Most medications prescribed today have some side effects. Many have serious side effects, especially if taken incorrectly. It is important to know what the side effects may be not necessarily that they will be. A lot has been written about the medication Methadone. Much of this information has little basis in truth. There is more negative probably than positive. However, the truth it is a much maligned medication. We will not respond to all of the misconceptions. We will simple give you some information about the medication.
What are some reasons this medication is prescribed?
· Methadone is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers.
· It also is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opiates in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.
Methadone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It also works as a substitute for opiate drugs of abuse by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE:
Methadone may cause (As can any opiate or opiate like medication used for pain) slowed breathing and irregular heartbeat that may be life-threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Methadone, call your doctor (or 911) immediately:
· difficulty breathing
· extreme drowsiness
· slow, shallow breathing
· fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
· severe dizziness
The risk that you will experience serious or life-threatening side effects of methadone is greatest when you first start taking methadone, when you switch from another narcotic medication to methadone and when your doctor increases your dose of methadone. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of methadone and gradually increase your dose. Your doctor should monitor you closely during this time. You should follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. You should take methadone exactly as directed. You should not take more methadone than prescribed You also should not take methadone more often than prescribed by your doctor. If you are taking methadone to control pain, your pain may return before it is time for your next dose of methadone. If this happens, do not take an extra dose of methadone. You may still have methadone residuals in your body after the pain relieving effect of the medication wears off. If you take extra doses, you may have too much methadone in your body and you may experience life threatening side effects. You need to be aware that the pain relieving effects of methadone will last longer as your treatment continues over time. You should talk to your doctor if your pain is not being controlled during your treatment with methadone. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking methadone for the condition for which you are being treated. If you are using methadone to treat an opiate addiction you need to know that there certain guidelines you need to follow. If you are or have been addicted to an opiate (narcotic drug such as heroin or pain medication), and you are taking methadone to help you stop taking or continue not taking the drug, you must enroll in a methadone maintenance treatment program. The methadone maintenance treatment program must be approved by the state and federal governments and must treat patients according to specific federal and state laws and must be accredited. You will have to take your methadone at the methadone maintenance treatment program facility under the supervision of the program staff (at least until you have proven yourself by having clean urinalysis and following the treatment plan. You should ask your doctor or the treatment program staff if you have any questions about enrolling in the program or taking or getting your medication.
Continued on page 2 methadone side effects part2