How Does Methadone Work? The Half-Life and Peak Levels of Methadone

how methadone works

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Table of Contents

Methadone Medicine Usage

Methadone is a synthetic drug that is generally used as part of the treatment program given to patients with an opioid addiction. The purpose of prescribing this medication is to suppress withdrawal symptoms for a certain period of time. Although methadone is used for medical purposes, there’s a risk addiction if taken in higher doses.

Methadone Ways Of Administration

Methadone can be ingested orally or can be taken as an injection. The drug can be found in various forms, either as pill or tablet, liquid solution, or powder. Abuse or misuse of methadone is most common when snorted as a powdered form, or when taken with alcohol.

Methadone Half-Life

The half-life of methadone is 15-60 hours, and the duration of the drug’s analgesic effect is between 4-8 hours. Methadone in the blood reaches peak levels 4 hours after intake. A methadone drug test or urine screening is commonly performed on methadone users and can accurately get a result up to four days after the last dose.

Dangers Of Methadone Addiction

Methadone abuse and addiction can be quite dangerous, especially if a user increases their dosage to achieve a high, and their dependence shifts to accommodate those behaviors. An addiction to methadone will have similar side effects to a morphine addiction; continued use can result in alarming and life-threatening symptoms.

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Methadone Addiction Treatment

The first step to breaking a methadone addiction is for the addict to accept that he or she needs professional help and medical treatment. Methadone addiction is a treatable case as long as the patient is willing to undergo drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, and is determined to reach full recovery.

View Sources
  1. Grissinger M. Keeping patients safe from methadone overdoses. Physical Therapy. 2011; 36(8): 462–466.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health services Administration. Methadone. 2019.
Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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