In a study of the Drug Enforcement Administration:
  • From the year 1999 to 2005, overdose deaths because of methadone increased around 460%
  • In 2011, records shows that over 65,000 emergency room visits were related to methadone abuse.
  • About 2.5 million people ages 12 years old and above abused methadone in some point in their life in 2012. The number grew from 2.1 million in just one year.

 

History of Methadone

Scientists working in I.G. Farbenindustrie AG at Farbwerke Hoechst in Germany developed methadone in 1937. During those times, Germany suffers from opium shortage problem and scientists have to think a way to solve it.

 

Bockmühl and Ehrhart filed for a patent for a synthetic drug similar to morphine on September 11, 1941. They called the drug Hoechst 10820 or Polamidon. During the WWII, methadone was widely used in Germany.

 

After the war, the US Department of Commerce Intelligence under the Technical Industrial Committer of the US Senate brought methadone in the US. Their investigation revealed that even though methadone contains addictive properties, it offers less sedation and respiratory distress than morphine.  After the war, ten years later, Eli Lilly introduced the drug into the US.

 

Does Methadone Block Opiates?

Methadone binds itself to opiate receptor sites in the brain, occupying them so that other opiates cannot attach themselves. In turn, users won’t feel the “high” and resume their daily activities. Methadone can also limit cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms including those opiate addicts experience during a relapse. Also, methadone can make the user feel more stable.

One of the legitimate medicine assisted treatments (MAT) used to help heroin and other opioid users overcome their addiction is Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT). It is believed to have three major benefits.

  • MMT curbs cravings and urges to use opiates.
  • MMT minimizes and eliminates withdrawal symptoms related to opiate use, abuse and dependence.
  • MMT blocks the effects of opiates making it very difficult to get that euphoric high.

The half-life of Methadone is approximately 2-3 days. That means, approximately half of the medication stays in the system. This is the reason why methadone users can go several days without treatment before they start to feel methadone-related withdrawal symptoms.

However, there are sources that suggest otherwise.

For them, methadone is unable to block the effects of opiates.

Myaddiction.com states that a synthetic opiate like methadone will not be able to block the effects of other kinds of opiates. If taken with other opiates, methadone can have a very dangerous effect on the body and the person could even overdose on the substance.

Opium.org, also, was very clear on their stand that methadone does not block opiates. The source believes that blocking opiates is not enough to help an addicted user avoid relapse.

Several other users have commented on such sources saying that higher doses of methadone have the capacity to block the effects of opiates including Oxycodone.

MMT for the treatment of opiate addiction

If possible, unless otherwise stated by a licensed medical professional, the responsible thing to do would be to tell your physician that you are suffering from opiate addiction.

Hence, you should ask for a non-opioid medication for pain management and relief from withdrawal symptoms. Apparently blocking these effects can relapse into addiction and ruin your whole recovery.

While there is currently enough evidence to suggest that MMT is able to block the effects of opiates, we are also led to believe that there is sufficient evidence to the contrary. Using methadone for the treatment of opioid addiction should not be taken so lightly. In fact, before medical professionals prescribe this form of treatment, they usually weigh in a lot of things including the risk that the person may become addicted to methadone instead.

What causes Methadone addiction?

Like other opiates, methadone acts in the brain opioid receptors which control the reward system function. Even though methadone is used as a medical management treatment for heroin addiction, it also contains potential characteristics for addiction. The problem with patients is that from heroin addiction, they often develop methadone addiction.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of Methadone addiction?

Methadone which contains 22-hour half-life acts longer but is less potent than heroin. Because of these properties, experts use methadone to treat withdrawal symptoms.

 

The use of methadone for opioid addiction is called as Methadone Maintenance Therapy or MMT. The treatment only transpires in a certified methadone clinic. However, even if methadone is used for medical treatment of opiate addiction, it also contains properties that make it prone to abuse.

