Methadone - Use | Dose | Side Effects

Methadone tablets are used to treat severe pain (pain in the dying patient, the pain caused by diseases of the liver and bile ducts, post-operative and post-traumatic pain, and pain in patients with acute heart attack), in cases when other medicines for pain does not have effect. Methadone tablets are also used to treat addiction (preventing withdrawal syndrome) of narcotics (heroin and other medicines).

Do not use this medicine

  • If you have difficulty breathing
  • If you have asthma attack. You need to wait for asthma attack sold in full and wait until you fully recover
  • If you have the past two weeks taking medications that are called inhibitors of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors and its used to treat depression (moclobemide, selegeline, phenelzine)
  • If you are taking any medication with sedative effects
  • If you are addicted to other medicines
  • If you have ever had an unusual reaction to methadone
  • If you are taking methadone before birth or during pregnancy, it can have serious effects on your child.

Methadone is not used to treat children.

Warning and precautions

Inform your doctor if you have:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Problems with alcohol
  • A head injury
  • Hypothyroidism (decreased thyroid function)
  • Problems with the adrenal gland (gland located in the kidneys)
  • Prostate problems
  • Low blood pressure
  • Myasthenia gravis (muscle disease that causes their weakness)
  • Problems with bowel
  • Problems with heart rhythm (rate of beats per minute)
  • A heart disease
  • Low values of sodium and potassium in the blood
  • If you are seriously ill or are elderly, you may be more sensitive to the medicine
  • If you are planning a pregnancy test, taking methadone may give false results

Interactions (Use with other medicines)

During the treatment with methadone you can not use:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors-medications used in the treatment of depression)
  • Other medicines used in the treatment of depression
  • Medications that have sedative effects (sedatives, hypnotics, anesthetics)
  • Medicines used in the treatment of addiction (naltrexone)
  • Hantagonists (medicines that reduce the formation of stomach acid such as cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine)
  • Rifampicin (used to treat tuberculosis)
  • Medicines used in the treatment of epilepsy (phenytoin, carbamazepine)
  • Medicaments which acidify the urine (ascorbic acid-vitamin C)
  • Opioid analgesic medicines used in the treatment of severe pain (codeine, pentazocine)
  • Medicines that block the action of the opioid , or have an opposite effect (naloxone)
  • Medicines used in the treatment of viral diseases (nevirapine)-can influence the concentration of methadone in the blood, therefore, the doctor can adjust the dose of methadone.
  • Ciprofloxacin (antibiotic medicine used in the treatment of bacterial infections)
  • Macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin)
  • Azoles-medicines that are used in the treatment of fungal infections (ketoconazole, fluconazole)
  • Alcohol
  • Medicines used in the treatment of heart disease
  • Medicines that can change the balance of electrolytes (diuretics)

Medicines use during pregnancy and breastfeeding

The use of methadone during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended. Methadone is not used during pregnancy because of its long duration of action increases the risk of depression of breathing in the newborn.

The effect of this medicine on the management of motor vehicles and machinery operation

Methadone can impair the patient's ability to drive or operate machinery, so patients should be alerted!

Medicines use

Your doctor will determine what dose of methadone you will take and how often. Observe instructions of your doctor and take this medication exactly as doctor said. The dose and frequency of dosing are adapted to each patient individually. The treatment of pain is most commonly used doses of 5 to 10 mg (1 - 2 tablets) every 6 to 8 hours. In the treatment of heroin addiction and other medicines on the basis of morphine (control abstinence syndrome) usual dose is 20 to 40 mg of (4-8 tablets) per day. The dose is gradually reduced according to the patient's response. If you are elderly and in poor health, and if you have problems with the respiratory system, you can be more sensitive to effects of methadone, and the possible risk of respiratory depression is reason why you should receive lower doses.

If you have taken more of this medicine than it has been prescribed to you

If you take higher dose of methadone than you should, immediately speak with your doctor or pharmacist!

If you forget to take the medicine

Never take a double dose if you have forgotten to take the medicine frequently! If you forget to take medication, take the missed dose as soon as possible, and then proceed with treatment as the usual.

Side effects

Respiratory depression especially at higher doses, addiction, drowsiness, confusion, nausea and vomiting may occur, especially at the beginning of therapy. Mood changes, including  euphoria, increase in intracranial (pressure within the skull) pressure, miosis (constriction of the pupil) and  hallucinations were observed in some cases. Also, it is possible to occur convulsions (spasms), especially in infants. Constipation, dry mouth, eyes and nose, and often less difficulty urinating (reduced urination), spasm of bile ducts was observed in rare cases. It may appear bradycardia (slow heart rate), palpitations and low blood pressure. Very rarely its observed cases of irregularities ECG (Electrocardiography). Long-term methadone treatment can cause increased levels of the hormone prolactin. It was noted that prolonged intake of methadone in men associated with the appearance of gynecomastia (breast increase) and reduced fertility. Other side effects: excessive sweating, facial flushing, dizziness, headache, decreased physical fever, restlessness, decreased libido, painful menstruation, lack of menstruation, rash. Long-term treatment with methadone can cause tolerance and addiction.

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.