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Methadone and Headaches

by Nick

For over 50 years, doctors have used methadone to help patients with opioid use disorder and chronic pain. Methadone maintenance is an effective treatment for many people, but some worry about potential side effects like headaches. Below, learn more about the relationship between methadone and headaches during opioid treatment.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a drug doctors have used in opioid addiction treatments for decades. Classified as a narcotic or opiate analgesic (pain reliever), methadone helps patients manage chronic pain and relieves opioid cravings and withdrawals. When someone takes methadone therapeutically, it activates the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, though at a slower pace and without a high. This process prevents withdrawal while blocking the effects of other drugs like heroin and morphine, reducing the patient’s cravings.

Under supervision from medical professionals, methadone is a safe and effective part of many medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plans for people with opioid use disorder. Taking methadone exactly as prescribed can help patients ease painful withdrawal symptoms and reduce their cravings for heroin, narcotic painkillers and other opioids. Methadone can help you in your recovery process.

Methadone Side Effects

Methadone is categorized as an opiate and can share many of the same side effects as related drugs. When you begin taking methadone for the first time during your treatment, it may take a few days for your body to adjust to the new drug. Common symptoms include sleepiness and lightheadedness. You might experience other mild symptoms like dry mouth or difficulty urinating.

After a few weeks on methadone, you’ll likely start feeling normal. Your opioid cravings will lessen, and you can begin taking better care of yourself. These steps are all part of the recovery process.

Does Methadone Cause Headaches?

Headaches, bone aches and feelings of sickness are signs of opioid withdrawal. Methadone treats withdrawal symptoms — it doesn’t cause them. When patients who use methadone as part of their treatment experience headaches, it is likely because their dose is not properly adjusted and isn’t preventing withdrawal.

If you experience headaches while taking methadone, talk to your doctor about your prescription. If the amount you’re taking is too low, you may develop headaches due to withdrawal. Your doctor can modify your prescription to the correct level and help you feel better. Throughout treatment, your care team will closely monitor your condition and gradually reduce the amount of methadone you need to take.

Seek Methadone Treatment in New England

For over 25 years, Health Care Resource Centers has provided methadone treatment programs at 17 locations throughout New England. We’ve helped thousands of patients on their path to recovery. Our programs combine medication-assisted treatment and substance use counseling to give you the support you need. At HCRC, our supportive team is dedicated to improving your quality of life and assisting your recovery.

If you’re considering methadone maintenance or struggling with opioid misuse, call us at 866-758-7769 for more information on our opioid treatment. You can also get in touch with an HCRC representative online or find the nearest HCRC location in your community.

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