Methadone Relapse – What Does Its Rising Rate Mean?

Methadone Relapse

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Currently, there is a steady rise of Methadone relapse. This rate may be a new headache for the people struggling with an opiate addiction
As a matter fact, it would be hard to acknowledge that the savior is going to harm the individual.

Table of Contents

Methadone Uses

It is an opiate medication that alleviates symptoms of heroin addiction. In addition, the doctor may also prescribe it to treat severe pain.

Role In Opiate Addiction

Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) and Methadone-assisted detoxification are two different types of treatment. The goals are different too.
In fact, they are the most preferred medical interventions. Doctors will give it to patients who have problems with an opiate addiction. It is a type of substitution therapy. They administer its dose in a controlled manner. This way, it will ease the symptoms that arise due to an addiction to other stronger opioids, for example heroin.

Causes Of Methadone Relapse

Methadone RelapseMethadone substitution therapy for opiate addiction often comes in scrutiny. It is because some of the patients may become dependent on it during the therapy. Moreover, the therapy can go for an indefinite period or several years on a continuous basis. As a result, this might fuel the fear among the addicts and their family members.
Understandably, the situation is like diving into a shallow pond instead of a deep one on purpose. In any case, no one can deny that an addiction, regardless of the type, is always harmful.
Lately, methadone relapse rates are rising. It is because a large number of patients are taking it to combat more serious opiate addiction.

Methadone As A Suitable Opiate Replacement

  • Opiates, especially heroin, and Methadone compete for the binding sites in the brain. Thus, its use can reduce the withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, it may also reverse some of them.
  • After taking the oral pill, it remains active in the body for the next 24 hours. This is in contrast to heroin which remains active for a very short duration.
  • It tends to stay in the tissues. Stored drug acts as a depot and diffuses slowly into the bloodstream all around the clock.
  • Oral intake makes it a bit better in reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.

Will Rising Methadone Relapse Rate Affect Opiate Treatment?

Well, it may but the chances are slim. The reason being a lack of another substitution therapy that is equally effective.
In addition, a large number of studies have shown that death rate among the addicts is much lower. In fact, it is almost one-third of what would be in the absence of Methadone therapy.
Therefore, one can consider Methadone the king of opiate therapy as it is enjoying a sort of a monopoly right now.

Causes Of Increasing Methadone Relapse Rate

A number of reasons could possibly be behind the relapse. First, users have an easy access to it. Next, it does not cost a fortune to purchase the pills. Finally, they do not have to inject it. It comes in the form of pills which one can take by mouth.
Apart from these, many people consider it as a very safe medication, the reason being its categorization under Schedule II. Note that a Schedule II drug has to go through less stringent regulatory procedures for its use in comparison to Schedule I drugs of which heroin is a typical example.

Avoiding Methadone Relapse

Does the risk of Methadone relapse poses a significant threat to the addicts? Strangely enough, not many studies have attempted to determine this. In fact, we cannot expect any conclusive result on this issue anytime soon.
There are some measures that may help to detect Methadone relapse at an early stage. Note that none of these signs can confirm the case. Nevertheless, watch for the following signs in the loved ones.

  • Attempt to acquire it through illegal means
  • Behavioral changes that may persist a long time after starting the therapy
  • Not complying with the doctor’s instruction. Typically, using it in higher doses or more frequently.
  • Deterioration of other physical and psychiatric signs of opiate addiction
  • Involvement in risky behavior such as compulsive gambling or diverting to alcohol abuse

Braking Methadone Relapse

Unfortunately, there is no official guideline that provides preventive measures. Nevertheless, one should consult an addiction expert or their doctor. Then, as a team, patient and doctor can explore more about the issue.
To know more about the trend of Methadone relapse rate or its addiction, talk to the experts. They can provide an accurate information on a variety of addiction-related topics. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable to your journey to sobriety. In fact, with their guidance, one can expect a swift and complete recovery.
Need a professional help to fight an addiction? Get the best rehabs page here.

View Sources
  1. Clark RE, Baxter JD, Aweh G, O’Connell E, Fisher WH, Barton BA. Risk Factors for Relapse and Higher Costs Among Medicaid Members with Opioid Dependence or Abuse: Opioid Agonists, Comorbidities, and Treatment History. Subst Abuse Treat. 2015 Oct;57:75-80.
  2. Keane H. Categorising methadone: Addiction and analgesia. Int J Drug Policy. 2013 Nov;24(6):e18-24.
  3. Ferrari A, Coccia CP, Bertolini A, Sternieri E. Methadone–metabolism, pharmacokinetics and interactions. Pharmacol Res. 2004.
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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