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long-term effects of methadone on osteoporosis in women

The above says it all. Details: I've been on methadone maintenance for 13 years and am almost 50; I wondered if there had been any research done on the effects of methadone on contracting osteoporosis. I'm not menopausal (/yet/) but am concerned what the future might have in store.
26 Responses
Avatar universal
I have researched methadone extensively. I am also a methadone patient. Methadone has been researched for almost 40 years and it has been determined that it has absoulutely no ill effects on ones health if taken as prescribed. Abuse of any drug can produces some undesireable side effects. R,if you are using methadone as prescribed and take care of your health you should have no problems.
I remember a question posed to Dr. Dole by a women who said that she will be on methadone her entire life to keep her disease in check. She said that she would offer her body to science to study any toxic effects of methadone on her vital organs and to check for any diseases that may be caused directly from methadone. Dr. Doles reply was,"an autopsy would reveal absolutely no toxic effects due to long term methadone use!" No diseases after 40 years of research has been due to MMT. I hope this offers you some piece of mind R.
R,I have read many research abstracts and complete research thesis on MMT and have read nothing negative in regards to women and hormonal development. I must add that I did not see research directly related to MMT and menopause. And honestly, I was not looking for that kind of research. If you decide to research this subject yourself do not listen and take to heart nonmedical opinions on this subject because their are many people out their that are willing to spread myths and untruths in regards to MMT. Best Wishes R, and I hope that Dr. Steve or some other doctor will answer your question soon.
Avatar universal
Dan: Thank you so much for your response. A few years ago I posed the same question to Addiction Treatment Forum and their answer ran along the lines of 'no one knows; no research has been done.'
You have made me feel a bit less anxious. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
I have been reading Dan's numerous postings touting the wonderful benefits of Methadone, and absence of any ill effects. Although some of his posts are a bit forceful and one-sided, I have decided that as a methadone-user, his defensive diatribes must be warranted. And since the research apparently shows NO ill effects if taken as perscribed, I must say: I'm gonna go for it!!! Nothing negative! No toxic effects! Guaranteed, regardless of my addiction or medical history or current afflictions! Yippee!
Dan, you've sold me. And any addict looking to this forum for advice and support: go get Methadone immediately. Don't worry about your personal experiences, your doctor's opinion, or your medical history. Just think: addiction, one solution. Just take it as prescribed, and you'll have no ill effects. Life will be just a jolly ole' time.

PS--I was tempted to research this myself. However, as you so eloquently mentioned above, I will avoid this because I might encounter some opinions to the contrary. And oh, my goodness, what a travesty that would be. After all, let's all assume that we are dumb and uninformed and unable to read something and derive our own opinion.
Avatar universal
Just want to let you know, although Dan's lengthy post was very flattering to the uses of Methadone, he admitted that:

quote: "...I did not see research directly related to MMT and menopause."

So the advice on your other forum agrees with Dan's post (if you get around all the other stuff he said, which doesn't have a heck of a lot to do with menopause or osteoporosis risk). Osteoporosis risk factors, menopausal treatment and contraindicated medications, etc.--I would consult with a physician on this. Determining your risk factor has more to do with your family/medical history and a medical exam (for example, bone density tests--not very expensive, but very worthwhile for anyone who is peri-menopausal). There are many research studies that debate the various hormone-replacement therapies (HRTs) and osteo-"prevention" treatments, let alone interactions with other medications. I am not saying that there is or isn't any interaction or need for concern--I'm just suggesting that you consult with an doctor. I think Dan means well, but this is a something that is fairly personal and I don't think it can be answered by saying "methadone is great, there are no ill effects" and ending it there.
Also, may I suggest looking for some research using Medline as your search engine? You can access Medline for free through the National Institutes of Health website (NIH) or a site called PubMed. Once on Medline, search for osteoporosis, menopause, Methadone, HRT, etc. This is a database containing medical research abstracts from the past decade. Some abstracts will give you ample summaries, and other times you might have to order the article from your local library. Good luck, and post if you learn anything so other women can learn, too!!
