5 Common Methadone Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Overcoming addiction is already hard without false beliefs making it harder. Methadone, a treatment for opioid dependence, is surrounded by many myths. Ignore claims like “it’s just another drug” or “it replaces one addiction with another.”

Let’s clear up the top 5 Methadone myths, helping you navigate a better future. Knowledge is crucial – it’s your tool to dispel doubts and steer towards enduring recovery.

Myth #1: Methadone – A Substitute Addiction

A common myth is that methadone replaces one addiction with another. This misunderstanding comes from not knowing enough about methadone’s use and effects. Unlike other opioids, methadone is dispensed in controlled doses with the help of methadone dispensing software under strict medical supervision.

This analgesic drug is:

  • Medically monitored: Given in safe amounts under close watch, which stops abuse and leakage into illegal use.
  • Non-euphoric: Correct usage doesn’t give a ‘high’ but helps with withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Controlled Addiction Risk: Dependency can happen, but it’s milder and more manageable than with illegal opioids. Overdose and ‘highs’ are rare in prescribed treatment.

It’s key to know that methadone is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it can cause dependency but isn’t the same as drugs used for fun. Other drugs like fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone are in this group, too, due to their strong effects and risk of addiction. When used right, this opioid drug aids in regaining control, not starting a new addiction.

Myth #2: Methadone Treatment is Futile

There’s a false belief that methadone treatment doesn’t work, often due to unawareness of its high success rates.

  • Proven Success: Years of studies confirm its effectiveness. In the US, methadone maintenance has a 60-90% success rate, much higher than the 5-10% for programs just based on quitting.
  • Reducing Drug Use: Research shows it significantly lowers fentanyl and heroin use. A five-year study found an average 4.69% drop in fentanyl use and a 4.1% decrease in heroin use within the first year of treatment.

This opioid treatment is far from ineffective. It’s a proven method for overcoming opioid addiction and restoring healthier lives, with solid evidence and numerous success stories supporting it.

Myth #3: Your Teeth and Bones Crumble With Methadone

The fear of tooth decay and fragile bones often haunts potential methadone patients. While it’s true that dry mouth, a side effect of methadone, can increase cavity and gum disease risks, directly blaming methadone for poor oral and bone health is not accurate.

No studies have established a link between methadone itself and osteoporosis or bone damage. Additionally, research hasn’t found evidence of methadone directly leading to tooth decay.

Remember, regardless of medication, responsible dental hygiene, a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and regular checkups are key to maintaining strong teeth and bones.

Methadone doesn’t have to spell doom for your smile or skeleton; prioritizing healthy habits ensures you keep pearly whites and a sturdy frame.

Myth #4: Methadone Treatment Is a Lifelong Trap

Many people fear that starting methadone means they’ll never stop. In reality, the situation is much more complex.

  • Tailored Tapering: Methadone treatment isn’t the same for everyone. Some people may reduce their use in 1-2 years, while others might take longer.
  • Individualized Pace: Experts suggest a minimum of 12 months for tapering off, focusing on slowly decreasing the dose to stop eventually.
  • Doctor-Guided Journey: A doctor carefully oversees the process, ensuring safe and customized tapering.
  • Tech-Powered Progress: Modern technology, like clinical software, helps manage dose reduction more effectively.

Methadone is a helpful tool, not a permanent commitment. With the right support and a plan tailored to you, it can lead to a future free of addiction. Don’t let baseless fears prevent you from getting your life back on track.

Myth #5: Methadone Treatment Is Easily Accessible and Affordable

The reality doesn’t align with the common myth. Recent improvements have been made in access and affordability, but obstacles still exist.

Accessing methadone treatment presents various challenges, including:

  • Social stigma from employers and the public
  • Limited clinic locations
  • Inconsistent insurance coverage, with not all plans including methadone treatment, and varying clinic policies on insurance acceptance
  • High costs of treatment

Methadone treatment can significantly change lives, but overcoming these access barriers is essential for its wider adoption and better results. Fortunately, there are support programs and resources available to help navigate these challenges, enhancing the accessibility of methadone treatment for those who need it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does methadone make you fall asleep standing up?

Methadone can make you feel sleepy, but it's rare to fall asleep suddenly while standing. It can make you less alert and clumsy, which might lead to accidents or getting hurt.

Can you take methadone after taking Suboxone?

It would help if you didn't take methadone right after Suboxone because it can cause bad withdrawal symptoms. This happens because a part of Suboxone, called naloxone, affects how methadone works.

Can you take Xanax with methadone?

Taking Xanax with methadone is very dangerous because they both slow down your brain's activity a lot. This can lead to overdose, coma, or even death.

Can methadone cause hair loss?

There's no solid proof that methadone directly causes hair loss. Hair might thin or fall out when using opioids or stopping them, but it's hard to say it's just because of methadone. Things like diet, stress, and other medicines could also be reasons.

Can methadone make you gain weight?

Methadone may lead to gaining weight. It can slow down how fast your body burns calories and make you crave sweet, high-calorie snacks. Also, it might cause your body to hold onto water, which seems like weight gain.

Can you drive on methadone?

You can drive while taking methadone, but be careful. It's important to take it as your doctor says and be stable on your dose to avoid feeling sleepy or dizzy. Also, check your local laws about driving on methadone.

Are methadone clinics free?

Methadone clinics usually charge for their services, including medication and counseling. The cost can differ based on where you are, your insurance, and the type of program. But, there are often financial aid options or sliding scale fees to make it more affordable.

Does methadone affect your liver?

Methadone itself isn't harmful to the liver but can indirectly affect it. Pre-existing liver conditions require careful methadone use. The risk of hepatitis from shared needles, along with poor diet and alcohol, can strain the liver.

Can you bring methadone on a plane?

When flying with methadone, remember these tips:
1. Always have it in your carry-on bag, not checked luggage.
2. Please make sure the original prescription label is on it.
3. Check the TSA and airline's rules, as they can differ.

Does methadone rot your teeth?

Methadone isn't a direct cause of tooth decay, but it may lead to dry mouth, increasing cavity risk. Good oral care, like frequent brushing and flossing, and regular dental visits are important. Additionally, overall health and a balanced diet contribute to strong teeth.

Final Thoughts

Unmasking the myths surrounding methadone treatment empowers informed choices. Remember, it’s an evidence-based tool, not a life sentence.

When used under proper care, it can be a beacon, guiding individuals toward regaining control, health, and a future free from opioid addiction.

So, seek accurate information, consult professionals, and embrace the potential of methadone treatment as a powerful ally on your path to recovery.

Read next: How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

References and resources:

  1. PubMed Central, Innovation in Clinical Neuroscience, Shahid Ali, et al., 2017, “Methadone Treatment of Opiate Addiction: A Systematic Review of Comparative Studies”.
  2. JAMA Network, Research Letter, Christopher M. Jones, et al., 2022, “Methadone-Involved Overdose Deaths in the US Before and After Federal Policy Changes Expanding Take-Home Methadone Doses From Opioid Treatment Programs”.
  3. Spinger Link, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Article, S. L. Calcaterra, et al., 2019, “Methadone Matters: What the United States Can Learn from the Global Effort to Treat Opioid Addiction”.
  4. The Journal of Pain, Methadone Safety Guidelines, Roger Chou, et al., 2014, “Methadone Safety: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American Pain Society and College on Problems of Drug Dependence, in Collaboration With the Heart Rhythm Society”.
  5. Sage Journals, Research Article, Julia Woo, et al., 2017, ““Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”: A Qualitative Study of Methadone Patients’ Experiences of Stigma”.