How to Stop Using Methadone Safely

Want to Taper Off Methadone? Follow This Guide | Delphi

How to Stop Using Methadone Safely

Opioid addiction is a public health crisis in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes that more than 2 million Americans battled an opioid use disorder in 2017.

Methadone is an opioid drug that is commonly used to treat opioid dependence and addiction. It is a long-acting opioid, which means it can stay active in the brain and body for a longer time than many other opioids.

Because of this, it can be dispensed in lower doses less often to keep drug cravings and significant withdrawal symptoms to a minimum. Methadone has a half-life of between 24 hours and 55 hours, so it can remain active in the bloodstream for up to a few days.

Heroin processes the body in just a few hours.

Methadone is dispensed through federally regulated clinics as part of an opioid treatment program (OTP). It is used for opioid detox and as a maintenance medication.

Opioid drugs interact with brain chemistry, elevating levels of dopamine and suppressing functions of the central nervous system by binding to opioid receptors in the brain.

In doing so, methadone and other opioid drugs can cause a kind of artificial imbalance in the chemical makeup of the brain.

When methadone processes out, the brain can be slow to regulate itself since it is accustomed to relying on the interaction of the drug.

If methadone is not taken again, withdrawal symptoms can occur. Withdrawal can cause emotional distress and physical discomfort, which is compared to a really bad case of the flu.

The intense withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that can accompany methadone withdrawal can make it difficult to stop taking the drug suddenly.

Instead, it is recommended to taper off it slowly to lessen the impact of the potential side effects and to minimize relapse.

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Determine the Level of Dependence

The first thing that needs to be considered in a methadone taper is the level of drug dependence to determine a starting dose and then a tapering schedule. Many factors can influence drug dependence.

How much methadone a person takes, how much is taken at a time, and the length of time methadone has been taken all need to be factored in.

If large doses of methadone have been taken for a long time, the level of dependence is ly high, and the starting dosage may need to be higher than in someone who just started taking it in lower doses.

One of the biggest considerations is how methadone is taken. It is typically dispensed once per day as a tablet, a wafer, or in liquid form through a licensed OTP.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publishes that nearly 2.5 million people in the United States in 2012 reported misusing methadone at least once in their lives. Methadone abuse can increase dependence, and this is further amplified if the drug is taken in a manner other than as intended.

Methadone is designed to be taken by mouth, ingested orally, and metabolized through the gastrointestinal system. If methadone is injected, snorted, or smoked instead, the drug enters the bloodstream differently and is therefore metabolized differently as well.

This can elevate the level of drug dependence more quickly.

All of these things should be considered when starting a methadone taper. The goal is to start with the lowest dosage possible that will minimize drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Lower Dosage in a Controlled Manner

Metabolism, genetics, gender, race, and biological aspects can play a role in how quickly methadone is processed the body. These factors may then affect how the dosage may need to be controlled during a taper.

Opioid tolerance can also influence how quickly methadone will process the body and how often it will need to be taken during a taper.

Tolerance to methadone builds as the drug is taken, and over time, more of the drug will need to be taken for it to keep working the same way.

In someone who is opioid-tolerant, methadone will process the body faster than in someone who is not, and the dosage may need to be adjusted accordingly.

During a methadone taper, the drug should be taken by mouth in exactly the dosage recommended. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that methadone can stay active in the bloodstream even after the effects of the drug seem to have worn off, and increasing the dosage can inadvertently lead to an overdose.

During a methadone taper, the dosage should be lowered slowly and in a controlled fashion. This may need to be adjusted depending on how it is tolerated. For instance, if withdrawal symptoms seem to get worse, the dosage may need to be increased slightly or the taper may need to be slowed down.

A slow methadone taper can take several weeks, lowering the dosage once a week or so. A more rapid methadone taper can lower the dosage by 10 percent every day for a week or two, depending on the starting dose.

The journal The Mental Health Clinician publishes that a methadone taper is highly individual and that dosages will need to be adjusted accordingly during a taper. This can range from lowering the dosage 10 percent to 50 percent daily or over a period of two weeks at a time.

In short, the amount of methadone taken each day during a taper will depend on the person, their tolerance level, and how it feels.

