Tag Archives: methadone

What to Know About Quitting Methadone Cold Turkey

tips for finding treatmentTaking methadone as part of a maintenance program in the treatment heroin addiction or an addiction to prescription painkillers can be highly effective for some, but the eventual need to quit using methadone can provide a number of potential downfalls. Quitting Methadone cold turkey can lead to increased withdrawal symptoms, heightened risk of relapse and an overall fear of taking the medication in the future. Here’s what you should know before you make the decision to quit taking methadone cold turkey.

Effects of Inmates Who Were Forced to Quit Methadone Cold Turkey while Incarcerated

According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Negative methadone withdrawal experiences also negatively influenced participants’ receptivity to seeking methadone treatment upon release.”  A further study concluded that, inmates who were forced to quit without any help or tapering off report going through great lengths to get their hands on any type of drug to qualm their withdrawal symptoms. Inmates injured themselves, reported symptoms related to other disorders such as alcoholism or psychotic episodes, and even took the medications of other inmates in order to “try” to feel better when they withdrew from methadone in prison or jail when no other help is provided.

Dangers of Quitting Methadone Cold Turkey for Pregnant Women

Studies show that pregnant women who are prescribed methadone and quit cold turkey are at heightened risk of relapse. Additionally, “doing so can induce withdrawal symptoms in the baby and cause an unintended abortion.”

A methadone tapering schedule can be an effective means of quitting methadone for women following pregnancy. This involves medically supervised withdrawal that takes place under the direct care of a physician and which ensures the safety of the recovering mother.

Inpatient rehab centers can help you get sober. Call our helpline at 1-888-605-7779 and we’ll connect you with a rehab center that can help you get sober once and for all.

If you are pregnant and taking methadone, talk with your doctor before making any decision to quit using the medication. Studies show that it’s generally better (more advisable) to continue taking methadone during the pregnancy as the decision to quit using the medication during pregnancy increases the risk of relapse, can increase symptoms of withdrawal and may pose undue stress to the unborn fetus resulting in premature labor and subsequent premature birth.

How Should I Quit Using Methadone?

Methadone maintenance treatment should be tapered off gradually at a rate of .25 mg every 3-5 days until the patient reaches a zero dosing level.

Various factors can affect a patient’s ability to taper the drug off effectively and according to the National Library of Medicine, “Although factors associated with successful termination of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) have been well studied, the question of why certain methadone patients try to taper off methadone while others do not is still unanswered.”

According to the CDC, “realistic expectations of treatment reflect the understanding that recovery is a day-to-day process with occasional relapses.”

Multiple social services are likely necessary when quitting methadone. Such services can include support groups, sober living, counseling, behavioral therapy and medical care. Studies show that when quitting methadone, individuals experience the greatest chance of full recovery when they become involved in counseling, support groups and therapy. Detox is also a necessary starting point for those in recovery as, without such, the risk of dangerous withdrawal is eminent.

Getting Help

If you or someone you love has been taking methadone for a period of time, whether as the result of an addiction or as the result of having been prescribed the medication for the treatment of pain or for the treatment of an opiate addiction, consider seeking help. Quitting methadone cold turkey is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous.

Call our helpline at 1-888-605-7779 today to find an inpatient rehab center that will help you get off methadone.

Symptoms of methadone withdrawal are often much stronger and last much longer than those associated with opiate abuse. Individuals who quit taking methadone are at a heightened risk of serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms that can place undue strain on the heart or other organs of the body. Medical treatment is recommended in order to facilitate a safe recovery from methadone withdrawal and to ensure the continued health of the patient.

How the Effects of Methadone Positively Impact People’s Lives

methadone can hep reduce opioid addictionMethadone, when taken as part of a maintenance program to overcome addiction to heroin or prescription drugs can lead to great improvements in the user’s life. Not only does methadone have the potential to restore balance into the user’s life, the medication can have a profound impact on the health, confidence and overall behavior of the recovering addict leading to a positive impact on the life of the individual. Here are just a few of the ways that methadone positively impacts the lives of those who take the medication during inpatient rehab as part of an opioid addiction treatment program.

Reduced Use of Illicit Drugs

Studies show that individuals who take methadone as part of an opiate addiction treatment program in conjunction with counseling and therapy have lower levels of illicit drug use than those who are treated using therapy alone.

Reduced Criminal Activity

Illicit drug use often leads to a wide range of criminal behaviors. Drug-seeking behavior is common and it often pairs with criminal activities such as stealing, shoplifting, or violence that takes place in an effort to obtain drugs or to obtain money for drugs. When methadone is used, an individual’s life is positively impacted by the reduction of criminal behavior as the individual no longer feels the need to lie, cheat and steal to obtain drugs.

Reduced Involvement in Dangerous Drug Use Practices

According to NIDA, individuals who take methadone are less likely to become involved in dangerous drug use practices. The instances of needle sharing for the use of drugs such as heroin or prescription opiates in those who take methadone as part of a maintenance treatment is dramatically reduced and, for many, eliminated completely.

For help finding an inpatient rehab center that provides treatment including methadone maintenance for opioid use reduction, call 1-888-605-7779.

Reduced Rates of infection transmission

Impromptu drug use, unprotected sex and an overall lack of proper hygiene amongst drug users often lead to an array of infections including STDs, staph infections, and viral infections. Methadone improves the lifestyle of the user, reduces the instances of unsafe sex while high, and eliminates impromptu drug use which is often responsible for the infection.

Improved life balance

According to various studies, methadone maintenance treatment improves the life balance of those in recovery by providing a crutch that prevents further substance abuse, reduces the risk of relapse and provides control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.

