Methadone detox tends to last between 10 and 20 days. Methadone detox is the period of time where methadone is flushed from your system. During this time, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from a runny nose to severe opioid cravings.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid that can treat opioid withdrawal syndrome and cravings. As an opioid agonist itself, people with a history of opioid use disorder who undergo methadone maintenance treatment are at risk of developing a dependence on the drug.
Methadone detoxification can be managed in a clinical setting, and the withdrawal process in a medical detox program may be less uncomfortable than quitting all at once, or cold turkey.
Methadone Withdrawal Timeline
Methadone withdrawal symptoms can start about one day after the last dose. Since methadone is a long-acting opioid, withdrawal can last for longer than short-acting opioids like hydrocodone and fentanyl.
Symptoms of withdrawal may be more severe and longer-lasting if the patient’s use of methadone went against their prescription, if it was taken in high doses, or if it was a target of drug abuse. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- trouble sleeping
- muscle aches
- low energy
- opioid cravings
Withdrawal Symptoms Begin (~1 Day After Last Dose)
Methadone is a long-lasting opioid, and takes longer to leave a person’s system than short-acting opioids. Withdrawal symptoms of methadone may also start later than these opioids. Early withdrawal symptoms may include runny nose, goosebumps, and fatigue.
Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (1-20 Days After Last Dose)
Methadone withdrawal symptoms continue during the acute withdrawal phase. Symptoms may start out mild and progress to severe symptoms. The mental health of a patient may also decline.
In severe cases, coming off methadone without medical supervision can be life-threatening.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (20+ Days After Last Dose)
If a patient completes the acute withdrawal phase, they may continue to experience side effects for months or even years after the last dose. This phase is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS.
Symptoms of PAWS can be similar to those found in acute opiate withdrawal. These symptoms may disappear for long periods of time and flare up unexpectedly. Without the help of a treatment provider, PAWS can cause patients to relapse into methadone addiction.
Medical Detox Process For Methadone
A medical detox program from methadone can manage a patient’s withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification often starts with a health assessment, and patients are put on a schedule to detox depending on their current status.
Patients may be constantly monitored by medical professionals and drug addiction specialists. Many patients may be recommended for a stay at a treatment center to ensure their health stays stable until detox is complete.
Medical detox centers may put patients on a tapering plan, where they gradually decrease their dose of methadone over time instead of quitting all at once. Tapering can reduce the chances of severe withdrawal symptoms and allows the body to reduce its dependence gradually.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Programs
The right healthcare providers can assess your opiate addiction, offer you effective treatment options, monitor you as needed, and provide excellent treatment services. When methadone is a target of a substance use disorder, intensive care may be needed.
Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Centers to find out if our outpatient treatment options work for you and your loved one.
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Methadone continuation versus forced withdrawal on incarceration in a combined US prison and jail: a randomised, open-label trial
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed — Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Methadone
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.