methadone

Pronunciation: METH a done

Brand: Diskets, Dolophine, Methadose

Dolophine 5 mg-ROX

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Methadone 10 mg-MAL

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Methadone 10 mg-ROX

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Methadone 5 mg-ROX

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Methadose 5 mg

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What is the most important information I should know about methadone?

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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.

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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.

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Do not drink alcohol. Methadone can increase the effects of alcohol, which could be dangerous. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol.

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This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how methadone will affect you.

What is methadone?

Methadone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Methadone 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 not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using methadone?

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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.

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Methadone may be habit forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share Methadone with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

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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.

To make sure you can safely use methadone, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • 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.
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FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Methadone will harm an unborn baby. Methadone may cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Methadone.

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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 exactly as prescribed. Never use Methadone in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

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.

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Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

After you have stopped using this medication, flush any unused pills down the toilet.

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 missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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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?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. 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?

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Do not drink alcohol. Methadone can increase the effects of alcohol, which could be dangerous. Check your food and medicine labels to be sure these products do not contain alcohol.

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This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how methadone will affect you.

What are the possible side effects of methadone?

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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.

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Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • shallow breathing;
  • hallucinations or confusion;
  • chest pain, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat; or
  • trouble breathing, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

Less serious 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?

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Do not use methadone with any other narcotic pain medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or other medicines that can make you sleepy or slow your breathing. Dangerous side effects may result.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), metronidazole (Flagyl) or voriconazole (Vfend);
  • heart or blood pressure medication such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Tiazac) or verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan);
  • HIV medicines such as abacavir (Ziagen), didanosine (Videx), efavirenz (Atripla, Sustiva), nelfinavir (Viracept), nevirapine (Viramune), ritonavir (Kaletra, Norvir), stavudine (Zerit), or zidovudine (Retrovir);
  • an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate);
  • other narcotic medications such as pentazocine (Talwin), nalbuphine (Nubain), buprenorphine (Subutex), or butorphanol (Stadol);
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater); or
  • seizure medication such as phenobarbital (Solfoton) or phenytoin (Dilantin).

This list is not complete and there are many other drugs that can interact with Methadone. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about methadone.


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.

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