A study by Professor Neil McKeganey, chief researcher for Glasgow University’s Centre for Drug Misuse Research, showed that only 3.4% of drug addicts in Scotland recovered from drug addiction after using methadone.
Because the withdrawal process can cause adverse symptoms, methadone users are advised to detox in a medical environment. Most inpatient and outpatient treatment programs offer medical detox, which can help reduce the severity of methadone withdrawal symptoms.
Reducing risk of re-incarceration.
It is recommended that all patients receiving MMT in closed settings be assisted to transfer to a community-based MMT program to continue treatment. Remaining in MMT in the community will help the patient to avoid illicit drug use and HIV risk behaviours such as sharing syringes. It will also reduce the likelihood of drug overdose. Arrangements for transferring the patient's prescription should be made by the prescribing doctor several weeks before the patient is due for release, in order to allow time for the transfer request to be processed. It can be useful to employ a community liaison officer who can assist in arranging transfers between the closed setting and doctors in the local community.
Provide the same dose daily for three days. The patient will experience increasing effects from the same dose over this time. After the first three days, assess the patient's withdrawal symptoms. If the patient is experiencing withdrawal, increase the dose by 5-10mg every three days. Dose increases should not be greater than 20mg per week.
WHO/UNODC/UNAIDS. Substitution maintenance therapy in the management of opioid dependence and HIV/AIDS prevention. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004. .
Methadone users should always detox under the supervision of a doctor to ensure the patient completes detox safely and comfortably and improves their chances of a successful recovery.