Avatar universal
Again, I have researched extensively methadone used for the purpose of addiction and have found no negative results. The FDA and other federal agencies raked methadone over the coals trying to find something wrong with it. THERE RESEARCH revealed nothing. It has been researched for 45 years by numerous researchers all over the planet again,nothing. There are seventy year old man and women taking methadone for their disease and have absolutely no negative effects from methadone.  
I challenge anyone that finds fault in what I write. Go do your research from any reputable medical research organisation and give me something negative on methadone when used for addiction. Methadone is given to pregnant mothers,people with advanced HIV and aids,diabtes,cancer,immune disorders,blood red and white cell problems,and many other disorders only to find that methadone has no ill  effect on any of these medical problems. When taken as prescribed methadone is probably one of the safest drugs on the planet. I am not saying that it should be taken by anyone for simple pains or addictions but for COMPLICATED pains and addictions. Pains that have not responded to other medicines, and addictions that have not responded to counseling techniques and abstinence. I am not saying methadone is a cure all. But for addicts that have relapsed over and over and exausted all techniques to abstain there is MMT. AND IT SAVES LIVES IN THIS RESPECT!! HARM REDUCTION is the key here my negative no named friend. It is people like you that put questions in peoples minds in regards to using methadone for complicated opiate addictions! MMT SAVES MANY LIVES AND until people realise this many lives will be lost due to uninformed myths and messages that uninformed,ignorant politicians and media representantives pass to us, the general public! People,lose your prejudices to MMT it is a life saver for many addicts.  Where LIVES are concerned, I tend to be blunt and staightforward. That is why many people do not like my approach.
And, I apologise to no one for my blunt, straightforward approach!    Dan...                                                            
Avatar universal
I believe methadone (which I was on for five years, caused me to have degenerative disc disease.  I was on methadone from March 30, 1995 until June 1, 2000.  At the beginning of that time frame I had a MRI, it was fine, my MRI taken in April 2000 shows
extensive degeneration of the bones in my spinal column (nickel sized holes), also Spinal Stenosis.  This is an awfully short period of time for all this damage.  I THINK THE METHADONE DID IT.  I believe this aspect should be looked into.
Avatar universal
Have you spoken with your doctor? I have DDD. Its hereditary for me. I had it before I started Methadone. and actually, The methadone is the only thing that actually touches the pain for me. Anyways, Im sorry for your DDD, but you should REALLY check into it more before you go around blaming Methadone for a hereditary disease like that.
221182 tn?1199263667
I can't say if methadone caused my osteoporosis but it don't run in my family, and I have often wondered but that to me is not really the point. One of the reasons I got off was because it made me feel really uninspired about life in general, I became really complacent about every aspect of my life. And most importantly for me I have always valued my freedom, and the thought of something having so much control over my life just p**sed me off in general. I never had a problem getting it except when on the maintenance program. For me this last run on that f**ked up stuff was doctor prescribed for pain. I have never met so many people in my life that are happy to be on it, every dope fiend I know who has ever spent any substantial amount of time on it pretty much would rather kick their habit than go on that s**t again or if they do take it only for a few days to get through the worst of their withdrawals. I mean I have heard that their are people who think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but holy f**king cow who wants to have their life tied to something that restricts your life in so many ways?? not to mention the fact that I don't believe in those medical research buttcracks anyway they have an interest in every thing they do and it is not always science. However this is just my humble opinion...a-wakan
Avatar universal
I am not prescribed Methadone but i get it from someone who is.  I take about 20mgs every 3 days, some weeks a bit more, some weeks not at all.  i have to say that it helps my depression, my allergies, my energy level, my motivation and overall attitude towards life.  i have experimented to see how much and often i can take it without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms, and 20mgs every few days seems to be fine.  it even helps with my chronic insomnia that i have had my whole life, and i wake up feeling rested and cheerful, never groggy or hung over.  the stuff just really seems to be my miracle drug and i keep trying to find a reason not to do it but i just can't!  when on it i am more motivated to exercise as well so that can only be positive!  can anyone give me a reason why i shouldn't take low levels of this drug that seems to do so many positive things for me?
