Brand NamesDiskets, Dolophine, Methadose
What is Methadone
Methadone is a narcotic, opioid medication similar to morphine. It also relieves withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the "high" associated with the drug addiction. This medicine was developed in Germany in 1937.
Side effects of Methadone
The possible side effects of Methadone are considered to be:
- allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
- hallucinations or confusion
- chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat
- trouble breathing, feeling light-headed or fainting
- feeling anxious, nervous or restless
- sleep problems (insomnia)
- feeling weak or drowsy
- dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite
- decreased sex drive, impotence or difficulty having an orgasm
Methadone works as a pain reliever. It is intended for the following uses:
- Treatment of moderate-to-severe pain
- Detoxification treatment ("detox") from heroin or other morphine-like drugs
- Maintenance treatment of addiction to heroin or other morphine-like drugs (long-term treatment in order to reduce usage of heroin)
Do not use methadone improperly, because it may provoke serious side effects or death. Even if you have taken other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from methadone. Follow all dosage instructions carefully. Methadone may be habit-forming and should be used only according your doctor's prescription.
You should inform your doctor if you have:
- a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome"
- asthma, COPD, sleep apnea or other breathing disorders
- liver or kidney disease
- underactive thyroid
- curvature of the spine
- a history of head injury or brain tumor
- epilepsy or other seizure disorder
- low blood pressure
- gallbladder disease
- Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorders
- enlarged prostate, urination problems
- mental illness
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction
The dosage of methadone depends on a number of factors such as:
- Whether methadone is used for pain or addiction
- How you respond to the medication
- Other drugs you are taking (including nonprescription medicines)
- Other medical conditions you may have
Methadone Dose for Pain is 2.5 mg to 10 mg every 8 to 12 hours, slowly increased to an effective amount.
Methadone Dosage for Addiction is 20 mg to 30 mg. If withdrawal symptoms are not adequately suppressed within 2 to 4 hours, an additional 5 mg to 10 mg may be given. The total amount for the first day should not exceed 40 mg.
Methadone Dosage for short-term detoxification should be increased up to 40 mg per day (usually given as two smaller daily doses) in order to achieve stabilization. This stabilization dose can be continued for 2 or 3 days, after which the amount should be gradually reduced in a manner that is slow enough to help limit withdrawal symptoms.For long-term maintenance treatment the dosage should be slowly increased until:
- The withdrawal symptoms are prevented for 24 hours at a time
- Drug cravings are reduced
- The euphoric effects of other opioids are reduced or blocked
- The person becomes tolerant to the sedative effects of methadone
If you want to stop taking methadone you should do it so slowly and only with the help of your doctor. It is recommended that the dose be reduced by less than 10 percent at a time, with at least 10 to 14 days between reductions. It is important to understand that addiction relapse is common during or after withdrawal from methadone maintenance treatment.