Clinical guidelines and procedures for the use of methadone in the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence

2.3 Informed consent and patient information

Page last updated: August 2003

Obtain informed consent to methadone treatment in writing from the patient before commencing treatment. For patients to make a fully informed decision, they should be provided with written information about:

  • The nature of methadone treatment

  • Other treatment options

  • Program policies and expectations

  • Consequences of breaches of program rules

  • Recommended duration of treatment

  • Side effects and risks associated with taking methadone (see Section 1)

  • Risks of other drug use

  • The potential impact of methadone on their capacity to drive or operate machinery

  • The availability of further information about treatment
Methadone may affect the capacity of patients to drive or operate machinery during the early stages of treatment, after an increase in dose, or when patients are also taking other drugs. Warn patients about this effect before entry into treatment, when the dose of methadone is increased, or when the use of other drugs is suspected.

A number of excellent patient information resources are available which can be provided to patients or a program specific patient information booklet can be prepared. (See Appendix 5 for details of suitable resources).