Methadone has been used successfully to treat narcotic addiction for over twenty years in the United States and is the only FDA-approved agent in its class for the maintenance treatment of narcotic addiction. Methadone is used in the long-term maintenance treatment of narcotic dependency.
Both heroin and methadone are opioids; as such, methadone and heroin bind to the same places in the brain. Methadone, however, is the opioid of choice for the treatment of narcotic dependency since it is longer lasting and doesn’t provide the “high” associated with drugs that are abused. Methadone prevents the physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when these drugs are stopped. This prevents physical cravings for the drug.