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What Is Methadone Used For?

Methadone Use Outside of Clinics

There is a misconception that methadone cannot be prescribed or dispensed outside of a methadone clinic for any purpose. Any healthcare provider who is authorized to prescribe controlled substances can prescribe methadone for pain relief, and any pharmacy that is registered to handle controlled substances can dispense both tablets and oral solution for pain relief.
 
However, people enrolled at a methadone clinic must receive all narcotics through the clinic; they cannot receive narcotics (even for pain control) from other prescribers or pharmacies.
 
There are two exceptions in which methadone can be dispensed outside of a licensed treatment for the purposes of addiction treatment. These exceptions include:
 
  • Short-term (no more than three days) in an emergency situation while arrangements are being made to transfer the patient to a clinic (this is particularly important in areas of the country with no nearby facilities). In this situation, the healthcare provider can give the patient only one day's worth of methadone at a time.
     
  • In a hospital, if the person was admitted for a diagnosis other than opioid addiction.
     
In addition, new regulations allow healthcare providers to apply for exceptions to the standard clinic rules. For instance, a healthcare provider in a rural area far from any methadone clinics may apply to provide addiction treatment services and to dispense the drug for this purpose.
 
If people in a methadone clinic meet certain requirements, they may be allowed "take-home" doses, instead of having to go to the clinic every single day.
 

Can Children Use Methadone?

Methadone is not approved for use in children.
 
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