Medical News and Perspectives
August 24/31, 2005

Methadone Treatment Marks 40 Years

JAMA. 2005;294(8):887-889. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.887

Forty years and countless political firestorms after it was first introduced, methadone maintenance for the treatment of opioid addiction remains a standard therapy in the field of addiction treatment.

The publication on August 23, 1965, of positive results from a small clinical trial of methadone as a treatment for heroin addiction in JAMA marked a sea change in the treatment of addiction (Dole and Nyswander. JAMA. 1965;193:646-650). The study, conducted at Rockefeller University in New York City by Vincent P. Dole, MD, and the late Marie E. Nyswander, MD, suggested that a medication could be used to control the cravings and withdrawal that often lead to relapse in individuals with opioid addiction who attempt to quit.