Dangers and Treatment Options for Methadone Addiction
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: January 24, 2013

Methadone is a synthetic drug that has opium-like qualities, used to treat pain as well as reducing the effects of heroin withdrawal. Opiates have become increasingly popular because of the increased use of opiate prescription drugs like OxyContin and hydrocodone. Methadone is sometimes used during the opiate detox process of addiction treatment. Even when used as a maintenance program to stop heroin addiction, methadone has become an abused drug of choice itself.

History of Methadone Addiction

Methadone addiction can be just as difficult to stop as any other opiate. Methadone was first used in the United States in 1947. Today, methadone clinics treat heroin addicts and those addicted to opiates. Clinics use methadone because of its long-lasting effects making it an effective medicine to reduce withdrawal symptoms from opiate addiction. Many state and local governments find that it is less expensive to treat addicts with methadone than leave them addicted to opiates.

Dangers of Methadone Addiction

Though methadone is commonly used, it has adverse reactions and side effects. Some of methadone’s side effects include hallucinations, vomiting, dry mouth, nausea, low blood pressure, heart troubles such as cardiac arrhythmias, enlarged breast tissue in men, itchy skin, blood clots, respiratory depression or hypoventilation, and more. Those using methadone must stay in touch with their health care provider and should seek medical treatment immediately if reactions are severe.

Methadone is also used frequently because it is inexpensive. Some insurance policies cover methadone treatment. Those taking methadone must ensure they follow their dosing instructions to prevent overdose.

Methadone Treatment Information

Those who need to detox from these dangerous and highly addictive opiates should seek help immediately and begin an approved treatment to stop methadone and other opiate addictions. By working with professionals, you can begin addiction treatment and break your substance abuse patterns. It is important that those dealing with drug addiction address underlying emotional issues that led to the addiction in the first place. For those who detox and successfully break their addiction to opiates as well as methadone, counseling is often required. Help is available for those who are struggling with addiction.

  • Methadone: Medline Plus examines methadone and its impact on those addicted to heroin.
  • Methadone Maintenance Treatment: The Centers for Disease Control explores methadone in this PDF document.
  • What is Methadone? The National Drug Intelligence Center focuses on methadone including how it is used, what it looks like, and abusing methadone.
  • Resources for parents and families: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created this webpage to provide recovery resources for parents and families.