A sample methadone taper may look this:

  • The lower dosage is between 20 percent and 50 percent (as tolerated) each day until it is down to 30 mg per day.
  • Taper dosage down 5 mg to 25 mg after three to five days.
  • Keep lowering dosage every three to five days until down to 10 mg per day.
  • Decrease dosage by 2.5 mg every three to five days until down to zero.

The stabilization amount of methadone may need to be kept up for several days or weeks during a taper until the dosage can safely be stopped. Dosage and tapering should be monitored and adjusted by a health care professional.

One of the important things to consider during a methadone taper is the potential side effects of withdrawal. While tapering methadone down slowly, withdrawal symptoms need to be kept to a minimum.

This may mean that the dosage has to be adjusted and the taper slowed, momentarily stopped, or even raised a dosage level to keep things balanced as much as possible.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms can include emotional symptoms such as:

Methadone Withdrawal Side Effects

  •  Anxiety
  •  Restlessness
  •  Insomnia
  •  Drug cravings
  •  Depression
  •  Agitation
  •  Irritability
  •  Memory issues
  •  Trouble thinking clearly or focusing

Physical side effects are another complication of methadone withdrawal. Among these are:

Physical Side Effects

  •  Nausea
  •  Vomiting
  •  Stomach cramps
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Joint and back pain
  •  Muscle aches
  •  Runny nose
  •  Watery eyes
  •  Dilated pupils
  •  Headache
  •  Blurred vision
  •  Rapid heart rate
  •  Sweating
  •  Chills and goosebumps
  •  Elevated blood pressure
  •  Breathing troubles
  •  Tremors

During a methadone taper, the goal is to keep these side effects to a minimum to reduce the potential for relapse. A relapse, or a return to methadone or opioid use, after detox or a period of abstinence, can greatly elevate the risk for a life-threatening overdose. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that close to 50 people die every day in the United States from an overdose involving a prescription opioid drug.

Minimizing overdose risk during a taper is key, so managing withdrawal symptoms is important. It is important to remember to avoid other central nervous system depressant medications (benzodiazepines, sleep aids, antidepressants, and other opioids) and alcohol during a taper. These can compound the depressant effects of methadone, and the combination can result in unintentional overdose.

During a taper, it is helpful to get enough sleep, drink a lot of water, and eat healthy and balanced meals. This can help the body to heal and make it easier to manage the withdrawal process. Caffeine should be avoided if possible.

Yoga, mindfulness meditation, creative activities, exercise, and massage therapy can help to alleviate stress and promote overall wellness. It can be helpful to keep the mind busy by participating in hobbies or activities that are engaging and fulfilling.

Medications also can be a beneficial tool during a taper to help address some of the side effects of withdrawal. They are regularly used in medical detox programs as appropriate.

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Get the Support of Medical Detox

Detox is the period of time it takes a drug to process the body; it’s essentially the purging of a toxin.

A medical detox program can provide support, medical supervision, encouragement, and medication management during withdrawal.

This is the optimal method for tapering off methadone as it provides a safe and monitored environment as well as many different tools to minimize relapse and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Trained professionals can determine a tapering schedule, including a safe starting dosage, and they can determine the best way to lower the dosage as needed over a set period.

Vital signs and emotional health can be continually evaluated, and the dosage can be adjusted as needed. Medications can also help to alleviate physical and emotional discomfort, and even aid in minimizing drug cravings to reduce the odds of relapse.

Therapeutic approaches can also provide clients with methods of managing potential triggers as they arise.

During medical detox, any co-occurring mental illnesses or medical disorders can be addressed on an as-needed basis. Ultimately, a medical detox program can help to lower the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and provide around-the-clock support, making a successful detox much more ly.


The Best Way to Safely Get Off Methadone

How to Stop Using Methadone Safely

Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that binds to the opioid receptors in the brain for a long time. Depending on the size of the dose, this can be anywhere between 24 hours and 36 hours.

Although it is increasingly being prescribed to treat persistent pain, methadone is most associated with managing a slow detox process for people who have abused opioid drugs heroin for a long time.

Methadone has been successfully used since the 1970s to ease people off heroin abuse or addiction to other potent opioids, but that detox process is slow, as tapering can take months or years.