 

Signs of methadone addiction include:

  • Using the drug more that the prescribed dosage
  • Taking the drug outside of prescriptions. Clinics generally require the user to take methadone inside their facility, but some can buy it elsewhere like on the black market
  • “Doctor shopping”, a behavior for getting legal prescription from different doctors
  • Skipping schedule drug intake to have a ‘stockpile’ for high-dose administration later
  • Ignoring responsibilities at work, school, and even relationships
  • Physical Signs of Methadone addiction include:
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Increased pain
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

 

Short-Term Effects of Methadone

The effects of methadone are somewhat similar to heroin but longer-lasting and less intense. It usually lasts up to 24 hours; heroin lasting effects reach up to 2-3 hours. Methadone also slows down a person’s reaction, which makes movements more exaggerated or lethargic. This makes the user prone to accidents since they cannot respond quickly enough.

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Relaxation
  • Respiratory distress
  • Sedation

 

Long Term Effects of Methadone Abuse

Around 5,000 people die because of methadone abuse annually. This commonly happens when users mix the drug with other substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

 

Health complications from methadone abuse vary because of the genetic make-up of each individual, length of time which they used the substance even the duration of the intake. Prolonged methadone abuse can result in devastating effects on the overall well-being of the user. Some of the long-term effects include:

 

  • Impaired judgment
  • Heart complications
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Respiratory problems

Blood borne disease like HIV, Hepatitis C (related with multiple injection uses or in multiple doses as well as sharing of needles.)

Furthermore, long-term heavy use of the drug will build tolerance in the body. Users must take higher doses of methadone to get the same effect. This behavior often leads to overdose.

 

Overdose symptoms include:

 

  • Breathing problems/shallow, slow breathing
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure
  • Twitching muscles
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cyanosis  or bluish color of fingernails and lips
  • Coma
  • Death

What are the treatments available for Methadone addiction?

Fortunately, there is still hope for methadone addiction. Getting a proper assessment is a very crucial step to take. Usually, a treatment program includes detox, then a residential rehabilitation or an outpatient treatment.

 

Detoxification

To get rid of all traces of opioid use such as methadone, a detoxification process is a must. In this process, users will undergo medication which will eventually eliminate the drug from the body. However, supervision from medical practitioners for methadone detox is highly recommended. Besides administering the medication, they will ensure the total safety and comfort of the user.

 

Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 24 hours from the last drug intake. For some users, it can take longer depending on how they used the drug.  During the first week until 10 days, users will experience the worst symptoms accompanied with flu-like symptoms. Also, interconnected psychological symptoms will also surface like paranoia and depression. However, the symptoms will eventually fade within several weeks.

 

The usual withdrawal symptoms include:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

 

Rehabilitation

A therapist can guide the user in getting back their essential skills to get back to their daily lives. Some may include group therapy sessions or other physical activities to regain their vitality. They can also evaluate and treat the main cause for methadone addiction. This will ensure the user to recover from their addiction.

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline *depends on factors like weight and tolerance
During the first 24 hours During the first 24 hours from the last drug intake, users can experience the physical symptoms like chills, fever, erratic heartbeat, and muscle pains.
2 to 10 days For the following days, users can feel extreme methadone cravings. The psychological symptoms may also begin to start like insomnia, anxiety, and paranoia. Aside from these, they will also experience flu-like symptoms but will improve after a week or so.
.
11 to 21 days About half way through the detox process, symptoms should fade. However, some users especially those who took the drug heavily in long term may still feel intense cravings for methadone. Depression may start to kick in as well, and users will find it difficult to get motivated.
22 days and beyond All of the symptoms should disappear at this time. However, mild traces of the symptoms may remain. Users can still experience depression for several weeks.

What is a Methadone Clinic?

What to Expect when you Seek TreatmentA methadone clinic is a drug treatment facility that mainly works with opioid-addicted individuals. They specialize in programs that make use of methadone as a core part of the treatment process. Keep in mind that methadone treatment is just one of the many ways of treating addiction.

Different facilities may have different approaches, so if you are interested in getting sober again, you should find out what programs the rehab facility offers. A methadone clinic, for example, is only suitable for people addicted to narcotics.

If you are addicted to an opiate or an opioid, a methadone clinic can provide ongoing medication maintenance to help you quit the drug.

What Happens During the Assessment?

The first step in getting methadone maintenance is an assessment. Anyone can receive an assessment for methadone maintenance in this type of clinic. Some people might get intimidated, but rest assured, methadone clinics foster a welcoming environment for those seeking medical assistance. Their goal is to help you recover.

