|Facts and Instructions about Methadone
The Germans synthesized methadone, a man made narcotic during World War II as a substitute for morphine. Methadone has been used for many years for relief of severe pain. Although “highly” addictive in nature, Methadone has been found useful in the treatment of heroin addiction because of these basic facts:
1. Methadone acts as a substitute for heroin and prevents heroin withdrawal symptoms.
2. Prescribed in moderate dosages, persons being treated may engage in normal activities such as employment endeavors and education activities with a minimum of physical discomfort.
3. Unlike heroin, doses do not have to be increased in order to maintain a patient once a stabilized dose is reached.
4. Methadone is long acting in the body (24-36 hours) making it unnecessary to be administered every 4-8 hours as would be necessary with heroin. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur between 38-48 hours following the last medication taken. Abrupt cessation of methadone treatment may result in severe withdrawal symptoms.
5. Methadone is effective when given orally. Thus the dangers of injecting it (infections, acute overdose) are avoided.
6. Use of methadone with alcohol or other narcotics, sedatives or hypnotics may result in the potentiation of undesirable side effects.
7. Use of methadone with narcotic antagonists (e.g., TALWIN) will result in “adverse” reactions. So patients should inform their Doctors and/or Dentists that they are taking methadone.
8. If any adverse reactions occur as stated in items 6 & 7 above, you should contact the nearest emergency room IMMEDIATELY. Advise the staff what Program you attend and they in turn will contact the Program Physician.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF METHADONE INCLUDE:
1. Mild constipation and sweating.
2. Decrease or increase in sexual performance.
3. Temporary stimulation or sleeplessness and agitation.
4. Drowsiness or lethargy.