METHADONE TAPER (also referred to as detoxification)
Don’t let fear keep you from wanting to get off of Methadone and to pursue abstinence. When it is time, you will know. Our Nurses and Counselors are here to assist you.
Keep in mind that the following is only addressing the medical aspect of tapering from Methadone. To have greater success it is imperative that the recovery/change aspect be addressed such as creating a recovery based lifestyle which includes a positive support system, positive social support, good physical and nutritional behavior and any other areas that are deemed necessary by the clinical and medical staff. Click here for more information on Recovery/Change.
We do have a few recommendations about tapering, and these should help ease any concerns that you may have about going through acute withdrawal.
We do not typically recommend initiating a taper in your dose until you have provided at a minimum three (3) months of negative urinalysis specimens and have addressed the recovery/change aspect noted above. This is an indicator that you have stabilized on Methadone and have been illicit drug use free for a three (3) month period and have a support system in place.
Once you start your taper, we do not recommend decreasing more than two (2) milligrams per week.
When your dose reaches twenty (20) milligrams, we do not recommend decreasing more than one (1) milligram per week.
We recommend decreasing your dosage ALL THE WAY DOWN to zero.
If you decrease this way and remain free of illicit drugs during your taper, you should have very good success.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO TAPER OFF?
This depends on how much Methadone you are on. For example, if you are on 80 milligrams and you decrease at the rates indicated above it would take approximately 50 weeks (2 weeks less than a year). If you were on 40 milligrams it would take approximately 30 weeks (about 7 months). If you were on 100 milligrams it would take approximately 60 weeks (a little more than a year). The amount that you are on will determine the length of the taper. Stopping and/or holding you taper would also increase the length of time.
Tapering your dose is not mandatory; however an open mind is essential in recovery. We ask that all clients discuss tapering with their counselor.