How Long Does Methadone Last?
Methadone is a opioid agonist drug used in medication-assisted treatment for recovering heroin and opiate addicts. Meant to help subdue withdrawal symptoms, methadone is intended to help users wean off of harder drugs like heroin. Though effective, this drug can become highly addictive and can induce highs lasting up to eight hours if abused. Without medical guidance, methadone can cause life-threatening and sometimes fatal results.
As a full agonist, methadone binds to opioid receptors in the brain triggering them to release endorphins to produce pain relief. At higher doses, methadone can induce a state of euphoria in users and become addictive. The larger the dose, the more effects it can produce unlike partial agonists — including drugs like buprenorphine and Suboxone — that have a ceiling effect on the level of high they can produce. This quality is what makes methadone addictive when abused, though it is not uncommon for users to develop a dependence when using the drug in prescribed doses.
- Oral tablets, 5 – 10 mg
- Dissolvable tablets, 40 mg
- Oral solution, 1 – 2 mg/mL
- Injectable solution, 10 mg/mL
When injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously — right under the surface of the skin — onset effects begin between 34 – 50 minutes, similar to when administered orally. When taken orally, methadone effects begin within 30 – 60 minutes. However, the effects can last up to 48 hours depending on how frequent the user consumes the drug.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Facial flushing
- Stomach pain
- Cotton mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Decreased heart rate
Chronic methadone use is also responsible for life-threatening health concerns, including dependence and overdose. Other adverse effects of frequent methadone use include:
- Mood swings
- Heart issues
- Weight loss
- Altered sensory perceptions
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.
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