The appropriate methadone dosage is a popular topic among patients in opioid treatment programs. What is the best dose to treat someone’s opioid addiction? The most accurate answer to that question is:
The lowest dose that will effectively eliminate a patient’s opioid withdrawal symptoms.
The goal in using opioid replacement therapy is to remove the uncomfortable daily withdrawal that interferes with a person’s ability to function normally. The degree of opiate withdrawal sickness varies from person to person as does the overall severity of each person’s opioid addiction.
There are numerous factors that influence how a person will respond to varying methadone dosages:
- the number of years they have been addicted to opioids
- the type of opioids used and the amount
- the frequency of use
- method of use (oral, inhalation, or injection)
- as well as the person’s general state of health including liver functioning
- and other factors.
As a person’s dependency & tolerance to opioids builds over time, they find that they need greater amounts of opioids or stronger opioids in order to eliminate their withdrawal symptoms.
So How Does The Clinic Determine How Much Methadone I Need?
The Process of Induction: Induction is a procedure that is carefully followed by the clinic’s medical staff to gradually help a new patient adjust to their methadone medication. Patients are typically started on a safe dose of methadone that presents a low risk of overdose, and their dose is then raised every few days until the patient arrives at a dosage level which successfully eliminates their opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Historically in methadone clinics, it is during this time of induction when a patient is at increased risk of accidental overdose. For this reason, reputable clinics start their patients on a safe dose and then increase the medication level gradually as the patient gets adjusted to the medication.
Starting a patient on a relatively high dose of methadone or increasing the dosage too quickly can place the patient in jeopardy of accidental overdose. High quality, well-managed clinics will carefully monitor their patients during induction and work with them to get them to a comfortable dosage level as soon as possible, but without taking unnecessary risks.
COWS: The COWS (Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale) is an assessment tool that is used by ADS to measure the extent of a patient’s withdrawal from opioids. The COWS evaluates the presence & severity of various withdrawal symptoms (like nausea, chills, sweating, tremor, restlessness, etc). The COWS aids ADS medical staff in determining the need for a medication increase and the amount of increase that should be provided.
What’s The Average Methadone Dose For Most People?
Answer: The average dose is 80 mg to 120 mg for the majority of people. Importantly, there are a significant number of patients who are quite comfortable below 80 mg, and a number of patients who may need more than 120 mg. Dosing is highly individualized. What works best for one patient may not work well for another. Consequently, ADS tailors the dosage to the individual patient and strives for comfort, effectiveness, and safety in all situations.
The right dose is that which eliminates withdrawal sickness and opioid craving, and which allows the patient to refocus on their life & goals.
For more on ADS’ Opioid Treatment Program
Research Drugs of Abuse
ADS saved my life and are some of the greatest people I’ve ever known.
Everyone at both clinics (East & West) are extremely wonderful and helpful. I feel like they’re family.
This program is a good place. Without it, I don’t know where I would be right now. Thank you guys!
I really enjoyed coming to class. It helped me a lot. Thank you.
I learned a lot about addiction and disease and how to not feel guilty about my past. I was able to stay clean and get the help I needed by coming to class and talking and listening.
It helps to be able to talk with someone.
Excellent therapist and teacher.
I came here wanting help and ADS has provided more than expected. I thank them very much.
IOP and Aftercare have really helped me in my addiction and to know what to do in the future. Thanks for giving me my life back.
Email a Counselor
Request a Presentation
Submit Your Request
Recent ADS Posts
- Greetings everyone! We have exciting news: ADS ...
- WSOC-TV has published a segment on NC Attorney ...
- Listed below is a link and a video with informa...
- A co-occurring disorder is one that involves bo...
- It has been confirmed that music icon, Tom Pett...