Methadone has been used for decades to treat people with OUD.

When taken as prescribed, methadone is safe and effective.

It allows people to recover and reclaim active and meaningful lives.

For the best results, patients should also participate in a comprehensive medication for addiction treatment (MAT) program that includes counseling and social support.

How Does Methadone Work? 

Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

It decreases the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Methadone is offered in pill, liquid, and wafer forms and is taken once a day.

Pain relief from a dose of methadone lasts about four to eight hours.

Methadone is effective in higher doses, particularly for heroin users, helping them stay in treatment programs longer.

Side Effects of Methadone 

Side effects should be taken seriously, as some of them may indicate an emergency. Stop taking methadone and contact a doctor or emergency services right away if you:

•Experience difficulty breathing or shallow breathing

•Feel lightheaded or faint

•Experience hives or a rash; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

•Feel chest pain

•Experience a fast or pounding heartbeat

•Experience hallucinations or confusion

Methadone and Pregnancy

Pregnant women with OUD should be offered MAT consisting of pharmacotherapy with methadone or buprenorphine and evidence-based behavioral interventions.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely take methadone.

When withdrawal from an abused drug happens to a pregnant woman, it causes the uterus to contract and may bring on miscarriage or premature birth.

Methadone’s ability to prevent withdrawal symptoms helps pregnant women better manage their addiction while avoiding health risks to both mother and baby.

For more information on Methadone, check out the Recovery Medication tab on this website.