How To Quit Methadone

Clear Treatment

INTRODUCTION

We get calls everyday from disillusioned men and women who realize they cannot quit methadone. Now they need a detoxification program to stop the roller coaster ride.

 

Methadone Dependence

Methadone dependence is a biological condition, characterized by development of opioid withdrawal syndrome following a period of cessation. Withdrawal from methadone can be debilitating, which is why many never attempt to quit.

 

Methadone Withdrawal Syndrome

Methadone withdrawal syndrome is qualitatively similar to heroin withdrawal, but differs in that the onset is slower than heroin’s, and the duration may last twice as long or longer.

After abstaining from methadone for a few days, the brain begins relearning how to function without it. The period of time it takes the brain to relearn proper functioning is how long methadone withdrawal lasts. In general, the younger the brain, the quicker it bounces back, but there are other factors, such as liver function, that also play a significant role. If you take methadone everyday, and have poor liver function, you may end up with high blood-methadone-concentrations circulating throughout your body.

 

Scientific Study

A scientific study with 94 methadone maintenance patients indicated significant effects of methadone on patients’ ALP levels. This evidence points to liver cell damage after 24 months of methadone use. PubMed Quote: Liver enzymes were found to be normal prior to the 24th month. After that however, half of the patients exhibited elevated ALP levels.1 ALP being alkaline phosphatase.

Liver Panel

A liver panel is a blood test that checks the health of your liver by measuring the levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), albumin, and bilirubin. The ALP, ALT and AST tests measure enzymes that your liver releases in response to cell damage. Albumin is a protein produced by the liver to help prevent blood from leaking out of your blood vessels, and is important for healing and tissue growth. When albumin levels are low it indicates liver disease. Bilirubin is a substance produced by the breakdown of old red blood cells. Bilirubin levels are usually very low, but when they’re higher-than-normal a person’s skin and eyes become yellow (jaundice), which usually indicates liver disease.

 

Methadone Withdrawal Treatment

With all addictive disorders, the sooner you get into treatment, the greater the likelihood of success. For you, we offer withdrawal treatment that is safe, effective and comfortable. Our methadone detoxification program bridges the gap between wanting to quit and actually quitting. We are committed to ensuring that you receive the highest caliber of care at the best value, without compromising quality. These are just a few of the many reasons why Clear Treatment is recognized as a leader in methadone withdrawal treatment.

 

Quitting For Good

We believe that you’re better off 100% clean and sober, and we also believe your brain prefers it that way. The fact is, your brain is designed to function without methadone. Pouring methadone into your brain disrupts brain functions.

What not to do

Do not detox yourself. Most opioid addicts realize that detoxification at home often results in relapse. We’ve seen the results of those who insist on doing it their way and it’s often messy. Yet when detoxification protocols are done properly it can be accomplished safely, comfortably and successfully.

What you should do

It’s important to listen to your body during the recovery process because, if you know what to expect, you can help your physician make accurate assessments. Make certain to report all adverse reactions to your physician or nurse.

Postpone Solving Personal Problems

Methadone dependence patients may suddenly decide to handle a host of personal problems during the detoxification process. The truth is, most are not mentally prepared to solve significant life problems during detox. They should defer all personal problems until later. They will have plenty of opportunities to handle these issues after treatment.

 

Methadone Clinics

Who really makes the decision?

Okay, think about this for a minute. Methadone patients are typically opioid addicts. Methadone is an opioid. That means the choice of whether or not to stay on methadone is really the doctor’s choice, and not the opioid addict’s. The addicted patient would never have needed methadone treatment in the first place if he or she could have made that choice themselves.

How physicians are trained

There is an inherent conflict-of-interest that Methadone Clinics have with methadone patients. That conflict is money. Physicians are consciously or unconsciously motivated to keep their patients on methadone. Methadone Clinics have a vested interest in keeping patients on methadone for LIFE.

Is Methadone bad for you?

If it’s used properly, methadone is a great recovery tool, but the problem arises when easily persuadable opioid addicts are urged to stay on it indefinitely. The truth is that methadone doctors don’t know enough about the impact that methadone dependence has on the person’s life to make that call with any certainty.

Methadone may be dangerous

What methadone clinics do know is frightening. Methadone negatively affects sex drive, sexual activity and sexual reproductive health. Additional evidence shows dysfunction of the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands. That does sound like a few good reasons to limit methadone use to detoxification only, but clinics routinely use it as a maintenance drug.

 

Ending Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Here is something else to think about. We know few clinics who are inclined to help patients get off methadone. That being said, many patients are left to quit on their own. The result is often “withdrawal followed by relapse”. On the upside, if detoxification is conducted properly it can be done without major discomfort.

