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Methadone Myths & Facts and Its History

Posted on :  December 12th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Methadone has been a useful treatment option for people with opioid addictions. The treatment has been used for many decades. Despite the long history of methadone in North America, people do not know much about the treatment and why it is effective. In many cases, family members and friends are not as supportive of the treatment as they could be.

Brief History of Methadone

Methadone was first given to patients by a doctor in New York at Rockefeller University. Dr. Vincent Dole discovered that his patients with heroin addiction no longer craved the drug after using methadone instead. The outcome of the methadone treatment was that patients could return to a normal lifestyle where they could go to work, be with their families, and be useful in the community. This discovery created licensed treatment programs that could directly help those who need help breaking their addictions to heroin.

Since methadone is always connected to heroin addiction, myths have perpetuated. These are the most common myths and the truth behind them:

#1: Methadone is just heroin in disguise. It is not heroin, it is a treatment for a heroin addiction. It is not even a substitute for heroin. People in methadone treatment need one dose each day and it is long acting. In contrast, heroin acts quickly, so addicts need to three or more doses per day to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms.

#2: Patients develop an addiction to methadone. There is a difference between an addiction and a dependence when it comes to medication. Methadone patients develop a dependency, much like diabetics develop a dependency on insulin or people with depression are dependent on anti-depressants. Dependencies are helpful, whereas addictions are harmful. Methadone is not harmful, so addiction does not occur.

#3: Methadone patients cannot go to work. As long as methadone patients are no longer using any illicit drugs, they can go to work at any job that they have qualifications to do. People who are taking methadone at the appropriate dose do not experience highs or lows; they simply feel normal which is the perfect condition for working at a job.

#4: Methadone has several harmful side effects. For five decades, methadone has been a safe medication. Fortunately, there are just a few side effects and they are easy to manage. Since methadone is an opioid, it can cause sweating and constipation. Methadone does not damage teeth or bones or any other part of the body. If patients taking methadone take care of themselves, no one will see any physical signs that they are taking the medication.

#5: Methadone and pregnancy do not mix. Methadone has been prescribed for pregnant women for decades. Studies have shown that pregnant women who taper off of methadone are more likely to have relapses with heroin. Babies born to mother taking methadone have not been found to have any developmental or cognitive problems. The only issue that can occur is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, but this can also occur with pregnant mothers who drink alcohol or take other drugs during pregnancy. There are treatment options for babies who have this problem. Methadone is also safe for breastfeeding, unless the mother also is HIV-positive.

#6: Methadone affects virility in men. Men who are taking methadone might have slightly lower testosterone levels, but it does not cause sterility or affect virility at all. Male methadone patients are just as potent as they were before they started to take methadone.

Myths about methadone often prevent people from seeking treatment. Unfortunately, embarrassment prevents them from talking to their health care providers, too. Instead of seeing methadone as a negative thing, patients should understand that they are doing something beneficial for themselves.

If you have any questions about methadone treatment, we encourage you to contact us on 519-579-0589, through our website at Towards Recovery Clinics or via email at:

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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