New research published this week in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that methadone treatment may need to change to address a side-effect: alteration in testosterone levels among male patients receiving the therapy. Low testosterone in men has been associated with poor quality of life as well as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood disturbances.
Methadone, which is used for opioid addiction treatment, was found to significantly suppress testosterone levels in men who were opioid users, compared to men not using opioids. In women using methadone for addiction treatment, testosterone levels were not significantly impacted, even considering the menstrual cycle. Study recommendations include providing treatment for testosterone deficiency, as well as engaging the lowest possible doses of opioids including methadone to minimize suppression. Read a news story about the research findings here.