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Methadone

What is methadone

Methadone is a narcotic pain reliever, similar to morphine. 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 other than those listed here.

General medical information about methadone

When methadone is used as part of a treatment program for narcotic addiction maintenance or detoxification, it must be dispensed by a specially approved pharmacy.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Methadone may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

What you should find out before taking methadone

Before taking methadone, talk to your doctor if you have
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- asthma, lung disease, or breathing problems;
- an enlarged prostate or difficulty urinating;
- hypothyroidism;
- seizures or epilepsy;
- a head injury or brain tumor; or
- Addison's disease.

You may not be able to take methadone, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Do not take methadone without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

Do not take methadone without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should take methadone

Take methadone exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

When methadone is used as part of a treatment program for narcotic addiction maintenance or detoxification, it must be dispensed by a specially approved pharmacy.

Methadone is available as tablets, liquid for oral administration, and as an injection. Oral forms of methadone must never be injected.

Take the oral tablets with a full glass of water.

To ensure that you get a correct dose, measure the liquid with a dose-measuring spoon, dropper, or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Your healthcare provider may recommend that methadone be administered by a family member, friend, or healthcare provider to ensure compliance with the treatment.

Do not take more methadone than is prescribed. If you symptoms are not being adequately treated, contact your healthcare provider.

It is important to take methadone regularly to get the most benefit.

Additional forms of counseling and/or monitoring may be recommended during treatment with methadone.

Methadone may be habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment. Do not stop taking methadone suddenly without first talking to your doctor if you have been taking it on a regular basis. Your healthcare provider may want to gradually reduce the dose.

Store methadone at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of the medication.

What happens if you overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose of methadone is suspected.

Symptoms of a methadone overdose may include shallow or decreased breathing, slow heart rate, small pupils, cold, clammy skin, coma, and death.

What should you avoid while using methadone

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Methadone may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Do not take any prescription or over-the-counter medicine to treat a cold, cough, or pain while taking methadone without first talking to your doctor. These medicines may contain narcotics or alcohol.

Do not use narcotic drugs or alcohol while taking methadone.

Do not take more methadone than is prescribed. If you symptoms are not being adequately treated, contact your healthcare provider.

Possible side effects of methadone

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking methadone and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- difficulty breathing;
- hallucinations or confusion;
- chest pain;
- fainting; or
- loss of consciousness.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take methadone and talk to your doctor if you experience
- anxiety, nervousness, or restlessness;
- dizziness or lightheadedness;
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
- drowsiness;
- decreased appetite;
- dry mouth;
- constipation;
- weakness; or
- sexual problems.

Methadone may be habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment. Do not stop taking methadone suddenly without first talking to your doctor if you have been taking it on a regular basis. Your healthcare provider may want to gradually reduce the dose.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect methadone

Do not take methadone with any of the following drugs without first talking to your doctor:
- a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate);
- rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); or
- a narcotic pain reliever such as buprenorphine (Buprenex, Subutrex), codeine (Tylenol with Codeine, others), hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen, others), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran), meperidine (Demerol), morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, MSIR, OMS, Roxanol, Oramorph SR, others), oxycodone (M-Oxy, OxyContin, OxyIR, Roxicodone, Percocet, Percodan, others), oxymorphone (Numorphan), propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet, others), and others.

You may not be able to take methadone, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Methadone may increase the effects of other drugs that cause drowsiness or dizziness, including antidepressants, alcohol, sedatives (used to treat insomnia), pain relievers, anxiety medicines, muscle relaxants, and antihistamines. Do not drink alcohol and do not take any medicine without first talking to your doctor while taking methadone.

Do not take any prescription or over-the-counter medicine to treat a cold, cough, or pain while taking methadone without first talking to your doctor. These medicines may contain narcotics or alcohol.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with methadone. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

All prescription drugs:

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B
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C
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D
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E
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F
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G
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H
herceptin humalog humira hydroxyzine hyzaar  
I
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K
kaletra keflex kenalog keppra ketek klonopin kytril  
L
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M
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N
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O
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P
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S
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T
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U
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V
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W
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X
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Y
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