Since buprenorphine has been approved as another maintenance drug for people detoxing from opioid abuse, methadone is no longer the primary approach to this form of drug treatment. However, the drug saw an increase in popularity as a potential prescription analgesic since it binds to opioid receptors in the brain for a long time.

Unfortunately, methadone has been found to not be as effective in pain management because the analgesic effects wear off faster than other metabolites in the drug. This means people who take methadone to ease their pain may suffer more pain between doses, and they are more ly to accidentally overdose if they take a dose too soon.

Broader access to methadone also means the drug is more widely abused to get high, which is a highly dangerous practice.

Abusing methadone increases the risk of overdose, and developing physical dependence on the drug means you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it or try to quit.

Since methadone remains in the body for a long time, withdrawal symptoms tend to last longer than other, shorter-acting opioid drugs.

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What are the Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal?

Without a tapering regimen or another maintenance drug buprenorphine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms associated with methadone. If you take methadone as a pain medication, and you want to stop, your doctor will work with you to slowly taper off the substance.

Even people who take methadone as prescribed and do not abuse the drug are at risk of developing a physical tolerance to it, which can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking the medication.

People who are tapering off opioids with methadone use this long-acting narcotic to ease withdrawal symptoms, but they also may develop a dependence on methadone while they are tapering; however, addiction specialists will monitor this closely and adjust the tapering process as needed.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms, other types of opioid withdrawal, occurs in two basic stages. However, because methadone’s metabolites remain in the body for so long, the first wave of symptoms will not occur for around 30 hours. The body completely metabolizes methadone in 24 hours to 36 hours, depending on the size of the dose.

The first group includes the following symptoms:

  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Yawning

Symptoms of withdrawal may feel the flu at first, but they will become more uncomfortable during the first few days. Second-stage symptoms may include the following:

  • Muscle aches and twinges
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps in the intestines or muscles
  • Goosebumps
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings for the drug

The first week is typically when symptoms will feel the most intense, and then they will gradually fade away over the next several weeks.

While most opioid withdrawal symptoms are gone after about 10 days, methadone withdrawal can take several weeks. This means that medical intervention in the form of medication and tapering is crucial.

Withdrawal discomfort can cause a relapse, which will ly lead to an overdose.

Evidence-Based Approaches to Detox and Rehabilitation

To safely and successfully overcome methadone abuse, you should consider entering an inpatient detox and rehabilitation program. Since methadone withdrawal takes some time, managing the process with consistent medical supervision may be the best approach to safely ending your body’s dependence on the drug.

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Whether you enter an inpatient or outpatient detox program, your supervising clinician will manage a tapering schedule for you.

It is not ly that you will taper methadone since that is the main substance of abuse, but you may receive buprenorphine as a maintenance medication instead. While methadone is a long-lasting opioid agonist, buprenorphine is a long-acting partial opioid agonist.

This means that, in people whose bodies are used to the presence of opioids, buprenorphine will not feel intoxicating at all. Instead, they will feel healthy and stable.

Once you have been stabilized on buprenorphine, your detox clinician will gradually taper your body off the substance. This can take several weeks of reducing the buprenorphine dose by 0.25 mg (milligrams) to 1 mg per week. As you slowly taper off that substance and show you are stable, you should participate in a  rehabilitation program that specializes in opioid addiction.

Rehabilitation offers, at minimum, consistent group therapy to help you understand and change your behaviors around drugs and alcohol. Intensive, inpatient rehabilitation also may offer individual therapy, complementary therapies exercise and nutrition counseling, art therapy, meditation, and even occupational or physical therapy.

Once you are no longer physically dependent on any opioid drug, you may receive a prescription for naltrexone. This drug has been found to reduce cravings for and intoxication from both alcohol and opioids.

While you take naltrexone, you may not experience cravings for depressant drugs, especially opioids or alcohol. If you do relapse while you are taking this medication, you will not get high from methadone or any other opioid.

This helps to reinforce that you do not need these drugs to feel normal.

Methadone may take weeks or months to detox from, but there are programs that thoroughly understand this process and how best to apply evidence-based treatment to help you.


Methadone Detox: How Long Does It Take?

