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Methadone

What is methadone?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid analgesic that is primarily a mu-opioid agonist. It was developed in Germany during the Second World War as a narcotic pain reliever that can treat moderate to severe pain. It is also used as a substitute drug in the treatment of morphine and heroin addiction. Methadone works by depressing the nervous system and changing the way the brain perceives physical and psychological pain.

Methadone is prescribed to people who are trying to quit heroin in the form of a green liquid for oral use. But it can also be found as a tablet or as an injection. Methadone is also found under other names, such as Amidone, Chocolate chip cookies, Fizzies, Heptadon, Phy, Symoron, and the brand names Dolophine and Methadose.

Why do people use methadone?

Methadone is the most frequently prescribed medication in the treatment of opiate or opioid dependence. In addiction treatment, it’s used to prevent withdrawal symptoms that follow the cessation of drug intake.  Still, methadone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain that isn’t successfully relieved by non-narcotic painkillers. and because methadone impairs the action in the cough center,  doctors also prescribe it to patients with terminal lung cancer to control intractable coughing.

Routes of administration for methadone usually include:

  • intramuscular injection
  • intravenously
  • orally
  • subcutaneous injection

Still, people abuse methadone illegally in order to achieve euphoric effect. Even though it doesn’t create the same “high” as other drugs, it can trigger pleasant and enjoyable sensations of well-being, and many users continue to repeatedly seek them out.

Methadone effects

Methadone mainly depresses the nervous system, and its sedative effects start quickly after initial administration and can last for several hours. Some of the effects of methadone are:

  • enhanced feelings of relaxation and detachment
  • impaired function of the respiratory system
  • reduced physical and psychological pain
  • relief of anxiety
  • slower bodily functions

With recreational use, methadone can cause addiction. Other adverse side effects include:

  • allergic reaction
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • decrease of libido
  • difficulty urinating
  • irregular heart rate
    limb swelling
  • itches and hives
  • mood changes
  • rashes

Call your doctor for any unusual problems you’re experiencing with methadone. When using methadone in higher doses, users feel sleepy. If the dose is too high a user can fall into coma or stop breathing. Likewise, mixing methadone with alcohol or with benzodiazepines can have serious consequences, usually and most likely the result is an overdose and this can lead to a coma or respiratory failure and death.

Is methadone addictive?

Methadone is a relatively addictive substance. Users are expected to develop methadone dependency and/or tolerance to the drug. The development of psychological dependence varies, though, and is one of the hallmark symptoms of addiction. Because unpleasant methadone withdrawal symptoms manifest in dependent users whenever doses are lowered or are not available, even people who are on a monitored maintenance program may find it impossible to reduce their dosage.

If you or a loved one think that you are addicted to methadone, help is available. In fact, you mights consider entering a methadone addiction treatment center or a methadone detox facility to safely come off the medication. Inpatient treatment can monitor your progress and work to address your physical and mental well being. This is an important step of the recovery process, since it gives the patient all the needed tools to continue living an addiction free life. More here on Addiction Blog about how to address problems with methadone.

Methadone

2 Can you get addicted to methadone?

Can you get addicted to methadone?

May 7th, 2017

Methadone has a high potential for abuse and may lead to serious psychological or physical dependence. How can you tell if you are addicted, or not? We review the main signs here.

2 How to stop taking methadone?

How to stop taking methadone?

March 7th, 2017

Are you looking for ways to stop methadone use? Quitting methadone use depends on proper tapering, your physical and emotional health, as well as your personality and expectations. More about stopping methadone safely, here.

3 Physical addiction to methadone

Physical addiction to methadone

January 26th, 2017

Methadone is considered an extremely addictive drug. Learn more about the physically addictive potential of methadone, here.

4 How to help a methadone addict?

How to help a methadone addict?

December 29th, 2016

One way to help a methadone addict is to learn how to approach them and to try to convince them to enter treatment. Read more about what to do if your friend or loved one is facing a methadone addiction problem.

2 Adverse effects of methadone (INFOGRAPHIC)

Adverse effects of methadone (INFOGRAPHIC)

September 16th, 2016

An infographic explaining the behavioral, physical, psychological, sexual, reproductive and other side effects of methadone abuse.

14 Long term effects of methadone on the brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

Long term effects of methadone on the brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

July 8th, 2016

By affecting the way the brain works, long-term methadone use can change one’s behavior, mood, emotions and psychological health. Check out the details in this infographic.

Is methadone safe?

Is methadone safe?

June 5th, 2016

Yes, methadone is generally a safe long-acting opioid medication. More on methadone safety and efficiency in addiction treatment here.

4 Is methadone an effective treatment for heroin addiction? YES!

Is methadone an effective treatment for heroin addiction? YES!

March 9th, 2016

What is methadone and does it work as a treatment for opioid addiction? Methadone helps treat opioid addiction and keeps addicts off of heroin. Why is it not being used more widely? Derek Simon, Ph.D. helps us explore this issue here.

1 How methadone affects sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

How methadone affects sex and pregnancy (INFOGRAPHIC)

January 16th, 2016

Check out the effects methadone can have on the sexual and reproductive health in men and women. Also, the risks of methadone in pregnancy and early child development are shown here.

5 Does methadone help with opiate addiction?

Does methadone help with opiate addiction?

January 10th, 2016

Methadone use for addiction is a controversial issue. More on how methadone work on a physical level in the brain, with a section for your questions at the end.

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Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Methadone
Kate
2:15 pm May 28th, 2017

I took methadone on Friday the 20 of may would you no when it should be out of my urine plz I haven’t taken it since December please I need to no

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:16 pm May 29th, 2017

Hi Kate. Usually, methadone metabolites can test positive for 2-4 days in urine after last dose. This timeframe is longer for heavy or/and chronic users. If you want to learn more about drug testing, download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide To Drug Testing’ here: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-testing/

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