Countering the Myths About Methadone: Is it Right for You?
Methadone maintenance has been around for years as an effective treatment for opioid dependency. Yet, its use remains controversial, and there’s seemingly no end to the myths and false information aimed at discouraging anyone from using it as a treatment option.
Setting the Record Straight
Below, we’ve separated fact from fiction when it comes to considering methadone as a treatment choice:
- Myth #1 – Methadone Isn’t Effective
According to a recent article, methadone maintenance has success rates ranging from 60 to 90 percent, with long-term outcomes improving the longer someone remains in treatment. Abstinence-based and non-medical treatments, on the other hand, carry a long-term success rate of only 5-10 percent. With that in mind, you can clearly see the benefits of using methadone, as it has the potential to reduce the risk of overdose, death, and criminal activity.
- Myth #2 – Methadone is Just Another Addictive Substance
People on a stable dose of methadone are physically dependent on it, but not necessarily addicted to it. After all, they don’t experience any of the physical characteristics of chemical dependency, such as cravings or the inability to control how much is taken.
- Myth #3 – Methadone is Worse for You Than Heroin
Methadone is a non-toxic medication, and studies have shown that people have used it as a treatment modality for decades without harm. However, methadone – like any opiate – can be dangerous if taken inappropriately.
- Myth #4 – Methadone Rots Your Teeth
According to Dr. Edwin Salsitz, methadone remains a safe medication, even after several decades of use. But methadone does have side effects – as with other opioids – such as constipation and increased sweating. However, according to him, if people practice good dental hygiene while on methadone, they shouldn’t have any dental issues.
- Myth #5 – Methadone Use Leads to Increased Overdose Deaths if You Relapse
Methadone is an opioid, so it acts as a protective barrier while maintaining the patient’s tolerance to other opioids. This greatly reduces the risk of an overdose, especially if you happen to relapse. This is a huge benefit to people who decide to get clean “cold turkey,” as well as people who leave treatment programs early or incarcerated environments.
Methadone has helped many people stay on track in recovery – but it’s not a miracle cure. Only with the correct mindset, coupled with the determination to get and stay clean, is this form of treatment effective.
Image Source: iStock