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Methadone Maintenance Therapy: What are the Pros and Cons?

Posted on :  July 14th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Methadone Maintenance Therapy or MMT is commonly used by clinics in North America. This therapy uses either methadone or Buprenorphine, because both work to help fight opioid addictions. Those who are addicted to opioids, like heroin or some prescription painkillers are prescribed this therapy. It is recommended that patients who are preparing for this type of treatment should educate themselves about the treatment and the pros and cons of it, too.

What Happens in the First Week

Those who go through this treatment become familiar with it after the first week. Most physicians recommend that you should take the first day of treatment off from work, because you will spend a few hours at the clinic. Physicians will usually prescribe at anywhere between 8 and 15 milligrams on day one. Before you enter the clinic for your first dose, you should also already be in withdrawal from your addiction drug, especially because your treatment drug is stronger than the opiates you are addicted to and the treatment medication will exacerbate your addiction. If you have not created withdrawal for yourself, the medication will do it, which will trick you into thinking that the medication is not working properly. Your self-prescribed withdrawal will also give your physician a better idea of what dosage you need.

What Your Physician Expects During Week One

During the first week, you will see your doctor at least two times. This is so your physician can see that you will actually follow your instructions and take your medication when and how it is prescribed. Your physician will also order lab work and counseling time, too. You can expect to have urine testing to be sure you are following your prescription instructions. If you continue to abuse opiates, you will feel strange because the medication will not be able to properly work to help you fight the addiction. But, if you do take your MMT medication, you should be able to feel “normal” and as if you never started taking drugs.

Why MMT is a Good Choice

Before you decide whether or not to involve yourself in MMT, there are several pros and cons to consider. First, MMT has been used successfully for over 30 years to treat men and women with addictions to opioids. The therapy does involve daily structure, which helps patients find success. It has a cost that is usually put on a sliding scale to make it affordable for everyone who wants the help. There is a support system built in, because of the counseling component and many addicts are able to get support from other addicts through group counseling. The medication used to fight the opioid addiction is an opioid itself, which ends withdrawal symptoms and the medication lasts for more than 24 hours. Doses can be adjusted and increased as needed.

The Challenges of Methadone Therapy

There are a few different reasons to look for other possible treatment options. The first is that people who are involved in MMT can still abuse opioids, even though it is discouraged. There are also many people who are involved in this treatment who feel that they have no say in what is happening, because their physicians and the protocol dictate the meds and therapy sessions. Employers who ask employees to take urine drug tests can see the MMT drugs. Most clinics require patients to come in daily for treatment and this can be difficult for some patients to schedule; it can also make vacation and work-related travel difficult to schedule. Some patients also have problems with the stigma that can be attached to the fact that they need to come in to a methadone clinic on a regular basis.

If you have any questions about methadone treatment, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.

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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