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Methadone Treatment

Methadone has been used for decades to treat individuals struggling with addiction to prescription pain medications and illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. As the gold standard of care, methadone is known to be most effective when supported by substance use counseling and other recovery services.

Methadone success rates range from 60 to 90 percent, with outcomes improving the longer a patient remains in treatment. Compared to the reported 5 to 10 percent long-term success rate for abstinence-based, non-medical treatments, methadone’s value becomes clear.

- The Fix: 7 Things You Need to Know About Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting, full opioid agonist medication that can be provided in an opioid treatment program for the management of opioid use disorder. Methadone fully activates the same mu-opioid receptors in the brain that are activated by other opioids. However, methadone treatment is not just substituting one drug for another. Methadone reduces withdrawal and cravings so that a patient is able to stop using illicit opioids. Methadone can also help restore chemical balance to the brain which allows patients to feel “normal” again and work on their recovery.

Methadone is long acting, and a single daily dose taken by mouth can prevent withdrawal and cravings for 24-36 hours. A therapeutic, stabilizing methadone dose is different for each patient and is determined by many factors. The duration of time that each patient remains on methadone treatment is also individually determined through discussions with the patient and treatment team, guided by the latest evidence for effectiveness of MAT.


Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone involves daily visits to the treatment program initially, providing much needed structure for individuals early in recovery.
Methadone fully activates the mu-opioid receptors in the brain with no "ceiling" effect. This makes it effective for managing withdrawal even in those patients with a very high tolerance.
Federal and state laws allow for take home medication to be earned by following program guidelines, meaning less frequent trips to the program as patients progress in treatment.
Methadone is approved for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, making it a safer option for mothers who wish to participate in a treatment program.
Methadone can prevent other opioids from being fully felt, discouraging patients from using illicit opioids while in treatment.
Methadone is safe for long-term use as medically indicated.


By law, methadone can only be dispensed through a licensed Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) certified by SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Health Care Resource Centers are certified by SAMHSA, state health services departments and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

For more information about medication-assisted treatment with methadone, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Treatment Locations


  • HCRC
  • BAARTAffiliate Location
  • MedMarkAffiliate Location

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