Methadone is an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Methadone 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. It is available only from a certified pharmacy.
MISUSE OF METHADONE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Taking opioid medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
Methadone may cause a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. Call your doctor at once if you have a headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, and fast or pounding heartbeats. Your heart function may need to be checked during treatment.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use methadone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems; or
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart problems, long QT syndrome (in you or a family member);
- breathing problems, sleep apnea;
- a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
- drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
- liver or kidney disease;
- urination problems; or
- problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid.
If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breast-feed. Methadone can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.
How should I use methadone?
Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Never use methadone in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more of methadone.
Never share opioid medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away opioid medicine is against the law.
Methadone oral is taken by mouth. Methadone injection is injected into a muscle or under the skin, or given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use an injection by yourself.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Dissolve the dispersible tablet in water, orange juice, or other citrus-flavored non-alcoholic beverage.
Never use methadone tablets or liquid to make a mixture for injecting the drug into your vein. This practice has resulted in death with the misuse of prescription drugs.
When methadone is used as part of a treatment program for drug addiction or detoxification, your doctor may recommend that your dose be given to you by a family member or other caregiver.
You should not stop using this medicine suddenly. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of your medicine. Methadone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using it improperly.
Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.
What happens if I miss a dose?
You may need to restart at a lower dose.
Do not take two doses at one time.