Starting Methadone

  • Methadone Start

    Start with a moderate dose

  • Suboxone Start

    Are you ready for induction?

  • Methadone or Suboxone

    Which one is right for you?

The first step is to give us a call. When you are ready, your first dose of methadone for safety reason is at 15 to 30 mg a day.  The effects of methadone vary depending on individual tolerance, and can be influenced by other drugs in your body.

Start Methadone Treatment

Methadone is slow-acting

Methadone is a slow-acting drug, which means it takes a few days to feel the full effects of an adjustment in your dose. It also means that once you are stabilized, should you miss a dose, the effects of withdrawal will come on more slowly than they do with fast-acting opioids, such as heroin.


Some clients want to increase their dose rapidly when they first start treatment.  This can be very dangerous as the drug takes a few days to get to its peak levels.  Your doctor will explain more about Methadone dosing at your appointments.


Methadone works best when it’s taken once a day at the same time every day. This helps to maintain a stable level of methadone in your body, keeping you feeling “normal.”

What if I use other drugs?

Stay away from other drugs — your life could depend on it.

Methadone is safe when used properly, but it is a potent drug, and can kill. Overdoses are rare, but the ones that do occur usually happen within the first 2 weeks  of treatment. Generally, these deaths are the result of mixing methadone with other opioids, alcohol or downers, such as Valium. When you begin methadone treatment, be prepared to give it a chance to work for you. Stay away from other drugs — your life could depend on it.


Taking other drugs in the initial stages of your treatment also interferes with the adjustment of your dose. The symptoms you have when you begin your treatment let your doctor know how much to adjust your dose. Give it the two to six weeks it takes to get the dose at the right level for you. Hang in; it gets easier.


If you do continue to use drugs, tell your doctor or pharmacist. It could save your life. Also, let them know how you feel, if you have any cravings, or if you’re feeling drowsy. They’ll need this information to correct your dose.

More about Methadone

Each individual has a unique metabolism and his or her own tolerance level for the drug.
A stable methadone dose is generally from 60 to 100 mg per day, and is adjusted according to your individual need. Never compare the amount of your dose with the amount someone else is getting. The dose that’s right for you might be too much or too little for someone else. Each individual has a unique metabolism and his or her own tolerance level for the drug. Your dose is the right dose when you’ve reached a balance where withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings and side-effects are minimal. When your dose has been adjusted correctly, you should feel more energetic, clear-headed, and able to fulfill your responsibilities and pursue your interests.


Methadone is effective in preventing morphine and other narcotics such as heroin from interacting with the receptors in your body that are responsible for the euphoric reactions to such drugs. Methadone blocks the euphoria feeling and acts as a natural brick wall against narcotic type drugs. In other words, methadone reduces the physical craving that a body feels for narcotics. These cravings are triggered when a drug enters the body, but when methadone is introduced as well it protects the body from becoming dependent.


Even though methadone is prescribed with good intent, it too is capable of creating its own euphoric effects within the body. After taking methadone a patient may feel drowsy and/ or a slight sensation of euphoria.  Let your doctor and pharmacist know immediately if you feel too sleepy or start nodding off after taking your dose.  This is a sign the dose is too high.

Counselling is important

In addition to the maintenance therapy and harm reduction  program patients are encouraged to participate in counselling. Because addiction is a deep rooted problem , it requires a multi-factroial approach. Though some patients are reluctant to participate in the therapy as part of treatment, it is valuable to their recovery.  Their success depends on their openness and willingness to talk about what led them to use drugs in the first place, because that is potentially something that will drive them back to drugs in the future if it is not dealt with.   It never hurts to talk to someone about what you went through.

What about Detox?

Detoxing off opioid drugs is painful and difficult to do. In addition, the chances of long term success is low.

We typically don’t recommend detox as long term success is low. Going through detox can be strenuous and painful.