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Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org


Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org


Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org


Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org


Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org


Courtesy of www.DrugFreeWorld.org

Methadone Facts

Methadone

COMMON & BRAND NAMES

Methadose, Dolophine, Juice

EFFECTS CLASSIFICATION

Opioid, Analgesic

CHEMICAL NAME

6-dimethylamino-4,4-diphenyl-3-heptanone

DESCRIPTION

Methadone is a opioid (a synthetic opiate) that is most commonly used as a maintenance treatment for heroin and opiate addiction. Methadone is usually available as a liquid – linctus or methadone mixture – which should be swallowed. Tablets and injectable ampoules are sometimes prescribed, and like many other medicines some of these prescribed drugs are diverted and become available illegally. Methadone is not an innocent substance; ‘one’s methadone maintenance dose is another’s poison’. People taking methadone should not drive a car or operate machinery.

EFFECTS

Some of these methadone effects are easily mistaken as withdrawal symptoms or as other medical conditions.  A regular user of opiates develops a certain tolerance. Therefore, it is possible that a tolerant person can function normally with dosages which can be fatal to a non-tolerant person. Methadone magnifies the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants, such as antihistamines, cold medicines, sedatives, tranquilizers, other prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, barbiturates, seizure medications, muscle relaxants, and certain anesthetics including some dental anesthetics. Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants should not be taken or consumed while methadone is being taken.  Intentional or accidental overdose of methadone can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or death.

Methadone Effects

  • Abdominal pain (cramps) may occur.
  • Sweating is often increased, especially at night.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may occur.
  • Skin rashes and itching are experienced by some people.
  • Sedation (for example, drowsiness, especially soon after a dose).
  • Fluid retention causing swelling or ‘puffiness’ of the hands or feet.
  • Constipation is quite common. Drink plenty of water and eat more fruit, vegetables, wholemeal and bran products.
  • Lowered sex drive is experienced with the use of any opioid, including methadone and heroin. However, this may settle down.
  • Aching muscles and joints may be experienced, even when the dose of methadone is adequate. Some people report rheumatism-type aches and pains at various times.
  • Tooth decay Methadone, like all opioids, reduces production of saliva. Saliva contains antibacterial agents which help prevent deterioration of teeth and gums. Poor or irregular diet and inadequate dental care also contribute to tooth decay. Regular brushing and chewing sugar-free gum can prevent tooth decay.
  • Changes to periods (menstruation) Many women have irregular periods when they use heroin or other opiates. For some women, their menstrual cycle returns to normal during methadone treatment, whereas others continue to have irregular periods while on methadone. When starting a methadone program, it is important to think about contraception, as you may start having periods again, and be at risk of getting pregnant.

Other Potential Complications Due to Methadone’s Effects Include:

  • tears
  • tremors
  • diarrhea
  • yawning
  • sedation
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • tooth decay
  • constipation
  • goose bumps
  • fluid retention
  • pinpoint pupils
  • loss of appetite
  • irregular periods
  • nausea/vomiting
  • difficulty sleeping
  • lowered sex drive
  • heart palpitations
  • shallow breathing
  • abdominal cramps
  • back and joint aches
  • cravings for the drug
  • poor blood circulation
  • feeling physically weak
  • skin rashes and itching
  • drowsiness/nodding off
  • aching muscles and joints
  • muscle spasm and jerking
  • problems with sexual functioning
  • loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting
  • high temperature but feeling cold
  • below normal drop in body temperature
  • slow blood pulse, lowered blood pressure
  • irritability/aggression/feelings of uneasiness
  • sweating (clients should drink at least two liters of water per day to avoid dehydration)

What are the symptoms of methadone overdose?

Body as a whole

  • Muscle spasticity

Respiratory

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slow, shallow and labored breathing
  • Stopped breathing (sometimes fatal within 2-4 hours)

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Bluish skin
  • Bluish fingernails and lips

Gastrointestinal

  • Spasms of the stomach and/or intestinal tract
  • Constipation

Heart and blood vessels

  • Weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure

Nervous system

  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Coma

Links: Common Types of Addiction Treatment