Improved health

Patients taking methadone report improved health overall. There are no longer instances of withdrawal associated with discontinued opiate use when methadone is prescribed. There are no longer instances of sex for drugs or sex while intoxicated. There are no longer instances of infection or other repercussions related to substance abuse.

Higher retention rate in addiction treatment

The National Library of Medicine reports that individuals who take methadone in conjunction with treatment in a controlled facility such as a rehab center are more likely to remain in treatment. Methadone reduces withdrawal symptoms and the discomfort felt by the user during the early phases of treatment and, when prescribed correctly, has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for the user.

Reduced rate of relapse

Individuals who take methadone daily are less likely to relapse and use other intoxicating substances. The methadone works to reduce cravings that may otherwise lead to substance abuse and drug-seeking behaviors. The reduced rate of relapse that occurs as a result of the use of methadone can not only improve the life of the individual in treatment, it can also save the user’s life. Studies show that each time a relapse occurs, the risk of overdose is heightened. By reducing the risk of relapse through quality medical intervention those in recovery have a subsequent reduced risk of overdose.

Reduced rate of suicide or self-harm

Suicide is common in individuals who are heavily addicted to drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers. Methadone stabilizes the individual’s mood, provides a consistent stream of a medication that prevents cravings and withdrawals and helps to reduce the depression that is so common when withdrawal begins to set in. Methadone reduces the rate of suicide and self-harm in those who are in recovery further improving quality of life.

Be Aware of These Methadone Drug Interactions

dangers of taking methadoneDangerous drug interactions are a common problem that results in fatal consequences for thousands of patients every year. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Drug interactions are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality.” Individuals who are taking methadone as part of a maintenance program to overcome opiate addiction must be aware of the potential dangers associated with the use of other drugs or substances while they are taking methadone.

Potentially toxic drug interactions can occur when methadone is mixed with other substances. Drug interactions are blamed for many of the deaths that have recently taken place. In addition to the dangers that can come from the use of prescription drugs while taking methadone, dangers also exist with interactions between cocaine, alcohol and other substances.

If someone you love is abusing methadone, call our helpline for a free referral into an inpatient rehab center that can help. Assistants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support you. Call 1-888-605-7779.

Interactions with Medications Used to Treat HIV

Historically, HIV is directly related to intravenous drug use. Many opioid users become infected with HIV and later seek treatment options to help them overcome their addiction to heroin or similar drugs. While there are several medical treatments, including methadone, that can treat heroin dependence, certain HIV medications can cause dangerous drug interactions if methadone maintenance treatment is attempted.

  • Zidovudine – Patients being treated for HIV using the medication Zidovudine who are prescribed methadone have reported the development of symptoms similar to opioid withdrawal which may include: bone and joint pain, insomnia and depression.
  • Videx – This medication can cause high concentration levels of methadone which will lead to upset stomach for some patients.
  • Delaviridine – this medication, when taken with methadone, can inhibit the clearance of the opioid rom the body and may lead to opioid toxicity which can result in cognitive alterations and decreased respiration.

Interactions with Antidepressant Medications

Studies show that as many as 50% of those who become addicted to an opiate suffer from a higher than average level of depression. Many require medications for the treatment of underlying mental illness while others do not begin taking the medication until after they begin an attempt to quit taking opioids.

The following medications that are commonly used to treat depression can cause dangerous interactions when taken with methadone:

  • Fluxotine – this medication can reduce the plasma levels of methadone in the body rendering the individual into a withdrawal state.
  • Sertraline – the use of this medication along with methadone can lead to higher concentrations of the drug in the user and may cause toxicity.

Side effects of associated with the use of antidepressant medications while using methadone as part of an opioid maintenance program include:

  • Fever
  • Tachycardia
  • Tachypnea
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Altered mood

Interactions with Over-the-Counter Medications & Supplements

Certain over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements can also cause dangerous drug interactions when methadone is taken in conjunction with the substance. St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement, should not be used in conjunction with methadone as it can lead to an increased metabolism of the drug which will cause the rapid elimination of methadone and may lead to heightened withdrawal symptoms as if the methadone is not being used.

Interactions with Anticonvulsant Medications

Patients who suffer from seizures or certain mental health disorders such as schizophrenia may be prescribed an anticonvulsant such as Carbamazepine or phenytoin. Serious side effects may occur if these patients also take methadone. Side effects can rapidly induce the rate of metabolism of methadone causing serious drug interactions and dangers for the user.

Interactions with Illicit Drugs

Cocaine, methamphetamine, an stimulants that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of hyperactivity disorders such as ADD or ADHD can all interact with methadone. Cocaine reduces the overall effectiveness of methadone and may lead to rapid opioid withdrawal in some patients. Methamphetamine, though not directly related to the negative drug interactions associated with methadone use, should also be avoided.

Stimulants, including ADHD medications, can cause serious side effects if the user takes them while also taking methadone. The drug interactions are not clinically observed but the dangers are real. A stimulant leads to increased alertness and heightened sense of energy while the methadone leads to sedation and relaxation. Combined, the effects can be dangerous to the user’s heart and other vital organs.

Dangers of Drug Interactions

Interactions of methadone with other drugs can lead to an array of potentially serious problems for the user. When HIV drugs are being used and methadone interacts with them, there is heightened risk of viral mutations and the development of a resistance to treatment which can lead to serious consequences for the user.

For those who suffer from increased metabolism of methadone which leads to rapid withdrawal symptoms, relapse is one of the most significant dangers. If relapse occurs, there is an increased risk of intravenous drug use which can lead to unsafe practices and further complications associated with infection, abscesses and other serious conditions.

For immediate help, to overcome addiction and get your life back on track, call 1-888-605-7779.