Clinical Experience in Treating Patients Addicted to Methadone Using Rapid Detox
Methadone has a half life of up to 8 days in the human body. When subjected
to the routine rapid detox procedure, the patients' opiate receptors (mu receptors) in the brain, the spinal cord and the
gastro-intestinal tract are quickly occupied by naloxone molecules, displacing the methadone molecules. The problem is that
after the rapid detox process, the naloxone molecules themselves would leave the opiate receptors and be metabolized. Methadone
molecules stored in the fatty tissue of the body are then free to re-occupy the opiate receptors, producing prolonged opiate
withdrawal and craving for opiates.
There are two strategies to rapid detox methadone. One
is to have the patients stop methadone 7 weeks before the detox, and switch to other shorter-lasting narcotics for that period.
The other way is to immediately start the patients on Naltrexone oral treatment after intravenous rapid detox. The latter
technique can produce worse residual withdrawal symptoms. The former, naturally, would require longer commitment from the
patient, making two visits to the detox center, but entails much less hardship after detox.