Methadone facts

Dr. Jana Burson, who treats opiate addiction using methadone, presents methadone myths and methadone facts here. This is the first article in a series of posts to get the facts about methadone to you, the public.

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Methadone facts, not myths

Misunderstanding surrounds the use of methadone for opiate addiction. Even doctors make uniformed comments to methadone patients doing well on the narcotic drug.  So how can we address these myths?  By presenting the methadone facts!

Methadone fact # 1: methadone does not cause teeth to rot

Methadone can cause dry mouth, but does not cause teeth to rot, a common myth among addicts. Most likely, many addicts in active addiction neglect dental hygiene. When they enter treatment with methadone, they’re able to take note of their physical condition, see the poor condition of their teeth, and perhaps blame it on the methadone.

Methadone fact #2: methadone does not act on the bones

Also, methadone does not get into the bones. This common myth likely comes from the severe bone and joint pain experienced during opioid withdrawal. I’ve heard addicts talking to each other, saying that this pain is “the methadone coming out of you.” This isn’t true.

Opiate information for doctors

Information about the true nature of opiates like methadone makes all the difference.  Better patient outcomes will be seen with better communication between doctors. I hear some doctors make critical comments to patients doing well on methadone. This is done usually out of ignorance of methadone and how it works.

Doctors are not usually taught much about addiction, much less its treatment, in medical school. So many times, if I have the patients’ permission, I can gently educate their other doctors about methadone. After all, at one time I needed this information, because like the others, I thought methadone was somehow a bad or undesirable medication.


Narcotic pain meds discussion (continued)

Methadone is a narcotic medicine surrounded by debate and misunderstanding.  What have you heard about methadone?  What myths are out there …being spread by former drug addicts or even medical professionals?  Please add to this list so that we can address these myths and continue to provide you with methadone facts.  See Dr. Burson’s other posts if you’re interested in learning more about methadone maintenance treatment dosage: mainly how 60 mg methadone hydrochloride  dose work and the common side effects of methadone treatment that one can expect.

About the author
Jana Burson M.D. is board-certified in Internal medicine, and certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. After practicing primary care for many years, she became interested in the treatment of addiction. For the last six years, her practice has focused exclusively on Addiction Medicine. She has written a book about prescription pain pill addiction: "Pain Pill Addiction: Prescription for Hope." Also see Dr. Burson's blog here.
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