Avatar universal
I have been on methadone now for a year and a half. I believe that I was never given the correct follow-up and when my digestive quit working to the point where I could not eat except for liquids, I took myself off of the methadone. I did titrate down, as I was a nurse and now I am a psychotherapist. Methadone is the worst or most difficult drug to detox from compared to any medication in the field. Furthermore, I have found no research on the effects of methadone on hereditary degeneration of the bones and Spinal Stenosis. I believe that methadone can cause  faster degeneration! I base my believe on that fact that I have a sister who has the problem but has never been on methadone therapy.  I have a choice and it will never again be Methadone or any opioid in that class unless I was bedridden and possibly near death. This is my opinion and not really meant to scare anyone. Just research, research and research more. Med info changes often, as they find out more as time goes by. In some ways I feel like we are both pilgrims and guinea pigs when it comes to the field of medicine, especially in the area.

Good luck to everyone because I know that you are all going through a very difficult time in your lives. And thank you for sharing your luck or difficulties with methadone. Remember, no two people are alike and you are allowed your opinions. We can learn a great deal from each other! Thank you.
Avatar universal
I have been on M, for about six years now and i have had no serious side effects. I have had one effect that has bothered me and i am looking for some long term info on it and that is the effect on the bladder and urinary functions. I feel that comments on this page are edited for content by those who have interest in shedding M. in a positive light. The urinary problems i have encountered are becoming severe. I'm not fully draining my bladder due to M.
Avatar universal
I too have been on M since 2003 for disc disease, fusion, spinal stenosis. I work full time as a Resp therapist, and also retired AF. Well anayway,I have a problem fully emptying my bladder, urinary functiion too.  If it is M, I don't think it is a serious problem though. Maybe just a minor side effect not leading to anything serious down the road, I'm thinking..... I am a guy 49
Avatar universal
I don't think it is M makeitfly. Really. something else is the cause. A urologist would know.  Check it out soon..................
Avatar universal
MY mom has been on it since the 70"s she has bladder infections all the time she can hardly ever give a sample even when she has to go. she has problems sleeping. it stops working they up her dose she is suffering with bone degeneration she is 56 and she has no energy never did she has lost inches in her height and she has that long methadone look all her life upside down smile she will never come off. its sad she wishes she never went on.. When she did try to come of her body ached for months... now she'd die without it I truly believe. She is slowly visibly melting away on her liquid handcuffs....its sad
Avatar universal
I do not need to do research I grew up around it all I have seen numerous uncles aunts and moms friends suffer on it. I too became a heroin addict My mom would not let me get on the clinic I am grateful for that...She would give me some of her take homes when I was sick that would be it... I have over 6 yrs today with out a drug or drink in my system i have found out I do not need anything too deal or feel in this world. I feel bad for my mom. like me all the pills and dope in the world stops working and they have told her( the clinicians at her clinic) that they want her to up her dose AGAIN. she has what I have and everything stops working..Her bowls don't work right she's has gained so much weight her eyes are usually closing and she has no energy yet she's sweaty... this is not what I woulkld call living it is just gross.  Its better to deal with life than hide from it behind booze and drugs prescribed or not......H
Avatar universal
i was on mehtadone for 3 and half years.... 35mgs. i came off it 6 months ago... the mental anguish one undergoes while being on this stuff is horrible. at first, it was great for me... i wasnt eating 20 lortab tens a day... and i was still in a euphoric state...an even better one... after 3 months of mmt, i started to realize i was now physically and mentally addicted to methadone....i tried to come off it then, but had such bad anxiety about what would happen to me that i lasted only for a day. my anxiety only got worse as i stayed on methadone....  along with other complications such as: urinary problems, vaginal bacterial infections, weight loss, and increased social anxiety due to extreme dulling of the mind... really i could no longer have consistent intellectual conversations... it was like my head was in a fog from this substance, i was aware of what it was doing to my mental and physical health, but i still couldnt stop taking it.. FEAR was my main concern. fear of not being able to function in society, get out of bead, sleep, or just live... the majority of fights with my boyfriend stemmed from the fact that i was using methadone.... he tried several times to get me off of it and send me to substance-free rehabilitation programs, but again i was too scared and addicted. after our split, i was determined to conquer my fear, so i gradually went down.... 1mg every two weeks for about a year. sounds crazy, but my mind would only allow me a milligram at a time.... i finally finshed, aug 07. it was definatly tough. i had never had withdrawals like that! but they eventually faded.... it is now six months later and i feel so much better... although, i still have sweats, some cravings, and lack of energy... but i know my body is still trying to function again normally.... my thoughts seem to be more organized and since conquering my fear of getting off methadone, i have conquered other fears easily... this was by far one of hardest things ive ever had to do, but now that its over, i couldnt be happier or healthier.... so my advice to someone considering mmt is to try a drug-free, possibly spiritual, rehabilitation program first... also let friends and family be there for you. i never used to think support from others could help me, but i was wrong... a good support system can be very beneficial. also, try to make yourself do constructive activities and things that you just all-around enjoy.  