Methadone Withdrawal | How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on March 11, 2023

Methadone is an opioid medication used to treat opioid withdrawal and addiction. However, those using the drug regularly may experience withdrawal symptoms that can last for six weeks or more if they abruptly stop taking methadone.

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid drug considered to be a Schedule II controlled substance. This strong painkiller has a high potential for abuse which can lead to psychological or physical dependence.

A person who abruptly stops taking this opioid medication may experience serious withdrawal symptoms which can begin as early as 24 hours after use. However, depending on the size of the last dose of methadone and when it was taken, it can take withdrawal symptoms days to show up.

Once present, methadone withdrawal symptoms may last for 3 to 6 weeks or longer depending on the severity of methadone addiction. Serious and life-threatening symptoms may occur, which may require medical detox in a supervised setting.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone works by producing dopamine while attaching to opioid receptors in the brain. This creates feelings of euphoria, leading some to participate in methadone abuse.

Some may develop opioid addiction and may require opioid withdrawal treatment to assist with the symptoms of methadone withdrawal.

Per the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), those who experience withdrawal symptoms may struggle with:

  • drug cravings
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • yawning
  • flu-like symptoms
  • body aches
  • anxiety
  • fever
  • irritability
  • sleeping difficulties
  • muscle aches
  • goosebumps
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose
  • depression
  • tremors
  • blood pressure fluctuations
  • a rapid heart rate

Symptoms can become severe and require treatment. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a person tapering off of methadone may require the assistance of a healthcare professional, ideally in an addiction treatment center.

Treatment For Methadone Withdrawal

Quitting “cold turkey” is not the method of how to get off methadone, but the opposite. Methadone should not be abruptly stopped, as severe withdrawal symptoms and side effects can take place. There are a variety of treatment options for you to consider.

Methadone Detox & Taper

Tapering methadone is the preferred way to begin your road to recovery. To be certain a person tapers off of methadone correctly, medical detox may be necessary.

At a treatment facility, you can participate in a detox program. Through the detoxification process, your body rids itself of unwanted toxins under the supervision of medical professionals.

Although detox can assist with your physical symptoms, other therapies and treatment options may prove beneficial for the psychological symptoms which take place during withdrawal.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be necessary for those suffering from an opioid use disorder involving methadone. With this form of treatment, a person will receive behavioral therapy as well as medication.

This process is completed carefully and, depending on the severity of opioid use, the substance use disorder may be treated with medications such as naloxone, clonidine, and buprenorphine, which can shorten the withdrawal process.

Inpatient Care

Depending on the severity of withdrawal symptoms a person experiences, inpatient treatment programs can prove to be beneficial. As an inpatient, you can receive 24/7 care and have access to healthcare professionals throughout the withdrawal process.

Those dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms may require a more rigid and structured schedule. Inpatient care offers treatment for opiate withdrawal as well as treatment programs for those with an opiate addiction.

At Ohio Recovery Center, we provide inpatient addiction treatment options for those suffering from drug addiction. To learn more, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Methadone
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Dolophine
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — What Are Prescription Opioids?
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Methadone
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Methadone

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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