Author: James Anderson

Methadone Withdrawal: Symptoms, Treatment, and More I Psych Central

how long do methadone withdrawals last

All opioids work by binding to certain nerve receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. These receptors, called opioid receptors, are linked to the body’s pain and stress response. Replacing a drug your body has become dependent on with a prescription medication is a part of recovery known as medication-assisted treatment.

how long do methadone withdrawals last

Tapering methadone means gradually taking smaller doses over the course of several weeks or months. Although tapering is considered the best way of detoxing from methadone, it can still be challenging. You are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms each time your dose is cut. Working closely with a doctor, you can extend your taper timeline and reduce your dose by smaller increments if necessary. Methadone is a medication that treats chronic pain and the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It is a commonly used drug in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid addiction.

Slowest Taper

However, everyone’s experience getting off methadone is different. Some people find methadone withdrawal less intense than they expected. Others think it’s worse than withdrawing from a short-acting opioid like heroin. Doctors prescribe methadone for two reasons—the first is to give people addicted to opioids a safe, long-term option for relapse prevention.

It does this by initiating counter-regulatory processes to find a new balance that incorporates the drug. This is part of the reason these substances can cause dependence. Many opioids, like heroin, bind to mu receptors and create the euphoric effect the body recognizes as a reward. Methadone is a common choice for medication-assisted treatment.

Your doctor might prescribe trazadone or suggest an OTC antihistamine, like Benadryl, to help you sleep.

Methadone increases levels of dopamine in the brain and binds to its opioid receptors. A person is liable to feel mellow, relaxed, and happy when taking methadone, and this can make it a target for abuse. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.

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When used as a form of medication-assisted treatment, it decreases opioid withdrawal symptoms. Someday you may face a sudden, short-term health problem such as surgery or an injury. If an opioid is prescribed, let your healthcare team know if you had any trouble tapering off opioids in the past. If you’ve successfully tapered off opioid medicine in the past, taking opioids for a brief time — with guidance from your healthcare professional — may be OK. But ask about all nonopioid pain medicine options to treat your pain, including the benefits and risks.

They can also treat trauma and other underlying causes of methadone addiction. Many factors can influence the detox timeline and affect the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, how long they persist, and if there will be any other complications. Withdrawal is highly individual, and no two people will experience it in the same way. Recreational use of methadone can include snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. Methadone is dispensed through clinics licensed as opioid treatment programs (OTPs) through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  1. Introducing a substance like methadone throws off that balance.
  2. Besides these primary withdrawal symptoms, certain symptoms of methadone withdrawal may continue beyond this acute phase and persist for several months.
  3. The best way to cope with methadone withdrawal is to avoid skipping doses or trying to quit abruptly.
  4. The symptoms of methadone withdrawal tend to occur within the first 30 hours of stopping drug use and may persist for up to 10 days after quitting.

When use is stopped, even for a short time, tolerance can drop. Methadone withdrawal generally starts within 30 hours of the last dose of the drug. Those wanting to get off methadone quickly may agree to a fast-tapering schedule. Fast tapers work best when monitored on an inpatient basis due to the likelihood methadone withdrawal symptoms will reappear. When this happens, your doctor may reintroduce methadone to provide stabilization.

If you are thinking about quitting, talk with a doctor about the pros and cons. Methadone does work well for most people, preventing innumerable overdose deaths each year. Its primary drawback is the prolonged withdrawal syndrome it can cause.

Tapering off Methadone To Reduce Withdrawal

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 200,000 people in the United States abused methadone in 2016. Methadone is an opioid drug that is approved to treat opioid addiction; however, since it is still a full agonist opioid, it can also be misused. In this type of therapy, a team of healthcare professionals will closely monitor you as you’re tapered slowly off the medication in a safe and controlled way. The best way to cope with methadone withdrawal is to avoid skipping doses or trying to quit abruptly. Even if you are frustrated and sick of going to a clinic or pharmacy every day for a supervised dose, it is best to avoid abrupt cessation. Your healthcare professional may recommend combining your taper with counseling from an alcohol and drug counselor.

Some side effects of methadone withdrawal may continue beyond this acute phase and last weeks or months after abstinence. Methadone is a potent opioid used to treat pain and addiction to other opioids. As a long-acting opioid, methadone is sometimes prescribed to treat opioid addiction. However, methadone has the potential for abuse, which can lead to dependence and addiction. But there are risks linked to opioid use — including severe constipation, nausea, dependence, misuse, opioid use disorder and accidental overdose.

How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?

Without medication, these opioid receptors are there to bind with your body’s natural feel-good chemicals, known as endorphins. While methadone can cause dependence, it’s long-acting effects are what also help prevent physical withdrawal. Used for thousands of years as a form of pain relief, opium eventually gave rise to commercial medications, like morphine and fentanyl. It’s important to keep in touch with both an obstetrician (OBGYN) and an addiction doctor throughout your pregnancy. Pregnancy affects how your body metabolizes methadone, so your dose may need adjusting as your pregnancy advances.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat methadone withdrawal symptoms off-label, meaning that they are not FDA-approved for those specific indications. However, your doctor may recommend such medications depending on your particular needs. If you have an opioid use disorder (addiction), you probably know what to expect from opioid withdrawal.