Methadone is an opioid prescription medication commonly traded under the brand names Dolophine, Methadose, and others. physically, Methadone appears as a white crystalline powder or colorless crystals. For medical purposes, methadone is available in the form of tablets and injectable solutions. The major routes of methadone administration include oral ingestion of methadone tablets, dispersible tablets, and oral solutions, while the injectable solutions are administered through subcutaneous, intravenous, or intramuscular injection. Methadone is a narcotic analgesic, synthetic, and long-duration opioid drug prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, especially neuropathic pain and cancer. After quitting methadone, users are concerned about fully removing it from their system as it may take some time for the drug to leave the system.
After completely quitting methadone use, it may last in the system for several days depending upon a number of factors. On average, Methadone stays in the body system for 8 to 59 hours depending on the amount of dosage and type of formulation, and the route of administration. Therefore, this implies that clearing methadone from the system can take between 1 day 20 hours and 13 days 12 hours after taking the last dose.
Methadone’s peak levels are a measure used to determine the time taken by the drug to produce its full effects on the body, while Methadone’s half–life indicates how long it takes before the blood concentration of the drug begins to fall below 50 percent. After Methadone reaches the peak levels, the subsequent peak effects may last for about 4-8 hours before stabilizing. For the oral ingestion, it takes 30 minutes before Methadone can be detected in the plasma before reaching a peak concentration after 4 hours.
Depending on the formulation of methadone, the half-life durations may vary considerably. Furthermore, the dosage amounts of Methadone may vary accordingly since the drug is used for multiple purposes such as pain relief and treatment of opioid abstinence syndrome. The half-life durations for Methadone range between 8 hours and 59 hours, with the extended-release tablets indicating the highest half-life effects
the duration for which methadone stays in the system of the user may vary a great deal depending upon a number of factors quoted below:
Methadone Absorption and Distribution:
The rates of absorption and distribution of the drug in the system play a crucial role in determining the length of time it stays within the system. The route of administration influences when the two processes should begin. Through oral ingestion, Methadone in the form of tablets may be detected in the blood within the first 30 minutes to an hour due to the rapid absorption rate of the drug in the gastrointestinal tract. However, the injectable methadone solutions have higher absorption rates that take 15-30 minutes. The distribuation rate of the drug may vary greately from one user to the other depending upon the above quoted factors.
Methadone Metabolism :
Methadone is a lipid soluble drug, so it has the ability to penetrate and cross over into the phospholipid layers of the cells and tissues throughout the body. Once administered, Methadone undergoes extensive biotransformation in the liver and consequently, Methadone is metabolized into two inactive metabolites namely; 2-ethylidene-1.5-dimethyl-3.3diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP) and 2-ethyl-5-methyl-3, 3-diphenyl-1-pyrroline (EMDP), as well as active minor metabolites such as normethadol and methadol. The inactive metabolites, EDDP and EMDP, are excreted through bile and eliminated in the kidney.
As metabolized Methadone enters into the systemic circulation for distribution throughout the body, its lipid soluble effects may leave drug’s residues in the body. The report by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that Methadone residues may remain within the system for months after taking the last dose of the drug. Subsequently, these drug residues may exacerbate the withdrawal symptoms and worsen the drug cravings based on the individual’s severity of addiction before starting Methadone treatment.
Overdose or high dosage levels may cause excessive accumulation of methadone in the system whereas too low dosage levels may aggravate the patient’s susceptibility to drug cravings and withdrawal symptom effects.
Most of the major metabolites of methadone are excreted via urine. Small amounts are also excreted via feces, bile and sweat. Though most of the methadone is excreted in the from of its meathbolites, some unchanged methadone may also leave the body via urine. Since the half life of methadone ranges between 8-59 hours, its average half life can be estimated to be 33.5 hours. It means that for the complete removal of the drug, it may take around 8 days.
A number of different modes of testing can be used to detect methadone in the system depending upon the circumstances:
You may be required to undergo methadone testing due to a number of circumstances such as:
Methadone abuse may lead to a number of complications including, overdose, tolerance, dependence, and addiction among users. Other complications include concentration difficulties, hypersensitivity, facial flushing, sleeping problems, nausea, headache, constipation, flaccid muscles, sweating, and stupor. Moreover, it may cause long-term and life-threatening complications such as altered sensory and cognitive functioning, cardiac arrest, coma, convulsions, pulmonary, edema, respiratory depression, and even death.
It is difficult to recover from methadone addiction using only a detox program considering its half life and the duration for which it stays in the system. A number of other treatment options are also available to methadone addicts:
One the drug has been quit, it should be avoided at any cost or the cycle of clearing it from the system will begin all over again. Certain measures can be taken to speed up the process of methadone removal from the system.
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