How Effective is Methadone & What are It’s Side Effects?

Methadone with the combination of alcohol or other drugs can cause very high and dangerous side effects. These medicines will slow your breathing and cause drowsiness.
There are high possibilities of methadone causing life threatening heart rhythm disorder. In case you have any of these symptoms get immediate medical assistance, fast or pounding heartbeats, severe dizziness, headache with chest pain, etc.

How Effective is Methadone?

How Effective is Methadone?

Methadone is a narcotic or opioid medication. Methadone helps to effectively reduce withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to narcotic drugs like heroin without resulting the “high” with the addiction of drugs.

Methadone is mainly used as a part of drug addiction detoxification, pain reliever and maintenance programs. This medicine methadone can be bought only from certified pharmacy.

Vital Details

  • Methadone is to be taken by people who are suffering from breathing problems, severe asthma, or even having any blockages in intestines or stomach.
  • This medicine methadone has the properties to stop or slow your breathing and regular intake of methadone will become habit forming as well.
  • The intake of methadone during pregnancy period can cause life threatening withdrawal symptoms and conditions in the new born child.

Prior to Taking Methadone

If you are allergic to Methadone do not take methadone and also do not take it if you have:

  • A blockage in intestines or stomach
  • Breathing problems
  • Severe asthma.

You will have to undergo various heart function tests during this treatment as methadone can cause life threatening heart rhythm disorder

There are many medicines that will interact with methadone and cause serotonin syndrome, which is a serious condition itself. Your doctor who prescribes methadone to you should be aware if you are taking any medicine for depression, herbal products, stimulant medicine, mental illness, serious infections, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, prevention of vomiting and nausea. Always get your doctors approval before you take or change your time and dosage of medications.

If you have ever had any of these following conditions, tell to your doctor to make sure this medicine remains safe for you:

  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Heart rhythm disorder, heart disease or any family or personal history of long QT syndrome
  • Urination problems
  • Mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction
  • Lung disease or any other kind of breathing problems
  • Seizures, brain tumor, head injury
  • Usage of sedatives like Valium (Klonopin, diazepam, versed, ativan, xanax, restoril, alprazolam, tranxene, lorazapem)
  • Problems with thyroid, pancreas, gallbladder.

Using methadone during pregnancy will make the baby dependent on the medicine. This will definitely result in life threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after birth. These babies will need week long treatment for their dependant on this habit forming medicine. Therefore, it is very important for you to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become one.

Breastfeeding while taking methadone is dangerous. This medicine definitely pass through breast milk to the child and cause life threatening problems such as death, breathing problems and drowsiness in the baby.

How to Take Methadone?

Even if you take regular doses of methadone it could become habit forming. This medicine methadone is not to be shared with anyone mainly with those who have a history of drug addiction or abuse. Any misuse of this kind of narcotic medicine can cause death, overdose or addiction mainly in children or in those who uses the medicine without a doctor’s prescription. Also, giving or selling methadone to anyone is against the law and punishable.

It is important to follow all the instructions mentioned in the label. This medicine methadone is more likely to stop or slow your breathing especially when you take methadone for the first time and whenever there is change in the dosage. Methadone is not to be used in larger amounts than prescribed also when no longer needed. In case you feel the medicine does not work anymore and does not cease or relive pain, tell your doctor at the earliest.

The liquid medicine form of methadone should be measured using a dosage syringe or with dose measuring medicine cup or spoon. You can get one of these measuring cups or spoon from your pharmacist if you do not have one at home.

The dispersible tablet can be dissolved in at least 4 ounces of water, citrus flavored non-alcoholic beverages or orange juice. You must allow the tablet to completely disperse in the fluid as it will not dissolve completely. The mixture has to be drunk immediate to get the best effect. In order to get the entire dosage of medicine, you can add little more water or juice to the same cup, swirl lightly and drink.

What are the Side Effects of Methadone?

If you experience any allergic reactions to the medicine such as swelling of tongue, face, throat or lips, difficulty in breathing or hives, get immediate medical assistance. Like the other narcotic medications, methadone medicines can slower your breathing. If your breathing becomes too weak, even death can occur. If your breathing reduces slowly or have long pauses, hard to wake up or blue colored lips, the person caring you must call for immediate medical assistance.

Also get immediate medical assistance if you have these medical conditions

  • Severe constipation
  • Shallow or weak breathing
  • Low cortisol levels – loss of appetite, vomiting, worsening weakness or tiredness, nausea or dizziness
  • Life threatening heart rhythm disorder symptoms – fast or pounding heart beats, severe dizziness, or headache with chest pain
  • Feeling like passing out, light headed.

If you have any of these following serotonin syndrome symptoms get immediate medical assistance, hallucinations twitching, agitation, vomiting, nausea, muscle stiffness, sweating, fever, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fast heart rate or shivering.

This medicine methadone will cause severe breathing problems mainly in people who are severely ill, older adults, debilitated people, and those malnourished.

Long term usage of narcotic medications will cause fertility problem (the ability to have children) in both women and men. However its unknown if the condition or this affect will last forever affecting fertility.

Here are the other common side effects of methadone:

  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Drowsiness, dizziness are also side effects of methadone.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 10, 2019

Recent Posts

Related Posts