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Methadone Treatment Guidelines

Posted on :  June 22nd, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

In Canada, there are thoughtful guidelines for methadone treatment plans. They are designed for the safety of the patient and to make the role of the physician and pharmacist clear and easy to follow. At Towards Recovery, we follow the guidelines that integrate all three parties with the patient’s needs coming before the needs of the physician and the pharmacist.

Working Together for Success

In order to move toward patient success, we work within our local community to help patients fight their opioid dependence. Each pharmacist that we work with follows the practices and policies that are determined by the various acts set forth by the Health Canada and the Drug and Pharmacies Regulations Act. Our physicians do the same, following the guidelines set forth about prescribing and dispensing methadone.

Our physicians and pharmacists work together to keep the methadone properly stored and dispensed so their patients are properly cared for. The pharmacists and physicians must keep the methadone safe until it has been given to the patient. The pharmacist must stay aware of any changes that occur in the prescription, too.

Treatment Options

There are several options for treatment that fall within the guidelines. The options are designed to help patients who are addicted to opioids. They include a structured opioid therapy, as well as a treatment program with either methadone or buprenorphine. There is also an option for abstinence treatment, too.

Methadone Options for Patients

Patients who choose the methadone option should have some indications. One of the first signs that methadone treatment should be used is that the patient failed in a structured opioid therapy. The patient injected, snorted, or took crushed tablets when they got high on opioids. Patients in treatment also manipulated the system to get opioids from several physicians or from sources on the street. The patients who benefit the most from methadone treatment have an addiction to opioids and other hard street drugs or alcohol.

When patients are using opioids to treat pain that was not caused by cancer, methadone can help them fight their addiction. When methadone is used as the treatment of choice, physicians and clinics will provide daily doses of methadone. The clinics will also provide daily urine screening and counseling to help patients relearn how to live without opioids in their lives. Prior to prescribing methadone, physicians need to consult with their provincial regulating body. The patient will keep lines of communication open between the clinic prescribing methadone and the patient’s primary care physician. The clinic and primary care doctor will work together to share diagnoses and other prescriptions.

Buprenorphine Treatments

Some patients are more successful with buprenorphine treatments instead of methadone. Some people are at risk of developing a toxicity to methadone, like the elderly, teen, and young adults. There are also some communities were methadone is not available for treatment therapies.

Buprenorphine can be used for patients who are addicted to opioids and to painkillers that are not prescribed for pain related to cancer. It is important that physicians are aware of the regulations in their communities before prescribing the treatment. Otherwise, the rules for buprenorphine are similar to those for methadone.

Structured Opioid Therapy

Some patients have success using a structured opioid therapy – also called SOT. This therapy includes using opioids that are not methadone or buprenorphine to treat addiction to painkillers. There are controls that physicians and clinics must use as well as written plans, patient education, and very closely monitored dispensing and monitoring.

If you have any questions about the guidelines for opioid treatments, please feel free to contact us at Towards Recovery. We can easily be reached via phone at 905-546-0050 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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