Baltimore Methadone Clinic & Suboxone Clinic – Starting Point Clinic in Baltimore, MD

About Methadone Medication

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Methadone Medication

About Methadone Medication

Methadone is a medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or other opiates. Methadone has been used for decades to treat people who are addicted to heroin and narcotic pain medicines. When taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective. It allows people to recover from their addiction and to reclaim active and meaningful lives. For optimal results, patients should also participate in a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program that includes counseling and social support.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone treatment works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Methadone is offered in pill, liquid, and wafer forms and is taken once a day. Pain relief from a dose of methadone lasts about four to eight hours. SAMHSA’s TIP 43: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs – 2012 shows that methadone is effective in higher doses, particularly for heroin users, helping them stay in treatment programs longer.

As with all medications used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), methadone is to be prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and participation in social support programs.

How Can a Patient Receive Methadone?

Patients taking methadone to treat opioid addiction must receive the medication under the supervision of a physician. After a period of stability (based on progress and proven, consistent compliance with the medication dosage), patients may be allowed to take methadone at home between program visits. By law, methadone can only be dispensed through an opioid treatment program (OTP) certified by SAMHSA.

The length of time in methadone treatment varies from person to person. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse publication Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide – 2012, the length of methadone treatment should be a minimum of 12 months. Some patients may require treatment for years. Even if a patient feels that they are ready to stop methadone treatment, it must be stopped gradually to prevent withdrawal. Such a decision should be supervised by a doctor.

Methadone Safety

Methadone can be addictive, so it must be used exactly as prescribed. This is particularly important for patients who are allowed to take methadone at home and aren’t required to take medication under supervision at an OTP. Methadone medication is specifically tailored for the individual patient (as doses are often adjusted and readjusted) and is never to be shared with or given to others. Patients should share their complete health history with health providers to ensure the safe use of the medication.

Other medications may interact with methadone and cause heart conditions. Even after the effects of methadone wear off, the medication’s active ingredients remain in the body for much longer. Taking more methadone can cause unintentional overdose.

The following tips can help achieve the best treatment results:

  • Never use more than the amount prescribed, and always take at the times prescribed. If a dose is missed, or if it feels like it’s not working, do not take an extra dose of methadone.
  • Do not consume alcohol while taking methadone.
  • Be careful driving or operating machinery on methadone.
  • Call 911 if too much methadone is taken or if an overdose is suspected.
  • Take steps to prevent children from accidentally taking methadone.
  • Store methadone at room temperature and away from light.
  • Dispose of unused methadone by flushing it down the toilet.

Side Effects of Methadone

Side effects should be taken seriously, as some of them may indicate an emergency. Patients should stop taking methadone and contact a doctor or emergency services right away if they:

  • Experience difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
  • Feel lightheaded or faint
  • Experience hives or a rash; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Feel chest pain
  • Experience a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Experience hallucinations or confusion

Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women and Methadone

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely take methadone. When withdrawal from an abused drug happens to a pregnant woman, it causes the uterus to contract and may bring on miscarriage or premature birth. Methadone’s ability to prevent withdrawal symptoms helps pregnant women better manage their addiction while avoiding health risks to both mother and baby.

Undergoing methadone maintenance treatment while pregnant will not cause birth defects, but some babies may go through withdrawal after birth. This does not mean that the baby is addicted. Infant withdrawal usually begins a few days after birth but may begin two to four weeks after birth.

Mothers taking methadone can still breastfeed. Research has shown that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the effect of the small amount of methadone that enters the breast milk. A woman who is thinking of stopping methadone treatment due to breastfeeding or pregnancy concerns should speak with her doctor first.

Medication Assisted Treatment Program:

A Methadone Clinic is a great place to start for adults struggling with addiction. Starting Point Clinic is a Medication Assisted Treatment clinic that offers medications that are useful in treating opioid addiction. The Addiction Treatment Services administered at Starting Point Clinic are the best in the industry!

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Jamie SpitFire
Jamie SpitFire
15:46 03 May 21
I wouldn't recommend this clinic. Yeah, they medicate you, but the nursing dept is VERY unprofessional and bad at the... job. They basically act their "wage." They also talk about the patients. Oh and DON'T expect the DIRECTOR to help you or call you back. He hides in his office. He seems to be on a "conference call" every hour of everyday. Please RUN away from this place. They never want to accept the mistakes they make. I only gave this rat hole one star because there's no option for zero stars.read more
Jeff Garrett
Jeff Garrett
13:15 28 Oct 20
The staff there are great for the most part. I would definitely recommend this place. They take state insurance,... regular insurance, and even cash. If you get a counselor you don't like, then you can ask for a different person. They will work with you to help you get clean, and they wont over prescribe methadone. The only thing that bothers me is they're a little too controlling.read more
Tyler S
Tyler S
16:40 10 Aug 20
I have been at Starting Point for 6+ years. I'm not going to say everything has been peaches and creme since I been... here but, I will say my issues have been addressed wether I agree with the final outcome or not they were addressed! I have the most amazing, patient, kind, sympathetic counselor. Sarah always gives me the most honest feedback.My recovery has been going good and I have maintained sobriety since I been here. Nursing is the center of it all because, without the nurses showing up for work everyday we wouldn't get medicated. The nurses are so personable and work very hard at providing our medication every day. I guess we all take the nurses for granted but truth be told we need to be more grateful to them!!!read more
Mad Max
Mad Max
12:55 12 Dec 19
They are very unprofessional and expect to much. They are worried bout paperwork and not saving lives. When evidently... the person in a clinic before was approved before but they still give you the run around. You go here lie about your medical issues because they will make you travel for paperwork. I would recommend that you find something else convenientread more
Lynette Smith
Lynette Smith
11:34 27 Jul 19
A nice place to go to get clean.
The Real Viper Keeper
The Real Viper Keeper
18:41 15 Nov 18
So this clinic is the best I have been to and they do care and want to help but will only go as far as you go and... that's how it should be remember only you can change if you want to and you can if you want it bad enough. And do not settle cause you are assigned that counslor if you don't feel comfortable with that counselor ask for another or one you think will work cause being able to talk to some one is a HUGE part of your mission (treatment) so for new people I would recommend this facility for sure just make sure you come ready to be clean and not play gamesread more
Joseph Grunder
Joseph Grunder
14:12 22 Mar 18
They are pretty good about helping you with trying to quit using the opiates.
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