Tuesday June 27th 2017

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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.


1 How is methadone supplied?

How is methadone supplied?

December 24th, 2015

Methadone can be prescribed for pain by a licensed physician in the U.S. However, when methadone is used as an opiate/opioid substitution therapy, practitioners are required to be registered with the DEA as a Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP). More on the legal distribution of methadone here, with a section for your questions at the end.

34 Long term effects of methadone on the body (INFOGRAPHIC)

Long term effects of methadone on the body (INFOGRAPHIC)

December 16th, 2015

How can long-term and chronic methadone abuse harm your physical health? We show all negative effects of methadone on the body in this infographic.

23 Methadone long term effects on the brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

Methadone long term effects on the brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

November 23rd, 2015

See how methadone works in the brain and why people abuse it. Learn about chronic abuse, long-term effect and fatal risks. More in this infographic.

4 Long term effects of methadone addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

Long term effects of methadone addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

October 29th, 2015

Is methadone addiction possible? Of course! Methadone is an opioid medication which affects the brain. Learn about the effects of methadone abuse and addiction in this infographic.

6 Traveling while on methadone: Is guest dosing possible?

Traveling while on methadone: Is guest dosing possible?

July 30th, 2015

Can you travel and take methadone as a guest in another clinic? We talk with guest dosing service provider, AMS of Delaware, about your methadone dosing options. More here on costs, planning, and availability of methadone while on vacation.

25 How is methadone prescribed?

How is methadone prescribed?

June 5th, 2015

Methadone is prescribed through a medical doctor for pain. But when prescribed for people who are coping with drug addiction, there are many regulations for its prescription. More on methadone prescriptions here.

21 Does methadone help with opiate withdrawal

Does methadone help with opiate withdrawal

May 30th, 2015

Yes, methadone lessens the symptoms of opiate withdrawal blocks the effects of opiate drugs. More on how methadone can help with withdrawal here.

3 Why aren't people receiving medication assisted treatment? (and why access is so important)

Why aren’t people receiving medication assisted treatment? (and why access is so important)

April 6th, 2015

Why push for medication assisted therapies in the treatment of heroin or opioid addiction? An in-depth Q&A here with Paul Samuels, the Director and President of the Legal Action Center on why and how people SHOULD be able to access medications for addiction treatment.

17 The real dangers of methadone

The real dangers of methadone

March 2nd, 2015

Tolerance to and dependence on methadone can develop with chronic or indefinite use. What are some of the other dangers of long term methadone use? We review here.

154 Methadone overdose: How much amount of methadone to OD?

Methadone overdose: How much amount of methadone to OD?

August 15th, 2014

What are the signs and symptoms of methadone overdose? And how much methadone does it take to OD? We review here.

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Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Methadone
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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