 

Drug testing for Methadone

These days, when a man or woman applies for a job the employer often requires a drug test as part of the hiring process. You could easily add in a dozen or more random drug tests throughout an employment career. The question that often comes up is, “ Am I protected by hippa laws for Methadone?” The answer is no. The lab does not say whether or not you passed or failed a drug test. The lab only gives results. If you take methadone, your blood or urine will indicate the presence of methadone metabolites. Many employers know what the presence of methadone indicates, which is a history of substance abuse with opioids. It’s unlikely that you will get a job as a pilot, train conductor, bus driver or nurse with methadone in your system.

 

Opioid Addiction Careers

Your typical methadone dependent person starts off on pain pills, graduates to heroin, tries to quit with Methadone, but eventually goes back to heroin or pain pills. Tries Buprenorphine, but eventually goes back to heroin or pain pills. and around and around they go. In hindsight, the opiate addict career is a circuitous state of cross addiction. We now know that any solution that perpetuates opioid use is subpar to complete abstinence.

Tips for Quitting Methadone

  • See a doctor – diagnosis
  • Do what the doctor says – prognosis
  • Drink a lot of water, as much as 2-3 quarts a day
  • Eat a protein rich diet – steaks and pork chops are your friend
  • Eat a ton of berries – blueberries are the best
  • Rest quietly for one hour in the early afternoon – every single day
  • Shower with a little bit hotter water than you’re used to
  • Avoid coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas – caffeine free is the best

 

After-Effects

Methadone has a complex range of effects that can vary widely among individuals. It has a slow onset of peak blood levels of about 4-hours. The elimination half-life averages 24 to 36 hours at steady state, but may range from 4 to 91 hours. It also has a low therapeutic index (overlap of toxic and therapeutic blood levels).

Oral methadone is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and is fat soluble. It undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver. It binds to albumin and other proteins in the lung, kidney, liver and spleen, and there is gradual equilibration between these tissues and blood over the first few days of dosing. Repeated dosing leads to accumulation.

The FDA has reviewed reports of death and life-threatening side effects such as slowed or stopped breathing, and dangerous changes in heartbeat in patients receiving methadone.

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms and they’re severe.

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain

 

Overdose

Now we know, that repeated dosing of methadone can lead to accumulation. In fact, the FDA has reviewed reports of death and life-threatening side effects such as slowed or stopped breathing, and dangerous changes in heartbeat. Basically, they’re talking about overdosing on methadone. Two of the worst things you could do while you’re consuming methadone would be to drink alcohol or consume another narcotic drug, such as heroin, Xanax, Klonopin, or sleeping pills.

Get Emergency Medical Help If You Have:

  • Trouble Breathing
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fast Heartbeat
  • Chest Pain
  • Swelling of your Face, Tongue or Throat
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Light Headedness When Changing Positions
  • Feeling Faint

Methadone hazards

The major hazards associated with Methadone consumption include but are not limited to, respiratory depression, systemic hypotension, respiratory arrest, shock, cardiac arrest and death.

Read More …

Poison Cocktails

One of the problems with methadone is that it tends to build up in your body, which can disrupt your breathing and heart rhythm. Moreover, physicians called attention to the “poison cocktail” which resulted from the intake of multiple psychotropics (“mind-acting”) drugs, including methadone. Interactions can be additive, in which the net effect is the sum of the substances individual harmful effects, or supra-additive (synergistic or potentiating) when total effects are greater than if just additive.

In cases of methadone-associated death, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and/or other opioids are frequently implicated (Zador and Sunjic 2000). In themselves, these other substances can be relatively moderate respiratory depressants, but when combined with each other and/or methadone the effects may be lethal (White and Irvine 1999). Numerous factors affect toxic drug interactions and their lethality, including: health status and pre-existing tolerance of the person, the number and type of drugs taken, and drug dosages (Roizin et al. 1972).

 

History of Methadone

Methadone addiction is a pernicious foe. Over the passed 5000 years opioids consistently claim the highest recidivism rate of any drug including alcohol.

Methadone (Dolophine) was originally created and manufactured by the Germans during WWII, to fill a gap of depleting morphine stocks. However, the war ended before methadone ever made it onto the battlefield.

Eli Lilly brought Methadone into the USA as part of its wartime booty. Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) and Methadone Detox have been controversial treatment modalities ever since their inception.

 

Pharmacotherapies

get-off-methadoneBuprenorphine therapy is one of the most promising treatments for methadone dependence and addiction. Whether you or someone you know is trying to get off methadone for the first time or ready to try it again – buprenorphine therapy can help. Buprenorphine acts on the same brain structures and processes as methadone, but with protective and normalizing effects. This enables buprenorphine to reverse the effects of methadone withdrawal but without intoxicating the patient. Of course, other medications are generally used previous to buprenorphine induction, in order to comfortably get you to the point when induction can be safely initiated.

Read More …

Footnotes
 

1. Effects of Methadone on Liver Enzymes in Patients Undergoing Methadone Maintenance Treatment, 2012

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