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Methadone Dosage

Methadone Dosage for Addiction

The starting recommended dose of methadone for the treatment of opioid addiction is 20 mg to 30 mg. If withdrawal symptoms are not adequately suppressed within two to four hours, an additional 5 mg to 10 mg may be given. The total amount for the first day should not exceed 40 mg.
For short-term detoxification, the methadone dosage should be increased up to 40 mg per day (usually given as two smaller daily doses) in order to achieve stabilization. This stabilization dose can be continued for two or three days, after which the amount should be gradually reduced in a manner that is slow enough to help limit withdrawal symptoms.
For long-term maintenance treatment, the dose should be slowly increased until:
  • The withdrawal symptoms are prevented for 24 hours at a time
  • Drug cravings are reduced
  • The euphoric effects of other opioids are reduced or blocked
  • The person becomes tolerant to the sedative effects of methadone.
For many people, a dose of methadone 80 mg to 120 mg will work well, although some may need a smaller or larger amount. However, some methadone clinics only allow low, "one size fits all" dosing, despite the overwhelming evidence that higher amounts are more effective.
If you wish to stop taking methadone, you should do so slowly and only with the help and supervision of a healthcare provider. It is recommended that the dose be reduced by less than 10 percent at a time, with at least 10 to 14 days between reductions. It is important to understand that addiction relapse is common during or after withdrawal from methadone maintenance treatment.
People who are first starting methadone should be aware that doses will "hold" for longer periods of time as tissue levels of the drug accumulate.
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