Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs use a combination of medications and counseling services to help people who struggled with opioid addiction. Methadone is one of the most effective and frequently used drugs in MAT clinics.
Below, learn more about what starting methadone is like for the first 24 hours.
What Is Methadone?
Commonly used for decades, methadone is an opioid drug MAT clinic doctors frequently prescribe to help treat opioid use disorder. It is a pain-relieving analgesic that can reduce opioid cravings and relieve symptoms of withdrawal. It is also often prescribed for injuries and chronic pain. When taken therapeutically along with attending counseling, methadone can help you recover from your opioid addiction.
Methadone works by activating the same receptors in the brain as illicit opioids. Unlike heroin or morphine, however, methadone works at a gradual pace and does not produce a high. This system reduces and prevents withdrawal symptoms without creating the addictive feeling of euphoria. The goal of methadone maintenance is stabilization so you can live a life without overwhelming cravings or symptoms of withdrawal.
Methadone-based MAT plans can help people struggling with opioid addiction on the road to recovery. At MedMark Treatment Centers, doctors and clinic staff help establish treatment plans and provide a safe, supportive environment for our patients.
Starting Methadone Maintenance Treatment
If you’re part of a MAT program, you’ll likely receive your first methadone treatment after intake. The size of your first dose depends on several factors, including the severity of your opioid addiction and your tolerance level. Clinic staff determine these factors and more through testing and observation to find the correct therapeutic level of methadone for you.
Methadone is a cumulative medication that gradually builds in your system, so you typically start with a low dose. After taking methadone for the first time, you might experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea and aches because the methadone hasn’t accumulated yet. However, as the drug builds in your system each day, you’ll notice its increasing effects. You should reach a therapeutic level within a few days and see a reduction in your cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Talk to your doctor or clinic staff if you continue experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. They’ll help determine the proper dosage for your treatment.
Side Effects of Methadone
You might experience side effects of withdrawal within the first few hours after taking methadone. Before the medication builds up in your system, you might have cravings or withdrawal symptoms like nausea and vomiting, fever or chills, restlessness, agitation, cramps, appetite problems and muscle aches and pains.
However, once your body adapts to methadone within a few days and your prescription stabilizes, you’ll experience benefits like:
- Reduced cravings
- Fewer withdrawal symptoms
- No “high” from methadone
- Improved mental health
Methadone maintenance is an effective way to have a more comfortable recovery.
Explore Methadone Maintenance Clinics Around the Country
Receiving compassionate care is essential to a successful recovery. MedMark is an outpatient methadone-based MAT clinic with over 30 programs nationwide. If you or a loved one struggles with opioid use disorder, contact us today to learn more about methadone maintenance and the road to recovery.