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Methadone : Drug Information

What is Methadone?

Methadone is available under the familiar brand name Methadose and Dolophine, used to treat withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to narcotic drugs. Doctors also prescribe this medication to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe. It works on the brain and central nervous system to relieve the pain. It is available in the form of oral tablets and injections. You can only avail of this medication with a proper prescription from the doctor.

What to know before taking methadone?

You must avoid taking methadone if you are allergic to it or any of its components. You should talk to your doctor before taking this medication if you have the following medical conditions:

  • Breathing problems such as severe asthma
  • Blockage in stomach or intestine

To ensure yourself that methadone is safe for you, you should share with your doctor if you have or ever had the following health issue:

  • Heart problem
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Breathing problem
  • Sleep apnea
  • Head injuries
  • Brain tumors
  • Seizures
  • Alcohol or drugs addiction
  • Mental illness
  • Liver or kidney infections
  • Urination problem
  • Thyroid
  • Problem in pancreas
  • Problem with gallbladder

Expecting women or lactating mothers should not take this medication as it may harm the child and make the child dependent on medical drugs.

How to take methadone?

You should take this medication exactly as may be prescribed by the doctor. You must follow all the instructions given on the prescription label and medicine carefully. Don’t use methadone more often than prescribed as abuse and misuse of methadone can be fatal. You should consult your doctor if you feel anything unusual while taking this medication.

Methadone is a highly addictive medication; therefore, buying or selling methadone is an offense under the prevailing law. It would be best not to share your medicines with anyone, especially those who have a past of drug addiction or abuse.

You should consult your doctor before leaving methadone; otherwise, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. After completion of treatment, you should dispose of all the leftover medicines properly. You can dispose of medication with the help of a pharmacist nearby you, or you can dispose of it by flushing it down in the toilet.

Methadone dosage

Dosages of methadone vary from patient to patient; therefore, the doctor can prescribe the dosages of this medication depending upon several factors such as:

  • Age and weight of the patient
  • Symptoms
  • The seriousness of the condition
  • Other medical conditions of the patient
  • Other medicines used by the patient

The following are the average dose of methadone that can be prescribed by the doctor.

Dosage for pain ranging from moderate to severe

For the patients who are using methadone as their first pain medication

For adults (18 years or above)

An initial dose of 2.5 mg after every 8-12 hours. Your doctor may fluctuate your dosage accordingly. Please don’t take it more than the prescribed amount in 24 hours.

For children (below 18 years)

The doctor will prescribe the dosage of methadone for patients below 18 years after proper examination.

For the patients who are switching to methadone from any other opioid medication

For adults (18 years or above)

The doctor will prescribe you the dose of this medication based on the opioid medication results you are taking. Take the prescribed dosage after every 8-12 hours. Your doctor may fluctuate your dosage accordingly. Please don’t take it more than the specified amount in 24 hours.

For children (below 18 years)

The doctor will prescribe the dosage of methadone for patients below 18 years after proper examination.

Dosage for opioid addiction

For adults (18 years or above)

An initial dose of 20 mg to 30 mg once a day. Your doctor may fluctuate your dosage accordingly; however, the medication quantity should not increase more than 40 mg in a day. Please don’t take it more than the prescribed amount in 24 hours.

For children (below 18 years)

The doctor will prescribe the dosage of methadone for patients below 18 years after proper examination.

Overdose

If you ever experience any overdose symptoms, you should immediately consult your doctor and ask for medical help as soon as possible. You can avail of medical assistance by calling the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. The patient should never ignore the overdose symptoms of methadone as it can result in a fatal situation.

The following are a few symptoms of methadone overdose:

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Prolonged breathing

What to avoid while using methadone?

You should avoid alcohol or other alcoholic drinks while on this medication as the interaction between them may be dangerous. It will be best if you try to avoid driving and other activities that require a lot of attention and alertness until you are under the effect of methadone.

Methadone side effects

Some of the common side effects of using methadone are as follows:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Increased sweating
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the area where the health professionals injected methadone.

It is okay to experience these mild side effects symptoms, but you must consult the doctor if these symptoms bother you too much. You should ask for medical help as soon as possible if you face any allergic reaction to this medication.

You must consult your doctor at least once if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Shallow breathing or feeling breathlessness while sleeping
  • Severe constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pounding heartbeats
  • Shortage of breath
  • Fluttering in chest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • serotonin syndrome such as fever, hallucination, twitching, agitation, loss of control, etc.

What drugs can interact with methadone?

If your doctor is treating you with methadone, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other drugs. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over the counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. Some of the following medications which can interact with methadone are:

  • Narcotic medication such as opioid pain medication or prescription cough medication
  • Sedative medicines such as diazepam, xanax, lorazepam, versed, etc.
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-psychotic medications
  • Stimulants
  • Migraine medicines
  • Medicines for nausea and vomiting
  • Parkinson disease medication
  • Vitamins supplements
  • Herbal products

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