During the assessment, you will have to provide some necessary details about yourself like your age, sex, date of birth, medical and psychiatric history, past and current drug use, and history of withdrawal symptoms. You also have to provide information about past or present thoughts of suicide, or suicide attempts.

The staff members have to know these details to ensure your safety during the treatment. Everyone goes through addiction differently, so expect addiction treatment to be personalized. A proper treatment plan will be created based on your needs.

It is important that you provide honest answers and tell them about other drugs you are using if any. If not, you could be placing yourself at risk of accidental overdose. Tell them if you are drinking alcohol, taking any prescription medications, or using other drugs recreationally.

How Does Treatment Work?

Methadone is an opioid that attaches to the same receptors that other opioids bind to. This means that it will lessen your risk of abusing your drug of choice because the brain no longer craves it. It feels “satisfied” with the presence of opioids. However, methadone is different because it does not create the usual euphoric sensation. It will not get you high.

Methadone is used in treatment because it allows you to slowly get off of the drug. It makes you less dependent on opioids. It is used in the process of medical detox which involves weaning the patient off of the drug while taking care of their withdrawal symptoms.

A high-risk patient may have to stay in the facility for the duration of the treatment. This is called inpatient treatment, and it allows the medical staff to keep an eye on you and your progress. It gives you access to the medical attention and cares you need during the treatment.

Eventually, the patient transitions to outpatient treatment, which means they need to return to the clinic every day to receive the supervised daily dosage.

A low-risk patient may be set up with outpatient care right away. It involves minimal screening but regular visits to the hospital to make sure that progress is still being made.

If you or someone you care about is going through opioid addiction, look for a methadone clinic near you and find out if it’s suitable for them.

The Dangers of Methadone

The Side Effects of MethadoneMethadone is known to reduce symptoms of withdrawal in individuals who are dealing with narcotic addiction. It is important to mention that this drug is safe unless taken improperly. It takes a significantly large amount of methadone to get high. It also greatly reduces the risk of relapse. This is why methadone treatment is a very popular technique used in drug rehab facilities.

Still, it comes with its own dangers. The risk of experiencing adverse health effects increases if a person abuses their methadone prescription.

Common side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, lightheadedness, sexual impotence, and gastrointestinal distress. But these effects are rather mild and may be encountered occasionally by those who are taking the drug properly.

If a person abuses the drug, the risk of serious side effects increases. They may experience tremors, fainting, respiratory depression, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and anaphylactic reactions. And again, there’s also that chance of overdosing on methadone, which can be fatal.

The adverse effects mentioned above are merely the physical side effects caused by methadone abuse. However, there are also psychological side effects like insomnia, depression, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and impaired concentration.

If someone you care about is suddenly showing changes in behavior, it might be due to their methadone intake. There’s a chance they might be abusing their methadone prescription. Some people even get suicidal thoughts due to methadone abuse.

Methadone addiction may be less common compared to other opioids, but this is a very real issue that can cause long-term problems. Addiction to this substance can have an incredibly dangerous impact on a person. Long-term abuse of this drug can lead to tolerance and physical dependence. Dependence would involve becoming unable to function properly without taking the drug. The person will go into withdrawal if they don’t take methadone.

At this point, proper addiction treatment becomes essential to their recovery. They need a comprehensive treatment plan so that they could receive the medical attention they need. They may go through behavioral therapy to address the emotional and psychological effects of addiction.

Techniques like group therapy and counseling could help tackle the root of the addictive behavior. This is just as important as the medical detox process, where the drug user is slowly weaned off of methadone.

It’s worth remembering that methadone is a safe and helpful drug under most circumstances. But all opioids can be dangerous once abused. So if you know someone who is taking methadone to deal with a different addiction, make sure you help them stick with their prescription.

