The medicine methadone belongs to the opioid drug class. It was developed by German medics during World War II. When it arrived in the United States, physicians utilized it to treat patients who were in excruciating pain. Today, you can also receive it as a component of a program for recovery from a heroin or narcotic opioid addiction.
Although methadone is safer than some other drugs, your doctor should closely monitor you while you use it. Its use might result in addiction or abuse.
How is this medication to be taken?
The four different oral dosage forms of methadone include tablets, dispersible tablets (which can dissolve in fluids), liquid solutions, and concentrated oral solutions. Methadone can be administered every 8 to 12 hours to treat pain. Your doctor will recommend the ideal dose plan for you if you take methadone as part of a treatment program. Pay close attention to the instructions on your prescription label, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to clarify any information you are unsure of. Take methadone as prescribed by your doctor.
Do not chew or swallow the dispersible pills before blending them with a liquid if you're using them. If your doctor has instructed you to only take a portion of a tablet, carefully break the tablet along the scored lines. To dissolve the tablet or section of the tablet, mix it with at least 120 mL (4 ounces) of water, orange juice, Tang®, Kool-Aid® in a citrus flavor, or another citrus fruit drink. Immediately consume the entire combination. After drinking the combination, if some tablet fragments are still present, add a small amount of liquid and finish the cup.
Throughout your treatment, your doctor might adjust your methadone dosage. As your therapy progresses, your doctor might advise you to take methadone less frequently or at a lower dose. Your doctor may increase your dose or prescribe an extra medicine if you feel pain while undergoing therapy. Discuss your feelings regarding your methadone treatment with your doctor. Even if you experience pain, avoid taking additional doses of methadone or taking them earlier than prescribed.
Before taking This medicine:
If you have an allergy to methadone, any other medications, or any of the substances in the methadone product you intend to use, let your doctor and pharmacist know right once. For a list of the ingredients, ask your doctor or pharmacist or consult the Medication Guide.
Tell your doctor about any herbal medications you are taking, notably tryptophan and St. John's wort.
Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had paralytic ileus, an intestinal blockage, or any of the disorders listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section (condition in which digested food does not move through the intestines). Your doctor might advise against taking methadone.
Inform your physician if you experience or have ever experienced urinary incontinence, an enlarged prostate (a male reproductive organ), Addison's disease (a condition in which the adrenal gland fails to produce enough of a number of natural substances), seizures, or thyroid, pancreatic, gallbladder, liver, or kidney disease.
You should be aware that this medicine may lower both male and female fertility. The dangers of using methadone should be discussed with your doctor.
You should inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking methadone if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
You should be aware that this medicine may cause you to feel sleepy. Prior to understanding how this drug affects you, avoid using machinery or driving a car.
What negative effects might this medicine have?
Methadone could have negative effects.
difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Some adverse effects may be severe.
swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, or throat
difficulty breathing or swallowing
agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
inability to get or keep an erection
decreased sexual desire
What should I be aware of about the handling and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). Any old or unnecessary methadone must be disposed of right away via a drug take-back program. If there isn't a take-back program close by or one you can quickly get to, flush any old or unnecessary methadone tablets or solution down the toilet. Consult your pharmacist for advice on how to properly dispose of your medications.