I am sorry for your difficulties too Mia.
Methadone has saved my life as far as I am concerned, and this is something that a lot of addicts seems to say, especially Heroin addicts in particular.
Yes methadone can be dangerous to people who are opiate naive, and have little exposure to previous painkillers. Methadone is extremely powerful and dangerous to take with OTHER medications, but on its own, it is a very useful medication.
I don't know hard statistics about methadone related deaths, but I have read many reports about how in most cases, it was due to multiple drugs being in their system. As far as methadone maintanence goes (treatment for Heroin addiction) all the deaths reported in the study I read were due to one or more additional substances in the users system, either illicit or legal but still not something they should have had in the first place.
I really don't know much about mothers against methadone, but I have seen far too many posts from people associated with their group to take them very seriously. A lot of them are hateful and vindictive because they lost a loved one, and quite frankly their posts demonstrate people blinded by grief who will do and say anything. Calling addicts scum, insulting them in every way possible be it emotionally, religiously, slurring them.
They don't listen to reason from what I have been able to stand reading in the past. It's blind lunacy and kool-aid for everyone in their circle. If you don't agree with them, you just don't get it, you're probably some scum of the earth criminal addict who doesn't deserve to live.
I am a big supported of methadone, and I make no qualms about it. I understand that the drug is dangerous to new patients but I never try to hide that when I reccomend it. I don't believe it is a maricle drug to be put on a pedastool or anything like that. But without methadone I would likely not be here today. My addiction leaves me unable to control myself around opiates, and I NEED opiates to control my RLS.
If I could not receive opiates in some form, I would commit suicide, dead serious make no mistake about it. I cannot live with my RLS unmedicated, or insufficiently medicated. It is pure agony. So methadone works for me. It is NOT a cure for addiction, it is a replacement for drugs I would otherwise use. Whether its buying painkillers off the street, or turning to Heroin in much the same way.
Methadone allows many people to break their cycle of addiction by replacing the drug they are buying off the street and receiving a legal alternative, in a controlled setting, at a controlled dose.
It is true, a lot of addicts who taper down their dose and then try to stop methadone, even after tapering down to as little as 1mg find it very hard and brutal to quit. I won't pretend to know why, but because methadone is a very powerful opiate I can only guess that is the reason. It is possible that you could taper off methadone with lower strength opiates like Vicodin, but I'm not sure how common that is.
I won't pretend to be an expert about methadone, or methadone treatment for hard drug addiction. I'm just a 26 year old guy, trying to live with my RLS, who can't take other painkillers anymore because I am badly addicted to them.
I respect everyone elses decisions about what medications they take, so if Mia wants to stop taking it because she feels too different, then that is her choice to make. I don't feel like crap when I take methadone, but everyone is different, so we all have to find what works for us.
Yes it is true a mother who takes drugs during her pregnancy gives them to the baby as well. Your blood is your childs blood. And the baby will likely be born with methadone in their system; however like the info I posted before I will repeat, LOW doses of methadone are considered safe during pregnancy.. This is probably only 5 or 10mg. It may be higher, I don't know. But high doses of methadone are not reccomended.. Probably talking 50, 100, 150mg or more here. No RLS patient would ever be on such high doses of the medicine though..
The mean average dose for RLS patients seems to be between 10 - 25mgs (not an exact figure). Some need less, some need more, as with all medications. I don't want to preasure anyone into taking methadone that isn't comfortable with the idea.
If you doctor is willing to give you Codeine or Oxycodone then that is great! I agree start with the codeine, and if its not enough then the Oxycodone should most definitely handle your RLS.
Those who are concerned about methadone, might want to look up Suboxone. Here is the Wiki page.
It is a successfully used alternative to methadone, and some people prefer it and even say it is easier to come off of than methadone. It contains naloxone, an opiod antagonist which helps curve abuse since injecting the drug would faciliate immediate and severe withdraw. Its a good deterrent. But if you are taking other opiate medications and switch to it, unfortunately you have to beging to go through withdrawal before you can take it. It is competitive for the opiod receptors and if a drug is in your system (like heroin, methadone) it will knock the molecules off the receptor sending you into rapid and severe withdrawal instead of the opposite.. Pretty weird huh?
As you guys can tell Methadone is a very sensitive subject for me, and I am very passionate about it. It is a life saver, and has helped bring more stability to my life, and many other lives. It is unfortunate that methadone related deaths are such hot topics, and that people are scapegoating the drugs with ulterior motives because they can't accept that perhaps their family member or friend didn't something they shouldn't have.. Or their doctor made a mistake in the dose, or in prescribing it in the first place.
In the end this hurts the real people who have died from legitimate accidents. Their voices are drowned out in the storm of addicts and activists arguing with each other, and it is a very sad reality.
Mia, I'm sorry methadone made you feel so bad, you seemed to be doing so well for over a year on only 5mg? Are you certain it is the cause? I support your decision to find another treatment in any case, and perhaps you could ask about Suboxone/Subutex/Buprenorphine. If your doctor doesn't know what it is, just try to explain to him it is a "methadone alternative", that works much in the same way.
Everyone who reads this discussion should walk away with the lesson that knowing your drugs is important. Understand what you are taking, and WHY you are advocating for a specific medicine.
I know those of us who take methadone will continue to advocate its uses, but I know we all will look out for each other and reccomend the most diverse lists of options that we can.
Sorry this went on and on and on.. Guess the subject hit a nerve