try all of those things first before becoming addicted to another substance.... i just had to get all of that off my chest, and hopefully help someone along the way.              -Brit
Avatar universal
Hi! I have been on the methadone program for four long years...it has taken the inner-core of me away and not even bothered to pretend to replace it. My highest dose was 150mgs.  I am now on 27.5mgs...I reduced 5mls weekly, until I reduced to 50mgs and woke up in a park, where I had decided to sit down for a while due to feeling soo ****.  It took me a longer time to reduce from 50mgs to 27.5mgs than I care to recall.  I haven't reduced from 27.5 hence I haven't reduced for nearly two years.  I am 34years old and a single mum to a nine year old.  I had a heart-attack three months ago...yes truly (there has been no medical or other suggestion that this was methadone related) and I am now on a waiting list for detox, to become metadone free.  I have soo many fears, questions and my case seems so complicated due to the heart-attack (heart med's that are  now part of my daily medicine regime) and that I am on epilim 400mgs (for severe migraines) and unfortunately the epilim is resulting in metabolising the methadone too quickly and I am 'hanging out' most of the time.  The epilim side-effect was my main reason for finally deciding on detox.  I am just hoping that there might be someone out there who has had a similar experience (not that I would wish it upon anyone)...I have found it difficult, um...impossible to find anyone who reaally seems to understand or wants to make the effort to try to understand.  It was suggested to me this morning, by a lovely and accomplished nurse at my dosing clinic, whos opinion I do value that I should switch to subutex (after no methadone for 24hrs) and then stay on that for a while and then go to detox to get off subutex instead...her words were, "Coming off metadone is 150 times worse than coming off heroin."  On another note, the migraines were so debilitating that I was unable to take care of my daughter when they would hit in the form of the whole world spiinning then crashing in my head whilst I would uncontrollably vomit (sorry for the details) and this would endure for two to three days.  I don't know if this is a coincidence or not but my migraines began four years ago, which was post my methadone...the epilim works in the way that it puts a blanket over my migraines so that I am able to fuction hence take care of my daughter, get to the clinic...etc but it doesn't take mine away which would be ideal but I am so relieved at the improvement that I am too scared to cut the epilim out although I did reduce from 600 to 400 daily to help minimise the methadone 'hang out'...I have found it impossible to get any kind of advice that relates to the complex nature of all of these factors.  I am just over life, as pathetic as that seems..when I am blessed to have a beautiful and innocent daughter.  I feel that I have tried for so long and I am at a complete loss to know what to do anymore.  I am so agitated and depressed and I feel like life is not worth living 'hanging out' the wy that I am. Has anyone got any advice, thoughts, experiences that they could share with me?  It would be greatly appreciated.  ~Nat
Avatar universal
I am 28 and have been on prescription opiates for pain mngmnt for 10 years and had regular check ups, about 8 months ago I switched to methadone from 8-12 80mg oxycodone time release, i began to metabolize them in 8 hrs, then 6 hrs it began hard to separate the pain from the almost constant withdrawl, I tried fentnyl patches whiched worked but was far to costly, so I went to 7, 40mg Methadone wafers and have since reduced to 12, 10mg Methadone tabs. This was fine besides the low energy and lack of modavation, but on my last check up I was diagnosed with degenerative ostioporosis being a male at 28 I couldn't help but see a direct conection after only 8 months of use, and reading various forums on the web, it seems to be a common thread, yet  aggresively denied. Now one could argue that the demographic in which would require the pain managing properties would be at greater risk for bone density related illness, and I also know if it turned into a pumkin the pharma industry would deny any resposability and after all the largest profit grossing medication doesn't cure, it "manages" as in never getting cured and never stop buying the medication, a good example is the SSRI market. I'm not here to preach, but to arm others with information and hopefully contribute through my experience.  Thanks, Dr. Pepper
Avatar universal
i use methadone daily, im not prescribed but i like the enery and euphoria it gives me, i noticed my bowel movements are not working like they should. i've been taking it for about 7 months, what kind of withdrawal symptoms will i have to face if i get off of methadone now?
