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Methadone Replacement Therapy


Methadone is a synthetic opiod, used medically as a painkiller and treatment in narcotic addiction. It is meant to be used as a harm reduction subtance to reduce the risk of infectious disease.

Because it is an opiod, it can also be abused. Hence methadone replacement therapy has to be regulated and monitored closely.

The medication administered has 3 main effects:

  • To prevent opiate withdrawal
  • To block the effects of illicit opiate use
  • To decrease opiate craving

Methadone treatment is a long term treatment.

Side Effects of Methadone

When used as prescribed, it is a very safe drug. However if abused, methadone can produce the side effects of drowsiness, weakness, vomiting and nausea, difficulty in urination, mood changes, sleep problems, and decrease in sexual desire and ability. Some side effects are very severe such as fits and seizures. In overdose it causes coma and death.

Treatment Guideline

Methadone can be given on an outpatient program at certain government hospitals and clinics. It is given on a daily basis. The patient has to present himself at the clinic and the medication will be dispensed by the pharmacist. He has to comply and adhere to the treatment regime.

Patients are also advised to inform their doctors when they are on methadone as it may cause serious interactions with other drugs.

For the maintenance treatment to be more effective it should be combined with attempts to resolve medical, psychiatric and social issues, as well as drug counseling.

Place where Methadone Maintanance Treatment (MMT) is Available:

1. Tertiary goverment hospital

2. Health clinic

3. GPs


5. Prisons

The accurate dose of methadone for an individual is determined by

1. The severetility of havaid use

2. Development of withdrawal pos MMT




Thought (cognitive) therapy

Behaviour management

Assertiveness Training

Social Support

Spiritual development

Support groups

Agency AntiDadah Kebangsaan

Calvary Spiritual Centre

Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Suraya binti Yusoff
Reviewer : Prof Madya Dr. Ramli bin Musa