How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?
What is methadone and what is it used for?Methadone is a synthetic opioid, meaning that it is chemically unrelated to other opioids, like heroin, but it binds to opioid receptors and can produce similar effects. However, it does not create the same sense of euphoria as non-synthetic opioids, and it produces fewer symptoms of withdrawal. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it has a clinically accepted use, but a high potential for abuse that could lead to psychological and physical dependence. It has multiple purposes, including pain relief, treating opioid abstinence syndrome, and to help wean people off illicit drug use, and it is available with a prescription in tablets and oral and injectable solutions.
Why do people abuse methadone?Despite the fact that methadone does not produce the same intense effects as other opioids, it can still be pleasurable to users. It can cause:
- Altered sensory.
What problems can come from methadone abuse?Like other opioids, methadone comes with some dangers, such as:
- Altered cognitive and sensory efficiency.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Circulatory collapse.
- Clammy skin.
- Constricted pupils.
- Decreased heart rate.
- Depressed reflexes.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Dry mouth.
- Facial flushing.
- Flaccid muscles.
- Inability to completely empty the bladder.
- Pulmonary edema.
- Respiratory depression.
- Sleep problems.
How and why do people test for methadone?Testing can take place in many places and under a variety of circumstances, including:
- Clinical settings to monitor analgesia levels.
- As part of rehabilitation to ensure sobriety or to monitor proper levels.
- Workplaces, sports-related organizations, or through insurance, to determine eligibility for a job, etc.
What sort of treatment is available for methadone abuse?Methadone’s half-life is long compared to how long its analgesic properties last (4-8 hours). This makes it harder for you to want to go through detox. However, there are many ways to approach recovery, such as:
- Counseling can help you talk through your problems or give you different approaches to changing your thoughts. It’s available in both solo, and group settings, and family can be involved, catering to your comfort level.
- Rehab can help you get through detox and withdrawal from methadone, but be aware that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, any treatment less than 90 days is limited in its efficacy; the longer you stay in treatment, the better your outcomes will be.
- Other medications. Buprenorphine and LAAM (L-alpha-acetylmethadol) are both alternatives to methadone that treat opioid use disorders. Buprenorphine is a Schedule V drug, meaning that it has a low potential for abuse. It can still be used as an analgesic, and it’s safer in terms of respiratory depression and overdose potential. LAAM is Schedule II, like methadone, but it has longer lasting effects and no euphoric effects.
- Peer support programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide you with a sense of support from other people who have been in your shoes.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.