Methadone maintenance dosing guideline for opioid dependence, a literature review

J Addict Dis. 2010 Jan;29(1):1-14. doi: 10.1080/10550880903436010.


To date, methadone dosing is still an issue of debate and controversy among clinicians who are involved in methadone maintenance programs. The authors conducted a literature review to update clinicians about this issue and provide recommendations for proper methadone dosing. Studies eligible for inclusion in the review were retrieved from the PubMed database by searching for reports published between 1990 and September 2008 using the major medical subject headings Methadone (all fields) and dose. Only articles written in English were included. Additional reports were identified from the reference lists of retrieved articles and by manual review of the tables of contents of journals on drug of abuse included in the psychiatry and substance abuse subject category listing 2008 of the Journal Citation Reports. Abstracts of medical meetings were excluded. Twenty-four articles were included in the review. Twelve are randomized, controlled, or double-blind clinical trials, 10 are non-randomized and observational studies, and 2 are meta-analyses. Currently, the consensus is to have a goal for methadone dosing in the range of 60 to 100 mg daily. For patients who continue to use illicit opiates while prescribed this dose range, clinicians may consider doses greater than 100 mg daily. However, this is not the current consensus but rather is based on the limited promising data the authors have; it could be considered if the benefits outweigh the risks for some patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Methadone / administration & dosage*
  • Methadone / adverse effects
  • Narcotics / administration & dosage*
  • Narcotics / adverse effects
  • Observation
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Narcotics
  • Methadone