Do people drink more when they switch to Methadose? It is 10 times more concentrated than methadone – proven treatment of opioid use disorder. We did not find more drinking after the switch. But others found changes in opioid use patterns coinciding with the change.
We talked to 787 people receiving methadone for opioid use disorder in Vancouver, Canada. Our new study followed them as they switched from methadone (1mg/mL) to Methadose (10mg/mL). We asked whether their drinking has changed after the switch – between 2013 and 2015. 16% said they drank too much at least once in the last six months. Those who drank too much were not more likely to do so after the shift to Methadose. The Substance Use& Misuse journal has published the study this week. Persons on methadone for opioid use disorder may report going through opioid withdrawal and increasing their illicit opioid use when switched to Methadose. We need to understand impacts of these changes on other forms of drug use. Careful and planned information about upcoming changes may help people cope with the potential risks better.
In sum, change is the law of life. Those who do not change do not survive in nature. For complex systems, such as health care, change management is the key to success. Healthy, happy and satisfied patients are healthcare’s success best proof. If they self-report negative experiences following methadone changes, their opinions should inform change management in order to build a better, patient-centered care. Their opinions, together with our findings, could help future formulary decisions in addiction treatment. Various methadone formulations may have little short-term impact on heavy alcohol use. Let’s evaluate the long-term impact.