Methadone treatment guideline in opiate addiction-is longer better?

Is one year the standard methadone treatment guideline in opiate addiction? Not by far. Learn why methadone treatment for opiate addiction works better in the long term, and what research supports multiple year methadone treatment. Guidelines in opiate addiction here.

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Methadone treatment for opiate addiction


The longer patients are retained in methadone treatment, the less illicit opioids they use. Studies show that at six months or more of treatment, heroin use in patients drops from ninety-seven percent to twenty-three percent. When patients stay on long term methadone maintenance for more than four and a half years, the number dropped to eight percent. Of the patients that left methadone maintenance treatment, eighty-two percent injected heroin within 1 year. Therefore, we know that longer treatment is better than shorter treatment.

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Methadone maintenance discussion

Longer methadone treatment for opiate addiction works better than short term treatment using methadone.  But stigma surrounds the practice of methadone maintenance treatment.  What do you think is the source of the misunderstanding of opiate addiction treatment using methadone?   Why are people such critics of the practice of methadone treatment?  Why do people urge opiate addicts to start getting off methadone?  We invite your comments, feedback and even disagreement here.

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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