2-Minute Neuroscience: Methadone

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , /

Welcome to 2-minute neuroscience, where I
explain neuroscience topics in 2 minutes or less. In this installment I will discuss methadone. Methadone is best known for its use in the
treatment of opioid addiction, although it can also be used for treating chronic pain. It’s usually administered by mouth in the
form of a liquid, pill, or sublingual tablet. Methadone’s primary mechanism of action
is as an agonist at opioid receptors. In other words, it activates opioid receptors
similar to the way other opioid drugs like morphine would. It also acts as an antagonist, or blocks,
NMDA glutamate receptors, which is thought to contribute to its pain-relieving effects. Because it has a similar mechanism of action
to other opioids, methadone causes enough stimulation of opioid receptors to reduce
cravings for other opioid drugs and to prevent a patient from experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Unlike most other opioids, however, methadone
typically only has to be administered once a day to achieve these effects. Additionally, methadone occupies opioid receptor
binding sites, which diminishes any effect administration of another opioid might have,
further discouraging someone from using other opioid drugs while taking methadone. Altogether, methadone’s pharmacological
action lowers the likelihood a patient will abuse other opioid drugs. Since methadone has a similar mechanism of
action to other opioids, patients also often become dependent on methadone, and some may
need to take the drug for a prolonged period of time, or even for the rest of their life. Because the drug is administered by a medical
professional, however, doses can be controlled, and the risk of fatal and nonfatal overdose
for someone on methadone is much lower than for someone who continues abusing opioids. Additionally, methadone treatment is associated
with a reduction in intravenous drug use, and thus a lower risk of contracting blood-borne
diseases like HIV.

11 thoughts on “2-Minute Neuroscience: Methadone

  1. Watched all 90. I'll post my exam grade as a review of this playlist.

    Nah kidding you're a legend man, 10/10.

  2. I was on Suboxone for 3 years than it did never work for me but I was on methadone for 5 years and it worked good for me the whole time I was on Suboxone I could not stop thinking about getting high

  3. I think the NMDA receptor antagonism properties are a crucial part of why methadone is used specifically for people recovering from opioid addictions. This is rather long for a YT comment, but hopefully the reader should find this enlightening.

    Addictions of any kind are formed from someone finding something that is more rewarding than anything else they've experienced so far (or, in other cases, could experience on a regular basis). As a result, said activity, substance, et cetera usually becomes a central component of their life. In essence, why do something if it isn't rewarding? And instead of compensating by being more welcoming or understanding, most people's reaction to opiate addicts is to be even less helpful and tolerant, unless the "addict" stops using the drug.
    But, in comes dissociatives. Much like dxm or ketamine, methadone has the property of disrupting the part of the CNS that forms and upkeeps systems of thought, and the effect is most pronounced on the most actively-maintained systems (in this case, the part that keeps seeking opioids or other psychoactives as a central component of one's life). Unlike traditional dissociatives, however, whose serotonergic effects promote satiation and eventually socialization, methadone seems to have a reduced impact on the emotional brain, and thus without a clear alternative (+ methadone's opioid effects), methadone itself can become a dependency until a stronger source of reward is presented

    Hope this was helpful.

  4. Doctor! I’m goona Tell a sad story! My uncle was a drug addict! he had put methadone in the cooler. Then my cousin he who thought it was water and he drink it! But later he got died of it.😞😞😢

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