How to Stop Using Methadone Safely

Methadone is a unique drug in that while it can help with the recovery process from certain addictions, it is also a powerful enough substance that it can lead to addiction as well.

Unfortunately, for those who get addicted to methadone, getting off of it can be a real challenge. The time it takes to withdraw and detox off of methadone can be a lengthy one as well as an uncomfortable and unpleasant one as well.

The good news is, there are safe ways to go about doing it.

Let’s take a look at what methadone is, how people get addicted to it, and the methadone detox process.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is traditionally prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. As mentioned in the intro, it is also commonly used to help in treating certain opiate addictions such as heroin.

Similar to other opioids, methadone attaches itself to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system. As a result, it can be highly addictive, and people using methadone can easily become dependent on the drug, even if they are using it as prescribed.

Methadone is considered a Schedule II drug, which is the same level as other opioids such as morphine and hydrocodone.

There are two common ways in which someone can become addicted to methadone.

The first occurs when someone is prescribed methadone by a doctor for pain management. Since it is a powerful opioid, the body can quickly build up a dependence on the substance. This can result in the body needing more and more methadone to not only reach its desired effect but even just to function properly. When this happens, the body has developed an addiction to the substance.

Another common way in which someone becomes addicted to methadone is during treatment for another substance addiction. Methadone is used to treat those suffering from other extreme opioid addictions such as heroin.

However, for someone who already finds themselves suffering from addiction, the chances that a methadone dependency and addiction develop are significantly higher. Since it curbs cravings and helps reduce the negative side effects associated with opioid withdrawal, the body can become dependent on it.

As a result, the body thinks that it needs methadone in order to feel it can function properly.

When someone finds themselves addicted to methadone, the signs and symptoms are very similar to that of other opioids such as heroin or morphine. Un these other opioids, though, methadone tends to stay in the body longer. This makes the symptoms associated with methadone addiction and withdrawal more severe.

When someone who is addicted to methadone begins to withdrawal from the substance, they can expect to experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach issues
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Cravings

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a medical professional. You will ly need to enter into a medically-supervised detox program in order to safely detox and withdraw from the methadone.

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Because of the nature of methadone, the entire withdrawal and detox process can take significantly longer than with other opioids and other addictive substances.

Symptoms can begin within the first 24 hours after you used methadone last, and the entire withdrawal process can last up to several weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction.

Here is a breakdown of what you can expect during the first few weeks of the methadone withdrawal timeline:

Days 1 and 2

With the initial withdrawal symptoms not typically showing up for at least 24 hours after the last dose is taken, the first two days tend to be pretty normal. During the first two days, you may begin to experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Chills

Days 3 through 8

It’s during this time period when the methadone withdrawal symptoms will typically hit their peak. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the symptoms can be anywhere from relatively mild to extreme.

This is also the time period when cravings will be the strongest.

In addition to the symptoms that you might have begun feeling during the first two days, additional symptoms that you may experience during days 3 through 8 include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Irritability,
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Flu- physical symptoms

Days 9 through 15

Once you have hit day 9, you will ly notice that some of the symptoms have begun to subside. However, that doesn’t mean that you are in the clear yet. During this time, you will ly still experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Strong cravings
  • Physical discomfort
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

Days 15 and On

Symptoms such as strong cravings, low energy levels, and trouble sleeping can persist for weeks after you have stopped taking methadone.

In addition, in the weeks and months after stopping taking methadone, many people have reported experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms, otherwise known as PAWS.

Those experiencing PAWS may continue to do so for months or even years after they have stopped taking methadone.

Some common symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal include:

  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

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Many people struggle when it comes to getting off methadone for a couple of reasons. They might be afraid of the symptoms that will come along with withdrawal.

They might have even made an attempt to detox at home, and the side effects were so bad they decided to just continue using.

If you’re someone who has attempted to get off of methadone and has struggled, the best and safest way to withdraw from methadone is by detoxing under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals.

Methadone detox can be done at several facilities. These include a medical facility such as a hospital, a dedicated detox center, or even a treatment facility that also provides detox services, such as Chapel Hill Medical Detox. Attempting to self-detox at home can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening. It can also increase the lihood of a relapse.

