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There are benefits and downsides to using methadone for detoxification or maintenance treatment from heroin or other morphine-like drugs. Some of the benefits of methadone treatment include a lower risk of overdose, less criminal activity, and reduced use of injection drugs. However, undergoing treatment can be inconvenient, as you must go to a methadone clinic every day to receive your dosage.

What Conditions Can Methadone Treat?

Methadone hydrochloride (Diskets®, Dolophine®, Methadose®) is a prescription narcotic. The three main types of treatments for methadone include:
  • Detoxification treatment ("detox") from heroin or other morphine-like drugs
  • Maintenance treatment of addiction to heroin or other morphine-like drugs (long-term treatment in order to reduce usage of heroin or other drugs)
  • Treatment of moderate-to-severe pain.

Benefits of Maintenance Methadone Treatment

Maintenance methadone treatment (MMT) has several demonstrated benefits, such as:
  • Reduced or stopped use of injection drugs
  • Reduced risk of overdose
  • Lower risk of transmitting various diseases like HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Lower risk of death
  • Possible decrease in risky sexual behaviors (although research is conflicting at this point)
  • Less criminal activity
  • Improved family relationships
  • Increased ability to be employed
  • Fewer pregnancy problems for both the mother and the fetus.
In addition, methadone maintenance treatment is cost-effective and is generally considered the most effective method of treating opioid addiction.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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