Methadone is a synthetic opiate indicated for use as a painkiller and as alternative for heroin in the treatment of heroin addiction. It produces similar effects to heroin but doesn’t deliver the same degree of buzz or high as heroin. A patient who is addicted to heroin will often be prescribed methadone in a methadone clinic instead of heroin and the dose of methadone is gradually reduced over time. This means that the patient can give up heroin, avoiding acute withdrawal symptoms. The drug Methadone is usually administered as pills or an oral liquid solution or wafers. However, the system is not without its inherent risks, and methadone abuse is common.
Is Methadone Harmful?
The treatment of addiction to opiod (opiate abuse) on many occasions requires another opiate as a supportive measure when the patient stops taking the original drug. Ideally, it is a long-acting drug with a long half-life, and it should be easy to take. Methadone does have the potential to be harmful, but the drug usually does more good than harm to the thousands of people who depend on it to overcome addiction It is easy to reduce dosages, and it can be used safely in relatively high doses. The key effects of methadone include:
- Reducing physical and psychological pain.
- Feelings of warmth, relaxation and detachment.
- Overdoses that can lead to coma (and even death from respiratory failure i.e. when breathing stops).
Methadone Effects On the Human Body ?
The most common route of administration at a methadone clinic is in a racemic oral solution. Methadone has a slow metabolism and a very high fat solubility and once ingested, methadone is metabolized in a different way than the body processes other opiates, such as heroin or morphine. Methadone has a typical elimination half-life of 15 to 60 hours, that is to say it takes an average of 3 days for methadone to be completely eliminated from the body. These rates vary significantly between individuals largely due to genetic variability in the production of the associated cytochrome enzymes associated with methadone metabolism in the body.