Methadone: Side Effects, Dosage, Warnings, Uses, and More
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What Is Methadone?
The term “opioids” refers to the class of medications that includes methadone. During World War II, medical professionals in Germany developed it. Once it was available in the United States, medical professionals began using it as a treatment for patients suffering from severe pain. Today, it is also sometimes administered as part of a treatment program for addiction to narcotic opioids or heroin.
Even though it is less dangerous than other drugs, methadone nevertheless requires continuous monitoring by a qualified medical professional while it is being administered. Using it even once can lead to problems with dependency or abuse.
What Does Methadone Do?
Methadone alters the way in which your brain and nerve system react to pain, which results in a sense of relief being experienced. Its effects come on more gradually compared to those of other powerful painkillers such as morphine. If you are in a lot of pain as a result of an injury, surgery, or long-term sickness, your doctor may prescribe methadone for you to take.
In addition to this, it inhibits the high that is produced by opiates such as codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. It is possible that it will provide you with comparable pleasure while also preventing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You might have heard of this being referred to as replacement therapy.
In most cases, it is only a single component of the whole therapy plan. It is not a treatment for dependency or addiction.
How Is Methadone Used?
If your doctor determines that methadone is necessary to treat your pain, he or she will prescribe it to you. A specialized treatment program is where you will go to obtain help for an addiction. Calling 1-800-662-HELP or using the treatment directory provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/) are also great ways to find programs that can assist you (4357).
Tablets, powder, and liquid formulations of methadone are all available. To obtain it, you are required to present a valid prescription. Your healthcare experts will supply you with the dosage that they believe will be most beneficial to you. During the course of your treatment, they may also adjust your dosage. Discuss with your primary care physician how you are feeling while using it. It is not a good idea to quit taking methadone without first discussing it with them.
Always carefully follow the dosage directions given. If your physician has prescribed you “dispersible” tablets, you should dissolve all or part of the tablet in liquid (often water or citrus-flavored drinks), and then consume the liquid in its entirety.
According to the recommendations of specialists, patients who take methadone to treat addiction should continue the medication for at least one year while they work on their recovery. When it is time for you to quit, your doctor will assist you in doing so in a gradual manner so that you do not experience withdrawal symptoms.
Without a doctor’s approval, there are some persons who will self-medicate using methadone. The majority of them inject it, which puts them at risk for contracting infections such as HIV and hepatitis C.
Methadone Side Effects
You can experience the following adverse effects after using it for a short period of time:
Upset stomach or vomiting
Calm your breathing down.
Itchy skin Excessive perspiration
Adaptations of the appetite
Ache in the stomach
The mouth is dry
Alterations in mood
Some of the potential adverse effects are quite serious. Make an appointment with your primary care physician if you have:
Difficulty with breathing
Experiencing lightheadedness or fainting
Itchy hives or a rash Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
discomfort in the chest or a racing heartbeat
Hallucinations or a state of confused thinking
A hoarse voice
Drowsiness to the point of unconsciousness Difficulty swallowing
Unusual menstrual periods
Methadone usage is not recommended for everyone. Inform your primary care provider if you have:
A heart rhythm disorder
An electrolyte imbalance
ailment of the lungs or breathing difficulties
a history of traumatic brain injury, seizure disorder, or brain tumour
Diseases of the liver or kidneys
Having difficulty urinating
complications with the gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid
A condition that requires the use of sedatives in order to treat it
Methadone’s effects can also be altered by the following drugs:
Medications that induce drowsiness or slow down your breathing
Medications that alter the amount of serotonin in your body
It is imperative that you inform your physicians about any medications that you are currently taking.
Methadone use can lead to physical and psychological dependence. It’s possible that your brain will get dependent on the pain alleviation it provides.
Methadone produces effects that are distinct from those produced by other opioids; nonetheless, your body might still become accustomed to its presence. This indicates that you might require a higher dosage in order to experience the same effects. This phenomenon, which is known as tolerance, can take place with any opioid. Methadone and other opioids can potentially cause your body to develop a dependence on them. If you suddenly stop taking them, you will experience withdrawal symptoms since your brain has become dependent on the pain relief they provide.
Methadone can elicit a variety of responses from its users. Changing your dosage on your own can lead to hazardous adverse effects or an overdose. Overdose symptoms include:
Calm your breathing down.
Slow beating of the heart
Severe instances of sleepiness
a lack of muscular tone
Skin that is icy and damp
Overdose can cause fainting, which can be fatal. It is imperative that you are forthright with your doctor regarding your use of methadone.
Methadone Storage and Disposal
In the container, it was originally sold in.
Having a very good seal
Keep it out of the reach of youngsters.
At a temperature of about ambient temperature, away from sources of heat and moisture
Find a reliable take-back program for your methadone if it has beyond its expiration date or if you no longer need to take it. Alternatively, you can flush it down the toilet. If you have questions, you should consult your pharmacist or the provider of your treatment.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women and Methadone
Methadone use is safe during pregnancy and when breastfeeding for nursing mothers and pregnant women. It is possible for it to pass through your placenta or enter your breast milk. Your physician will take this into consideration when formulating a treatment strategy for you.
It is of the utmost importance that you obtain treatment for your heroin or pain pill addiction if you are pregnant. This will ensure the health and safety of both you and your unborn child. Babies born to mothers who use methadone may experience withdrawal symptoms themselves. On the other hand, the majority of them have fewer health issues compared to infants whose moms took heroin or other opioids.
If a breastfeeding newborn exhibits unusual tiredness, weakness, or respiratory problems, you should call your pediatrician or go to the emergency room immediately. When you are ready to wean your child off of breast milk, discuss with your physician the best way to do it in a slow and secure manner in order to prevent methadone withdrawal symptoms.
Find out more about the different treatment options available for opioid addiction.