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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.
Sincerely,
Dan...
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?1199267267
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
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