Wednesday March 21st 2018

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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.


2 The effects of methadone treatment during pregnancy

The effects of methadone treatment during pregnancy

January 2nd, 2011

What are the effects of methadone treatment during pregnancy? Should a woman stop methadone treatment if she is pregnant? Dr. Burson explains why not here.

30 Can taking methadone cause excessive sweating?

Can taking methadone cause excessive sweating?

December 21st, 2010

Yes, methadone can cause excessive sweating. Dr. Burson explains how to treat excessive sweating caused by methadone here.

13 Methadone facts

Methadone facts

December 15th, 2010

Dr. Jana Burson, who treats opiate addiction using methadone, presents methadone myths and methadone facts here. This is the first article in a series of posts to get the facts about methadone to you, the public.

23 Methadone treatment guideline in opiate addiction-is longer better?

Methadone treatment guideline in opiate addiction-is longer better?

December 12th, 2010

Is one year the standard methadone treatment guideline in opiate addiction? Not by far. Learn why methadone treatment for opiate addiction works better in the long term, and what research supports multiple year methadone treatment. Guidelines in opiate addiction here.

8 Can dolophine and methadone reduce heroin abuse?

Can dolophine and methadone reduce heroin abuse?

December 6th, 2010

Narcotic pain meds like dolophine, methadone, methadose, and phy are prescribed during opiate addiction treatment. But does methadone encourage or reduce illicit drug use? Dr. Burson reviews the facts and research about the benefits of dolophine and methadone in the treatment of opioid abuse here.

60 Methadone 60mg: the blocking dose for heroin treatment

Methadone 60mg: the blocking dose for heroin treatment

December 3rd, 2010

Should methadone clinics support lower doses of methadone for patients being treated for opiate addiction? Or is methadone 60mg the analgesic dose needed to treat opioid abuse? Dr. Burson lets us know taking less than methadone 60mg can sabotage opiate and heroin addiction treatment

10 The drug methadone and its benefits

The drug methadone and its benefits

December 3rd, 2010

The drug methadone is surrounded by political and ethical debate. But researchers have been looking at methadone since 1966. And there are more studies on the drug methadone than most other prescription medications. Dr. Burson outlines the benefits of methadone clearly here.

93 Methadone side effects

Methadone side effects

November 22nd, 2010

Methadone treatment for opiate addiction can be effective. But some doctors can be critical of the practice, usually an opinion based in ignorance of methadone and how it works. Dr. Jana Burson reviews the full spectrum of methadone side effects here, clearly outlining methadone side effects on the body so that you can be better informed.

7 Efficacy of methadone maintenance treatment

Efficacy of methadone maintenance treatment

November 15th, 2010

Methadone doesn’t work for everyone. But the efficacy of methadone maintenance treatment has been documented since the 1990’s. Dr. Jana Burson tells us about the pharmacology of methadone, as well as the growing acceptance of methadone as valid treatment here.

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9 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:

10:35 pm July 17th, 2017

Hi I truly need help to find a answer we got off the opiates to go right back to them I was thinking if I can get 200.000 signatures can I can I get doctors to be able to keep the people’s on methadone that sign a contract of only that for the rest of there lives knowing the effects subox has a contract that’s why these doctors are getting something out of it why would the doctor I just saw want me off methadone and up my oxymoron 15mg to 4 a day I was taking one and 4 methadone ,Maybe cause next door he owns a skybox clinic isn’t that against the law somehow ,my boyfriend’s in trouble as of the 16th we need another doctor fast we are so scared he’s on 270 a month we are both hiv was hep c he’s a hemophilia person what can we do please advice me if we have to move we will we have no choice for a decent life unless we stay on what we have been on for 15 years anyone that may have any ideas ya can write. thank you I’m in S.C ( for now ) !!!!!!

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:37 pm July 27th, 2017

Hello Elisabeth.

You should have access to methadone.

Please contact the following state authorities to talk about the issue directly.


Laura Stuckey, BHSA Executive Director
2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 205
Columbia, SC 29204

2. South Carolina
Bettye Harrison
Coordinator of Adult Services
Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
3700 Forest Drive, Suite 300
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone: (803) 734-9556
Fax: (803) 734-9663

Virginia Ervin, B.S.N., CARN, COHN
State Opioid Treatment Authority
South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drugs
101 Executive Center Drive, Suite 215
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 896-4860
Fax: (803) 896-5984

Brent Addict
4:11 pm October 2nd, 2017

I know of at least 2 people who have stopped methadone and everything else for over 10 years. My wife at has been clean for 14 and my brother for 11. I just went COLD TURKEY from 400 mg a day yes 10 mg per ml 400mg sometimes I double dosed it. I was also taken lots of benzos, so I’m doing a benzo Methadone detox. I have been 45 days and I expected it to be a lot worse, I thought it might kill me. I still don’t feel great but it gets better every week, not every day. Just thought I would let you know it is possible. If you or somebody reply I can give you some advice if you would like. Don’t listen to people who say it’s not possible almost everything is. It’s up to you who you listen to. I hope you pull it off you will feel so much better mentally and physically. If you are suicidal go to a 30-day rehab first or make sure you have somebody with you because it get’s a little rough. It is doable some people like to complain a lot I did ‘but my wife would say your pain isn’t anything compared to what you have done to me over the years. So I have to just sit with my mouth shut lol. It is a serious detox you just need to tuff it out and things get better. Just remember one pill one-shot some methadone bub will send you right back. Addicts can normally only control the first use then they are out of control again. Just do it you’ll never know till you try

1:35 am January 27th, 2018

Can you tell me how long methadone metabolites stay in your urine I was told 14 days but I still had it in my urine after 25 thank you

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:19 pm January 30th, 2018

Hi Roseanna. The detection period for long-term users is longer. If you like to learn more about drug testing, download our free guide here:

8:46 am February 11th, 2018

Help. I’m taking 74mg methadone liquid every morning. I have been on it for almost 18 months. I do no other drugs besides the legal weed. I just started a new job that requires me to look my best, talk to people . Great customer service because I am a server at a upscale steakhouse. Things are going great besides the methadone sweats!!! They are horrible and my co workers might be thinking I’m all fucked up on something cause of all the sweat on my face and hairline and also my back. Can anyone please help. I have tapered my dose down 2mg each week. Tried vitadone didn’t work

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:22 pm February 14th, 2018

Hi Nick. If you want to quit methadone, the safest way to do it is by slowly reducing the daily dose. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, download our free e-book ‘How To Quit Opioid Painkillers’ to learn more about opoids and how to deal with them:

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