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Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms - Methadone Safety

by James Heller 15. May 2009 09:33
Methadone has proven to be a safe and effective drug for the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms.  It has been used for decades in Medication Assisted Treatment or heroin replacement therapy, and for medical detoxification.  With both types of treatment, patients are monitored to prevent overdose and minimize opioid withdrawals.

Opioid withdrawals are the same no matter which opiate based drug an addict uses.  Symptoms can include chills, cough, severe diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, cramps, and dysphoria, among several others.  The severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms depends on the addict’s habit, meaning the daily amount taken and strength of the drug.

Tarzana Treatment Centers offers methadone for medical detoxification from opioids.  Patients are assessed upon admission to determine a course of treatment.  During detox treatment patients are monitored by medical staff as doses are tapered until they are drug free.  Outpatient or residential drug treatment is always recommended for aftercare.

Medication Assisted Treatment is a viable alternative to detox and abstinence, and allows addicts to live normal lives and avoid opioid withdrawals.  Doses are closely monitored to ensure patient safety and prevent overdoses.

However, using methadone for pain management puts a patient at risk of accidental overdose.  Since these individuals tend to have multiple doses in their possession, not being monitored by a medical professional, mistakes are more likely to occur.

The following excerpt from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website announces their commitment to educate the public about safe methadone use.   It is important that the distinction between safe methadone dispersing for opioid withdrawal symptoms and unsafe pain management prescribing is understood.

-- Begin external content --

Methadone may be best known for use as an addiction treatment medication, but the bigger problem and concern has been with the more recent use as an analgesic.  The risk of methadone overdose is partly due to the way the drug metabolizes in the body. People who take methadone normally feel relief within four to eight hours.  However, unlike other narcotic pain relievers a single dose of methadone can remain in the body anywhere from eight to 59 hours. As a result, the drug builds up to toxic levels if it is taken too often, in too high an amount, or with other medications.  

-- http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/0904284456.aspx --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.