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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Methadone?

Methadone is an addictive, morphine-like medication or drug that was created in Germany during World War II. It was approved in the U.S. in the late 1940's as a pain reliever and cough suppressant. Much later it was found to be an effective treatment for heroin and other opiate addiction. It is taken orally, and will not produce a "high" if taken properly.

Why is Methadone used to treat long-term heroin addiction?
Methadone works to prevent the withdrawal symptoms of heroin and other opiates. The proper dose reduces cravings and blocks the effects of other opiates. People on stable doses of methadone will not experience the pain and discomfort from withdrawal, and are more likely to engage in therapy, such as counseling, which may increase their chances of leading a more normal life. Methadone reduces the health risks of heroin use, including the risk of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. Methadone had been used with success to treat thousands of people since the mid-1960's. Today, methadone maintenance is often called Medication-Assisted Treatment. Methadone is not a cure for opiate addiction. It is a supportive medication used with counseling, urine screening, and self-help groups.
What is meant by "medication assisted treatment"?
Medication-Assisted treatment includes the daily use of a stable dose of methadone as a substitute for unlawful and unlawfully obtained opiates. It is used for people who have a long history of opiate addiction. Some people require methadone treatment for many months, while others require methadone treatment for many years.
What is stabilization?
When a person taking methadone has been brought to his or her proper maintenance dose and is able to take the drug daily without any noticeable side effects/withdrawal, he or she is stabilized. This may not occur if the methadone is not taken as directed.
What is normal dose?
A normal dose, is the dose that will block the effects of other narcotics and prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This dose varies widely by individual, based on numerous factors that may include things such as, metabolism, tolerance, history of abuse, etc…
Will I need to increase methadone doses indefinitely to stay well?
No. After reaching the proper maintenance dose, patients generally do not need increases.
Can I use other drugs when I am out of Methadone?
No, other drugs, including alcohol, tranquilizers, other medications, herbal and over the counter (OTC, non-prescription) products may interfere with methadone dosing. You must let the clinic doctor know if you are taking any medicine.
How should methadone be taken?
By mouth daily.
How long does the effect of a methadone dose last?
Methadone acts on your system for about 36 hours, though it varies a little from one person to another.
If I stop taking methadone abruptly, how long will it take before I get sick?
This also varies from person to person; however, many people say about 48 to 56 hours. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to those from heroin and other morphin-like drugs, though not as severe but longer-lasting.
Will I ever be able to get off of methadone completely, without getting sick?
By undergoing a medically supervised withdrawal from methadone, your chances of severe withdrawal symptoms are reduced. However, at some points during the withdrawal, you may feel symptoms similar to and in some cases as, severe as withdrawal from other opiates.
How long do I have to stay on methadone?
It depends on the individual. If at some point in treatment you feel that you want to get off methadone maintenance, you should meet with your counselor and the clinic physician to plan your course for withdrawal if it is deemed appropriate.
Genesis Treatment Services - 1106 Business Parkway South, Suite B - Westminster, MD 21157
Phone: (410) 751-7771 - Fax: (410) 751-7736 - After Hours Hotline: (410) 979-0488