One of the biggest benefits of undergoing a medical detox is the around-the-clock medical care and supervision. Because you have trained medical professionals constantly checking on you, they can make the entire withdrawal and detox process as painless and comfortable as possible. They will also make sure that you are slowly weaned off the methadone as opposed to just quitting cold-turkey.

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After you have successfully detoxed off of methadone, the next step is to undergo treatment for your addiction. The two most common types of treatment for methadone addiction are inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is ideal for those suffering from moderate to severe methadone addiction.

Since participating in an inpatient treatment program means you live at the facility during the duration of your treatment, you have access to around-the-clock medical care and treatment.

You’ll also have a variety of therapy programs including individual and group therapy, as well as many other valuable programs such as life skills training and access to aftercare programs as well.

Outpatient Treatment

For those who are suffering from a minor methadone addiction or for whatever reason can’t commit to living at the treatment facility, there is outpatient treatment. There are many different options when it comes to outpatient treatment.

These include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, and standard outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment provides many of the same services that inpatient treatment does such as therapy sessions.

The biggest difference is that you come to the facility during the day for treatment and then return home at the end of each day when your daily activities have been completed.

Contact Us

Whether you became addicted to methadone through recreational use, a prescription, or even being given it to help with another opioid addiction, it’s important to know that you are not alone.

Getting off of methadone can make for a scary and uncomfortable time.

That’s why at Chapel Hill Medical Detox, we provide a variety of treatment programs and services in order to make the entire withdrawal, detox, and treatment process as comfortable and painless as possible.

We offer a variety of treatment options all aimed at getting you off methadone and getting your life back on track. We want everyone that enters our facility to go on to live a happy, healthy, and sober life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a methadone addiction or dependency and could benefit from treatment, contact us today to learn more about the treatment options we have available, as well as our methadone detox programs.

Taking the first step can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out today for a confidential conversation


Key Facts About Methadone: Detox and Withdrawal Timeline

How to Stop Using Methadone Safely

Methadone. More addictive than OxyContin or heroin. Harder to detox from than OxyContin or heroin. A dangerous opioid. Horrible side effects. Rough withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Methadone?

A physical addiction to methadone doesn’t take long to develop. And for people who are interested in quitting methadone, the withdrawal symptoms can be powerful. Methadone users usually start feeling withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last dose. However, others don’t feel the pangs of withdrawal for several days after their last dose.

The first seven to 10 days are the most painful days of withdrawal. The entire withdrawal process takes three to six weeks or longer for those with a severe addiction and for those who have been taking a higher dose than 40 milligrams.

Here is the breakdown of the detox timeline for methadone. Click on any of the following four-time frames to learn the methadone withdrawal symptoms one may experience during that span:

The First 24 Hours of Methadone Withdrawal

  • Chills, fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle aches
  • Flu- symptoms

Days 2-10

  • Strong methadone cravings
  • Paranoia, hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, anxiety
  • Flu- symptoms persisting

Days 11-21

  • Most physical symptoms are over
  • Strong methadone cravings
  • Depression – sometimes severe
  • No motivation, no feelings of pleasure

Days 22+

  • Intermittent depression may occur
  • Other mild symptoms may remain for several weeks

This timeline is for someone taking up to a maximum of 40 milligrams. For those using more than that dosage, the timeline will ly be different.

Methadone Dosing

Methadone is most commonly used for two reasons: detoxification of opioid dependence and opioid replacement therapy. Dosage depends on the goal of treatment. The medically approved dosing information below applies to adults.

Short-Term Detox with Methadone

When medical professionals use methadone to detox a patient from opioid addiction, they should treat it as a brief course to stabilize the patient. After stabilization, a period of medically supervised withdrawal should occur with a gradual reduction in dosage.

Day 1: Administer a dose of 40 milligrams per day to the patient, in divided doses.

After 2-3 days: Gradually decrease the dose in two-day intervals while maintaining a sufficient dose to keep withdrawal symptoms tolerable.

Methadone Dosing for Opioid Dependence

When methadone is used for detoxification and maintenance treatment of opioid addiction, the dose administered is different than in short-term detox. When seeking treatment for opioid addiction, patients should only use methadone in conjunction with appropriate medical, social and psychological services.

