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Patient Retention in Methadone Treatment

by Nick

How long does the typical patient stay in a methadone-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program? If you want to learn more about methadone treatment for yourself or a loved one, you may wonder about the average length. Since everyone has a different experience with MAT, the answer depends on the person. However, certain factors raise the chance of success for the patient. Discover more about methadone treatment retention.

Does Methadone Treatment Work?

Methadone maintenance has the best outcomes when the patient closely follows their treatment plan. According to the California Society of Addiction Medicine, methadone MAT can have up to a 90% success rate. The use of methadone for opioid addiction dates back to the 1970s and has a long history of results. With a treatment team’s help, you can have a high chance of success while taking methadone.

What Do We Know About Methadone Maintenance Treatment Retention?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that specific program characteristics raise the rates of success in methadone treatment. A patient has a higher chance of staying in a methadone MAT program when it includes the following elements:

  • Evidence-based medication treatment plans
  • Availability of psychosocial services, such as case management and therapy
  • Focus on service quality and staff training
  • Integration of medical services with counseling and administrative support

In other words, a program has more positive results when it focuses on all aspects of addiction. Opioid use disorder impacts a patient’s physical, emotional and social well-being. When a MAT clinic addresses all of these elements, its patients have a better chance of success.

How Long Do Patients Stay on Methadone?

Every patient’s program length differs based on individual factors. While some people get to a point where they can taper off their methadone treatment, others may need to stay on the medicine for life. A patient’s program length and stages depend on:

  • History of opioid use: When someone uses opioids for a long time, they may need more intensive treatment that addresses their changed brain chemistry.
  • Type of opioid used: Opioid drugs have varying levels of strength, so some of them change brain chemistry faster than others or have a longer-lasting impact.
  • Recovery support system: A person who has a support system outside of the clinic can have more favorable outcomes than someone who doesn’t.
  • Individual brain chemistry: Everyone’s brain has a different response to opioids so that some patients may need more support than others due to biology.

An individualized treatment program accounts for these differences to raise your chance of success in recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that methadone treatment should be a minimum of 12 months for increased possibility of success, and then from there is dependent on each person. Patients may be on methadone for years, if not the rest of their lives, which others may gradually taper off the medication under a medical provider’s supervision.

The Importance of Choosing an Individualized Treatment Program

Individualized treatment programs such as those offered at Health Care Resource Centers raise their chance of success through a personalized approach. They design their services to address the physical, emotional and social aspects of addiction. An individualized program also creates personalized treatment plans that take the patient’s needs into account. Choosing an individualized MAT program can help you improve your chance of staying in methadone treatment.

For more information about methadone MAT programs, contact the HCRC team today. You can also schedule an appointment at one of our locations across New England.

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