how long does methadone last

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System During the Detox Process?

What is Methadone?

Methadone is one of the medications used in medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT. This medication can assist individuals throughout the detox process, to help stop their use of opiates such as heroin. Methadone has been utilized for decades to treat individuals addicted to narcotic pain medications such as Heroin. 

When drugs are taken as prescribed, it is deemed effective and safe. It allows individuals to recover from their addiction and reclaim meaningful and active lives. For optimal results, patients should participate in MAT, which includes social support and counseling. 

Methadone has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder, also known as (OUD). Though it’s mostly utilized for MAT purposes, it can be used for pain management. Methadone is one part of a comprehensive treatment plan, catering to behavioral health therapies geared to provide clients with a whole-person approach.

Furthermore, Methadone is considered a synthetic narcotic. It’s legally used to relieve severe pain in other patients, often in those who have terminal illnesses such as cancer. Though Methadone has been available legally in the US since 1947, it has more recently emerged as a drug of abuse. 

Overall, this trend might be a reality in part because of the accessibility and availability of the drug. Since it is increasingly utilized in narcotic addiction treatment and chronic pain relief. Methadone is available as an oral solution, injectable liquid, or tablet. 

Why Do People Take Methadone?

Since the 1950s, methadone maintenance treatment has been used to treat opioid dependence, and that’s why people use Methadone. It’s an opioid similar to opium or heroin. The patient will take a daily dose of Methadone as a pill or liquid. 

Overall, it will reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to understand that Methadone is addictive, just like other opioids. However, when a person is on Methadone, it’s not the same notion as being dependent on illegal opioids like heroin. 

Recently, the FDA approved lofexidine, a non-opioid medicine designed to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine and Methadone are medications approved for the above purpose. Methadone acts as an opioid agonist reducing drug cravings and removing withdrawal symptoms. 

The process in which Methadone works is by acting on opioid receptors in an individual’s brain. These are the receptors that various other opioids such as morphine, opioid pain medications, and heroin activate. Even though it operates and occupies these opioid receptors, it does the same process more slowly than other opioids. 

In an opioid-dependent individual, treatment doses don’t produce euphoria. Methadone has been successfully utilized for over 40 years to treat opioid use disorder. Distributed through specialized opioid treatment programs. 

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System?

Various factors influence the question, “How long does Methadone stay in your system?” 

Some of those factors include:

  • Concurrent use of any other substances
  • Duration of Methadone use
  • Additional ailments
  • Frequency of use
  • Dosage amount
  • Liver function 
  • Metabolism 
  • Age

Each of the above factors assists with answering the question, “How long does Methadone stay in your system?” Even though there isn’t a concrete answer, clinical opinions voiced their take on how long methadone stays in your system. It can vary anywhere between 2-13 days.

How Long Does Methadone Last?

Another question about Methadone is, “How long does Methadone last?” The drug can induce highs that last up to eight hours. However, the effects of Methadone can last up to 48 hours depending on how frequent the person is consuming it. 

The actual high from Methadone can last anywhere between 6-8 hours. The drug can remain in a person’s body for four days. 

When a person is high on Methadone, they can undergo several different effects from sedation, euphoria, and drowsiness. The other common side effects of Methadone are:

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Constricted pupils
  • Facial flushing 
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain 
  • Cottonmouth
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness

How to Spot the Signs of Methadone Addiction?

Knowing how to spot the signs of a Methadone addiction is crucial in getting your loved ones the help they need. Methadone addiction can be when a person’s behavior dramatically changes, especially starting Methadone or increasing dosage. The other suggestive signs of spotting a Methadone addiction are: 

Presence of withdrawal symptoms: A persistent Methadone user experiences uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms once they stop using it. The symptoms can range from cramps, and insomnia, to depression. That is to name a few. 

Prioritizing Methadone: When an individual engaging in Methadone chooses the drug over familial and social responsibilities, addiction might be present. 

Increased tolerance: Once a Methadone user develops a tolerance to it, they might have an addiction. When a person develops a tolerance, they require a higher dosage to get the same effects as before. Generally, this is the first sign, it’s not a foolproof measure. 

Granite Mountain Can Help With Methadone Addiction 

You can receive treatment for Methadone addiction at our Methadone addiction treatment program. Our team includes skilled therapists, staff, and clinicians knowledgeable on substance use disorders. Whether you’re interested in our intensive outpatient program, sober living, or therapy, we can help. Addiction can be overcome. Let’s get started.

Article Reviewed by Gregory Struve

Greg received a Master’s in Counseling from the Adler Graduate School in 2006. He trained at one of the top trauma and anxiety treatment centers in the world until 2008 when he became a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. From 2011 to 2016 he directed a program that leads the field in terms of innovative treatment of anxiety and trauma. During that time he even made several appearances on A&E’s intervention.