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Methadone

 
  Generic Name: Methadone (METH a done)
 
  Brand Names: Diskets, Dolophine, Methadose  
     
   
 

What is methadone?

Methadone is a narcotic pain reliever, similar to morphine. It also reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the "high" associated with the drug addiction.

Methadone is used as a pain reliever and as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs.

Methadone may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Important information about methadone

Taking methadone improperly will increase your risk of serious side effects or death. Even if you have used other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from methadone. Follow all dosing instructions carefully.

Like other narcotic medicines, methadone can slow your breathing, even long after the pain-relieving effects of the medication wear off. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak. Never use more methadone than your doctor has prescribed. Call your doctor if you think the medicine is not working.

Do not stop using methadone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Call your doctor if you miss doses or forget to take this medication for longer than 3 days in a row. Do not drink alcohol while you are taking methadone. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with methadone. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol. Methadone can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Before using methadone

Taking methadone improperly will increase your risk of serious side effects or death. Even if you have used other narcotic medications, you may still have serious side effects from methadone. Follow all dosing instructions carefully. Methadone may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Methadone should never be given to another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it. Do not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a narcotic medicine (examples include codeine, morphine, Oxycontin, Darvocet, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, and many others). You should also not take methadone if you are having an asthma attack or if you have a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus.

Before taking methadone, talk to your doctor if you have:

  • a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome";

  • asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders;

  • liver or kidney disease;
  • underactive thyroid;

  • curvature of the spine;

  • a history of head injury or brain tumor;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • low blood pressure;

  • gallbladder disease;

  • Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorders;

  • enlarged prostate, urination problems;

  • mental illness; or

  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. It could also cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes methadone during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Methadone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults and people with debilitating conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.

How should I use methadone?

Use methadone exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Like other narcotic medicines, methadone can slow your breathing, even long after the pain-relieving effects of the medication wear off. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak. Never use more methadone than your doctor has prescribed. Call your doctor if you think the medicine is not working.

When methadone is used as part of a treatment program for drug addiction or detoxification, you will receive the medication through a clinic or special pharmacy.

Your doctor may recommend that methadone be given to you by a family member or other caregiver. This is to make sure you are using the medicine as it was prescribed as part of your treatment.

Additional forms of counseling and/or monitoring may be recommended during treatment with methadone.

Methadone is available in tablets, dispersible tablets, oral solution (liquid) and as an injection. The pill and oral liquid forms of methadone must never be used to make a methadone injection.

Measure the liquid form of methadone with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

The methadone dispersible tablet (Diskets) is made to be dissolved in water. Do not chew, crush, or swallow the tablet whole. Place the tablet into a 4-ounce glass of water, orange juice, or other citrus-flavored non-alcoholic beverage and allow the tablet to disperse in the liquid. The tablet will not dissolve completely. Drink this mixture right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more liquid to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

Store methadone at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep track of how much of this medicine has been used. Methadone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medication as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and wait until your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose. If you miss your doses for longer than 3 days in a row, call your doctor for instructions. You may need to restart methadone at a lower dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.An overdose of methadone can be fatal, especially if you take it with alcohol or other narcotic medications.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, confusion, cold and clammy skin, weak pulse, shallow breathing, fainting, or breathing that stops.

What should I avoid while using methadone?

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking methadone. Dangerous side effects or death can occur when alcohol is combined with methadone. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol. Methadone can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Methadone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • shallow breathing;

  • hallucinations or confusion; or

  • chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat; or

  • trouble breathing, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

Less serious methadone side effects may include:

  • feeling anxious, nervous, or restless;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • feeling weak or drowsy;

  • dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite; or

  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect methadone?

Do not use methadone with other narcotic pain medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, or other medicines that can make you sleepy or slow your breathing. Dangerous side effects may result. Do not use methadone with any of the following drugs without first talking to your doctor:

  • a diuretic (water pill);

  • antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, Ery-Tab), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), metronidazole (Flagyl) or voriconazole (Vfend);

  • heart or blood pressure medication such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac) or verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan);

  • HIV medicines such as abacavir (Ziagen), amprenavir (Agenerase), didanosine (Videx), efavirenz (Sustiva), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), nevirapine (Viramune), ritonavir (Norvir), stavudine (Zerit), or zidovudine (Retrovir);

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam);

  • other narcotic medications such as pentazocine (Talwin), nalbuphine (Nubain), buprenorphine (Subutex), or butorphanol (Stadol);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater); or

  • seizure medication such as phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton) or phenytoin (Dilantin).

This list is not complete and there are many other medicines that may cause serious medical problems if you take them together with methadone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about methadone.

What does my medication look like?

Methadone is available with a prescription under the brand names Dolophine and Methadose. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2009 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 4/12/2009 4:22:32 PM.;
 
 
 
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