What is the mechanism of action of methadone in the treatment of opioid abuse?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: David W Dixon, DO; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Mu receptor agonists with delayed onset of action and longer half-lives, such as methadone, cause dependence without necessarily causing the same destructive cycle to occur. Methadone can be used once daily, and can be obtained legally. Once tolerance develops, methadone has little impact on mood, judgment, and psychomotor skills. Therefore, methadone can be used to replace drugs associated with more destructive lifestyles (maintenance therapy).


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