About Boca Raton

Boca Raton ( BOH-kə rə-TOHN; Spanish: Boca Ratón [ˈboka raˈton]) is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population was 97,422 in the 2020 census and it ranked as the 23rd-largest city in Florida in 2022. However, many people with a Boca Raton postal address live outside of municipal boundaries, such as in West Boca Raton. As a business center, the city also experiences significant daytime population increases. Boca Raton is 45 miles (72 km) north of Miami and is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which had a population of 6,138,333 at the 2020 United States Census.It was first incorporated on August 2, 1924 as "Bocaratone," and then incorporated as "Boca Raton" on May 26, 1925. While the area had been inhabited by the Glades culture, as well as Spanish and later British colonial empires prior to its annexation by the United States, the city's present form was developed predominantly by Addison Mizner starting in the 1920s. Mizner contributed to many buildings in the area having Mediterranean Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Boca Raton also became a key city in the development of the early computer industry. The city is the birthplace of IBM's first personal computer and various other technologies created by the company. Brightline has a Boca Raton station that provides passenger rail service to Miami and Orlando. Still centered around luxury beach culture, the city today is dotted by many malls and shopping centers, including the Town Center at Boca Raton. The ODP Corporation, which operates Office Depot and OfficeMax, is headquartered here. Boca Raton is also home to the main campus of Florida Atlantic University and the Evert Tennis Academy, owned by former professional tennis player Chris Evert. The city has a strict development code for the size and types of commercial buildings, building signs, and advertisements that may be erected within the city limit, which has led to major thoroughfares without billboards and large advertisements, as well as increased green spaces on roads.

About Florida

Florida is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It borders the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Alabama to the northwest, Georgia to the north, the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Straits of Florida and Cuba to the south. It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. With a population over 21 million, it is the third-most populous state in the nation and ranks eighth in population density as of 2020. It spans 65,758 square miles (170,310 km2), ranking 22nd in area among the 50 states. The Miami metropolitan area, anchored by the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, is the state's largest metropolitan area with a population of 6.138 million, and the state's most-populous city is Jacksonville with a population of 949,611. Florida's other major population centers include Tampa Bay, Orlando, Cape Coral, and the state capital of Tallahassee. Various American Indian tribes have inhabited Florida for at least 14,000 years. In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, as member of the Conquistadors of the Kingdom of Spain, became the first known European to make landfall, calling the region La Florida ([la floˈɾiða]) for its lush greenery and the Easter season (Pascua Florida in Spanish). Florida subsequently became the first area in the continental U.S. to be permanently settled by Europeans, with the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, founded in 1565, being the oldest continuously inhabited city. Florida was a Spanish territory frequently attacked and coveted by Great Britain before Spain ceded it to the U.S. in 1819 in exchange for resolving the border dispute along the Sabine River in Spanish Texas. Florida was admitted as the 27th state on March 3, 1845 and was the principal location of the Seminole Wars (1816–1858), the longest and most extensive of the Indian Wars in U.S. history. The state seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861, becoming one of the seven original Confederate States, and was readmitted to the Union after the Civil War on June 25, 1868. Since the mid-20th century, Florida has experienced rapid demographic and economic growth. Its economy, with a gross state product (GSP) of $1.4 trillion, is the fourth-largest of any U.S. state and the 16th-largest in the world; the main sectors are tourism, hospitality, agriculture, real estate, and transportation. Florida is world-renowned for its beach resorts, amusement parks, warm and sunny climate, and nautical recreation; attractions such as Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami Beach draw tens of millions of visitors annually. Florida is a popular destination for retirees, seasonal vacationers, and both domestic and international migrants; it hosts nine out of the ten fastest-growing communities in the U.S. The state's close proximity to the ocean has shaped its culture, identity, and daily life; its colonial history and successive waves of migration are reflected in African, European, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian influences. Florida has attracted or inspired some of the most prominent American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes, particularly in golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports. Florida has been considered a battleground state in American presidential elections, particularly those in 2000, 2016, and 2020. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, spanning approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including its many barrier islands. Florida has 4,510 islands that are ten acres (4.0 hectares) or larger in area, the second-largest of any state after Alaska. Much of Florida is at or near sea level, and is characterized by sedimentary soil. Florida is the flattest state in the country, with the lowest high point of any U.S. state, at just 345 feet (105 meters). Florida's climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. It is the only state besides Hawaii to have a tropical climate, and is the only continental state with both a tropical climate, located at the southern portion of the state, and a coral reef. Florida has several unique ecosystems, including Everglades National Park, the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S. and among the largest in the Americas. Unique wildlife include the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, and manatee. The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, and the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef.
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