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Methadone maintenance

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Methadone maintenance is the use of methadone over a prolonged time as treatment for someone who is addicted to heroin or has severe pain problems that are resistant to other drugs.

Modality

Methadone has been used to treat opioid dependence for thirty-five years. Therapeutic dosing is contingent upon individual patient needs, and the therapeutic dosage range is generally between 80 - 120 mg. Though it should be noted that such a dose would likely not be tolerated by an opioid naive individual. Methadone is taken orally and is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, appearing in plasma within thirty minutes of being ingested. Methadone is also widely distributed to body tissues where it is stored and then released into the plasma. This combination of storage and release keeps the patient comfortable, free from craving, and feeling stable.

With the emergence of several treatment options such as buprenorphine and heroin treatment (Switzerland & U.K.) since 1990 many professionals no longer hold with the opinion of the General Accounting Office and maintain that buprenorphine or detoxification are superior.

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