Effective methadone treatment incorporates daily methadone medication in conjunction with behavioral health counseling. These interventions in combination provide clients with an opportunity to regain their quality of life.

Listed below are positive aspects of methadone. Also addressed are some potential methadone medication risks & considerations which merit close attention.

Benefits of Methadone

  • Methadone is a legal medication that is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored.
  • Methadone is administered orally and reduces the dangers associated with injection drug use.
  • Methadone is typically administered by a treatment clinic that provides ongoing counseling and support.
  • With stable daily dosing, methadone does not produce a drug high or interfere with daily functioning.
  • Methadone patients have access to medical and social services that are important for rebuilding health and quality of life.
  • When given in the proper dosage, methadone eliminates opiate withdrawal symptoms and drug seeking behavior.
  • As a result of not being sick from withdrawal, individuals are able to refocus on work, family, and other responsibilities.
  • Methadone (combined with counseling and support) provides a new start and the ability to reclaim one's life.

(more benefits continued)

  • Methadone is slow acting & provides long lasting relief (24 hours or more).
  • Methadone causes no harm to tissues or organs and is medically safe when taken responsibly.
  • Pregnant women in a methadone treatment program have a much higher chance of giving birth to a healthy baby.
  • Compared with buying illicit drugs, becoming a client in a methadone treatment program is an affordable option.
  • Many clients report feeling normal after becoming stabilized on methadone.


Potential Risks and Considerations

  • Like most any opioid pain medication, methadone overdose can occur if the medication is not taken as prescribed.
  • Before taking methadone, it is important to report all medications to your doctor to avoid potential harmful medication interactions.
  • Methadone is utilized as a safe opiate replacement in the treatment of opioid dependency. However, abruptly ceasing methadone will typically elicit uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These can be avoided by following a gradual taper off of the medication while under the supervision of your physician.
  • Methadone replacement therapy is typically not short-term. Many clients will remain on methadone for a year or more before becoming ready to taper off of the medication. Some clients may remain on methadone for an indefinite period of time.
  • Individuals receiving methadone should not consume alcohol or mix methadone with illicit drugs. If you are taking benzodiazepines (valium, xanax, ativan, klonopin), be sure to discuss this thoroughly with your methadone prescribing physician due to the increased risk of medication interaction and potential overdose. 
  • Keep methadone in a secure location away from children. Accidental ingestion by a child could result in a medical emergency or death.

Methadone has been in use
in the United States
for over 40 years.

There are currently hundreds of
methadone treatment programs in
operation across the USA.