Why Methadone May Be Given for Opioid Detox

The goal of using methadone to detox someone from heroin or other strong opioids is to:

  • Titrate to a dose that prevents opioid withdrawal.
  • Reduce the patient’s hunger and craving for their addictive drug of choice.
  • Block the euphoric effects of recreational opioid use.
  • Ensure the patient is tolerant of the sedative effects of methadone.
  • Reach a commonly targeted range of 80 to 120 milligrams daily for therapeutic efficacy.

For cessation of therapy, abrupt discontinuation is not advised due to severe withdrawal effects. Decreasing the patient’s dose should typically be only 10 percent at a time every 10 to 14 days.

Oral Methadone Dosage

The initial oral dose of methadone for opioid addiction typically is 20 to 30 milligrams. An additional dose of 5 to 10 milligrams can be given orally if withdrawal symptoms are not repressed or if symptoms reappear.

The guidelines are:

  • Maximum initial dose: 30 milligrams
  • Maximum first day dose: 40 milligrams
  • Adjust the dose over the first week to control symptoms two to four hours after dosing.

Methadone levels accumulate over time, so the detox professionals should carefully and gradually titrate each patient down.

Injectable or IV Methadone Dosing Guidelines

For patients in a hospital or recovery facility, an injectable form of methadone is still currently available. Particularly for patients who cannot take medications orally, parenteral methadone can be a temporary treatment for opioid dependence.

A patient’s oral dose should be converted to an IV version in a 2-to-1 ratio (i.e., oral methadone 10 milligrams is equivalent to 5 milligrams of parenteral methadone).

General Guidelines for Dosing

Keep in mind that all dosing information and guidelines for methadone in this article are for adults only. Pregnant women will require different detoxification guidelines. This information is not for medical advice or to take the place of a professional doctor’s opinion for any specific patient.

Here are some general guidelines for methadone dosing:

  • Lower doses are for patients whose tolerance is expected to be lower upon entering treatment.
  • Patients who have taken opioids for fewer than 5 days may no longer be tolerant.
  • The initial doses are not previous treatment.
  • Patients should not expect methadone to work as a complete pain reliever.
  • If patients in treatment are in acute pain, they may require higher or more frequent doses.

High-Dose Methadone

What constitutes a high dose of methadone?

Most traditional methadone detox programs will not accept patients who have been taking more than 80 milligrams of methadone daily. It is considered high-dose methadone.

However, many people end up using 150, 200 or even 300 milligrams per day.

Oftentimes, the people who go to treatment for other opioid addictions, heroin, end up being weaned with methadone. When withdrawal symptoms are severe, professionals may administer higher and higher doses of methadone. Finally, the patient only ends up with a new addiction to methadone instead of heroin.

Other times, patients with acute pain end up depending on methadone at increasing doses until they have a dependency on a high dose. Using methadone for long-term opioid maintenance can leave you feeling stuck since you’re taking a drug that you can never seem to reduce for years and years.

Getting Off Methadone

You can get off methadone, but it’s not easy. You must be sure it’s what you want to do and be willing to stick to a plan for anywhere up to 18 months to achieve it on your own.

Here are some guidelines for detoxing from methadone:

  • Educate yourself about the subjects methadone, detox and endorphins.
  • Talk to your doctor about how to gradually stop taking methadone.
  • Find an alternative medicine doctor to help you with the process.
  • Find a therapist if you are stopping methadone from a previous heroin or opioid addiction.
  • Focus on good hydration, multivitamins and enriching nutritious meals.
  • Learn how to monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and pulse.
  • Start doing exercise now to prepare and work your way up.
  • Search methadone detox centers that will taper you down quickly, and find out what services they offer beyond detox.

These ideas should not take the place of a physician’s advice. For patients on high-dose methadone, this process typically takes six to 18 months to do on your own.

Finding Guidance

Family First Intervention does not assist families in finding methadone clinics or long-term opioid maintenance programs, nor do we assist in getting individuals on methadone for any long-term use.

However, we can help you get a family member into a methadone detox facility and off an opioid maintenance plan or opioid replacement therapy permanently. Family First Intervention can indeed help in finding a detox center for high-dose methadone as well.

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