Avatar universal
First off, I think that Methadone Doctors and (the brief course they take) to become Meth drs. is a bloody riot!!!  I just got off Meth because I was in a situation where I had tappered from 120mls. down to 4mls , I had to go away to an Island for a medical emergency as my husband went on a vacation and ended up in hospital for 35 days. Methadone, being liquid handcuffs, I was only given enough carries for 14 days. As I watched over my husband, dying of Hep C and Liver disease, kidneys shut down , etc. I began to realize that I was running out?   I tried getting my husband his Meth dose in another country and he went 5 days (dose 115mls.) with none because the Dr. in Ontario, even thru his secretaries couldn't be reached!! B.S.! I called my Dr. in Ontario to see what he could do for me and his answer was, there is no set program"? I weaned myself from 4 to 1 ml. after playing scientist making up my weaning doses. I have been off Meth for 2 months now and even tho I am feeling down some days and I haven't had nothing but the *****!! Its ALL worth it!! I don't ever want to be confronted or judged be another Meth Doctor, (Pusher Man) ever again. I used that as my  motivation to get off the junk after 12 years. Methadone was never intended to be used for this length of time when the "Government" implicated Methadone. These Doctors in my opinion , keep you on it just to get a paycheck!! Hell I didn't even **** dirty and I got on it. I am grateful I had the mindset to stick to my guns. I did it? Iam not proud , I am not going to cause a scene, but people , if you don't ASK your dr. to get off the ****, they will NEVER ASK YOU!
Speaking from Experience
199177 tn?1490498534
this is a very old thread why dont you start a new thread so it wont get over looked
662972 tn?1270166301
This is a really old post but has lots of great info. Only side effect that I have is monthly cycle is all messed up and little weight gain but I think weight gain is my own fault to many soda and sugar crave.  
Jennifer how is your hubby? And Congrats to getting off,
Avatar universal
I have been asking everyone that has been on the meth if they feel any better now that they are off the pills, and they say 'well instead of running to the bathroom to hide from everyone, well now it is okay for me to drink the drug instead of stabing my arms, and so I run to the frigde.'  Most people don't even now that now a days that most people are on this kind of medication for some kind of pain, that a doctor did not listen to his/or her paition.  As myself I was going to see my doctor and told him there was something wrong and that my inners where hurting.  He never ran any kind of test untill one day I had went in sick of being sick and sore the nurse came in and asked if I had a pap done recently?, I said no. So we did one it turnd out I had curvical cancer I was bookd for surgury in a months time.  They cut out a size of a golf ball and the burnd it to make sure it was all gone.  I would never done the pills in the first place but in my records  was a report on my drinking habit and they asumed I was a drug addict to which at the time was false, so I started bowering them off  a friends father.  Now since I've been on the meth I've been treated for Hep C and now was told I have Ostperosis, everyone says that the meth doses not have a effected I don't beleive this as I've only been on the from May 2006, I had a bone dencidy done at the beging of this treatment and they were just fine I mean there was nothing wrong with my bones at all and now at the begining of a new I really wonder, Yes it helpd me get off the pills but now I sitting still craving something!?
Avatar universal
Im male and only 30 years old, i have been on methadone for about 13 years, I have just been told i have Avascular necrosis and will need a total hip replacement, and have been told by my G.P it was most likely caused from taking Methadone. I can hardly walk now thanks to Methadone.....long term Methadone use rots your bones....but no one tells you so.....
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