Methadone is highly effective and patients can expect that meeting treatment goals will result in many positive outcomes for the individual, including:
- Improving physical and mental health;
- Improving social functioning including the ability to gain employment, return to school and contribute at home;
- Improving overall quality of life;
- Improving pregnancy outcomes;
- Achieving a more stable lifestyle;
- Reducing use of illegal opioids and other drugs;
- Reducing risk behaviors such as intravenous drug use thereby preventing the transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases;
- Reducing incarceration rates;
- Reducing criminal activity;
- Reducing the chance of overdose and death.
Research has shown that a variety of factors can affect long-term results. Patients and their families should be aware of how each of the following factors can greatly improve success rates for the individual. The following factors are associated with better results for the patient:
- Longer lengths of time spent in treatment with milestones of 1, 2 and 3 years have been shown to be more effective for patients. Longer treatment times may be required to gain results from counseling if counseling was not a focal point of treatment throughout the initial years of treatment;
- Understanding that early signs of treatment success includes medical maintenance (vs short term reliance on medication) until underlying psychological and social factors can be addressed through counseling;
- Participation in a comprehensive program that integrates medical, psychological and social needs perform better than other treatment options;
- The decision to taper form methadone is best achieved when a collaborative decision making approach is taken between doctor and patient.
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